If you wish to study in the United Kingdom and are not a citizen of the European Union you will need to apply for a UK student visa. There are different types of student visas available for the UK, each with their own conditions and restrictions. The sort of student visa you need will rely upon your age, the type of course you plan to study, the length of your course, and type of school or university you plan on studying with.
The UK government welcomes world-wide learners, and there is no limit on the number of student visas that can be issued. Each year, thousands of international students successfully gain a visa to study in the United Kingdom. The following guide will help you understand what student visas are available to you, information on how you can obtain a student visa for your planned UK study and how you can make a successful UK student visa application.
Will I need a student visa to come to the UK to study?
If you’re a citizen of the EU (or Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein) you will not need to apply for a student visa. If you’re a national of any other country, you will need entry clearance. In most cases, this means you will need to apply for a UK student visa.
What types of student visa are there?
There are two main types of UK student visa: the short term study visa and the tier four student visa. A short Term Study Visa is adequate for brief academic courses and for most English courses. For extended academic courses, you will need a Tier 4 Visa. These are divided into 2 categories: Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child). UK student visas are awarded on the UK points-based system.
What type of student visa will I need?
To find out which UK student visa you will require, visit Gov.uk.
How to apply for a student visa
You must apply online for a short-term study visa, tier 4 (General) student visa and tier 4 (child) student visa. You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application for any of these UK student visas. You’ll also have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date). You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre. You may also need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test, however this varies depending on what country you are from, click here to find out more.
You can’t apply online if you’re living in North Korea. To apply from North Korea you must download an application form.
How to make a successful UK student visa application
Please take care when completing your application to avoid your visa being refused as you may not have time to make another application. If you are in doubt about whether any of the documents meet the requirements contact your local visa application centre (VAC) or visit gov.uk, do not risk the possibility of a refusal.
- You need to have received an unconditional course offer to apply for a UK student visa. Only when your course offer is unconditional will you receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you must provide as evidence when you apply for a UK student visa.
- Prepare all your financial evidence and other documents for your visa application. You must know the total cost of your stay in the UK, including your course fees. To make a successful UK student visa application you must be able to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in the UK.
- Make sure you thoroughly read through your CAS statement, if any of the information is incorrect it could result in your UK student visa being declined.
- You can then go on to apply for you student visa on the gov.uk website, take your time as your fill out you online application (or written application if you are applying from North Korea) as one mistake can result in your application being declined and you may need to pay extra fees to re-apply.
Using your UK Student Visa
When you enter the UK, a UK Border Agency officer will place a stamp on your passport that states the period of your stay within the United Kingdom. You cannot extend your stay beyond this period. Before you arrive, you need to ensure you are fully immunised, remembering to pack your immunisation record in your hand luggage just in case you are asked to show the Border Agency officer at your UK port of entry.