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Student visa requirements for the UK

Everything you need to know about the UK visas.

The UK Government provides an opportunity to international students to study in the country but as a prerequisite, you’ll have to obtain a student visa first.

The visa you need will depend on your age and the type of study you wish to pursue. Here’s an overview of the types of study visas and their application requirements:

Student visa type

Who it’s for

When to apply

Arrival in the UK

Tier 4 (General) student visa

Students aged 16 or over who have been offered a place in a course at a UK educational institution.

Three months before the start of your course.

Up to one week before if your course lasts six months or fewer.
Up to one month before if your course lasts more than six months.

Tier 4 (Child) student visa

Students aged between four and 17 who have been offered a place in a course at a UK educational institution with a valid Tier 4 sponsor, such as an independent fee-paying school.

Three months before the start of your course.

Up to one week before if your course lasts six months or fewer.
Up to one month before if your course lasts more than six months.

Short-term study visa

Students offered a place in a short-term course in the UK, such as an English language course or training course.

Three months before your date of travel to the UK.

Depends on your nominated travel dates.

*For detailed information, please visit the Gov.UK website

To be eligible for a Tier 4 student visa, you must:

  • Have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
  • Be able to speak, read, write and understand English
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course.

 

When applying for your Tier 4 visa, you will generally need:

  • A current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • Evidence of funds to provide your living expenses for the duration of your course
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number and documents used to obtain CAS
  • Passport-sized colour photograph
  • Tuberculosis screening (if required)
  • Assessment documentation
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate (if required)

 

Additional documents may also be needed if you are:

  • Not a citizen of the country you are applying from
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Have family (dependents)

 

If any of your supporting documents is not in English, you will need to have it translated. Each translated document must be dated, and include the translator's name and signature and confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document.

Applying for your visa online

You must apply for your student visa application online using the British Government’s official Gov.UK website (unless you are applying from North Korea, in which case you can use a hardcopy form).

You can apply up to three months before your intended date of travel to the UK. Your application date is the date when your application fee is paid.

English language requirements

You must provide evidence of your knowledge of the English language when you apply for your visa. This usually means passing a secure English language test.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have minimum English language requirements for reading, writing, listening and speaking according to your level of study. Your university or school (sponsor) may have different English language requirements. 

There is a chance you may be interviewed by a UKVI officer as part of the visa application process. If you cannot hold a simple conversation without an interpreter, you may be refused entry to the UK, regardless of your English language results.

Biometric residence permit

As part of your application, you must also obtain a biometric residence permit (BRP) from UKVI. You will need to make an appointment with UKVI to have your fingers and thumbs scanned and a digital photo taken of your face.

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