The UK student visa (Tier 4 study visa) allows non-EEA citizens to study in the UK. The country is recognised as having some of the world's best colleges and universities.
If your course is under 6 months, you may instead enter the UK on a visitor visa however you will not be able to work in this case.
- Enrollment in an educational course by a provider authorised to provide education to international students;
- English language ability - you can speak, read, write and understand English;
- Sufficient funds - you have enough money to support yourself and and pay for your course.
- Country of citizenship - you are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
When to Apply & Visa Duration
Generally, you have to apply for your UK student visa 3 months before your educational course starts. You are allowed to enter the country up to a month earlier if your course is longer than 6 months. If the course is less than 6 months in duration, you are allowed to enter the UK 1 week prior the start of the course. The duration of the visa depends on the course you are enrolling in, but will generally allow enough time for you to leave the country - up to a month after the course finishes.
UK Student Visa Application Process
- You should ensure that your provider is listed on the Register of Sponsors Licensed Under the Points-Based System. Click here to access the list.
- Complete the application pack (you will receive it after you register with us) and return to us by fax or email including the supporting documents.
- We will check the documents to ensure that everything is in order.
- Once ready we will have your biometric appointment booked.
- After you attend the biometric appointment, you need to submit your application, including all the supporting documents (originals), with the nearest British High Commission.
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- You must be unconditionally accepted in a course with a licensed tier 4 sponsor and have a CAS.
- You must provide a proof of having enough funds to support your stay and pay the tuition fees for the course.
- Course must lead to a qualification of Level 6 or above on the Ofqual register.
- Overseas institutions providing tuition for a degree level equal to UK's higher education course.
- Full-time courses, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, leading to a qualification level 3 or above on the Ofqual register.
- A recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply for the UK student visa?
What are the age limits on Student visa?
Do I need a sponsor?
What study related routes remain outside of PBS?
- Prospective Students - for those coming to the UK to finalise arrangements for their course.
- Student Visitors - for those coming to the UK for up to 6 months who do not intend to work and/or extend their stay.
- Child Visitors - for under 18s coming to the UK to undertake a short course of study as part of a visit of up to 6 months.
- Parents of children at school - for parent carers accompanying child students under the age of 12 to the United Kingdom.
What are my biometric details?
How are the points calculated?
How long can I stay in UK on the student visa?
Can I work while on the UK student visa?
The Tier 4 (Adult) Student visa offers the student the benefit of developing an educational base in the UK while being permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term periods. Tier 4 Student (Adult) visa holders are permitted to work full time during vacation periods without seeking further permission from the UK Border Agency.
In some instances, graduate level students may be able to switch into a working visa category that could lead to settlement in the UK.
What are the requirements of the UK student visa?
If you have been offered a full-time place at a UK educational institution, you may be eligible to enter the UK on a Student Visa.Requirements
- You must have a secured place at a UK-based institution for full-time study. Full-time means a minimum of 15 hours of classroom study per week.
- You must be able to show that you can support yourself and pay for your course.
- This is not a work visa however you can work part time to supplement your
- income i.e 20 hours per week and 40 hours per week during holidays
- You must plan to leave UK at the end of your studies.
What are the conditions of the UK Student Visa?
- Successful applicants are normally granted a 1 year visa initially, depending on the length of the course.
- Students may work for 20 hours per week in term time, and 40 hours per week during the holidays.
- Partners and dependents are usually free to work as they choose, as long as the main applicant is going to be studying for longer than 1 year.
Individuals wishing to study for 6 months or less may qualify for a student visitor visa, however visa nationals will still require entry clearance in this category. This type of visa does not allow for any form of employment.
How long is the UK student visa valid for?
Is it possible to switch to a UK work permit once in the UK?
If I don’t have a UK job offer can I switch to a skilled visa?
Can Visa First assist with further visas once in the UK?
What documents are required to apply for a UK student visa?
1. A completed Visa First student visa application form
2. A letter of acceptance on the course
This will be a letter from your institution confirming that a place has been offered to you and that the course is full-time. The letter should state how long the course will last. Where your course is more advanced and specialized, the letter should also state what level of English is needed for the course (giving minimum test marks, if appropriate) and confirm that you satisfy this requirement.
3. Proof of funds
Visa First can provide you with a UK bank account which you can prefund prior to departure and show as evidence of funds for your visa. You must show evidence that you can pay your course fee and support yourself and your family is applicable.
The money you need to show covers your course fees for your first year of study and living costs for up to a maximum of nine months. The amount you will need depends on whether you are applying as a child or adult and also whether you will be studying in or out of London.
You must show that you have held the money for at least 28 days. The end of that 28 day period must not be more than one month before the date of your application.
You must show the following amount of money to meet basic living costs (not including fees) for period of up to 9 months:
- £800 per month if you are living in London;
- £600 per month if you are living outside London.
You can prove you have the money if you have cash in an account in your name (this includes joint accounts with your name); or Child students can use an account in their parent or legal guardian’s name.
