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Student Visa Requirements in the UK

Learn more about the student visa processing time, entry requirements and fees for international students

To successfully secure a study visa for the UK, international students typically need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Acceptance into a recognised educational institution: You must have been accepted into a recognised educational institution in the UK
  • Proof of financial support: Demonstrate that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees and living expenses in the UK for the duration of your studies
  • English language proficiency: Demonstrate that you have a good level of proficiency in the English language, either by passing a recognised English language test or by having completed a degree-level course in English
  • Intention to study: Convince the UK government that you have a genuine intention to study in the UK and that you are not planning to use your student visa as a means of gaining access to the UK for other purposes, such as work or settlement
  • Immigration history: Have a clean immigration history and be able to demonstrate that you do not pose a threat to national security

It is important to note that the UK government's requirements and policies regarding student visas can change over time, so it is important to check the latest requirements before applying. Alternatively, speak directly to a member of the SI-UK visa team who has extensive knowledge of the latest immigration legislation, rules and regulations.

UK Visa Types

Types of student visa Who can apply?

General Student visa

You can apply for a general student visa to study in the UK if:

  • You're 16 years old or over
  • Studying for a foundation, A-Levels, undergraduate, postgraduate, pre-masters or PhD programme
Child Student visa

You can apply for a Child Student visa if:

  • You're between 4-17 years old
  • Want to study at an independent school with a sponsor licence
Short-term Student visa

You can apply for a short-term student visa if you are studying English language courses lasting between 6-11 months.

Visitor visa

You can apply for a Visitor visa if:

  • You are studying at course that lasts less than six months at an accredited institution
  • Undertaking research as an academic
  • Studying an elective
  • Taking part in an educational exchange
  • Attending a recreational course that lasts for 30 days maximum
Graduate visa

You can apply for a Graduate visa if you plan on staying in the UK for two years after successfully completing an undergraduate degree.

Supporting Documents for a Student Visa

International students applying for a visa to study in the UK generally need to provide the following documents:

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS): This document is provided by the educational institution you'll be attending in the UK. It confirms that you have been accepted to study there and outlines the details of your course.
  • Proof of finances: Show you have enough money to support yourself during your studies in the UK.
  • Passport or travel document: Your passport or travel document should be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the UK.
  • Academic qualifications: You must provide evidence of your academic qualifications, such as transcripts and certificates.
  • English language proficiency: Depending on your course and the institution you'll be attending, you may need to demonstrate your English language proficiency.
  • Biometric information: You'll need to provide your fingerprints and a photograph as part of the application process.

In rare circumstances, students may require the following for their UK student visa application:

  • Tuberculosis test: If you're from a country where tuberculosis is prevalent, you'll need to provide a certificate showing that you've been tested and are free from the disease
  • ATAS: For certain nationalities only, you should have your ATAS certificate available before starting the student visa application
  • A letter from your financial sponsor: For students receiving financial sponsorship from a Government or international scholarship agency

UK Student Visa Fees

Student Visa Application from outside the UK

If you are applying for a student visa from outside the UK, the fee is £363. This applies to individuals not currently residing in the UK and needing a visa to study there.

Student Visa Extension or Switching from inside the UK

If you are already in the UK and need to extend your student visa or switch to a student visa from another visa category, the fee is £490. This applies to individuals who are already studying in the UK and need to continue their studies or change their visa status.

Visa Fee for Additional Dependents

If you have family members or dependents who will be joining you in the UK, you must pay the visa fee for each person separately. As mentioned above, the fee remains the same (£363 for applications from outside the UK and £490 for applications from inside the UK).

Healthcare Surcharge

In addition to the visa fee, all applicants must pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application. The healthcare surcharge covers access to the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and varies depending on the duration of your visa.

Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies

UK immigration rules require the university to sponsor your application for a student visa (this is not the same as financial sponsorship). This is called the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, or CAS.

The CAS confirms that the student has met the requirements to study their chosen course, including meeting the English language proficiency requirements and having sufficient funds to cover their tuition fees and living expenses. It also contains specific information about the student's course of study, including the course start and end dates, the tuition fees, and the sponsor's contact details. The student must include their CAS number on their visa application form, and the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will verify the CAS before issuing the visa.

It's important to note that a CAS does not guarantee a visa, but it is necessary for a student visa application.

Graduate Visa Route

The post-study work visa allows international students studying undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UK universities to look for work in the UK for 2-3 years after graduation (course dependent).

During this period, students can work at any skill level without being required to meet the conditions of a minimum threshold salary or job sponsorship from employers, and the Graduate Route is a great way for international students to access the lucrative UK labour market.

SI-UK Visa Service

SI-UK's visa consultant is registered with the Home Office OISC* (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) and has extensive knowledge of the latest immigration legislation, rules and regulations.

SI-UK’s Student Visa Service offers advice and assistance to international students wishing to obtain a UK visa, specialising in General Student visas, Child Student visas and Short-term study visas (for English language courses lasting 6-11 months). Fill out the form below, and a member of the SI-UK team will get back to you.

UK Student Visa FAQ

You can apply for a UK student visa up to 6 months before the start date of your course. You must apply online through the UK government's official website for visas and immigration. You'll also need to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) at a visa application centre in your home country.

To be eligible for a UK Student Visa, you must have an offer from a licensed sponsor to study a full-time course in the UK. You must also meet the English language proficiency requirements, have enough money to cover your tuition fees and living expenses, and be able to prove that you intend to leave the UK after your studies are completed.

You must be able to show that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of your course. As of April 2023, the minimum amount required is £1,334 per month for living costs in London and £1,023 per month for living costs outside of London. You may also need to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your visa application.

The length of your UK Student Visa will depend on the length of your course. If your course is less than 6 months long, you can stay in the UK for the full length of the course plus an additional 7 days. If your course is longer than 6 months, you can stay for the full length of the course plus an additional 4 months after the end of the course.

You can extend your UK student visa if you meet the eligibility criteria. You must apply before your current visa expires, and you'll need to prove that you're still studying and have enough money to support yourself. There may be additional requirements depending on your individual circumstances.

Yes, you may be able to stay in the UK after your studies if you meet the eligibility criteria. You may be eligible for a post-study visa or skilled work visa, depending on your qualifications and a job offer.

Yes, you may be able to work with a UK Student Visa, but there are restrictions. You can work part-time during term time (up to 20 hours per week) and full-time during vacation periods. You cannot work as a professional sportsperson, doctor or dentist in training, or a self-employed person.

UK Student Visa Enquiry

To begin your UK study visa application, contact SI-UK today, and one of our consultants will be in touch shortly to discuss your student visa application.

Breckett Front  My consultant was very helpful and motivating. She helped me every step of the way, even when the deadline was so close. I feel I could not have done it without her. I'd highly recommend this service to any and all of my many friends interested.  Breckett Front

Brishti Basu Biosciences at Coventry University