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Do you need a visa to study English in the UK?

If you are planning to study English in the UK, you may need to apply for a student visa. This page will help you understand if you need a visa and what you need to do. If you need help, you can contact the English Path team for advice.

Are you an EU/EEA/Swiss national?

You do not need a visa to study for up to six months. You need to apply for a visa if you want to study in the UK for more than six months.
Some other nationalities do not need a visa to study for up to six months. If you have a passport from a country on the non-visa national list you can visit the UK and study for up to six months without a visa.

Non-visa national countries

Any EEA country
Argentina
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Dominica
East Timor
El Salvador
Grenada
Guatemala
Honduras
Hong Kong
Israel
Japan
Kiribati
Macau
Malaysia
Maldives
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Namibia
Nauru
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Seychelles
Singapore
Solomon Islands
South Korea
Taiwan
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
United States of America
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Vatican City

Non-visa national countries

Study English in the UK for six months or less

To study English in the UK for six months or less:
• EEA, Swiss nationals and other nationalities on the non-visa national list do not need a visa
• Other international students need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa
How to apply for a Standard Visitor visa
You need a Standard Visitor visa if:
• you plan to study English in the UK for less than six months
• you need a visa to visit the UK - check if you need a visa
• EEA, Swiss nationals and other nationalities on the non-visa national list will not need a visa if their course is six months or less

Key facts about Standard Visitor visas:

• Visitors can study as much as they like on this visa. It is possible to take different courses with different providers, as long as the courses have an approved accreditation.
• Application cost: £95
• When to apply: up to three months in advance
• in your application you will need to show that you have enough money to pay for your course fees, accommodation and living costs
• Apply online for a Standard Visitor visa.
FIND OUT WHAT VISA YOU NEED

Short-term study visa - for English language courses between six and eleven months

If you want to study English in the UK for between six and eleven months, you should apply for a Short-term study visa before you travel (for other course types you need a Student visa).
Are you an EU/EEA/Swiss national? From 2021, you need a visa to study for longer than six months.

Key facts about Short-term study visas:
• You must be at least 16 years old
• Visa length: 11 months maximum
• Suitable for beginners - there is no minimum level of English required
• Before applying, you need to choose a course and have a letter of confirmation from your institution
• You are only allowed to study at an institution with an approved accreditation
• You cannot study with any other institution other than the one named on the application form
• In your application you will need to show that you have enough money to pay for your course fees, accommodation and living costs
• You will not be able to work in the UK
• Application cost: £186, plus £470 fee for the immigration health surcharge which gives access to national health services in the UK
• When to apply: up to three months in advance
• Apply online for a Short term study visa.

Student visas - for courses longer than 11 months

If you want to study English in the UK for more than 11 months you need a Student visa.

Are you an EU/EEA/Swiss national? From 2021, you need a visa to study for more than 6 months. If you arrived in 2020 and want to study and work in the UK after June 2021, you can do so by applying for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Key facts about Student visas:
• Your course must include at least 15 hours of study per week
• You must already have an intermediate level of English - you will need to prove your English level by taking a Secure English language Test (IELTS or Trinity College London) at a government-approved testing centre 
• You must have an unconditional course offer to study at an institution that has a Student sponsor licence
• For your visa application, you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number from your institution
• In your application you will need to show that you have enough money to pay for your course fees, accommodation and living costs (find out more about providing evidence)
• Some students studying English language courses with a Student visa are able to work for 10 hours per week
• Application cost: £348, plus the immigration health surcharge for visas that are longer than six months. The cost depends on the length of the visa, starting at £470.
• When to apply: up to six months in advance

Visa procedure for TCN (Third Country Nationals) students

  • Third Country Nationals attending courses of a duration that does not exceed 90 days are to be issued with a Schengen Short-Stay Visa (C-Visa).
  • The applicant is to present his/her application together with biometric data at one of the submission points indicated below where the applicant resides:
    1. Directly at one of Malta’s missions or consular posts
    2. At the premises of another member state representing Malta
    3. At the premises of an authorised external service provider
  • If approved, the visa shall be granted on the basis of a multiple entry visa for the duration of the entire course, plus a 7-day grace period, provided that the total amount does not exceed 90 days.
What documents are required when applying for a visa? 

Persons applying for a visa on the basis of their studies must present the following documentation:

