Switch to this visa

You may be able to switch to a Student visa if you already have permission to be in the UK.

You cannot switch to this visa if you have one of the following visas:

  • a visit visa
  • a short-term student visa
  • a Parent of a Child Student visa
  • a seasonal worker visa
  • a domestic worker in a private household visa
  • leave outside the immigration rules

If you have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you do not need to apply for a visa.

Eligibility

To switch to a Student visa you must:

If you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for less than 12 months, you’ll need to prove you have enough money to support yourself in the UK.

Your partner or children will need to apply separately to switch their visa. They can either apply at the same time as you, or at any time before their current visa expires.

When to apply

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.

For example, if your visa expires on 1 December, you must apply for a new visa before 1 December. Your new course must begin by 29 December.

You must also apply within 6 months of getting a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

You can stay in the UK until you get your decision.

If you applied for an administrative review because your application was refused, you can stay in the UK until you get your review decision.

Fees

For each person, you’ll need to pay:

You’ll need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken - there’s no fee for this.

Apply

You must apply online.

As part of your application you’ll need to prove your identity.

How you do this depends on where you’re from and the type of passport you have.

You’ll either:

  • give your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point
  • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document (you’ll also create or sign in to your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account)

You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.

Start now

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes to get a decision

A decision will usually be made within 8 weeks.

You may be able to pay to get a faster decision - you’ll be told if you can when you apply.

After you apply

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

If you need to change something in your application after you’ve sent it contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

You can ask to withdraw your application by contacting UKVI. Your fee will only be refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application.

If your application is successful

If your application is successful, you’ll get either:

  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. 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.