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Visa information

Do I need a visa?

You can study in the UK without needing to apply for a student visa if:

  • you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;
  • you are a British overseas territories citizen, unless you are from one of the sovereign base areas in Cyprus;
  • you are a Commonwealth citizen with permission to enter or stay in the UK because at least one of your grandparents was born here; or
  • you have no conditions or time limit attached to your stay.

If you do need a visa...

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) provides all information, immigration rules and applications forms for applying for a visa. The UKCISA website will also provide you with lots of information and help on making a student immigration application in the UK.

The British Council provides information for exchange and Study Abroad students from Canada and the US.

Basic points

If you are coming to the United Kingdom for post-16 education you have to apply under Tier 4 General Student visa.

You must have 40 points in our points assessment, consisting of:

  • 30 points for a valid confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS), which you get for studying a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (also known as a 'Tier 4 sponsor'); and
  • 10 points for having enough money (also known as maintenance or funds) to cover your course fees and living costs.


A confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is a 'virtual document' similar to a database record. It is assigned to a student when the education provider gives them an unconditional offer of a place on a course. Each CAS has a unique reference number, and contains information about the course of study and the student's personal details.

Once you meet the conditions set by UHI admissions office we will provide you with your CAS reference number and some further information such as the course details, the documents we have used to assess your suitability, and the course fees. You will need this information when you apply for your visa.

A CAS is valid if it:

  • contains the same details as are in your passport; and
  • was assigned no more than six months before you apply to us; and
  • has not been withdrawn or cancelled by your education provider


To score 10 points, you must show that you can pay your course fees for your first period of study (or for your next period of study, if you are applying to continue a course) and living costs for up to nine months.

You will not have access to most state benefits (also known as 'public funds') during your stay in the UK, and the amount of work you can do is limited.

Conditions of stay

While you are in the UK as a Tier 4 student, you must:

  • not claim any state benefits (also known as 'public funds') that you are not entitled to; and
  • register with the police, if this is required under paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules.

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities in the UK, including information about public funds and registering with the police.

For more information on evidence required, visa fees, application form and other visit: UKVI website

Find out more about applying to study at the University of the Highlands and Islands.