Currently, students from countries within the EEA and Switzerland do not require a visa to study in the UK.
International students from all other countries do require a study visa to enter the UK. Generally, international students enter the UK on a “Tier-4 Visa” for a full study program. Students studying English or training courses can apply for a short-term study visa.
Visas and immigration enquiries are handled by UK Visas and Immigration and you should apply for your UK study visa through their website. The process can be involved, so be sure to leave plenty of time for your application – you can apply for a visa up to three months before the start date of your course.
If you require a UK student visa, it will be awarded on a points-based system. In order to obtain the required points, you will need to provide certain information and documents. This will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, but may entail the following:
- Passport details and a recent photograph;
- A ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) from your institution of study, which will be sent to you by your university once you fulfill the conditions of your acceptance;
- If you are a non-native speaker, proof of proficiency in the English language as demonstrated by a ‘secure English language test’ (SELT);
- Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself for the duration of your study in the UK, documented by a bank statement;
The types of visa you need will be dependent on the duration of your study program. Find out more details about the type of visa you should apply for below!
Short-Term / Study-visit Visa
This visa is for students from outside the EEA who are over 18 years old and planning on undertaking a short program of study. These programs include an English language or training course, or a short research period as part of a study abroad program. The short-term visa is valid for up to six months (costing 97 GBP) or 11 months (costing 186 GBP), and once expired cannot be extended. Obtaining this visa does not allow you to work in the UK, or study at a state-funded higher education institution.
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
The Tier 4 general student visa is for students aged 16 or over who have been offered a place on a longer-term course at an accredited institution and allows you to stay for a greater duration of time than a short-term visa. It also permits the holder to work most jobs, and to extend the visa should they choose to study at a higher level. The visa requires a fee of 328 GBP, and if you are staying for longer than 6 months you will be required to pay a 150 GBP ‘health surcharge’ in order to gain access to the National Health Service.
The UK government has published a detailed guide on what is required for the Tier- 4 student visa application, including documents to submit and the amount of financial resources you will require to have your student visa approved.
Once you’ve made your online application, you will have to submit your biometric details and information in your home country for the UK government to begin processing your application. Find your local visa application center where you will submit your biometrics here.
Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
This visa is for students aged 17 or under who wish to attend an independent school in the United Kingdom. Depending on your age and the length of the course, this student visa could allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 years. It also permits those aged 16 or over to work part-time during term, and full-time during holidays.
Learn more about studying in the UK:
Choosing the UK as your study abroad destination means more than a top-quality education. Get an overview of what the UK and why you should study abroad there.
There are over 3,000 institutes for international students to choose from throughout the United Kingdom. Take a minute to find out more about how the UK higher education system works.
Housing & Living Costs
Most UK universities own accommodation which they rent out to students, commonly called ‘halls’. But many other housing options also exist if university halls are not your thing.
Tuition Fees & Scholarships
Tuition fees for the United Kingdom vary depending on where you are from and where you are studying. Find out more about costs as well as scholarship opportunities for international students.
Language & Culture
The UK has a long and rich history and culture. Find out more about what it offers in terms of language, culture, and more!
The facility for undergraduate admissions in the UK is The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). There are two rounds of applications each year. Find out more here.
Ready to look at studying abroad in the UK? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in the UK today!