  • Completed and signed visa application form duly filled in English, together with one recent passport-sized photo.
  • Valid passport, showing at least three blank pages, with a validity period beyond the duration of the entire course plus three months.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means which are equivalent to 75% of the national minimum wage for every month of study.
  • Air ticket/s to the final destination incl. return trip (where applicable).
  • Host/hotel confirmation for the duration of the course.
  • Letter of sponsorship, including a copy of the identification document and contact details of sponsor/s, if the applicant is sponsored by a third party.
  • Proof of scholarship, if applicable.
  • An enrolment/ acceptance letter from the school confirming that the student will be covering a minimum of 15 contact hours per week, and a sample of his/her timetable.
  • Travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000. The policy must cover the entire duration of the course and not the duration of the visa originally issued to the applicant.
  • Birth certificate/family book, in case of minors together with an authorisation letter & passport data from both parents or legal guardians.
  • Proof of payment received by the education institution related to the applicant’s course
Courses exceeding 90 calendar days
Applicants (including those TCNs who are visa exempt for 90 days) who apply for courses which exceed 90 calendar days are to be issued with a National Long Stay Visa (D-Visa) Applicants must present their application at one of the submission points indicated below:
    1. Directly at one of Malta’s missions or consular posts
    2. At the premises of an authorised External Service Provider
  • The prospective applicant will be initially requested to send a scanned copy of his/her application duly completed in English, together with all supporting documentation.
  • The applicant is to forward to the consulate the receipt issued by the school, showing that she/he has duly paid the course fees.
  • If the application at the first instance merits a refusal, the consulate will inform the applicant of the said refusal via email with the refusal letter attached.
  • Applicants do not need to provide their biometric data. If approved, the applicant will be provided with a multiple entry D-Visa for a period that does not exceed 180 days, or the duration of the entire course plus a grace period of 7 days if the course does not exceed 180 days.
  • To maintain eligibility to hold a student visa, all students are required to attend lessons regularly unless there are genuine reasons for absences as well as to make satisfactory progress. A minimum of 75% attendance is required.
  • In case of sickness or unable to come to school, students must inform school and provide the necessary certification. If there is another reason for absence (example for travel or other reasons) approval must be sought from the school and the school must be kept informed at all times.
Study & Work 
Students who are third country nationals can now work for a maximum of 20 hours per week while they study English in Malta. 
  • Students will first be given a student Visa.
  • Students need to be in Malta for at least 3 months before applying for a work and study visa. Students can work after their 90th day in Malta.
  • Thereafter, they can apply for a visa to work and study English in Malta.
  • The student would need to find an employer by himself/herself.
  • The employer will fill in a specific form confirming that they will employ the student. This form will be added to the student’s visa application to work and study English in Malta.
  • The student can only work up to 20 hours per week and must maintain a class attendance of at least 80% for a valid visa to work and study English in Malta. Attendance will be checked daily.
  • No conversion of courses is possible. The student needs to attend lessons daily to make up a minimum 15 hours of tuition per week (General English Standard Group Course).
  • If accommodation is not booked via English Path, the student will still be required to show proof of the agreement with the accommodation owner and make sure that this accommodation is licensed by the Malta Tourism Authority. It is highly recommended that all students book accommodation provided by the school to ensure ease of process and assurance.

Visa on arrival - tourist

Depending on the passport you hold you can enter the UAE as a tourist and get a visa on arrival (stamp in your passport on arrival). This is free. To verify if you can get a visa on arrival and how long you can stay in the UAE as a tourist, please check here: https://www.visitdubai.com/en/plan-your-trip/visa-information This can vary from 30 to 180 days depending on your nationality (passport you hold). Please note that tourists you are not allowed to work. To be able to study English as a tourist GBS/English Path Dubai will issue you a “No Objection Certificate”. Cost is AED150. You can pay for this once you are at school.

Prior to departure – tourist 

If you do not qualify for a visa on arrival you will have to apply for a tourist visa which will be issued for 90 days. You are not allowed to work as a tourist. We are happy to apply for the tourist visa for you. Most UAE Airlines or travel agencies also offer this service. To find out about the cost of a tourist visa please get in touch with us. To be able to study English as a tourist GBS/English Path Dubai will have to issue you a “No Objection Certificate”. Cost is AED150. You can pay for this once you are at school.

Student visa (1 year)

The official UAE student visa is 1 year long. At GBS – English Path Dubai we will issue you a student visa if you enroll in an English course for 12 weeks or more (up to 1 year) or if you enroll in one of our Higher Education programs (1 or 2 years). Pease note that the student visa is always issued for 1 year and you will have to extend it should you wish to continue your studies.
You need to be 18 years or older to be able to apply for a student visa. 

What are the advantages of the student visa?

  • You will receive a local basic medical insurance.
  • You will have to undergo medical examinations once you are in the UAE to be issued the official UAE Resident Identity card.
  • You can work legally in temporary or qualified positions.
  • The visa is multiple entry.
  • You do not need to show proof of funds to apply for this visa.
  • Covid-19: If you are not vaccinated yet you will be able to get vaccinated in the UAE.

FAQ:

  • What is the cost of the visa? Please get in touch with us to find out about the visa fee.
  • The visa is always issued for 1 year. What happens if I only book a 3-month English course? If you do not extend your English course at least 2 weeks prior to the end of your course, your visa (the remaining 9 months) will be cancelled, and you will have to leave the UAE.
  • Do I have to extend my studies with an English course, or can I change to a Certificate or Diploma program with GBS Dubai? Yes, this is possible.
  • Is there a grace period in the case I do not wish to extend my English course? Yes, you will be granted a 28-day grace period. After this your visa will be canceled.
  • Third Country Nationals attending courses of a duration that does not exceed 90 days are to be issued with a Schengen Short-Stay Visa (C-Visa).
  • The applicant is to present his/her application together with biometric data at one of the submission points indicated below where the applicant resides:
    1. Directly at one of Malta’s missions or consular posts
    2. At the premises of another member state representing Malta
    3. At the premises of an authorised external service provider
  • If approved, the visa shall be granted on the basis of a multiple entry visa for the duration of the entire course, plus a 7-day grace period, provided that the total amount does not exceed 90 days.

Study English in the UK for six months or less

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