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How to Get a UK Student Visa

How to Get a UK Student Visa main image

Want to study in the UK? Find out whether you need to apply for a UK student visa, and how the application process works.

UK visa requirements and general immigration criteria are managed by UK Visas and Immigration, which has an easy-to-navigate site to help you determine whether you need a UK student visa. While Swiss nationals and those from the EU/EEA states do not currently need a visa to study in the UK, all other international students are likely to need one.

The result of the UK’s referendum on membership in the European Union (‘Brexit’) has led to some uncertainty over visa regulations, but the UK government has stated that there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens until 2021.

Types of UK student visa

If you’re studying a short course and are over 18 years old, you may be eligible for the short-term study visa. This is valid up to six months for most short courses and can be extended for a stay of up to 11 months for English language courses.

If you’re studying a longer course, you’ll need to make sure your chosen institution holds a Tier 4 Sponsor License. You can either apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa (if you’re aged 4-17 and want to study at an independent school in the UK) or a Tier 4 (General) student visa for those aged 16 and over.

UK student visa requirements

Your course provider may be willing to help you to apply for a UK student visa once you have been offered a place on a course; ask to find out if this is the case. You can apply for the visa up to three months in advance of the start date of your course. Check the average visa processing times for your country, and be sure to allow plenty of time.

UK student visas are awarded on a points-based system. In order to meet all the UK student visa requirements, you’ll need to provide: 

  • Details of your passport
  • A recent photograph
  • An unconditional offer of a place on a course offered by a licensed Tier 4 Sponsor, evidenced by a 'Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) form from your course provider (worth 30 points)
  • Proof of adequate English language skills, demonstrated by passing one of the secure English language tests (SELT). You will not need to provide this if you’re from an English-speaking country such as the United States or have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in an English-speaking country.
  • Proof you have financial support throughout your stay in the UK (worth 10 points)
  • If you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss student studying a sensitive subject, you may also need an ATAS certificate

Proof of financial support can take the form of bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor, showing you can cover your tuition fees, accommodation and living costs. You must prove that you have £1,015 (~US$1,300) per month for living costs if studying in the UK outside of London, and £1,265 (~US$1,600) a month for living costs if studying in London.

You may also be required to produce documents showing your academic qualifications, and to attend an interview or biometric test, which includes a digital scan of your fingerprints. Depending on your country of origin, you may also be required to have certain medical vaccinations or undertake a tuberculosis test.

If you’re 16 or 17 years old and applying for the Tier 4 (General) student visa, you must have written consent from your parents/guardians that you can live and travel independently.

You must apply online for the Tier 4 (General) Student visa, ensuring you’ve read the full guidance here. You can apply up to three months before the start of your course.

UK student visa fees

The current fee for the Tier 4 (General) student visa is £348 (~US$440), with an additional £348 fee per person for any dependents. You’ll also need to pay a healthcare surcharge of £150 per year (~US$190) in order to access the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay (this will rise to £300 (~US$380) from late 2018).

The Short Term Study Visa costs £97 (~US$120) for the six month option and £186 (~US$240) for the 11 month visa.

Streamlined visa processes for master’s students at 27 universities

You can now apply for streamlined visa processing to study a master’s degree at one of the 27 eligible universities (listed here), as part of a new Tier 4 Pilot scheme. Your course will need to be 13 months or less and you can apply from inside or outside the UK. The pilot scheme allows you to stay longer after the end of your course (you can stay for six months after you’ve finished your studies) and also means that you won’t need to submit documents showing your academic results or proof of funds. However, you will still need to have these documents to hand in case they are needed, and will still need to follow all the other immigration guidelines.

Using your UK student visa

When you enter the UK, a UK Border Agency officer will put a stamp on your passport that states the duration of your stay in the UK. For example, if your course is 12 months or more, you can stay for the full duration of the course plus an additional four months. You cannot extend your stay beyond this period.

Before you arrive, you must make sure you are fully immunized, remembering to pack your immunization record in your hand luggage in case you are asked to show the Border Agency officer at your UK port of entry. You should also carry the documents relating to your studies (including your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS number), your proof of finances and your proof of accommodation.

