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Types of visas

Last updated: 08/05/2024 13:05

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

Most international students, including EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who do not hold permission under the EU Settlement Scheme, will need to apply for a visa.

Read the information on this page to help determine which visa is most appropriate for you.

International students who will be joining Cardiff University for a course of over 6 months will need to apply for the Student Route visa. This is the most appropriate immigration route for most undergraduate and postgraduate courses delivered by Cardiff University.

If you apply for a Student visa, you'll receive a visa for the full length of your course plus an additional wrap-up period dependent on the length of your course. You will be able to reside, study, and in most cases, work part-time in the UK (with restrictions).

If you are currently in the UK on a Student Route visa issued for study at another university, college, or school, then you must make an application for a new Student Route visa before you enrol at Cardiff University.

You must meet strict requirements set by the Home Office if you wish to extend your visa in the UK. For more information, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

For students aged 16 -17, you must apply for a Student Route Visa and not a Child Student visa to study with Cardiff University.

Access our downloadable guide for detailed guidance on applications under the Student Route.

The Short-Term Study visa is for English language study only.

This visa is for English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months.

You can find information about the requirements and application process for this route here:

A Short-Term Study Visa has more restrictions than a Student Route visa. You will not be allowed to do any paid or voluntary work and you cannot extend your stay in the UK or bring your family with you.

A letter detailing your programme of study will be provided to you by the university’s Student Visa Compliance team. This is required in order to apply for your visa.

For Information about English language programmes at Cardiff University, contact our English language programme team.

The Standard Visitor Visa permits study for up to 6 months in the following categories:

  • Students studying on distance learning courses who need to come to the university for an examination or to attend a short course of fewer 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. Find out more about what studying abroad in Cardiff is like for International Exchange students.
  • Students studying on the English for University Study Programme for 6 months and who do not want to work in the UK.
  • Students conducting a short piece of research that's relevant to your course overseas.
  • Students sitting an entrance exam, retaking an exam or course module, or doing a PhD oral exam (a viva).

Further detail on permitted study can be found online at Visit the UK as a Standard Visitor: Visit to study - GOV.UK

If you are a non-visa national, including EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals without permission under the EU Settlement Scheme, coming to study for less than 6 months then you can apply for a Standard Visitor Visa on arrival in the UK. You can apply in advance if you wish.

Visa nationals must apply for a Standard Visitor Visa prior to travel.

A letter detailing your programme of study will be provided to you by the University’s Student Visa Compliance team. This is required in order to apply for your visa.

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. If you enter in this way, your passport will not be stamped on entry. You must retain evidence of entry, for instance, your boarding pass, in order to enrol on your course and receive your student ID card.

Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)

Nationals of:

  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

can apply for an ETA prior to travel. Holders of an ETA do not then need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa in advance before travel but can enter with a permission as a Standard Visitor issued at the UK border instead. Permission to enter will be granted for a period of up to 6 months from the date of entry. See the information above about the Standard Visitor Visa.

Information about how to apply for the ETA can be found online on the relevant Home Office pages.

If successful, an ETA document is issued electronically. The current price for an EVW is £10. Applications should take 3 working days to process, but can take longer. We advise allowing a minimum of 2 weeks to avoid disappointment.

Contact us

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

Student Connect