I'm considering going to UK to study for a University course/degree. However, it seems that Student Visas block freelancing. So, I'm wondering:

  1. If there's a UK visa that allows both studying for a full college degree and freelancing.
  2. If the following is a way to get around the requirement:

Set up a company in the US with its own bank account, and all client payments and outsourcing expenses go through that bank account in the US except that I'm managing the company emails and communicating with clients.


Instead of setting up a company, have payments and expenses go through my parent's bank account. Maybe it's even possible for my parents to send me that money as "gifts" or just supporting my tuition and living fees in the UK.

Also, let's say I make some money off of YouTube Ads or selling music on BandCamp or having paid subscribers on Twitch, what does that count towards?

  • Ok, so ‘get around’ in practice translates as ‘I know that the Immigration Rules for a UK student visa explicitly exclude self-employed work but I’m looking for a way to break those rules’? Would your parents be declaring income from your freelancing in any tax returns? Would you be filing US tax returns?
    – Traveller
    May 22, 2023 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


The only permitted route to study and be self-employed or engage in business activity is set out in ST 26.8 of the UK Immigration Rules:

A Student may be self-employed, if:

(a) they have applied for permission on the Start-up route; and

(b) that application is supported by an endorsement from a Start-up route endorsing body which is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance; and

(c) the application was made when the applicant had permission as a Student; and

(d) a decision has not been made on the application, or where the application has been refused, any Administrative Review against a refusal has not been finally determined.


You might be able to use either of the ‘get around the rules’ options you mention but if the education provider and/or UKVI became aware of it your visa would probably be cancelled.

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