Depending on where you’re from, you may also be required to register with the police within seven days of arrival in the UK.

Working while studying in the UK

All EU, EEA and Swiss students can work while studying in the UK. Students of publicly funded higher education institutions on Tier 4 student visas can work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during Christmas and Easter breaks (unless you are aged 16 or 17, in which case the maximum is 10 hours per week during term time).

This article was originally published in January 2014. It was last updated in August 2018.

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can i get for some body contact number so i can take about everything about studant visa
because i dont have money

Hi Faisal, Unfortunately we cannot give out contact details to discuss this, but you can find out everything you need to know about student visas in our articles here.

I have a dream to do PhD mathematics from Cambridge University UK....
But I don't have money...
How could I fulfill my dream...
I am from PAKISTAN.!!!

I have a dream to do PhD mathematics from Cambridge University UK....
But I don't have money...
How could I fulfill my dream...
I am from PAKISTAN.!!!

Hi,I am Nitesh from Nepal.I want to learn business studies course in UK so can I get some guidelines from you..

Hi, it like to apply for student visa
Have found a course,
But, my wife is an British subject,, I don't want to remain in the UK, I don't want to be a citizen, just do the course and leave. Would I still be able to apply for the student Visa, or would there be a problem

I want to study in uk and what type of visa i should apply for first because I don't have money, I want to sponsor myself with the little am earning.

I am an ethiopian want to study visa in uk

Dear I want to apply for study visa can you help me I have done greduation in 1999

Hello I am Zidan from Bangladesh. I have passed 12th class. Now i wanna apply for foreign study. I am from Business studies group.
I wanna apply for U.K's Student visa.
Will you please help me by givin' Information and Requirements about U.K's University admission circular?
Thank you :)

Hi this is Gursharan from India .. I have got 5 bands in ielts please someone help me to get admission in UK's university

Hey gursharan could u send me your email id or contact number

hey.! i want some information about study visa with work..! I m frm paistan and

i want to do higher studies in uk like MBA or MS..!! Tell me that i would work while study in uk..? if yes..! how much woring hours are allow to students.?

Hi I am khazir from Pakistan can I get admission in England in 1 year ?

Hi Khizar, yes you can get admission in England.

hi, i am from Pakistan, can i get a student visa without taking IELTS??and how many bands are required to get a student visa ??minimum bands??

Hey norain. you should have at least 6 band to getting a uk student visa. it is not easy to getting uk student visa but if you want to study in uk than please contact me i 'll will help you to getting uk student visa with and without ielts.

Hi, I would really like your help on how to get a studying and working visa in the U.K. may you please send me you mail.

Could u send ne your contact number

Hey Xtar M I want to study in UK but I have 5 bands please help me to get UK student visa

Gursharn i also want u.K visa moreovr i got 5.5 Band in ielts ...PlZ send me ur contct we can discussion wth each other about u.K visa ..How we can got it !

hi i'm from argentina, is it possible to get a scholarship in the uk? should i have certified English language knowledge?

Hi Delfina, if you have not managed to secure anything yet, you can get scholarships in the UK.

Hi Delfina, yes it is! We've listed a range of scholarships to study in the UK here. You will need to prove your English language proficiency with a test such as IELTS or TOEFL - you can read more about these here. Hope this helps.

how i get scholarship in Australia??

Hello, a good place to start is by checking the 'fees and funding' section of the Australian websites you're interested in - we've also listed a range of scholarships to study in Australia here. :)

Hi I'm hashim from Yemen I'm 21 now but now I'm in Zanzibar,Tanzania I want to study air fare and ticketing if I allow to get visa to study there I hope to get answer to my message soon and thanks

Join the discussion...

I want to get admission in uk universities.. what i do

Hi Danial, our complete guide on how to study abroad in the UK should help get you started. :)


Hi Kayode. We have a guide to studying abroad in the UK, here. Specific admission requirements will vary depending on the university and the course, so always check the guidelines provided by the official university website. You can search for the top UK universities in your subject of interest using the QS World University Rankings by Subject, here.