If you have already paid some of your fees or accommodation before applying for your visa, this amount will be taken away from the total amount of money you need to show. For accommodation, this only applies if you are staying in university or college arranged accommodation.
Any partners or children who want to come to the United Kingdom with you must also have documentary proof that they have enough money to support themselves.
Child students are not allowed to bring partners to the United Kingdom with them as dependants. Anyone who has any children under the age of 18 who are living with them or who they are financially responsible for, is not able to come to the United Kingdom as a child student.
Although the immigration rules do not require unaccompanied students to show that accommodation has been arranged, your place of study may have given you information about its availability, and you should bring this to the attention of the ECO. If your family is coming with you to the UK, you will need to show that there will be adequate accommodation for them. If your place of study cannot confirm that family accommodation will be available, you may have to consider travelling to the UK alone and making arrangements for your family to join you when you have found somewhere to live.
5. The Interview
The interview is a part of your visa application process. It is an essential part of the visa process and is conducted at the embassy. Visa First will prepare you for your interview so that you are able to answer queries relating to your uk student visa application.
6. Visa Letter
Your approved education provider will give you a visa letter which is an official and unconditional offer of a place on a course of study.
The visa letter must be issued no more than six months before you apply. The applications where the visa letters are older than six months will be refused.
Having a visa letter does not guarantee the application will be successful. The applicant must meet all the requirements of the category and any other requirements of the immigration rules.
Additional documents and proof for students under 18 years old.
All students under 18 years old will need to get their parent(s) or legal guardian’s written consent to the care arrangements for their travel to, reception and care while in the United Kingdom, before permission to enter or stay will be given.
You can switch in to the adult student category if you have, or were last given, permission to stay in the following categories:
- skilled worker (Tier 2 General)
- intra-company transfer (Tier 2)
- minister of religion (Tier 2)
- child student (Tier 4)
- prospective student
- student re-sitting an examination
- student nurses
- students writing up a thesis
- Student Union sabbatical officer
- work permit holder
- a postgraduate doctor or dentist
- participant in the SEGS
- participant in the IGS
- participant in the FT: WISS
What services does Visa First offer?
- We can advise on the letter that the college is offering you and let you know if it is sufficient.
- We can find a proper college or institution.
- We can provide assistance in completing the application forms.
- We can advise and represent our clients’ dependants to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
- We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant's leave to remain or entry clearance application is turned down for some reason.
- We can provide a UK kickstart pack including everything you need prior to departure to the UK.
Can I work on the UK Student visa?
Unlike a UK visit visa, or travel visa application, applicants for study permits may take part-time or holiday work but must not engage in the following.
- Work for more than 20 hours a week during term time (except in vacation periods), unless it is a work placement and part of a study program and the educational institution agrees.
- Conduct business, be self-employed, or provide services as a professional sports person or entertainer.
- Work full-time in a permanent job.
Can I have my family with me on the UK Student visa?
I want to travel to the UK via Ireland. Is this possible?
Yes, but if you are coming to study in the UK and you want to travel to Ireland first, you should obtain UK entry clearance as a student in your home country before going to Ireland. The reasons for this are:
- you will probably not see any immigration officers when you enter the UK from Ireland, so you will not be able to apply for immigration permission to enter the UK
- if you do not get immigration permission when you enter the UK, and you are not a visa national, you will in most cases automatically have permission to be in the UK for three months, but you will not be allowed to work and you will not be able to extend your stay in the UK as a student or student visitor.
Can I come to the UK before I get a place on a course?
Instead of returning to my home country to apply for entry clearance, can I post my passport to a friend in my home country and ask them to submit my application for me?
No, you must not do this. The Immigration Rules say that you must be outside the UK when you apply for entry clearance. And the immigration permission that an entry clearance gives does not start if you do not use it to enter the UK. Why does it matter if I work too many hours or overstay in the UK (overstaying means allowing your immigration permission to expire without making an application to extend it)? This will have serious consequences for any future entry clearance applications that you make abroad. If you overstay for more than 28 days or work more hours than you are allowed to work, you may be barred from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months (and in some cases five or ten years).
If you are found not to have told the truth in answer to questions on the entry clearance application form about your previous immigration behaviour in the UK, you are likely to be barred for ten years. It is likely to be difficult for you to obtain immigration extensions in the UK, too.
My passport or identity card tells me I need to register with the police. Do I really need to do this?
Yes. If you forget to register with the police, this could have serious consequences for any future entry clearance applications that you make abroad. You could be barred from coming back to the UK for 12 months (and in some cases five or ten years).
It will also cause problems for you obtaining immigration extensions in the UK.
If your passport or identity card does not tell you to register with the police, you do not need to do this.
Does it matter if I try to claim welfare benefits?
Should I keep a photocopy of my passport?
Yes, keep photocopies of every page of every passport that you ever use to enter the UK (except for the blank pages). You may need to refer to them for future immigration applications, or in case your passport is lost or stolen. Remember to update the photocopy each time it shows a new journey.
