As a student wishing to study in the UK, you will have to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa provided you’re 16 or over and :

  • have been offered a place on a course
  • 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

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.

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When to Apply: You can apply 3 months before the start of your course.You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Fees

  • It costs £328 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
  • You must pay £328 per person for any dependants.
  • You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Duration: How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed. 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

Do’s and don’ts

You can:

  • study
  • 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

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • work in certain jobs, eg 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).

Eligibility: You must have:

  • an unconditional offer of a place on a course with alicensed Tier 4 sponsor
  • enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances

Your course: 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 theOfqual register
  • a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist

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.

However, 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

Knowledge of English: You must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.This usually means passing a secure English language test (SELT).

Exceptions: 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
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

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

Documents you must provide: 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
  • 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’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Apply outside the UK: 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.