UK student visa information

United Kingdom visa
Find out the visa requirements for students, when and how to apply, the costs and where to get help.
International students need a visa to study in London. Take a look at this handy guide to know which one applies to you.

Student visa

The Student visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Student visa rules: an overview

Your course must meet the government’s eligibility requirements to apply. You can apply for a Student visa if you’re 16 or older.

You will also need:

  1. A course confirmation:you must receive an unconditional offer and a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a university that is a licensed student sponsor. You must apply for your visa within 6 months of receiving your CAS.
  2. Funding:you must provide proof that you have enough funds to pay for both your course tuition fees and your monthly living costs.
  3. Proof of your English language skills.
  4. Evidence of consent from your parents or tutors if you’re a minor.

Find out more about documents you will need to apply for a Student visa.

How to apply

International students must submit their application online via the UK Visas and Immigration website. Check the visa costs before applying.

Visit a visa application centre where you will have your fingerprints and photograph taken (known as biometric information).

You can only apply for your visa once you have been given a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. If you are applying from outside the UK, the earliest you can apply is three months before the start date of your course.

Healthcare

You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge. This gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) upon application, but only if you intend to live in the UK for longer than six months.

Short-term study visa

If you’re planning to take a short course (no more than six months) in the UK, you should apply for a Short-term study visa. You must come from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Short-term study visa rules: an overview

To qualify for the Short-term study visa, you must meet the government’s requirements.

How to apply

International students need to apply online. Learn more about the cost of this visa on the UK Home Office website before applying.

You must have your fingerprints and photograph (known as “biometric information”) taken at a visa application centre.

This visa cannot be extended, and you will be unable to switch to another visa category. You also cannot work with a Short-term visa, including carrying out work experience or work placements. Check what you can and cannot do before applying.

Child Student visa

Students aged between four and 17 can apply for a Child Student visa, providing they have the consent of a parent or guardian to study in the UK. Studying English language

Taking an English course

If you are 16 or more and want to study English for up to 11 months, the short-term study visa is for you. For anything longer than 11 months, you’ll need to apply for the Student visa.


If in doubt, all universities in London have trained visa advisors and will be able to guide you through the visa process once you have been accepted onto a course.

UK work visa

There are many jobs and work experience opportunities for students and graduates in London. You may be able to work during your studies, depending on your course.

For a comprehensive guide to working in London during your studies, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and the UK Visa and Immigration websites.

Students who wish to remain in the UK after they graduate must apply for a work visa, unless they meet the criteria for a two-year post-study work visa for international students.

The Graduate Route: a UK post-study work visa for international students

The UK government is launching a new Graduate Route for international students from summer 2021.

What is the criteria for the Graduate Route?

The Graduate Route is a new visa available for eligible international students. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It will apply to those who have successfully graduated from an undergraduate or master’s degree or have completed a PhD.
  • Successful applicants will have permission to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years.
  • PhD graduates will be able to stay for three years.
  • This route will be available to international students who graduate from the summer of 2021 and who meet the necessary criteria.

What do I need to apply?

A valid Student visa at the time of your application and successful completion of a degree at undergraduate level or above at a compliant Higher Education Provider will be required.

You will need to start a new visa application; on top of the visa you may already have. You will not be eligible if your visa expires before the Graduate Route is introduced.

Take a look at the official UK Government guidance on students and distance learning in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Find out more

Visit the official UK Visas & Immigration website to check which visa you may need to stay and work in the UK. You’ll also find frequently asked questions on the Home Office blog and the UKCISA website.