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Incoming Exchange & Study Abroad Students

Incoming Exchange & Study Abroad Students

Visa Options
Incoming Exchange & Study Abroad Students

If you are a non-UK/Irish national and you are coming to Queen’s University Belfast to study for one or two semesters on the Study Abroad Programme, you will need a visa to study in the UK.

It is your responsibility to check which type of visa you will need and how to get it. If you arrive at the University without the appropriate visa which permits you to study in the UK for the duration of your course, you may not be permitted to register on your course until this is corrected. In some cases, you may have to leave the UK and re-enter in order to get your immigration permission corrected.

Visa Options for Incoming Exchange & Study Abroad Students

If you have any further questions about your visa, please contact the International Student Support team at immigration@qub.ac.uk, where the immigration advisers will be happy to help.

You can also read our helpful guidance document for further information:

Study Visa Options

You can find further information about the Study Abroad Programme for incoming students on the Queen’s International webpages at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/Studyabroad/StudyAbroad/.

For all general non visa-related queries about the Study Abroad Programme, contact the Study Abroad team directly at studyabroad@qub.ac.uk.

Visitor Visa for Study

If you are studying in the UK for less than six months e.g. for one semester, you can apply for the Visitor Visa for Study, which allows you to study for a maximum period of six months. This visa does not permit any work and it cannot be extended in order to stay on in the UK. You will need an acceptance letter to apply for this visa, issued by the Global Opportunities team.

Visa nationals

Visa nationals must apply online for the Visitor Visa for Study outside the UK before travelling to the UK. You are a visa national if your passport is issued by a country listed in Appendix 2 of the UK Immigration Visitor Rules. The current visa application fee is £95.

Non-Visa nationals

If you are regarded by UK Visas & Immigration as a non-visa national, you can choose to apply for your Visitor Visa for Study online before travelling at a current cost of £95, or you can apply free of charge upon arrival in the UK at a UK port of entry, where you will get a visitor visa stamp in your passport. Some examples of non-visa national countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the United States of America. You can check here to confirm if you are a national who can apply to get a visa stamp in your passport upon arrival in the UK. 

Please note: if you are studying for 6 months or less and the Home Office’s website (https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa) states that you do not need a visa – this really means that you do not need to have applied for a visa before you travel to the UK. You would need to instead request Standard Visitor immigration permission on arrival to the UK. This is a visa which is stamped in their passport when they arrive at the UK Border (airport). This stamp is a visa which is granted at the UK Border.

Arriving into a UK port of entry

If you are a non-visa national applying for a visa stamp upon arrival, you will arrive into a UK port of entry, speak to a UK immigration official and present your passport and supporting documents in person, in order to obtain the appropriate visitor visa stamp in your passport, if you are permitted to use an e-Passport gate you will not receive a stamp in your passport (please don’t worry this is okay, please see e-Passport gate information).

e-Passport Gates

If you are permitted to use an ePassport gate it will be possible for you to use this gate on arrival into a UK airport and receive 6 months Visitor immigration permission.  Using an ePassport gate will mean that you do not receive a stamp in your passport.  Therefore, when you arrive at Queen’s University you will need to provide evidence (such as a flight boarding pass) that will allow us to confirm you used a UK airport ePassport gate on arrival

Arrival via Republic of Ireland

If you are considering arriving in the UK via Republic of Ireland e.g. Dublin airport. 

If you are a non-visa national studying at Queen’s for less than 6 months and intending to apply for immigration permission on arrival, you will not have the opportunity to do this because there is no immigration control at your UK arrival point (i.e. between Dublin and Belfast). However, when you arrive into the Republic of Ireland you may be granted statutory immigration authorisation known as ‘deemed leave’. If applicable to you, deemed leave will permit study in the UK for up to 6 months, further information is available here

You are also advised to check before travelling whether you are a national who needs an Irish visa to enter the Republic of Ireland. You can check this on the Irish Immigration website at http://www.inis.gov.ie/

You can check if it is possible for you to use an e-Passport gate here

Useful links: 

Apply online for a Visitor Visas for Study before travelling to the UK

Student Visa Route

If you are studying in the UK for more than six months, e.g. for two semesters, you must apply for a Student Visa. All nationals must apply for the Student visa in the country where they live before travelling to the UK. You will need a CAS statement to apply for this visa, issued by the Global Opportunities team.

The current visa application fee is £348 or equivalent in your local currency. You will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your Student Visa application if you are studying for more than six months. The Student visa allows you to work or volunteer part-time during your studies.

It is also possible to apply for a Student visa if you are studying for less than six months.  Some students may choose this instead of the Visitor Visa for Study as the Student Visa permits you to work during your studies. However, please note that you are not permitted under the UK Immigration Rules to extend your Student Visa to stay on in the UK e.g. to study a second Study Abroad semester. If you wish to study for two semesters, you must apply for the appropriate length of Student Visa from the outset.

Useful links:

Apply online for a Student Visa outside the UK
UKCISA guidance for international students – applying for Student Visa from outside of the UK

Students with Dual Nationality

Please note that if you are a non-EEA/Swiss national who also holds a current valid passport for the UK or Republic of Ireland, and you will be travelling to the UK using this passport, you will not need a visa for the UK. To confirm if this applies to you, you can email International Student Support at immigration@qub.ac.uk.

Visas & Immigration
V&I Webpage
International Student Support
ISS Webpage