Each year, thousands of international students successfully gain a visa to study in the United Kingdom. There is no limit on the number of student visas that can be issued. However, there are different types of visas depending on the purpose of visit to the UK – visiting the UK, studying in the UK or working in the UK. Here, you can find information about the visas for studying in the UK.
Types of Student Visas
The following two visas are applicable for students who want to do a short course, or an 11-month English language course:
- Child visitor visa: This visa is applicable if the age of a student is 17 years old or under and he/ she wants to study in the UK for up to 6 months (or 12 months if he/ she will be accompanying an academic visitor).
- Student visitor visa: This visa is applicable for students who are 18 years old or over and they want to study in the UK for up to 6 months. If they want to study purely English language courses, they can apply for an extended student visitor visa to stay for up to 11 months.
The following two visas are applicable for students who want to do a longer course in the UK.
The course must be at a school, college or university on the UKBA list of trusted sponsors.
The following visa is applicable for students who want to visit the UK before applying for a Tier 4 visa:
- Tier 4 (Child) student visa: This visa is applicable for students who are 4 and 17 years old. If you are between 4 and 15 years old, you must be coming to the UK to be educated at an independent, fee-paying school.
- Tier 4 (General) student visa: You can apply if you want to come to the UK for your post-16 education.
Working in the UK
- Prospective student visa: You can apply as a prospective student if you intend to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based visa system but you have not completed all the arrangements for your course of study. You must be able to show that you will start your studies within 6 months of arrival in the UK.
Application process for a Tier 4 visa
- If you come to the UK on a student visitor visa, child visitor visa, or prospective student visa, you are not eligible to work in the UK.
- Some students who enter on a Tier 4 student visa are eligible to work a certain amount of hours per week and in the holiday periods.
The following steps have to be followed while applying for a Tier 4 visa from your home country
- Choose institution and course
- Apply for admission and receive unconditional offer
- Apply for Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate (if applicable)
- Accept offer and obtain a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) number from the institution (an electronic reference number that you will need in order to apply for a Tier 4 visa; it is valid for six months)
- Check visa process and apply accordingly. You cannot apply more than three months before the course start date.
- Take a tuberculosis test (if applicable)
- Check that you meet the Tier 4 requirements and decide whether to apply online or using a paper application form and fill accordingly
- Book appointment at Visa Application Centre (VAC) (if appointment is required)
- Attend VAC and pay application fee (if not already paid)
- Provide your biometric information (and attend a credibility interview if you have been asked to do so)
- Submit signed application form, supporting documents and passport, either at VAC or by post
- Visa processing takes 3-12 weeks of time
- Visa is granted / refused. If refused, contact your institution.
- VFS will contact you when your documents are ready for collection. You can collect your documents from the visa application centre where you applied. You will need to bring your receipt.
- Check that all of the details on your visa are correct, in particular that you have been granted the correct length of leave
- Travel to the UK on/after the ‘valid from’ date on your visa
It is important to apply well before you intend to begin your course. Many students are not aware of the process time it will take, and they do not leave enough time.
Your application may require you to:
The following information has to be ready while applying for a visa
- have certain vaccinations or if you are coming from a tuberculosis high-risk area – a chest x-ray
- produce documents showing your finances and qualifications
- attend an interview or a biometric test
- your passport
- your address in the UK
- your travel itinerary
- a valid email address
A photocopy of each document along with your original has to be submitted. If you do not provide photocopies, they might not return your original documents to you.
For more details, visit: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/
- Passport bio-data page containing your photograph
- A signed copy of your completed visa application form.
- A current and valid travel document or passport with at least 1 page that is blank on both sides, so that they can insert your visa.
- 1 passport sized colour photograph.
- Any previous passports to show your previous travel history
- A copy of your completed Tier 4 Appendix 8 form.