Also keep all the paperwork and documents you have that evidence each of your journeys to and from the UK. You might need these for future immigration applications, too.
What are the advantages to study in UK?
- Requires only 15 years of education for direct entry into postgraduate programme;
- International students studying at UK institutions are not required to obtain permission from the jobcentre to take spare time and vacation work;
- In UK, most undergraduate degrees take only 3 years while postgraduate degrees take one year; you spend less time away from home and less money on course fees;
- Educational institutions are constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure that courses offered are of high quality;
- Qualifications from the UK are some of the most recognized and respected worldwide;
- There is a high success rate for international students in the UK education system;
- Health insurance is free to students who are studying in UK for 6 months of more;
- There are many routes into education in UK, so chances of accessing the British system are high;
- UK is the gateway to Europe, rich in history and has welcomed international students for hundreds of years.
Are Scholarships available?
If I have the required fund in my account but have limited time to arrive in uk, and I applied without my money being there for the said 28 days, will my application be refused?
Who can show funds for study tier 4 in UK?
Does the sponsor arrange the accomodation?
Can I work while extending my tier 4 adult visa?
Can I maintain my fund through bank loan or not if yes what about amount and about loan sanction? Loan disburse?
What steps are taken to check on Tier 4 student's working hours?
As an adult student under Tier 4 (General), you are allowed to:
- do part-time work during term time;
- do full-time work during vacations;
- do a work placement as part of your course.
The maximum amount of part-time work you can do during term time is:
- 20 hours per week if you are studying a course at or above UK degree level or a foundation degree course, and/or if you made your application to study under Tier 4 (General) on or before 2 March 2010;
- 10 hours per week if you are studying a course that is below UK degree level and is not a foundation degree course, and you made your application to study under Tier 4 (General) on or after 3 March 2010.
The work you do must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme), and you must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson (including coach) or entertainer.
You can work full-time during vacation periods, within the above limits. If you have completed your course and you make an application to remain in the UK under the points-based system before your existing permission to stay expires, you can work full-time (within the above limits) until your application is decided.
Will the border agency reject my UK Tier4 student visa based on my previous UK visitor visa rejection?
Can I apply for a tier4 student visa after rejection of my UK visitor visa?
Can I switch from work permit to student visa while being in uk?
A person can apply under the Tier 4 (General) student category if he/she has, or was last given, permission to stay in any of the following categories:
- Tier 4 (General) Student
- Tier 4 (Child) Student
- Tier 1 (Post-study Work) Migrant
- Tier 2 Migrant
- Participant in the International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme)
- Participant in the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
- Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist
- Prospective Student
- Student Nurse
- Student Re-sitting an Examination
- Student Writing-Up a Thesis
- Student Union Sabbatical Officer
- Work Permit Holder.
If the visa that you have for the UK is one of the above then there should be no problem to apply for the UK Student visa from inside the UK.
In the event that a student visa application is refused on the grounds of showing the cash funds for the stipulated 28 days, can one reapply after the required funds have reached that 28 day period?
Are you required to have all of the funds before the 28 days period or can you have some and add some later?
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Hi Liz, I wanted to thank you for all your work and dedication to our case over the last year.I know that it's your job however I just wanted to tell you that you are good at your job and keep it up. Its so nice to deal with someone so empathic and helpful as you were. Things going smoothly at the mo so thank you.
Hi Karen! I just wanted to write you a quick note to say thank you so much for all of the help that you and the Visa First team has provided to me over the past few weeks. Also, I literally JUST received my U.K. Youth Mobility Scheme Visa about 30 seconds ago, so I wanted to share the good news with you!
Dear Management, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the service we have received during our Skilled Visa process with Visa First, but particularly on the hand delivered service by Amanda Carter. She has been nothing but helpful, informative, responsive and professional. In all our dealings with her she has always taken the time to answer our questions and queries fully and promptly. She has a very friendly and positive attitude making the whole process a positive experience. I think employees and people like her deserve a thank you and more importantly recognition. Hard work, thoroughness and ability are part and parcel of her way of dealing with her clients. Thank you, Laura Magan
Hi Liz, Hope you are feeling better, thanks for your e-mail it was a great surprize I was delighted to hear that I have been granted my visa and that I can stay in Oz with my boyfriend Dwayne. We are going into our summer at the moment and the weather is great, I hear ye have a lot of flooding at home peoples houses destroyed and others living in fear of flooding. I hope you do not live near any of the flooding.
Hi Edwina, I would like thank you for all your help, support and advise throughout our application, we could not have done it without you. I hope Visafirst appreciate all your efforts because we really do! Once again a huge thank you! You're a legend! Regards, Alan & Yvonne
Hi Debbie, Thats the best news I've heard all year! Let's hope this is the start of more good news to come! I was really so worried! Thanks for being so patient with us and for keeping us posted. I know this is only the first step but we're going to stay postive and with a lot of luck things will move swiftly and smoothly! I've sent away for Richards PPC last week so you should be receiving that in the next few weeks. Thanks again for your kind assistance! Kind regards Richard and Terisha
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