students drinking coffee

Visa information

Everything you need to know about visa and other related information for studying at the University of Stirling. 

If you’re an international student you’ll need to apply for a visa to study in the UK unless:

  • You’re a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) member state or Switzerland and you currently live in the  UK or you will be travelling to the UK before 31 December 2020.
  • You have a visa to stay in the UK for another purpose that allows you to study, such as a dependant visa where you are the husband/wife/partner/child of someone in the UK.
  • You are a non-visa national and you are coming for a short course (less than 6 months).

If you are coming to study a full time degree course then you will either apply for a student visa or a short-term study visa.

Student visas are for students who are studying full-time on an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course for longer than six months.

Short-term study visas are for students studying up to six months or 11 months if you’re 16 or over and taking an English language course.

We’re an international research-led university and, as a licensed student visa sponsor, we welcome students from all over the world to come and study at Stirling.

Please note that as a student sponsor we are required to check that all students have permission to study in the UK and we’ll need see your passport and visa (or immigration permission) before you begin your course. You will be asked to upload a scanned colour copy of your passport and visa when completing the online enrolment process.

To apply for a visa you’ll need to complete the online visa application form.

Due to regular changes in immigration and visa rules we strongly recommend that you read and follow visa information and advice on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. It will provide you with the best and most up-to-date advice on how and where to apply for your visa.

You can apply for your visa up to six months before the start of your course once you have your CAS. Please do not apply any earlier. The visa application should be resolved within 15 working days when you will receive your passport and visa. You should make arrangements to travel to the UK only when UKVI have returned your passport and issued the student visa.

Please refer to the guidance before submitting your application. Mistakes with funds and your documents are the most common reason for refusal. We can help check your documents and funds before you submit your application (see contact details below).

If your visa application is refused let us know immediately so we can advise you on what to do next. If you are refused you cannot apply for another student visa using the same CAS number.

The admission team will provide your CAS which includes the details of our offer needed for immigration purposes and visa applications. Your CAS has a unique reference number which is NOT the same as your UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) number. 

Students who need to apply for ATAS clearance must do so at an early stage in the admissions process and before a CAS can be assigned. ATAS details will then be included on the CAS.

When you’ve accepted your offer of a place at Stirling the admissions team will send you information about how your CAS will be issued. You may be asked to pay a commitment fee (an advanced payment towards your tuition fees) before the CAS is issued.

You must check that all personal and course information on your CAS is accurate and that any tuition, accommodation or other fees you’ve paid us have been included. If you’re receiving any bursary or a scholarship from us this should be included in the CAS. Please let us know of any such awards so that we can include them on your CAS.

You must obtain a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for each student Student application you make.

If you’re a pre-sessional applicant holding an unconditional offer for a main course of study at degree level we can issue you with a joint CAS which allows you to obtain one student visa to cover both courses.

If the only condition of your main course offer is that you must reach B2 level English on completion of your pre-sessional English language course then we can also issue you with a joint CAS which allows you to obtain one student visa to cover both courses.

You’ll not be permitted to study at the University until you’ve applied for a new visa. In some circumstances you may have to obtain a new visa before being permitted to start the course or you may have to return home to apply for a new visa.

Our Student Immigration Team can explain the process of extending your visa and help you to submit an application to the Home Office. You must contact the Student Immigration Team to make an appointment to go over your options.

If you’re planning to study in the UK for less than six months then you should apply for a short-term study visa before you travel OR if you do not need a visa you can seek leave to enter at the airport in the UK as a ‘Short Term Student’.

You can check if you need to apply for a short-term visa. If you do need a visa follow the application advice on the UK Government website.

If you don’t need a visa, then you can travel to the UK and seek permission to enter at the port of entry. You should carry with you:

    • Your offer letter from Stirling
    • Evidence of your funding. This could be:
      • bank statements from your accounts or your parents’ accounts
      • confirmation of government or private loan funding
      • other financial documents to show that you can support yourself in the UK without working

      When you arrive in the UK it’s important that you explain to the Border Force Officer that you are coming to the UK for a short course of study so that they grant you leave to enter as a 'Short Term Student' instead of as a 'General Visitor'.

