International Exchange

Visa & Immigration

It is important for all students travelling to the UK to ensure they have the correct documents and relevant visas for entry in to the UK.

Belfast is superb value for money destination, delivering a youthful, cosmopolitan atmosphere in a compact, friendly city.


It is important for all students travelling to the UK to ensure they have the correct documents and relevant visas for entry in to the UK

European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals

You will require your EEA national / Swiss passport or ID card to enter the UK and do not require a visa. Before coming to study, you should apply in your home country for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to obtain any medical treatment necessary during your time in the UK and to facilitate possible residence applications in the future. Note: The EHIC does not cover all medical treatment and students are required to take out additional private health and travel insurance cover.

Non-European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals

If you are planning to travel to the UK to undertake a course at Stranmillis University College and are not a national of the EEA or Switzerland, you will need to apply for a visa before travelling. The following pages outline details for Short Term Study and Tier 4 (General) Student visas.


A Short Term Study Visa permits students to enter the UK to study for up to 6 months only, provided the modules selected do not include any placement element. You are not permitted to work or bring family members (dependents) with you under this route, nor can you extend this visa, or switch into another visa category (for example to Tier 4 [General] Student). For these reasons you should make sure that this visa is the correct option for your studies before coming to the UK. If placement is an element on your chosen module you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) Visa.

Short term students must intend to leave the UK either at the end of their course or the end of their leave period, whichever is the earlier.  For courses spanning a full 6 months you must leave the UK no later than the date your immigration permission ends.  The–Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Short-term-student-visa (UKCISA) and the websites have more information about the requirements of this immigration route.

To check if you require a visa before you travel to the UK visit However, you will need a Short-Term Visa Letter from Stranmillis University College (which will be posted to you) in order to apply for the visa. The letter will confirm your place and the details of your course.

Applying for a Short Term Study Visa

You must ensure that you submit the required supporting documents with your application.

  • Valid passport
  • Original copy of short term student visa letter (from Stranmillis University College
  • Evidence of where you will be staying in Belfast for your studies – if you are staying in Stranmillis Halls of Residence we will confirm this in your visa letter
  • Evidence that you intend to return home at the end of your studies ie: a return ticket
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK ie: bank statements covering serval months. We recommend showing evidence in the region of £1015 per month.

We recommend that you do not book your flights to the UK until your visa has been granted. For details about how to apply for this visa, visit the website. Once a visa has been issued we recommend you have the letter in your hand luggage when you travel.


You need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you have been offered a place on a course which has a placement element or would like to work while studying.

Before you make a Tier 4 visa application please read the information in the

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

When you apply for a visa you must have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. This will be issued to you by Stranmillis University College once you have meet certain conditions, including the acceptance of the offer to study at Stranmillis University College.

In order to apply for your CAS, complete the CAS request form (provided by Stranmillis’ International Office) and email to:, together with all other supporting documents for your CAS application which include:

  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of Academic Transcript
  • Police background check
  • Proof of financial standing for course fees and monthly living costs. This can be sponsorship letter or copy of bank statement of applicant or the individual supporting them for example, parent or legal guardian
  • IELTS certificate (Non English speaking students) – minimum overall mark of 6.5 or equivalent, with no band score under 5.5

Your CAS statement contains essential information to enable you to complete your Tier 4 visa application

  • Stranmillis University’s Sponsor License number
  • Your course name, level and start/end dates
  • Details of courses fees and deposits paid
  • Details of your entry qualifications

Once you have received your CAS statement check it carefully and let us know ( if any information is not accurate and we will update your CAS statement before you make your visa application.

Applying for Tier 4 Entry Clearance Visa

When applying for your Tier 4 visa you must apply online in the country where you live. You are not able to apply for the visa more than three months prior to the start date of your course. Ensure you have all your documents ready to submit with your application, these include original transcripts/certificates of your academic qualifications and financial evidence to prove you have sufficient funds to meet the Tier 4 maintenance requirement (we recommend showing evidence in the region of £1015 per month). Your visa will be issued for study at Stranmillis University College only and for the course and duration specified on your CAS statement.

Further information from UKVI on how to apply for a Tier 4 visa and the documents you must provide and the link to the online application visit: . Read the guidance notes to ensure your application complies with the UK immigration rules:

Details of current visa application fees, visit:

To check on processing times for Tier 4 applications for your country, visit:

You should not require a Biometric residence permit (BRP) unless you seek to extend your visit to longer than six months. For more information visit:`uk/visa-processing-times

Tier 4 visa rules state that you cannot undertake placement only option during your study period in the UK. Placement can only be taken for up to a maximum of 50% of your time and the other remaining 50% must be spent on taught elements of your course.

