Visa and immigration
In this section you will find some basic information about visas and entry into the UK. Further detailed information and guidance is available from the GOV.UK UKVI website, and on our page Making an application for a Student Visa, or from your local British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. If you require help to understand any information given here or need further clarification on immigration procedures, email a SOAS Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance) at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not a British national, you may need to apply for entry clearance to study in the UK. If you hold a British overseas territories citizenship or you have a British national (overseas) citizenship, you will still likely require a visa to study in the UK.
All enquiries about visa requirements should be directed to the British Embassy/High commission or Consulate in your home country. To find out if you need a visa to study in the UK, please go to GOV.UK website.
If you are from an EU/EEA country listed above, and you are resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, you will 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 and study in the UK as you would under the previous free-movement regulations. Information on the EU Settlement scheme can be found on our website.
f you arrive in the UK after 11pm on 31 December, you will need to obtain an Entry Clearance Visa in advance of arriving in the UK if you are here to study a course longer than 6 months. The new Student route, which applies to EU/EEA nationals needing to apply for entry clearance has been open for applications since 5 October 2020 and applications can be submitted up to 6 months before the date you need to arrive in the UK. Applications under the Student visa route require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by the university you will be studying at (SOAS).
To find out if you need a visa to study in the UK, please go to the GOV.UKcheck if you need a visa website. EU/EEA national students who have been made an offer to study at SOAS should follow the links on the left for further information.
Please note that 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 and live without restrictions as they currently do.
Types of Visas
There are two relevant categories of student visas:
- Student Visa for programmes lasting more than 6 months
- Visitor Visa for programmes shorter than 6 months in duration.
All students coming to study at SOAS for longer than 6 months should apply for a Student visa. To apply you will be requiring a CAS number from SOAS.
If you are attending a course/programme that lasts for 6 months or less you can enter the UK on a Student Visitor visa and do not require a CAS number. A letter from the School confirming your acceptance on the course will be needed instead. It is important to note that a Student Visitor visa will cover you for the duration of the course plus 30 days, or until the end date of the visa, whichever is earlier. It is possible to study more than one short course on the same visa, but you should make it clear when you apply for the visa that you intend to study more than one course during your stay.
If you decide to extend or change your programme of study you will be required to leave the UK in order to apply for a Student visa from your country of residence. You cannot switch from a visit visa to a Student visa from within the UK. Students with the Student Visitor visa are also not able to work during their time in the UK.