UK Visa Process

Student Visa Overview

This section describes the immigration categories for people from outside Europe who want to study in the UK. It describes the requirements for each category, and explains how you can apply for a visa or permission to remain in the UK as a student.

The category you choose will depend on your age, and on the length and level of the course that you want to study.

Information for students who are currently in the UK under the Rules that were in place before 31 March 2009.

If you want to study in the UK, you must obtain a visa before you travel.

Visitor Visa :-

  • You can apply for a visitor visa if you want to:
  • study a course lasting up to 6 months, or 11 months if it is an English language course (student visitor or child visitor);
  • receive specific, one-off training (but not on-the job training) provided by your employer or its UK branch, in techniques and work practices used in the UK (business visitor); or
  • take the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test as an overseas qualified doctor (business visitor).

If you come to the UK in one of these visitor categories, you will not be allowed to do paid work during your stay. The Visiting the UK section explains how you can apply.

Tier 4 Student Visa :-

If you want to study a longer course, and/or you want to work while you are here, you must apply for a visa under Tier 4 of the points-based system.

Tier 4 is part of our points-based system for immigration. It is for migrants who want to study in the UK. Depending on your nationality and circumstances, you may be able to study in the UK without needing to apply under Tier 4 (General) as an adult student. However, your ability to work while you are studying here may be restricted.

The Tier 4 (General) category is for adult students who want to come to or remain in the UK for their post-16 education.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and you want to study a course at or above National Qualification Framework level 3, you can apply under this category or under Tier 4 (Child) - you should discuss and agree this with your approved education provider (known as a 'Tier 4 sponsor'). But if you want to study English as a foreign language, you must apply as a Tier 4 (General) student.

Part 6A of the Immigration Rules (paragraphs 245ZT to 245ZY) contains full details of the Tier 4 (General) category's requirements.

You can study in the UK without a student visa if:

  • you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;
  • you are a British overseas territories citizen, unless you are from one of the sovereign base areas in Cyprus;
  • you are a Commonwealth citizen with permission to enter or stay in the UK because at least one of your grandparents was born here; or
  • you have no conditions or time limit attached to your stay.

However, if you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania, your ability to work during your studies may be restricted.

As a Tier 4 (General) student, you must have 40 points in our points assessment. You can score:

  • 30 points for having a valid confirmation of acceptance for studies, which you get for studying a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (also known as a 'Tier 4 sponsor'), and for having acceptable English language skills; and
  • 10 points for having enough money (also known as maintenance or funds) to cover your course fees and living costs.

Depending on the country where you live, you may need to make your application online or using application form VAF9. To find out which method you should use,

see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-uk-visa-under-the-points-based-system-form-vaf9

All applicants must also complete and submit the relevant version of Appendix 8 of the form.

The date of your application must be no more than 6 months after the date when your Tier 4 sponsor assigned your confirmation of acceptance for studies to you.

There are particular application requirements if you are currently in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

As part of your application, you will need to enroll your fingerprints and facial image (known as 'biometric information') at a visa application centre.

Select your country in our country finder ( http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/) to find out:

  • how to apply in your country
  • the location of our visa application centers
  • how long we generally take to process visa applications
  • how your documents will be returned to you

If your application is successful, you can find information about what will happen at the border (including customs requirements) in the Customs and travel information (http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/customs-travel/) section.

Apply online :-