Visa and immigration

Visas guidance

All students without an EU/EEA passport are required to obtain a visa to study at the University of Glasgow.

Visa options

Generally there are two options available to incoming students with regard to immigration in the United Kingdom:

  1. the Short-term study visa (for one semester stays) OR
  2. the Tier 4 (General) Student visa (for study periods longer than 6 months). 

>> Apply for a student visa

For Semester only students (courses less than 6 months)

Students studying at the University of Glasgow for less than six months can apply for a Short-term study visa (a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa is not required). 

Depending upon your nationality, you may be able to apply for a Short-term study visa upon arrival in the UK at the airport you arrive at. To see if this will be possible for you, please follow these steps: 

  1. Go to
  2. Select your nationality (the passport you will be travelling to Glasgow on) in the drop down menu, and then select ‘Study’ and ‘6 months or less’.
  3. If you receive the response: 'You won’t need a visa to come to the UK' this means that you do not have to apply for a Short-term study visa in advance. However, you will need to show a number of required supporting documents upon arrival in the UK. These are listed at: Without these documents, you will not be permitted to enter the UK.
  4. If you receive the response: 'You’ll need a visa to study in the UK' this means that you must apply for your Short-term study visa in advance. You will not be eligible to apply upon arrival, and you will need to obtain your Short-term study visa in advance in order to enter the UK.

Whether or not you apply in advance, the following terms will apply. Your Short-term study visa: 

  • does not permit employment - paid or unpaid 
  • does not permit work placements or internships 
  • has a maximum duration of 6 months 
  • cannot be extended 
  • does not permit 'switching' into another visa category from within the UK. 

Most Semester Only students apply for Short-term study visas. Semester only students who plan to work, volunteer or extend their stay must apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa (details below).

IMPORTANT: If you intend to travel to the UK via Dublin or any other airports in the Republic of Ireland you will not pass through any UK immigration point and will therefore not be able to obtain Leave to Enter as a student visitor on arrival. Therefore you must apply for Entry Clearance before leaving your own country even if your course is for less than six months. This means you will need to apply for a Short-term study visa before you travel or a Tier 4 Student visa if you wish to travel through Dublin.

For Year long students (course longer than 6 months)

Year long students must apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa in advance of departure from their own country. This type of visa cannot be applied for upon arrival. Students will need to pay a fee for this type of visa and will be required to submit specific supporting documentation when making your visa application. Please see the UKVI website for further information:

The Tier 4 visa allows students to plan to: 

  • find a part-time job (20 hours or less) during your semester abroad
  • participate in volunteer work
  • extend your study period at the University beyond 6 months.

CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) 

In order to apply for a Tier 4 visa students must receive a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) number from the institution they wish to study at. After students have been accepted to the University of Glasgow they will be emailed details on how to request a CAS number.

Students cannot apply for a Tier 4 visa more than three months before the beginning of their course date and as such CAS number will not be produced more than three months in advance of a course beginning.

CAS is a unique online reference number issued to you by the University as your Tier 4 Licenced Sponsor.

You can find more information about Applying for a student visa before you leave home and Extending your student visa in the UK on our International Student Support webpages.