Disclaimer: I wasn't sure where to post this but I thought this was as good a place as any so sorry if this is the wrong place.

I am a high school student in Queensland, Australia studying for a Queensland Certificate of Education. I've lived in Australia a large part of my life. However, I was born in the UK and have dual citizenship (AUS and UK).

Am I able to apply to study at a university in the UK and (if I can) am I an international student?

  • 1
    I don't see there is any problem. Can you describe a little more about your main concern. Usually different university will have different requirement on their applicants.
    – user22080
    Feb 13, 2016 at 6:39
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    In addition English is official language for AUS and UK so language is not an issue either.
    – user22080
    Feb 13, 2016 at 6:40
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    Well my major concern is whether I would have to pay international student fees or just normal tuition fees?
    – Jack
    Feb 13, 2016 at 6:44
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    Thinking back to a friend at school, I think residence in the UK for 3 years is the deciding feature of being a home student. You wouldn't have the visa issues others do, but you might not be eligible for government funding.
    – Jessica B
    Feb 13, 2016 at 7:43
  • 1
    Then again, I might be wrong (or it may have changed): gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies
    – Jessica B
    Feb 13, 2016 at 7:49

4 Answers 4


I did some looking around here, but it's difficult to find a specific solid answer because this is going to vary between the universities, to an extent. But what I've found points to this:

Even though you are a British citizen, you have not been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK, which means you would be considered an international student. It would appear that international status is determined by citizenship AND residence, a bit like US universities. However, universities may be hesitant to respond to your queries about this either way until you were offered a place to study.

Obviously you would not need a visa, but I'd imagine what you're worried about is whether you would have to pay international fees, which are very high.

I'm going to openly admit that one of my sources is Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt. You could potentially qualify as a 'home' student in spite of living in another country if you were from:

Aruba Bermuda
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
French Polynesia
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Greenland
New Caledonia
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Turks and Caicos Islands
Wallis and Futuna

However this is not the case for you, as you are in Australia.

Here is the list of requirements for British citizens to be considered a 'home student':

Be free from any immigration restrictions (e.g. British citizenship, exercising EU Freedom of Movement Rights, indefinite leave to enter/remain, right of abode, free from immigration control (as a diplomat or member of air crew))

Be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom

Have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and/or Isle of Man for the whole period of the three years directly preceding the first day of the academic course

The main purpose for the three years' residence in the UK and Islands must not have been to receive full-time education during any part of it, unless the student is a European Union citizen (but not a British citizen) and immediately prior to the three-year period was ordinarily resident in the European Economic Area, Switzerland or qualifying overseas territories (see below).

You have not been ordinarily resident in the UK, ergo you would be an international student.

If you want to confirm this, you should get into contact with the international offices at your universities of interest. Only they can answer definitively.


Wikipedia, use caution


UKCISA Fee Status Assessment

Complete University Guide

  • 1
    It's a bit strange that you would ask for caution when reading wikipedia but a random website called "universityguide" is to be taken as gospel...
    – user9646
    Mar 14, 2018 at 11:50
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    @NajibIdrissi It's not really a random website. It's pretty well recognised in the UK, enough that I'd consider it semi-official.
    – Jessica B
    Mar 14, 2018 at 13:01
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    @JessicaB That was my thinking as well, having spent my undergrad in the UK as an undergrad, it's what the university pointed us toward for questions, and is generally seen as being reliable Mar 14, 2018 at 13:53

The situation may be different if you were originally from Scotland. Eligible Scottish students pay no fees when studying at a Scottish University and there are differences in the way that the student loans scheme is administered. Again, you'll need to check with the particular university.

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    The amazing thing here is that because Scotland has free tuition for Scottish students, EU rules require them to offer the same deal to citizens of other EU countries. So it's free if you are Scottish or French, but you pay if you're English. Feb 14, 2016 at 13:55
  • @NoahSnyder really ? do you have any evidence to back up those claims?
    – SSimon
    Mar 14, 2018 at 14:07
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    BBC: "Because of European law, the Scottish government also has to provide free tuition at Scottish universities for students from other EU countries - but not for those from other parts of the UK." Mar 14, 2018 at 19:40

There is no complete consistency in the UK and different universities may apply slightly different rules when they decide whether they charge home fees or international fees. As stiabhan mentioned, the rules may be different for students from Scotland, too.

However, it is very likely that you will be charged international fees if you have not resided in the UK during the recent years before making your application. You can find more information on UKCISA website.


You will be considered an international student for fees, and you'll be applying using international qualifications, but you will not require a visa.


I have taught a number of international students, some on Tier 4 visa and some not. Visa requirements are judged by nationality. Universities are required to check attendence of Tier 4 students, whereas those who have a right to be in the country are forgotten as easily as local students.

A schoolmate of mine delayed going to university by a year, because she had spent most of her childhood abroad. Fee status is determined by residency. As she had only been living in the UK for two consecutive years, heading straight to university would have resulted in her paying international fees. By waiting another year she reached the 3-year residency requirement, and so paid home fees.

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