FAQs for new international students

As an international student, we know you may have lots of questions concerning your visa application, particularly because of Coronavirus and associated changes to face-to-face learning requirements. Here you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions from students who are new to GCU, and who need a Student visa to come to UK to begin or continue studying. 

Can I begin my studies remotely without a visa?

Yes, you can begin your studies outside of the UK in your home country without a visa. Please note that all of the programmes at GCU are currently being taught via blended learning.

Some programmes will require your attendance in person sooner than others. If you are unsure when you are required to be in UK to undertake face-to-face study, you should check with your Programme staff. Your Programme Leader and/or Programme Coordinator will be happy to help you with this. 

If you are outside UK and whilst your programme does not require face-to-face learning you should study at home (wherever you are in the world) until the time that face to face studies are required and you are required to come to UK. This is provided you can engage in your studies satisfactorily from where you are. If you have any connectivity issues in relation to remote learning please contact your Programme staff as soon as possible. 

If you will be travelling to UK after your latest course start date in order to continue studies that you have commended via distance learning, the VISA Team will issue you with your CAS before you intend to come to UK and can provide you with a support letter to carry when you travel, in the case of any questions at Border Control regarding your late arrival.

If you have not yet been contacted by the VISA Team about your CAS and have begun your studies via distance-learning in Trimester A, please email visa@gcu.ac.uk to inform us of your intended date of arrival in UK. Note: If you intend to undertake ALL of your studies via distance-learning, you will not require a CAS or a visa.

Do I need a visa to study in UK?

International students aged 16 or over who will be studying a programme longer than six months usually require a Student Visa. 

You will not require a Student Visa if:

  • You have a visa or immigration permission for the UK in another category which has no restriction on study and your permission will be valid for the length of your programme. 
  • You are a Swiss national or a national of any country in the European Economic Area (EEA). Please note that as from 1 January 2021, EEA nationals applying from outside the UK to come to study a course of more than 6 months should apply for a Student Visa under the Student Route. For this reason, we recommend any EEA students visit our EU Students Page for information on the EU Settlement Scheme. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 to be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Please note that iis your responsibility to ensure you obtain the correct visa type for your studies. 

You can check if you need a visa tostudy in the UK on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website.

If your programme will be less than 6 months long, you may be eligible for a Short-Term Study Visa. Please note this is being replaced by the Standard Visit Visa from 1st December 2020. Please visit our "Other visas" section to read more.

If you are unsure if you need a visa or which type of visa you need to study in the UK, please get in touch.

When and where do I apply?

You can apply for your visa up to six months before the start date of your programme of study in the UK. You should allow plenty of time for your visa application to be processed. You can find information about visa processing times on the UKVI website.

You must apply for your visa in your country of nationality or country of residence. If your country of residence is different from your country of nationality, or if you are unsure if you are a resident in the country you are currently based, please contact the VISA Team for further assistance on which country you can apply from. If there is not a Visa Application Centre which offers the visa type you require in your country of residence or nationality, you will be asked during the online application to confirm you can attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre in an alternative location. 

If you are already in the UK, you must check that you are eligible to switch to a Student Visa or extend your Student Visa before you apply. If you are unsure if you are eligible to extend your visa in the UK, contact us.

How do I get my Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Number?

If you are a new student and intend on beginning your studies in UK, your CAS will be issued by our Admissions Team. They will contact you regarding your CAS once you have accepted an unconditional offer with GCU and paid your initial deposit. 

If you are outside of the UK, your CAS will be sent to you via email by our Admissions Team. 

If you are inside UK, your CAS will be sent to the VISA Team and you will be notified once it has been received. The VISA Team will then assist you with your visa application. 

If you are beginning your studies via distance learning in your home country and will require a CAS to come to UK to continue your studies, your CAS will be issued by the VISA Team as and when required. You can contact us directly if you have any queries. 

How do I apply for my Student visa?

Please view our dedicated page on Student visa applications for assistance with the application process, including information on eligibility and documentary requirements. 

For a personalised checklist of documents required for your visa application, please book a Drop in slot with VISA or send us an email to request a checklist - We will need some information from you before we can create your checklist. 

What if I am having problems with distance-learning?

If you are having problems with distance learning, including access issues, please contact your Programme Staff to make them aware of the problem and to receive relevant advice.

Will I need to self-isolate when I arrive in UK?

You must follow the government guidelines regarding self-isolation. 

If you will be a student at GCU Glasgow and will be arriving in Scotland, please view the guidance from the Scottish Government. 

It is likely you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

It is very important that you follow the government guidance on how to self isolate. 

The Scottish Government webpage outlines information on ways to stay safe on arrival in the UK - including the use of face masks on public transport and in shops in the UK and information on social distancing rules in the UK.  It also has information on what to do if you think you have symptoms.

Please read the useful information from the Scottish Government about providing your journey details, contact details and the address where you will self-isolate on the passenger locator form.  Remember that passenger locator forms must be completed 48 hours before arrival in the UK.

If you will be a student at GCU London and will be arriving in England, please view the guidance from the UK Government. 

How will I collect my BRP once I arrive in UK?

Please do not collect your BRP if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Post Office will keep your BRP for 60 days and you can collect it when you finish self-isolating.

If you check your decision letter it will tell you to collect your BRP from a named Post Office branch. Please note that if your Post Office branch is closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19), your BRP will be stored safely until it reopens.