The UK’s Number 1 School.*

*According to the EL Gazette rankings based on British
Council inspectors’ publishable statements.

Read the EL Gazette article where John explains what makes ELC Bristol their number 1 ranked UK school.

ELC Bristol is family-run school, offering intensive General English and examination preparation courses in Bristol, a lively university city in the South West of England.


The English Language Centre Bristol (accredited by Accreditation UK) has been licensed by UK Visas and Immigration to enrol international students under Tier 4 of the Points Based System. Sponsor Licence No:UEPA0FAP3

Countries fall into 3 categories:

  • EEA - includes European Union countries and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. For these students, there are no visa requirements and students have the right to work. Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

  • Non-Visa Nationals - includes countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Israel.  These students can either get a visa on arrival in the UK or before they come.  This depends on the type of visa they require (see below).

  • Visa Nationals - includes countries such as Turkey, Colombia, Ecuador, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China, Thailand, and the Middle Eastern countries.*  These students must apply for a visa before they come.

* To check if you will need to apply for your visa before you come to the UK, click here.

There are two types of visa:

  • Short Term Study Visa (STSV) - Valid for either 6 or 11 months. You cannot work in the UK if you have this type of visa and it cannot be extended. If you are a non-visa national (see above), you are able to get a 6 month Short Term Student-Visa in the form of a stamp in your passport on arrival at a UK airport. If you are a visa national, you must apply in your country and receive the visa before you travel. For the 11 month visa, all applications must be made and granted before leaving your country. You will then need to collect this visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit, within 30 days of your arrival in the UK at your designated post office. UK Visas and Immigration will issue you with a letter providing you with information about where to collect this. A 6 month visa is currently £93.00. It is free for non-visa nationals if you apply at the airport. The cost of an 11 month visa is £179.00. You will be expected to leave the UK no later than 30 days after your course finishes, even if your visa expires after this date. For more information on this type of visa and how to apply, click here.
  • If you are under 18 and applying for the Short-Term Study Visa on arrival you will have to be able to show you have your parents consent to your travel and all arrangements. 
  • General Student Visa (GSV) - Suitable for students who wish to study for more than 11 months. You cannot work in the UK with this visa if ELC Bristol is your sponsor, as we are classified as a Private Provider. You cannot change or extend this type of visa in the country for this reason also. Both Visa Nationals and Non-Visa Nationals who want a General Student Visa must apply before coming to the UK. You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Students wishing to apply for a General Student Visa must be sponsored by a school on the UKVI register of sponsors.  ELC Bristol is on this list as a Tier 4 Sponsor and has been licensed by UK Visas and Immigration to enrol international students under the Tier 4 Points Based System.

To enable us to sponsor you, you must enrol through one of our trusted representatives. We will not sponsor direct students for a General Student Visa. We must also ask you to complete the ELC Bristol Tier 4 General Student Visa sponsorship application form. We will also need to verify your level of English. Students must be at least at B1 (intermediate level) ready to start a course at B2 level and have the required SELT (Secure English Language Test) as proof of level. The school will also make an asssessment of your level via Skype in the form of an interview with our Director of Studies to help us assess whether or not we will be able to sponsor you for a General Student visa.

For more information about the General Student Visa, please see the GOV.UK website.

Police Registration

If you are coming for a course of study on a General Student Visa, or a Short-Term Study Visa for a period of up to 11 months and you are a national from a country listed in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules you will have to register with the police. You will need to do this within 7 days of arriving in the UK.

To register with the police you will need:

  • your passport
  • 2 passport style photos
  • £34.00 cash
  • a completed form (available from the school office)

Take these to the Immigration office at Clifton Police Station, 2 -10 Kings Parade Mews, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2RE. The office is open from Monday to Thursday from 09.00 - 13.00 and from 14.00 - 15.30.  To see a map and to print instructions click here.

Tel: 0117 9529769.

Please note that if you change your accommodation during your stay, you must notify the police within 7 days of the move.


Advice on Visa Applications and Immigration Queries

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) is a registered organisation that gives international students free advice on immigration, working in the UK, Higher Education and other topics that you may find helpful.

You can call the UKCISA advice line on:

  • Outside the UK: +44 20 7788 9214
  • Inside the UK: 020 7788 9214

Between 1-4pm, Monday- Friday.

The UKCISA website is:

The school cannot help you with your visa application. If you would like someone to help you personally with visa application queries, we would advise that you contact one of the registered immigration advisory companies in Bristol. 


Schengen Visas

If you are thinking of visiting other countries in Europe during your stay here, you may need a Schengen Visa to do so.  Nationals of the member countries of the European Union do not have to obtain a Schengen Visa but all other nationals should check with the Embassy of the country to which they want to travel whether a Schengen Visa is required.

A list of contact details for all foreign embassies in the UK can be found here.

You should be able to find all the information required to make an application on the embassy websites.  You will normally need to make an appointment at the relevant embassy in London to which you will need to take your application form and all the relevant documents.  It is important for you to think ahead about any possible trips, as the appointments are aften booked up for many weeks.

Please click here for some information about Schengen visas from UKCISA.


Immigration Health Surcharge

The UK government has introduced an immigration health surcharge. The health surcharge will be paid by non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join a family for a period of more than 6 months. If you are coming to the UK to study for more than 6 months, you may have to pay this fee. For students the fee is £150.00 per year. Those who pay the surcharge will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as a permanent UK resident. For more information about this charge, please click here.