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Types of visas

To study at Cardiff University as an international student, you must hold a valid visa which entitles you to study here.

Most international students will need to apply for a Student visa. Please read the information on this page to help determine which visa is most appropriate.

If you are a national of an EEA country or Switzerland, and you are not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need the appropriate visa. More information is available on the UKCISA website.

If you require any further guidance on what visa to apply for or have any questions about your visa application, please contact our International Student Support team at

Student visa

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must apply for a Student visa and not Child Student visa as Cardiff University is only licensed to sponsor under the Student route.

If you apply for a Student visa you'll receive a visa for the full length of your course and you may be allowed to extend your visa.

If you are currently in the UK on Student Visa (formerly a Tier 4 General) University or College then you must make an application for a new Student visa before you enrol at Cardiff University. If you fully meet the requirements set by the Home Office you may be able to extend your visa in the UK. See UKCISA for more information.

Short Term Study Visa

The Short Term Study visa is available if you're coming to study an English language course that is a between 6 and of 11 months, advice on this and the supporting documentation is available from our English language programme team.

A Short Term Study Visa has more restrictions than a Student visa and you will not be allowed to do any paid or voluntary work (even if it is part of a course) and you cannot extend your stay in the UK or bring your family with you.

Visitor Visa

The visitor route has been extended to include those who wish to study in the UK, this includes:

  • Students studying on distance learning courses who need to come to the University for an examination or to attend a short course of less than six months and do not want to work in the UK.
  • International Exchange students studying in Cardiff University for one semester (less than 6 months), who do not wish to work or volunteer whilst in Cardiff. Further details for International Exchange students.
  • Students studying on the English for University Study Programme and who do not want to work in the UK.

If you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss national coming to study for less than 6 months then you can apply for a Visitor Visa on arrival in the UK. You can apply in advance if you wish. If you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss student coming to study a course of more than 6 months then you will need to apply for a Student Visa prior to travelling to the UK.

A letter detailing your programme of study will be provided to you by the university.

e-Passport gates

Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and USA and those from the EU/EEA are eligible to use the e-Gates at UK ports of entry when visiting the UK.

However, students seeking entry to the UK under the visitor visa route should not use the e-Passport gates as you will not be able to obtain the correct entry stamp. Please pass through the manned immigration desk at UK Border Control, even if you are directed otherwise by immigration staff at the airport.

Tier 5 Visa

If you are you are coming through the Erasmus+ Programme to complete a research placement at Cardiff University (Erasmus+ Traineeship placement), you will require a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa. To apply for this visa, you will first need to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the British Council.

Further details on how to apply for the CoS.