What we do

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) is the UK’s national advisory body supporting international students and those who work with them. We provide advice, guidance and information about all aspects of the international student experience, from immigration and fees to mental health, culture shock and orientation.

We are a membership organisation for all institutions, students' unions and organisations working with international students and also provide information and advice directly to students around the world.

We aim to: 

  • increase support for international education and raise awareness of its values and benefits
  • promote opportunities for - and identify and work to reduce obstacles and barriers to - greater student mobility
  • encourage best practice, professional development and the highest quality of institutional support for international students throughout the education sector.

Our work with institutions and students’ unions

We are a membership organisation with more than 500 members, including every university in the UK, a number of FE colleges and students’ unions. Membership is per each organisation, so all colleagues have access to our services. See if your institution or students' union is a member. 

We provide advice, training, guidance, discussion and debate about all aspects of the international student experience, including immigration, fees, student support, mental health and orientation.

We do this by: 

  • Supporting, sustaining and expanding a network of those committed to the ideals of international education and the highest standards of international student support.
  • Monitoring and influencing government and education sector policy through close contact with senior officials, policy makers, members of national parliaments and assemblies, partner organisations and sector bodies throughout the UK.
  • Delivering high quality advice line services (for both members and students/members of the public) and training which both assist with immediate areas of difficulty and contribute to greater professional expertise.
  • Providing comprehensive website information, online resources and e-news updates on all aspects of coming to the UK to study.
  • Funding, encouraging, enabling and publicising research and new initiatives which enhance the international student experience.

    and by

  • Ensuring, through support from Trustees, its specialist staff and effectively managed resources, that it delivers highly valued services for members and other stakeholders.

Our work with students

As well as providing training and advice for universities, schools, colleges and students’ unions to support international students, we also work directly with students. This includes:

  • keeping up-to-date with current legislation and regulations to ensure we can advise students accurately
  • writing information for students all over the world. Our ‘info and advice’ section on this website is written for current and prospective international students and includes up-to-date information about immigration rules, fees, and living and working in the UK
  • offering advice on our students advice line. This helpline is for international students or parents with specific questions about immigration, fees and student experience and is open every weekday afternoon between 1pm and 4pm (UK time). The advisers you speak to on this helpline are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to provide immigration advice.
  • creating news items to inform international students. This is sent out in a monthly enews. Register to sign up.

Our impact

Our vision is that every international student who comes to the UK has a positive experience. 

Our latest annual review focuses on five areas, outlined in our 2020-23 strategy, to achieve our vision:

  • Influencing policy
  • Delivering world-leading advice and training
  • Empowering our membership
  • Disseminating our knowledge
  • Developing excellence

Read our most recent and past annual reviews to find out more about our achievements.