How to get a UK student visa - Studycor

How to get a UK student visa

UK Visa

Student Visas to the United Kingdom (UK)

General Information

If you are interested in studying in the United Kingdom and are 16 years of age or older, this guide will provide you the information that you need for applying for a student visa.

UK general student visa is called Tier 4. You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa if you have been offered a place on a course and can communicate in English. You must have enough money to support yourself and to pay for any expenses related to coursework.

To qualify for this visa, you must be from a country that is not within the European Economic Area or Switzerland. There are other eligibility requirements that you must meet as well, which will be covered in the material below.

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a delay, there will be no change to the status and rights of European Union citizens living in the UK until December 31, 2020. You may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the European Union.


You may apply for a visa three months before you start your studies, but no sooner. You will typically receive a decision about your visa within three weeks, but it is a good idea to check the specific processing requirements and times for your country of origin.


You must pay £348 per person for every individual applying for the visa. You will also be required to finance any healthcare surcharges, the specific costs of which vary.

Length of Stay

You may arrive in the United Kingdom a week before a six-month course (or a course lasting fewer than six months) or one month before for a course lasting more than six months. The length of stay will vary depending on how much study you have already completed, as well as the kind of course you are completing.


As a visa holder, you can study, apply from outside or inside the United Kingdom, work as a student union sabbatical officer, apply to extend your stay or work in most jobs. You may also be allowed to bring in family members.

However, you will be unable to apply for public funds or work in certain jobs like sports coaching or professional athletics. You may also not study at an academic or school funded by a local authority.


To be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 visa, you must have an unconditional placement offer in a course that is a licensed Tier 4 sponsor. You must also have enough money to pay for your course and support yourself during your studies.

Your course may meet one of the following qualifications:

  • Full time leading to a qualification that is level 6 (which is undergraduate level) or higher
  • Part-time leading to a qualification that is level 7 (graduate level) or higher
  • Overseas course of study that is equivalent to a UK higher education course
  • Full-time with at least 15 hours per week of organized daily study, leading to a qualification for at least a level 3 (A-levels, international Baccalaureate diploma)
  • Recognized program as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • English language course at level B2 or higher

Once you have been accepted to your course of study, you will receive a reference number that will need to be supplied on your visa application. You can apply for your visa no more than six months after receiving this confirmation of acceptance.

If you have studied in the United Kingdom in the past, you can receive a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) if you are re-sitting exams or repeating coursework. If you are applying to a new institution to complete a course that you started at a school that lost its Tier 4 sponsorship, or attending your studies to complete a work placement or study abroad program, you may also receive a CAS.

This rule applies in a similar manner if you are applying after working as a student union sabbatical officer for continuing a Ph.D., doctorate, medical, dentistry, or medical science degree.

English Proficiency

When you apply for a Tier 4 visa, you must demonstrate knowledge of the English language. This is typically done by passing a secure English language test. This must be completed through an approved provider.

If you received a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in one of the following locations, you do not need to prove proficiency in English:

  • UK
  • USA
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • St Lucia
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • New Zealand
  • Jamaica
  • Ireland
  • Guyana
  • Grenada
  • Dominica
  • Belize
  • Barbados
  • The Bahamas
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Antigua and Barbuda


When you apply, prepare to have the following documentation at hand:

  • A current passport or equivalent travel documentation
  • Proof of financial support
  • Proof of legal guardian consent and parental relationship if you are under the age of 18
  • Tuberculosis test results (if required by your country)

You will also need to have a blank page in your passport for your visa.

Application Process

Before applying, read the guidelines carefully. You can apply online for a Tier 4 visa, but you will need to have your photographs and fingerprints taken at a visa application center. You will need to collect your biometric residence permit, which will be printed after your photograph and fingerprints are taken, within 10 days of your arrival in the country.

If you live in North Korea, you cannot apply online.

How to Extend Your Visa

If you already have a visa and would like to extend it, you can do so if you meet the following conditions. You:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements of the Tier 4 visa
  • Are in the UK
  • Are sponsored

A sponsor must be one from an institution of higher education, an overseas institution of higher education, an independent school, or an embedded college offering pathway courses. All dependents must be included in your application.

If you are applying for an extension, you should do so within six months of receiving a confirmation of acceptance for your studies but no more than three months before the course start date on your confirmation. This must also be done before your current visa expires.

An extension costs £475 plus expenses for the healthcare surcharge and biometric information processing. Expedited services are available.

All application materials are available online.

How to Switch to this Visa

You can switch to a Tier 4 visa if you are under any of the following schemes:

  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer)
  • Tier 4 (Child)

To switch, you must apply within six months of getting a confirmation of acceptance but before your current visa expires. Again, you will need to pay £475 plus related expenses and application materials are available online.

Information for Family Members

Family members may be able to apply to join or stay with you in the United Kingdom. A dependent includes:

  • Husbands, wives, or civil partners
  • Unmarried or same-sex partners
  • Children under 18 years old

You may bring a dependent to the country if you are:

  • Sponsored by a higher education institution at level 7 (i.e. graduate level) or above, that lasts more than 9 months
  • A doctorate extension scheme student
  • A new government-sponsored student on a course lasting longer than six months

You must show that you can support your dependents while you are studying in the United Kingdom in addition to the funds that are available to you to support yourself. These funds required will vary depending on the length of your course, where exactly you are studying, and whether you have finished a course or are currently studying. You must provide documentation of proof.

All family members will need to apply online and have their photographs and fingerprints taken. Family members cannot apply online if they are doing so from North Korea.
Source: UK Government website

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