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Student Visa FAQs

International students studying a full-time university course in the UK that is 6 months or longer do need a Student visa, or another visa or legal right to study in the UK.

Q: I have an EU passport, do I need a Student visa?

A: Yes, now that the UK has left the European Union, all students who do not have a UK or Irish passport, or have successfully applied for the EU Settlement Scheme, will need a Student visa to study a full-time course that is longer than 6 months and taught in the UK.

Q: I have a UK or Irish passport, do I need a Student visa?

A: No, if you hold a UK or Irish passport then you don’t need a Student visa to study a full-time or part-time course, even if you have dual nationality or you haven’t been living in the UK recently. However, if you’ve been living outside the UK and EEA, you may have to pay fees at the international rate. UKCISA has a good guide to how your fee status is determined.

Q: When should I apply for my Student Visa?

A: You can apply for your Student visa 6 months before the start of the course if you are living outside the UK, or 3 months before the start of the course if you are in the UK already. We recommend that you apply for your Student visa as soon as you’re able to because there can be delays during busy periods.

Q: What do I need to do to start my visa application?

A: You need to be fully accepted onto your course before you can apply for your visa. This means that you’ll need to meet all of the conditions to receive an Unconditional Offer, accept the offer on the applicant portal, pay the £5,000 International deposit (if applicable), and receive your Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from us.

Q: What is a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)?

A: A CAS is a digital record that you’ve been accepted onto the course that you need for your visa application. This isn’t an actual certificate, but a CAS statement email from our Admissions team. It includes important information about you and your course. You can’t apply for a Student visa without your CAS number.

Q: How do I get a CAS?

A: After you’ve accepted your offer, met all of the conditions, and paid the £5,000 International deposit, you can then complete a CAS request form. After you’ve paid your deposit, please email internationaladmissions@stmarys.ac.uk to ask for the CAS request form. You should return the completed form to them as soon as possible. Please include your Student ID number as a reference for any payments and emails to Admissions.

Q: How do I accept or check the details of my offer?

A: To accept your offer, or to check the conditions and deadlines, please log into the applicant portal.

Q: How do I pay my deposit?

A: Please log into the applicant portal for details about paying your International deposit. Please include your Student ID number in all payments, and please email internationaladmissions@stmarys.ac.uk with the details after you’ve paid your deposit.

Q: Does my deposit count towards the course fee?

A: Yes, the deposit is part of your course fee, it is not an extra cost.

Q: Will the University refund my deposit if I have a problem?

A: You may receive a full or partial refund of the deposit. If we have already sent you a CAS and your Student visa is rejected for any reason except fraud, you’ll receive a refund minus a £50.00 administration fee. Please see our International deposit refund policy for full terms and conditions.

Q: Does everyone need to pay a deposit?

A: No, you don’t have to pay a deposit if you’re taking out a loan from your home government to pay for your tuition fees, or if you are being funded by some external organisations. For example, US Federal Aid students and Norwegian students with Lånekassen funding don’t require a deposit.

Q: How long does it take to receive a Student visa?

A: If you’re applying from outside the UK, the government advise that it usually takes 3 weeks to receive your visa. Some visa application centres also offer a priority service to receive your visa faster. However, there can be delays, especially during busy times such as August and September. These times are not guaranteed, and we strongly recommend that you apply for your Student visa as soon as you can, prepare your application very carefully, and do not book your travel until you’ve received your Student visa.

Q: Should I pay extra for a priority service to receive my Student visa faster?

A: Some visa application centres do offer a priority service to receive your visa within 5 working days, or a super priority service to receive your visa in 1 working day. There is a significant extra cost for this, and the times are not guaranteed. Unfortunately, if your visa is delayed, you won’t be eligible for a refund. If you complete your CAS request form close to the start of the course, the University may only offer you the CAS if you use a priority service for your Student visa, to ensure you do not miss too much of your course. You can see more information about priority services on the UK government’s website.

Q: My Student visa is delayed. Can I enter the UK and then receive my Student visa later?

A: No, unfortunately you cannot travel to the UK until you’ve received your Student visa. Please contact us if there are any delays so that we can support you as much as possible. You may be able to join the course after it has already started teaching.

Q: Can I work while I’m studying on a Student visa?

A: Yes, you can work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours a week (10 hours a week if you’re studying the FdSC Chelsea Football Club Foundation Coaching and Development) during the academic semester on a Student visa, and more than 20 hours during the academic holidays. There are certain types of work you cannot do: you cannot be self-employed, you cannot run a business, you cannot play or coach professional sport, and you cannot be employed as an entertainer. If there is a work placement that is part of your course, it doesn’t count towards those 10 or 20 hours, so you can work part-time and do a work placement module also. Working part-time can be great experience and help you to pay for your studies, and our Careers department can help you to find a part-time job. However, many International students need to show that they have the funds for the course and living costs to receive a Student visa.

Q: Can I bring my partner and/or children to the UK with me?

A: Yes, if you are studying a postgraduate course that is longer than 9 months. You’ll need to show evidence that you have the funds to support them during your studies. Please see the UK government’s website and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website for more information.

Q: Can I work in the UK after I graduate?

A: Yes, if you are studying a full-time Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree at St Mary’s University on a Student visa, you’ll usually be eligible to apply for a Graduate Route visa after you finish your course. This allows you to stay in the UK and work for 2 years (3 years if you’ve completed a doctoral programme). You can find more information on the UK government’s website, on the UKCISA website and on our Registry pages.