Before you arrive | University of Oxford
Student visas
Students get to use the library and seminar rooms of the Department of Education in Norham Gardens to study.
Copyright © Rob Judges Photography. This image comes from Oxford University Images. All rights reserved.

Before you arrive

For updates and information about the coronavirus (Covid-19) including visa implications e.g. studying remotely, travel restrictions, quarantine implications, visa expiration see the University's webpage

You MUST attend your biometrics appointment and obtain your Student visa before coming to the UK. 
You CANNOT come to the UK as a visitor and switch visa status. We CANNOT enrol you on a visitor visa, so you would not be able to start your course. 
These are Home Office requirements that students and the University must follow. 
If, due to the pandemic, you are unable to secure a visa in time or cannot travel because of flight restrictions, your department/college and Student Immigration will look at solutions to help you start your studies which may include an initial online/remote period of study if deemed necessary. 

The UKCISA website also has useful information and the latest Home Office updates.

For EU, EEA nationals or Switzerland (excludes Ireland)

If you are a national of the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not need a student visa if you come to the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020. If you come to the UK on or after 1 January 2021 to study then you may require a student visa, see the section below. 

For information about applying under the EU Settlement Scheme if you are in the UK before 31 December 2020, see the separate section below. If you are granted pre-settled or settled status under this scheme you will not need a visa to study.

For Non-EU, Non-European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals
(and for EU, EEA Nationals and Switzerland nationals coming to the UK on or after 1 January 2021) 

If you are planning to travel to the UK to undertake a course at the University you may need to apply for a visa before travelling.

The type of permission/visa you require will depend on the type of course.

  • To attend a full time course for longer than six months you must apply for a Student Visa (under the Student Route). Details of the requirements and a guide explaining how to complete the online application form are available from the Student visa webpage.
  • For a short course or to undertake a period of study as a visiting student for less than six months, you will need to use the Short-Term Student route or apply for a Student Visa.
  • For distance learning courses where short visits are undertaken over more than six months, you will also use the Short-Term Student route.
  • For part-time courses longer than six months with a weekly or monthly attendance requirement you will not be eligible for a Student visa or the Short Term Student route based on the structure of the course.
  • Please be aware, if you are bringing family members with you, you may also require a visa for your family.

If you are eligible for a visa for the UK in another capacity - for example as a dependant of another student, or as a worker, or ancestry - you may be allowed to study with this permission.

If you are studying a subject that requires an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (postgraduate research students and undergraduate students in science, engineering and technology subjects) you will also need to obtain an ATAS certificate before you can enrol on the course.

Applying under the EU Settlement Scheme 

Further information about the implications of Brexit for our current and future EU students is also available on the University webpages.

1. What is the EU Settlement Scheme and should you apply?

The EU Settlement Scheme is for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have been living in the UK to continue to hold the same rights to work, study and access the UK healthcare (NHS) after the UK has left the EU. Irish nationals do not need to apply because of the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland. Non-EU/EEA spouses, partners and dependants of an EU/EEA national are also eligible to apply under the scheme. 

2. What is the deadline for applying?

If you are currently in the UK you will need to apply before 30 June 2021, although there is no reason to delay applying and as the scheme is free you should apply as soon as you can. If you are not living in the UK at the moment you would need to arrive before 11pm on 31 December 2020 to apply under the scheme. If you had been previously living in the UK but are temporarily away e.g. on a study year abroad, or returning soon, you can also apply for the EU Settlement Scheme online from the country where you are temporarily staying but you would need to show evidence of your prior residence in the UK. 

 3. Should I apply now or wait until later next year? 

As mentioned above there is no reason to delay applying and there is a delay to applications at the moment because of the pandemic. There may be a delay later next year as it gets closer to the 30 June 2021 deadline. It is also expected that the EHIC (European Health Insurance card) system will no longer operate in 2021 so if you apply before the end of the year, it confirms your access to healthcare under the NHS. 

4. My course finishes before 30 June 2021, do I still have to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme? 

Not necessarily, but you have nothing to lose by applying as there is no commitment to stay long term and the application is free. If you do not apply before the deadline you would need a visa to stay in the UK for any future courses or for employment and your legal status for remaining in the UK after 30 June 2021 would be uncertain. 

5. How long does the application take and has the pandemic delayed applications?

Standard applications were taking a week or two before the pandemic but may now take longer. 

6. What documents will I need to apply?

The Government website explains what documents can be accepted (evidence of UK residence and passport/national identify card) and for students at Oxford you could also use the enrolment certificate from Student Self Service as evidence of your student status and UK residence. This can be uploaded online and does not need to be stamped or signed by the college. If you need evidence for a longer period e.g. the 5 years or more for settled status you could also ask for a letter confirming attendance/enrolment for a previous course. Other ways to show your residence include bank statement, letter from employer, P60, P45 or council tax or utility bills. You do not need a national insurance number unless you have been working and needed to obtain one. 

7. What type of phone do I need for proving my identity?

There is an EU-Exit: ID Document Check app which will work on an Android phone or an iPhone 7 model or above.  The app does not store your personal data on the phone once you have completed the application. 

8. Can you help me with my application?

Yes, we can answer questions by email but as we are currently working at home we are not able to help in person.

9. What is the difference between pre-settled status and settled status?

When your application is approved you will either be granted settled status if you have been in the UK for 5 years or more, or pre-settled status if you have been here less than 5 years - including if you have only very recently just arrived,  for example new students starting this term. If you are granted pre-settled status you can upgrade this later to settled status. Both offer the same right to work, study and use the NHS but allow different periods for how long you can be outside the UK without losing the status (5 years for settled status, 4 years if Swiss; or 2 years if pre-settled status but may then affect you applying for settled status at a later date). Settled status would also allow you the opportunity to apply for citizenship after a further 12 months. 

10. Is there any terminology I should be aware when completing the application on my phone?

Yes, in answer to the question about a permanent residence card your answer will usually be no, but see the Government website for a definition of what this means.

Indefinite leave to remain- is granted on the basis of working in the UK for 5 years, or 10 years residence for a combination of work/study/living in the UK. You do not need to apply if you have this status so the answer would be no.

11. What will I receive after my application is approved?

You will not receive a physical document (unless you are a non-EU/EEA dependant/family member of an EU/EEA national) but your status will be confirmed online and you can use this to show an employer in the future if you need to work, or to show a University if you start a new course of study. It is a secure status and you will be able to send a code to an employer or University so they can check your status online, they do not need any special software. 

12. Is there an appeal process if my application is unsuccessful?

Yes, you can apply for an administrative review if you think there has been a mistake. You can also apply again if you think you should have been granted settled status instead of pre-settled status. 

13. Where can I get more information? 

Most of your questions will be answered in the Government guide online, or contact us for advice
See also the EU Settlement presentation in the related documents section of this page which shows you some images of the application process and provides further guidance
Please check if your questions are answered above first before contacting us
Remember to identify yourself e.g. your Oxford student number, if you are not using your Oxford college or department email address. 

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