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UK Student Visa

Visa Services
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You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor

have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - the amount will vary depending on your circumstances

can speak, read, write, and understand English

have consent from your parents if you’re 16 or 17 - you’ll need evidence of this when you apply

If you’re 16 or 17 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK, you may be eligible for a Child Student visa instead.

This visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa.

When to apply

When you can apply depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.

Applying from outside the UK

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Applying from inside the UK

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.

You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.

How long you can stay

How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed in the UK.

If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

Read the guidance to find out exactly how long you can stay.

Staying longer in the UK

You may be able to:

extend your visa if you’re eligible, for example, to continue your studies in the UK

switch to a Student visa from another visa if you’re already in the UK

switch to a Graduate visa to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing your course

When you can travel to the UK

You can arrive before your course starts. This can be either:

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

You must not travel to the UK before the start date given on your visa, no matter when your course starts.


You must pay the visa fee for each person who joins you.

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

How much you pay depends on how long your visa lasts. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Your partner and children

You may be able to bring your partner and children (‘dependants’).

What you can and cannot do

You can:


work as a student union sabbatical officer

You may be able to work - how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term time.

You cannot:

claim public funds (benefits) and pensions

work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach

be self-employed

study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

If your application is successful, you’ll be told what you can and cannot do on a Student visa.

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