Overview

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. You and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.

When to apply

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check visa processing times for your country.

Fees

It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.

You must pay £348 per person for any dependants.

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.

How long you can stay

You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:

  • 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

How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • apply from inside or outside the UK
  • apply to extend your stay
  • work in most jobs - depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have

You cannot:

  • get public funds
  • work in certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).

Read the full guidance to find out how long you might be able to stay and what you can and cannot do.

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

  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 TB test

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

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

    1. Apply from outside the UK and book an appointment £348
    2. Check where your visa appointment will be

    You should get a decision within 3 weeks of your appointment. You may be able to pay more to get a decision faster.

  4. or Apply from inside the UK

    1. Apply to extend if you're already in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) visa £475
    2. Apply to switch to this visa if you're already in the UK £475

    You should get a decision within 8 weeks from when you apply. You may be able to pay more to get a decision faster.

  5. Step 4 Attend an appointment

    You'll be told when you apply if you need to bring anything to your appointment.

    At your appointment you’ll have your fingerprints and photograph (‘biometric information’) taken.

    You'll be told when a decision has been made about your visa.

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

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

  8. Step 7 After you arrive in the UK

    1. Find out how to get your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

    If you applied from outside the UK, you’ll need to collect your BRP within 10 days of you arriving. Check your BRP to find out when you must leave the UK.

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

    You might be able to extend your visa once you're in the UK.

    1. Check if you can extend your visa