UK Student Visa (Studying in the UK)
Guide to UK Student Visa
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
- have been offered a place on a course (Check REGISTERED & LEGAL educational institutions allowed to offer sponsorship. Please don’t pay any college or university NOT LISTED here)
- can speak, read, write and understand English
- have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
- are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
- meet the other eligibility requirements (as shown below)
When to apply
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check visa processing times for your country.
It costs £335 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
You must pay £335 per person for any dependants.
How long you can stay
You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:
- up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
- up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months
How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.
What you can and can’t do
- work as a student union sabbatical officer
- apply from inside or outside the UK
- apply to extend your stay
- work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
- get public funds
- work in certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).
You must have:
- an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
- enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
You can do a course that’s one of the following:
- full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the Ofqual register
- an overseas course of degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
- full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, leading to a qualification which is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
- a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
Postgraduate doctors and dentists
You can apply for this visa if you’re sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme and you’ve:
- finished a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry
- received that degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor
- spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK
Confirmation of acceptance for studies
Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application.
You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS.
Further study in the UK
You can only get a CAS for a new course if you’ve studied in the UK before and you’re:
- re-sitting exams or repeating modules
- applying for the first time to a new institution to complete a course you started at an institution that’s lost its Tier 4 sponsorship
- applying to complete a PhD or other doctorate that you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
- studying for a new qualification at a higher academic level
- studying for a new qualification at the same level and related to your previous course or career aspirations – it must be degree level or above at a Higher Education Institution (HEI)
- applying after working as a student union sabbatical officer to complete a qualification you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
You must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.
This usually means passing a secure English language test (SELT).
|Where you’re studying||What you’re studying||Knowledge of English needed||Level|
|Higher education institution (HEI)||Degree level or above||Reading, writing, listening and speaking||Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2|
|Institution that’s not HEI||Degree level or above||SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking||CEFR level B2|
|Any institution||Below degree||SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking||CEFR level B1|
HEIs can choose how to assess a student’s knowledge of English. They must still be at:
- CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher
- SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking and CEFR level B1 if you’re not studying at a degree level
If you have to pass a SELT, it must be from an approved provider.
Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.
You don’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’ve completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
You also don’t need to prove your knowledge of English if one of the following apply:
- you’re a national of Canada or any of the countries in the list above
- you have studied in the UK before as a Tier 4 (Child) student
- you’re applying to come to the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the USA
When you apply for the visa you must provide:
- a current passport or other valid travel documentation
- proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
- proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
- proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian
- your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.
You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.
Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.
You must apply online for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.
You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).
You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.
You can’t apply online if you’re living in North Korea.
To apply from North Korea you must:
- download the application form and guidance – read the guidance if you need help filling in the form
- read the instructions to find out where to take your completed form
Apply in the UK
Check if you can apply from inside the UK to:
Your family members (dependants) might be able to apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)or Switzerland.
A dependant is either:
- your husband, wife or civil partner
- your unmarried or same-sex partner
- your child under 18 years old – including if they were born in the UK during your stay
You can apply to bring a dependant to the UK if you’re:
- sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at level 7 on the Ofqual register or above that lasts 1 year or more
- a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
- a Doctorate Extension Scheme student
You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.
Each dependant must have a certain amount of money available to them – this is in addition to the money you must have to support yourself.
The amount of money you need depends on:
- the length of your course
- where you’re studying in the UK
- whether you’ve finished a UK course or are currently studying
You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 28 days before you or they apply.
Read the detailed guidance for dependants for how much money you’ll need and the full list of documents you need to provide.
Dependants applying outside the UK
Your family members must apply online.
They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of their application.
They’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK.
They may be able to get their visa faster or other services depending on what country they’re in – check with the visa application centre.
Your family members can’t apply online if they’re applying from North Korea.
Each family member will need to make their own application. They must:
- download the application form and guidance – they can read the guidance if they need help filling in the form
- read the instructions to find out where they need to take their completed form
Dependants applying in the UK
If you can’t do it at the same time, your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas at a later date.
They can’t apply in the UK as dependants if they already have a Standard Visitor visa.
If your dependants want to get a decision more quickly than the standard 8 weeks, they can apply:
- for priority service – there’s a limited number of places each day
- to use a premium service centre – they’ll need to go in person
|Application type||Time for a decision||Cost per person|
You’ll also need to provide biometric information and pay the healthcare surcharge.
Apply for the standard or premium service
Your partner or child can apply online:
- for the standard service
- to use a premium service centre
Pay the appropriate fee at the same time.
Apply for the priority service
Your dependant must fill in a request form before they can use the priority service. They must send it to the email address on the form.
Only the first 60 requests received each day after 8:30am (Monday to Friday) are accepted – they’ll get an email saying if they’ve been successful.
They should send their supporting documents by registered post or courier to the address given in the priority service acceptance email.
Their documents should reach UK Visas and Immigration no later than two days after you applied.
Each person applying must also provide their biometric information (fingerprints and a photo).
They can give their biometric information at:
- certain Post Office branches if they applied online (this costs £19.20)
- a premium service centre if they applied in person
They’ll get a biometric residence permit if their application is successful.
Children born in the UK
If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply online.
You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with your child.