Obtaining a Visa

Unless you are a citizen of the European Union, you will need a visa to study abroad in Great Britain 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 3 types of student visas for the UK:

  • Short Term Student Route
  • Student Visitor Visa
  • PBS (Points Based System) Tier 4 Student Visa

Short Term Student Route

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 will be permitted a total stay of 6 months in the United Kingdom (You are able to arrive early to the UK and/or stay in the UK after your program concludes as long as your total time in the UK does not exceed 6 months).
  • You are not participating in an internship.

The UK Immigration authorities will need some materials from you before giving you your visa – 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, Scottish Studies and STEM Summer Research students will receive this from Arcadia University.
  • US bank statement – to show you can support yourself while in the UK.

Student Visitor 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 Student Visitor 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.

Please note that if you hold a Student Visitor 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.
  • You are studying in the UK for more than six months.
  • You intend to work or intern while studying abroad.

This visa costs £310 (around U.S. $502). You will need entry clearance prior to arriving in the UK so when you receive your Visa Pack you may begin the process.

The Tier 4 visa will be valid for one month. When you enter the UK, you will have one month to go to a Post Office and collect your Biometric Residency Permit, which will grant you permission to stay for the full length of your program.

You will need the following documents:

  • 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 entering on a Tier 4 visa for more than six months are required to pay a £150 Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their initial visa application.

Tier 4 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.
  • Students studying for 6 months or less who are required to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa (for example: internship program participants): Please do not arrive in the UK more than one week before your program start date. Tier 4 Student Visas are not valid before this time and you will not be able to enter the UK under the correct immigration status. You will be permitted to stay in the UK for no more than 7 days after your program concludes.
  • Students studying for more than 6 months on a Tier 4 Student Visa can arrive up to one month before their classes begin.