For you to study in the United Kingdom, you will need to check if you’ll need a visa to apply for UK student visa online.
Studying in the UK
Short-term study visa and visa for long courses, degrees, and independent schools. Find out below.
You can apply for a student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor
have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
can speak, read, write and understand English
have consent from your parents if you’re 16 or 17 – you’ll need evidence of this when you apply
If you’re 16 or 17 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK, you may be eligible for a Child Student visa instead.
This visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa.
If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein
If you or your close family member started living in the UK before 1 January 2022, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline is 30 June 2022.
Otherwise, you need a visa to study in the UK.
Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.
When to apply
When you can apply depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.
Applying from outside the UK
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
Applying from inside the UK
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.
You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.
You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.
How long you can stay
How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed.
If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.
Read the guidance to find out exactly how long you can stay.
Staying longer in the UK
You may be able to:
- extend your visa if you’re eligible, for example, to continue your studies in the UK
- switch to a Student visa from another visa if you’re already in the UK
When you can travel to the UK
You can arrive in the UK before your course starts. This can be either:
- up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
- up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months
UK Visa Fees
- £348 to apply for a student visa from outside the UK
- £475 to extend or switch to a Student visa from inside the UK
You must pay the visa fee for each person that joins you.
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.
Your partner and children
You may be able to bring your partner and children (‘dependants’).
What you can and cannot do
- study in the UK
- work as a student union sabbatical officer
You may be able to work – how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.
- claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
- work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
- be self-employed
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
If your application is successful, you’ll be told what you can and cannot do on a Student visa.
You must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed student sponsor.
To prove this, your education provider will send you a reference number (called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)) once they’ve offered you a place on the course. You need a CAS before you can apply for your visa.
Courses you can study
You can do one of the following courses to apply for UK Student Visa online:
- The full-time course leading to a qualification that’s below degree level (RQF level 3, 4, or 5) with at least 15 hours a week of organized daytime study
- A full-time course leading to a qualification that’s degree level or above (RQF level 6, 7, or 8)
- A full-time course at degree level or above (RQF level 6,7 or 8) that’s equivalent to a UK higher education course and is being delivered as part of a longer course overseas
- A part-time course leading to a qualification that’s above degree level (RQF level 7 or above)
- The recognized foundation program for postgraduate doctors or dentists
- An English language course at level B2 or above in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
You may also need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics at RQF level 7 or above.
You can also apply for UK student visa online if you’re:
taking up a full-time elected position as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer
applying to extend your stay on the Doctorate Extension Scheme – you must currently have permission to be in the UK on a student visa (or a Tier 4 (General) student visa) and your course must lead to a PhD
Postgraduate doctors and dentists
You can apply for this visa if you’re sponsored to do a recognized foundation program and you’ve:
- Finished a recognized UK degree in medicine or dentistry
- Received that degree from a registered student sponsor
- Spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK
Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Once they’ve offered you a place on the course, your education provider will send you a reference number called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.
You must enter this reference number on your visa application.
You must apply for your visa within 6 months of receiving your CAS.
What qualification levels mean
Qualifications outside England, Wales, and Northern Ireland use different level systems.
You can compare qualifications in Scotland with those in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Outside the UK
- compare European qualifications
- contact the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) to compare a UK qualification with any non-UK qualification – there’s a fee for this
- Absa Fellowship Programme
- Korean Government Scholarship
- Arden University Berlin Undergraduate Program
- World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program
- Atul Chauhan Scholarships