How to Get a Student Visa for the UK

Student visas are needed if you are 16 or older and want to study in the UK.

  • have been accepted by a registered student sponsor into a program
  • be able to pay for both your living costs and your tuition. The amount depends on the details of your situation.
  • can read, write, speak, and understand English
  • If you are 16 or 17, you must have permission from a parent. When you apply, you will need to show proof of this.

If you want to go to an independent school in the UK and are 16 or 17, you might be able to get a Child Student visa instead.

The Tier 4 (General) student visa has been changed to this one.

If you or someone in your family is a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein,

If you or someone in your family moved to the UK before December, you may be able to get help from the free EU Settlement Scheme.

Most people had to send in their applications by June. If either of the following is true, you can still apply:

  • you have a later deadline, like if you’re going to the UK to visit a family member.
  • you have “reasonable grounds” for missing the application deadline, such as illness or domestic violence.
How to Get a U.S. Visa

When to use it

When you can submit an application depends on whether you are in the United Kingdom or outside of it.

When you apply from outside of the UK

You can apply for a visa up to six months before the start of your course.

Most of the time, you’ll hear about your visa within 3 weeks.

Trying to get in from inside the UK

You can apply up to three months before your course begins.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course can’t begin more than 28 days before your current visa expires.

Usually, you’ll hear back within 8 weeks.

How long you can stay

How long you can stay in the UK will depend on how long your course is and how much study you’ve already done there.

Usually, you can stay in the UK for up to 5 years if you are 18 or older and studying at a university level. If it’s less than a degree, you can usually stay in the UK for up to two years.

Having more time in the UK

You could maybe:

  • You may be able to get your visa extended, for example, if you want to keep studying in the UK.
  • If you are already in the UK, you can switch from another visa to a Student visa.
  • If you want to stay in the UK for at least two years after you finish your course, you should switch to a Graduate visa.

When you can go to the United Kingdom

You can arrive before class begins. This might indicate:

  • if your course lasts less than 6 months, you can do this up to a week before.
  • if your course is longer than 6 months, up to 1 month before

No matter when your course starts, you can’t go to the UK before the start date on your visa.


  • From outside the UK, it costs £363 to apply for a Student visa.
  • From inside the UK, it costs £490 to extend or change a Student visa.

For each person who comes with you, you must pay the visa fee.

Charge for health care

You’ll also have to pay a fee for health care as part of your application.

The amount you pay depends on how long your visa is valid. Find out how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Your spouse and kids

You might be able to bring your spouse and/or kids with you.

What you can do and can’t do

Things you can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer

You might be able to work, but how much will depend on what you’re studying and whether you’re working during or outside of term time.

Things you can’t do:

  • ask the government and pensions for money.
  • work in some jobs, like as a professional athlete or a sports coach.
  • work for yourself
  • attend an academy or school that the local government helps to fund (also known as a maintained school)

If your application is accepted, you will be told what you can and can’t do while on a Student visa.