Tier 4 Terms and Conditions

When you accept the offer to study at Stranmillis University College you are agreeing to the terms and conditions of your visa. As a Tier 4 sponsor, Stranmillis University College is responsible for reporting and recording information in relation to Tier 4 students.

Stranmillis University College Responsibilities

  • The University College is required to inform the Home Office if you do not arrive for enrolment, leave your course, suspend your studies, or complete your studies earlier than the end date stated on your CAS
  • Ensure your details are kept up-to-date at all times – this includes changes to your name, address, telephone and email details
  • Keep copies of your passport ID page and visa details
  • Make further copies in the event of change of details or passport
  • Notify the Home Office if you change visa status / no longer require a Tier 4 Student visa
  • Monitor and record your attendance
  • Report your non-attendance if you are absent for an extended period and we have been unable to contact you

The University College will always email you before making a report to the Home Office to check for any unusual circumstances.

Tier 4 Student visa Responsibilities

  • You must attend and compete Registration as advised by your Induction Schedule provided by the International Office
  • Keep your details up-to-date. This includes changes to your name, address, telephone number and email address. Report any changes within 5 working days to the International Office
  • Supply a copy of your booking / ticket for your return flight home.  Ensure your passport and visa have been scanned by Stranmillis University College on registration and immediately every time you renew your passport and/or visa and notify the Home Office if you get a new passport
  • Inform Stranmillis University College if your visa status changes from a Tier 4 (General) Student to any other visa category
  • If applicable, register with the police and update your Police Registration Certificate with any changes
  • Inform Stranmillis University College’s International Office immediately if you no longer require a student visa to study in the UK because you have acquired EEA nationality or Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Attend all required lectures and tutorials, and hand in all required course work (prior to departure)
  • Attend Monthly Tier 4 meetings – the International Office will provide details of these sessions at registration
  • If you are going to be absent (or have been absent from class due to illness,) for any reason, please notify the International Office as soon as possible
    Inform the International Office of any travel plans you have made for your free time while registered as a student at Stranmillis University College

It is highly recommended that you arrive in the UK, including Northern Ireland, via a UK port of entry, for example, Belfast, London etc. When your visa is issued to you overseas it grants you entry clearance to arrive in the UK. On entry your visa will be stamped by a UK immigration officer to activate your visa. Please ensure you check this has been done before leaving the immigration desk. If you travel via the Republic of Ireland, you will not receive this stamp and therefore may not have the right to remain in the UK and therefore will not have the right to study. Please ensure you keep your board pass and submit to the International Office on arrival.

ARRIVING IN THE UK (including Northern Ireland) via the Republic of Ireland

It is important to note that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are two different countries with Northern Ireland being part of the UK. We would recommend If you are a short-term study student and a non-visa national that you apply for entry clearance in your home country as there is no immigration control at your UK point of entry. Further information on entering the UK via the Republic of Ireland visit:–Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Arriving-via-Ireland
Also visit the Home Office website for further information on Immigration Rules:


Travelling during the course of your studies
You should not travel during term time unless it is part of your studies. If you decide to travel during vacation periods, you may need a visa (depending on your nationality). For more information on travelling within Europe, including visa requirements, you should visit the travel section of the UKCISA website:–Advice/Studying–living-in-the-UK/Travel-in-Europe

Register with the Police
If you are required to Register with the Police contact the International Office for further details:

Visa Expiry and Overstaying
You are required to leave the UK by the expiry date on your visa unless you have submitted a ‘leave to remain’ application to extend your permission in the UK. If you have not submitted this application and you are still in the UK the day after your visa expiry date then you deemed to be an ‘over-stayer’. Overstaying is a criminal offence.

Why study at Stranmillis

Must visit destination

Must visit destination

Belfast is one of the Top 10 cities on the rise (Lonely Planet) and top 12 world travel destinations (Frommer’s).



Stranmillis has one the highest student retention rates in the UK at 98%.

Student Satisfaction

Student Satisfaction

Stranmillis is ranked joint first amongst Northern Ireland HEIs for student satisfaction.

Network of partners

Network of partners

Over 750 school, community and business work placement partners

a global community

a global community

The campus attracts students and staff from over 30 partner universities worldwide

Stran Halls

Stran Halls

Affordable student living with over 378 on-campus single occupancy bedrooms



With 24 hour residential support and security you’re always safe.

budget friendly prices

budget friendly prices

Guaranteed on-site accommodation at competive rates