'Visa and immigration requirements vary depending on how long you’ll be studying in the UK and whether or not you plan on volunteering, interning or working in the UK. Read our complete guide to the forms and applications required to enter the UK as a student.'
• How long you’ll be studying in the UK
• Whether or not you plan on volunteering, interning, or working in the UK
Below, find out which visa category you fall under and start collecting the documents you’ll need to enter the UK as a student.
Types of Visas
Age: 18 years and older
How long you can stay in the UK: Up to six months
Work status: You will not work, volunteer or intern in the UK
Changes/extensions: No changes or extensions permitted
Sound like you? You’ll need to collect the following documents and show them to an immigration officer once you arrive at a UK airport:
• a letter from your UK university (or US study abroad program) stating the course you are on and its start and finish dates
• bank statements going back over a period of several months
• evidence of savings available to you (or to your parents to prove you can pay your living expenses in the UK)
Please note: If you enter the UK as a Student Visitor, you cannot volunteer or intern in the UK and must return to the US after 6 months. So if you’re looking for more flexiblity, please apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa. For more information on the Student Visitor visa, please visit the UK Border Agency (UKBA) website.
2. Tier 4 Student Visa
Age: 17 years and older
How long you can stay in the UK: From one week up to four years
Work status: Part-time work, including volunteer and internship programs, permitted Changes/extensions: Changes to length of stay permitted
To obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa, you’ll need to collect the following documents, then submit an application to UKBA:
• A letter from your UK university or US study abroad provider confirming acceptance, plus all of the documents used to get the confirmation of acceptance (i.e. diplomas or degrees as evidence of previous education)
• Bank statement or letter confirming that you have enough money available to cover your course fees and monthly living costs for up to one year. The funds required for living expenses vary depending on how long you’ll be in the UK and whether you’re studying in London, ranging from £600 ($960 at the 1.6 exchange rate) to £7,200 ($11,520). Please read the “money needed” section of UKBA’s Tier 4 Student Visa guide for exact details.
3. Tier 1 (INF 25) Post Study Work Visa
If you want to stay in the UK and work for up to two years after completing your studies, you can apply for a Post Study Work Visa. While you do not need a UK company to sponsor you under this visa, you do need to prove that:
• You completed an accredited UK bachelor’s degree or postgraduate degree. If you only studied in the UK for a summer, semester, or year, you are not eligible for a Post Study Work Visa.
• You have funds to support yourself and any dependants while you work in the UK. For the main applicant this is £2,800 with a further £1,600 needed for each dependant accompanying you or planning to join you within 12 months of your arrival in the UK.
For a full list of requirements and to access the application, please read UKBA’s guidance on the Post Study Work Visa.
4. Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa: Intern in the UK without studying abroad
If you’d like to intern in the UK without studying abroad, you can apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa. US students and recent graduates are eligible to intern in the UK for up to 6 months. Students must arrange an internship with a UK organization on their own and must have confirmation of their position before applying for the Tier 5 Visa.
• Be aged 18 or over
• Hold a valid US passport or Green Card
• Currently be a resident in the US
• Currently be a full-time undergraduate or graduate degree level student, or a graduate intending to begin the internship no more than 12 months after completing a US degree
• Hold an acceptable internship offer in the UK for up to 6 months
• Have enough money to cover estimated living expenses in the UK: $1,500 (paid internship) or $2,500 (unpaid internship)
For more information, please read UKBA’s Tier 5 guidance and visit the BUNAC website for full details on the Intern in Britain opportunity.