General student visa (Tier 4)

Knowledge of English

You must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

This usually means passing a secure English language test (SELT).

Where you’re studying What you’re studying Knowledge of English needed Level
Higher education institution (HEI) Degree level or above Reading, writing, listening and speaking Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2
Institution that’s not HEI Degree level or above SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking CEFR level B2
Any institution Below degree SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking CEFR level B1

HEIs can choose how to assess a student’s knowledge of English. They must still be at:

  • CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher
  • SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking and CEFR level B1 if you’re not studying at a degree level

If you have to pass a SELT, it must be from an approved provider.

Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.

Exceptions

You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’ve completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

You also do not need to prove your knowledge of English if one of the following apply:

  • you’re a national of Canada or any of the countries in the list above
  • you have studied in the UK before as a Tier 4 (Child) student
  • you’re applying to come to the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the USA
  1. Step 1 Check if this visa is right for you

    You might be eligible for different visas depending on:

    • where you'll be studying
    • how long your course is
    • how old you are
    1. Check which visas you're eligible for
    2. Check what you can and can't do on this visa
    3. Check what courses you can study on this visa
    4. Check if you can bring family members with you
  2. Step 2 Prepare the evidence you need

  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