Moving to Scotland: Immigration and Visa

Scotland is an exciting place to be. With the appropriate research and planning, obtaining a visa to come to Scotland can be a straightforward process.

There are various ways you can come to Scotland. There are different rules depending on whether you want to invest, set up a business, work, study or visit.

Whatever your purpose for coming to Scotland, it is likely you will be required to apply for a visa before you travel. Depending on the visa you are applying for, this visa might take some time and it is important that you consider this in advance of travel so that you can arrange the necessary documentation.

Immigration and visas are dealt with by the UK Home Office and more information about each visa category, whether you qualify and how you apply, can be found on the Home Office website.

Visa Information

General entry into Scotland is controlled by a points-based system. There are five tiers which applicants can fall under:

Tier 1: High value migrants, such as investors and entrepreneurs

Tier 2: Skilled workers

Tier 3: Low-skilled workers (currently not available)

Tier 4: Children & students

Tier 5: Temporary worker

For almost all types of visas there are very stringent requirements that require to be met to prove English language skills and the ability to support yourself financially. The exact requirements are different for each visa category and details are shown on the Home Office website under visa category.

To find out more information about each tier and what type of visa you would need to enter Scotland visit the UK Government website

Student Visa

To study in Scotland you will need to apply for a Student Visa. So, before the excitement of your trip can start there‘s some paperwork to do. The type of study you plan to take will also impact on the type of visa you need, as will your age and the length of the course.

You might find you want to visit Scotland and some of our universities before you start your course. To help you do this there is also a Prospective Student Visa. These are short-term but allow you to attend a university interview or finalise any arrangements before you begin your course

More information about the different Student Visas can be found on the Study in Scotland website.

Which visa is right for you?

All visa are managed by the UK Government and their site has all the details to help you get what you need, fast. Visit the ‘Check if you need a UK visa page’ to find out.

Or, if you want to calculate how many points you have towards a visa, use can use the Online Visa Point Calculator.

Checking your Qualifications

If you have already completed courses of study, professional qualifications or spent time building up experience in a specific industry, you can compare your qualifications to UK academic qualifications using the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (NARIC) service. 

After making an evaluation, they can provide a ‘Statement of Comparability’ that identifies the UK equivalents of your qualifications. Note that NARIC can only provide assessment statements for qualifications you have fully completed.

The Statement of Comparability will help potential employers in Scotland make an informed decision about whether your qualifications are appropriate for the job you’re applying for.

You can apply online and send the supporting documents to NARIC in the UK. You will also need to pay a processing fee. Information about NARIC’s services, fees and processing times is provided on their website. Find out more on UK NARIC website