      Please do not use the eGates when you arrive through the airport. If you are a short term student you must speak to a Border Force Officer on arrival in order to receive the correct permission to study. 

      If your study period is less than six months and you have a specific reason for applying for a student visa instead of entering as a Short Term Student (for example if your course includes a work placement and you need to have permission to work), you must contact the Student Immigration Team as soon as we offer you a place.

      The Government has announced that the new Student route and Child Student route will open on 5 October 2020 to the best and brightest international students from across the globe.

      The routes treat all students equally, with international students, including those from Europe coming to study in 2021, using the same, simplified route when it opens for applications.

      The new Student route should improve on the previous Tier 4 route by making it more streamlined for sponsoring institutions and our students. Students will require a total of 70 points to be granted a visa and will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.

      Find out more information about the new international student immigration routes.

      The government will launch the new Graduate route in the summer of 2021. This additional new route will allow those who have completed a degree at a UK Higher Education provider with a track record of compliance to stay in the UK for two years (three years for PhD graduates) and work at any skill level, and to switch into work routes if they find a suitable job.

      Find out more information about the new international student immigration routes.

      Help and important information

      Latest information

      Find the best and most up-to-date visa advice on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

      Visa application centres

      Find the opening times and contact details for UK visa application centres near you.

      Need advice?

      We're here to help you with your visa application. Email us with a question or to set up an appointment.

      Arriving via Dublin?

      There is no routine passport control between Dublin and the UK. This means that you may not pass through passport control in the UK if you arrive from Dublin.  If you arrive from Dublin with a student visa you should keep your flight confirmation emails/papers about the Dublin-UK flight and carry them with you the next time you travel. You will have to leave the UK and re-enter within three months of arrival so that your student visa can be activated. This can obviously be costly so any savings made arriving in Dublin initially may be lost.

      Tuberculosis tests for visa applicants

      You’ll need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in certain countries.

      Working in the UK during and after your studies

      As the holder of a student visa (previously Tier 4) you can work in some jobs – find out more about how visa regulations affect what you can or can’t do.

      Academic Technology Approval Scheme

      You may need an ATAS certificate to study on degree courses of a sensitive nature such as science or technology.

      Academic Technology Approval Scheme

      Start-up visa

      The Start-up visa scheme is designed to support early-stage and high potential entrepreneurs to start a business in the UK for the first time. The University of Stirling is an endorsing body and will accept applications for this scheme from University of Stirling graduates.

      Students aiming to move onto this visa following completion of their studies must attend at least three of the Enterprise Programme workshops to develop their ideas and understanding of entrepreneurship, and discussed their business idea with a member of the enterprise team during the six months prior to an application being developed

      • The next Start-up visa Endorsement Panel is scheduled for December 2020.
      • Please contact the Innovation & Enterprise Team for further information on how to apply.
      • Application deadline to be confirmed.

      All queries relating to the Start-up visa should be directed to the Innovation & Enterprise Team:

      Queries regarding your visa application should be sent to

      EU students and Brexit

      EU, non-EU EEA nationals and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members can still come to the UK (without requiring a visa) until the end of the transitional/implementation period on 31 December 2020.

      You can apply for immigration permission in the UK under a scheme designed by the UK government known as the EU Settlement Scheme. You will need to do this if you wish to remain in the UK after the end of the transitional/implementation period, or otherwise apply under another category of the immigration Rules.

      Those arriving from 1 January 2021 will need to apply for immigration permission to come to the UK under the new Student Route.

      How can we help you?

      Our Student Immigration Team specialises in student immigration to the UK and we are here to help you with advice and support for your visa application.

      You should contact us if your application has taken longer than 15 working days to process and you are going to miss your expected start date.

      To ask a question or request an appointment with an advisor please email