Obtaining a Visa

Unless you are a citizen of the European Union, you will need a visa to study abroad in the United Kingdom with Arcadia. This may seem daunting but don’t worry – your program manager will walk you through every step, and send you a complete Visa Pack with full instructions and details of everything you will need. If you are traveling internationally in the months leading up to your program start date, please let your program manager know.

There are three types of student visas for the UK:

  • Short Term Student Route - Upon Arrival
  • Short Term Study Visa
  • PBS (Points Based System) Tier 4 Student Visa

Short Term Student Route - Upon Arrival

All US citizens are classed as non-visa nationals by UK Visas and Immigration and will be able to obtain entry via the Short Term Student Route upon arrival in the UK as long as:

  • You intend to study in the UK for a period no longer than six months.
  • You are not participating in an internship program.

There is no fee for this visa, but UK Immigration authorities will need some materials from you before giving you your visa upon your arrival in the UK – so remember to have them handy:

  • Your passport (valid for at least 6 months from the end of your program)
  • Proof of your travel out of the UK eg. Plane ticket
  • Arcadia University Certification Letter – included in your Visa Pack
  • Immigration statement or acceptance letter from your British university (included in your visa pack). London Now, London Connect, Pre-Health and STEM Summer Research students will receive this from Arcadia University.
  • US bank statement – to show you can support yourself while in the UK.

SHORT TERM STUDENT ROUTE (UPON ARRIVAL) TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS:

  • You need to pay attention to the dates entered into your passport when your entry clearance is granted. Visas may be granted for up to 6 months, but may also cover only the length of your program. Do not plan to stay beyond the ending date of your visa.
  • You are able to leave and re-enter the UK during your term of study. If you do so, it is very important to ensure that you bring all documentation listed above with you during each exit and re-entry. Your permission to re-enter the UK is always at the discretion of the entry clearance officer so you should ensure you have all the information you need in order to prove that you are a current student in the UK.

Please note that if you enter on the Short Term Student Route visa you are not permitted to work or to participate in an internship. You are also not allowed to extend your study period without first departing the UK.

Short Term Study Visa

This visa is primarily for non-US citizens who are classified as visa nationals. Please refer to the UK Government site to determine if you are a visa national or not. If you are, you will need to apply for the Short Term Study visa prior to departing for the UK.

This Requires:

  • Online application for entry clearance (begin when you receive your Visa Pack).
  • All documents listed above which are required for the Short Term Student Route.
  • Biometrics appointment: Enroll your fingerprints and facial image at a USCIS office.
  • For students applying from within the US, you will mail your complete visa application to the British Consulate in New York within two weeks of your biometrics appointment. When applying from your home country, the process varies.

This visa costs £85 (around US $136). You will need entry clearance prior to arriving in the UK so when you receive your Visa Pack you may begin the process.

Short Term Study Visa Travel Restrictions: 

  • It is important to pay attention to the dates printed on your visa, which will indicate the time frame during which you are legally permitted to be in the UK. You should ensure that you do not travel to the UK before your visa start date, and you will need to depart the UK before your visa end date.
  • Your visa is not valid before your visa start date. Similarly, overstaying your visa is a serious offense and could result in deportation.

Please note that if you hold a Short Term Study visa you are not permitted to work or to participate in an internship. You are also not allowed to extend your study period without first departing the UK. Also, non-US citizens may have to pay a registration fee on arrival.

PBS Tier 4 Student Visa

You’ll need this visa if one or more of the following applies to you:

  • You are participating on an internship program.
  • You are studying in the UK for more than six months.
  • You intend to work or intern (paid or unpaid) while studying abroad.

This visa costs £322 (around US $515). You will need entry clearance prior to arriving in the UK so when you receive your Visa Pack you may begin the process.

This Requires:

  • Online application for entry clearance.
  • Biometrics appointment: Enroll your fingerprints and facial image at a USCIS office.
  • For students applying from within the US, you will mail your complete visa application to the British Consulate in New York within two weeks of your biometrics appointment. When applying from your home country, the process varies.
  • Students studying for more than six months: Your Tier 4 visa will be valid for 30 days. When you enter the UK, you will have 10 days to go to a designated Post Office and collect your Biometric Residency Permit, which will grant you permission to stay for the full length of your program. It is very important that you obtain this document within the allotted 10-day period.
  • Students studying for more than six months: You will be required to pay a £150 Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your initial visa application.

Tier 4 Travel Restrictions:

  • It is important to pay attention to the dates printed on your visa (and on your Biometric Residence Permit if you are studying for more than 6 months), which will indicate the time frame during which you are legally permitted to be in the UK. You should ensure that you do not travel to the UK before your visa start date, and you will need to depart the UK before your visa end date.
  • Your visa is not valid before your visa start date. Similarly, overstaying your visa is a serious offense and could result in deportation.
  • Students studying for 6 months or less who are required to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa (for example: internship program participants):
    • You should be given a visa start date which is 7 days prior to the start of your program, and ends 7 days after the end of your program.
  • Students studying for more than 6 months on a Tier 4 Student Visa:
    • Your visa start date will be based on your intended date of travel to the UK, which you will provide in your visa application. You will not be able to enter the UK more than one month before your course start date. You will be permitted to stay in the UK for the full length of your program plus two months after the end of your program.