SOAS University of London

International Students

Visa and immigration

In this section you will find some basic information about visas and entry into the UK. To apply for entry clearance to study in the UK if you hold a British overseas territories citizenship or if you have a British national (overseas) citizenship, you will still likely require a visa to study in the UK. To find out if you need a visa to study in the UK, please go to GOV.UK website

EU or EEA applicants

If you are from an EU or EEA country or Switzerland and you were resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, you may be eligible to apply for settled or pre-settled status under the UK's EU Settlement Scheme. Obtaining settled or pre-settled status will enable you to live, work, study in the UK and access the NHS as you would under the previous free-movement regulations. Information on the EU Settlement scheme can be found on our website.

If you arrived in the UK after 11pm on 31 December 2020, you will need to obtain a Student visa in advance of travelling to the UK if your programme is more than 6 months in duration. The Student visa replaced Tier 4 on 5 October 2020 and is required by all non-UK and Irish nationals studying in the UK for more than 6 months. 

Applications for the Student visa can be submitted up to 6 months before your programme start date. Applications for a Student visa require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by the university you will be studying at (SOAS). To apply you will require a CAS number from SOAS.

To find out if you need a visa to study in the UK, go to GOV.UK website

Irish nationals are subject to different legislation, meaning that an application under the EU Settlement Scheme is not required and Irish nationals will be able to continue to travel freely to the UK and live without restrictions as they currently do. However, if you are an Irish national and have non-UK/Irish family members you and your family members may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

See information on the EU Settlement scheme.

Types of visas

There are two relevant categories of student visas:

If you are coming to study at SOAS for more than six months, you will need to apply for a Student visa.

If you are coming to study at SOAS for less than six months, you will only need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa. If you decide to extend your studies to longer than 6 months you will need to leave the UK and apply for a Student visa from your country of residence; you cannot switch from a Standard Visitor visa to a Student visa from within the UK. Students on Standard Visitor visa are not able to work or volunteer during their time in the UK and do not have access to the NHS so will require private health insurance.

Visa refusals

If your visa application is refused, you will need to inform the Student Visa team immediately (compliance@soas.ac.uk), including a copy of the refusal notice. Please also contact the Student Advice Service (advice@soas.ac.uk) for advice on your refusal, and whether you have grounds for an Administrative Review or for help making second application to avoid being refused again.

Switching sponsors

If you have already been granted Student entry clearance to the UK under the visa sponsorship of another university and change to a new course to study at SOAS, you must apply again for a new Student visa with a CAS issued by SOAS. You will need to submit this application from outside the UK.  For further information please visit the UKVI website.

Before you can enrol at SOAS we will require evidence that you have applied to UKVI to change educational sponsorship or have applied for a Student visa under SOAS sponsorship.

Immigration advice for current students

The SOAS Advice Service offers free, confidential, impartial visa information, advice and guidance to prospective international students, registered students and graduates transitioning to post-study visa routes as well as EU and EEA Nationals applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. Full details on how we operate and provide advice are set out in our Conditions of Service (pdf; 113kb).

For advice please email advice@soas.ac.uk 

To book an appointment please email: studentadviceandwellbeing@soas.ac.uk