Overview

You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

If you’re 16 or 17 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK, you may be eligible for a Child Student visa instead.

This visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa.

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and you started living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you’re coming to the UK from 1 January 2021, you’ll need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.

The earliest date your Student visa will start from is 1 January 2021.

When to apply

When you can apply depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.

Applying from outside the UK

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Applying from inside the UK

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.

You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.

How long you can stay

How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed.

If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

Read the guidance to find out exactly how long you can stay.

Staying longer in the UK

You may be able to:

When you can travel to the UK

You can arrive in the UK before your course starts. This can be either:

  • 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

Fees

It costs:

  • £348 to apply for a Student visa from outside the UK
  • £475 to extend or switch to a Student visa from inside the UK

You must pay the visa fee for each person that joins you.

Healthcare surcharge

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.

Your partner and children

You may be able to bring your partner and children (‘dependants’).

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer

You may be able to work - how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.

You cannot:

  • claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
  • work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • be self-employed
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

If your application is successful, you’ll be told what you can and cannot do on a Student visa.

  1. Step 1 Check if this visa is right for you

    You can apply for a Student visa if you’re 16 or over and want to study on a further or higher education course in the UK.

    1. You are currently viewing: Check what you can and cannot do on this visa
    2. Check what courses you can study on this visa
    3. Check if you can bring your partner or children ('dependants') with you

    If you're under 18 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK, you may be eligible for a Child Student visa instead.

    1. Check which visas you're eligible for
  2. Step 2 Prepare the evidence you need

    1. Check what documents you can use as evidence
    2. Prove your knowledge of the English language
    3. Check if you need a tuberculosis (TB) test

    If you're doing a masters degree or above, you may need to apply for the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

    1. Check if you need to apply for ATAS
  3. Step 3 Apply from outside the UK

    1. Apply from outside the UK £348

    You'll need to prove your identity as part of your application.

    You'll usually get a decision within 3 weeks.

    1. Find out if you can pay more to get a faster decision
  4. or Apply from inside the UK

  5. Step 4 Check what you can bring into the UK with you

  6. Step 5 Check what you need to show at the UK border

  7. Step 6 After you arrive in the UK

    1. Find out how to get your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if you were told you’d get one when you applied

    You might be able to extend your visa to stay longer in the UK.

    1. Check if you can extend your visa

    If you break the conditions of your visa you may not be able to come to the UK again.