All international students who want to study in the UK are required to get a student visa (Tier 4). This type of visa is only available to full-time university students pursuing a degree in the UK, and not short-term or language courses.
Students of following nationals do not need a visa for study in UK:
If you are from any other country, you are likely to need a visa.
Anyone who is planning to study in UK is required to have a visa in order to stay in the country for an extended period of time. Immigration requirements for UK are determined by your nationality and the country that you have citizenship in.
Arriving in the UK
When you arrive at passport control here in the UK, you should expect Border Force officers to ask you simple questions about your studies or your stay in the UK
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
Student visa requires you to carry a lot more documents than you would for a tourist visa, by comparison. You need the mandatory documents along with supporting documents of financial and academic records. Make sure you refer the documentation below before going to the consulate for the study visa interview
Click on the different tabs to see things you should know before you arrive in UK .
If you are an existing student in UK and need a Tier 4 visa extension
The application process
Some important links:
1. Fee Details
If you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in one of the ccountries which require a TB test, you may need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test. Contact Ulearn and they will help you in finding the nearest TB center near you and if you really need a TB test. It is necessary to pass this test.
When you apply for a Tier 4 visa, you’ll need to prove to UKVI that you have enough money for your tuition fees and living expenses.
As part of your Tier 4 visa application, you must show that you have enough money to meet the financial requirements. The amount of money you need to have is calculated from your tuition fees and living expenses (sometimes called ‘maintenance’).
You must show that you have had the required money for at least 28 consecutive days before you apply for your visa.
For guidance on the documents you will need to provide with your Tier 4 application as evidence of your finances, see our information on demonstrating your finances.
You must show that you have enough money to pay for any outstanding tuition fees for the whole academic year ahead.
Money that has already been paid to the university can be deducted from the balance. Your CAS will state your tuition fees for the current academic year, and how must you have paid towards this.
If you are unsure of how much your programme costs, please check the cost of your fees.
In addition to the tuition fees, you need to show that you have enough money for your living expenses. The exact amount of money you need depends on the campus where you will study.
Please note that it does not matter where you live – this requirement is based on your campus.
The amount of money you need to have for your living expenses depends on the length of your programme. It is calculated in months.
If you are applying with dependants (such as a spouse, partner, or children), you will need to show additional money for each dependant. Please see our guidance on applying with dependants.
For guidance on the documents you will need to provide with your Tier 4 application, see our information on demonstrating your finances.
Demonstrate your finances
ou’ll need to submit your financial evidence in the right format to make sure your visa application is successful.
When submitting your Tier 4 visa application, you will be asked to submit evidence that you meet the financial requirements. To ensure that you have the correct funds and documents in place, the university will ask to see this evidence before issuing you with a CAS.
For guidance on calculating how much money you need to show, see our information on the financial requirements for your Tier 4 visa application.
We have listed below the different types of document you can use to as evidence of funds for your Tier 4 visa application. For comprehensive information, we recommend that you also read the UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance.
If you provide a bank statement with your Tier 4 application, the bank account must belong to you, or your parent(s)/legal guardian(s). If you use a joint account in multiple names, you or your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) must be named on the account.
The funds in your bank account must be available for 28 consecutive days and must not fall below the required amount during these 28 days. The statement cannot be older than 31 days when you submit your visa application.
Your bank statement must show:
If you use an online statement, or a statement that is not printed on the bank’s official headed paper, you will need to have a supporting letter from the bank. Alternatively, you can ask your bank to stamp each page with their official stamp.
If you use a bank statement that belongs to your parent(s)/legal guardian(s), you must prove that you are related to them with one of the following documents:
You must also provide a letter from your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) that confirms you have permission to use their money for your studies. This letter must confirm:
Please make sure that the names on the above documents match those on the bank statement.
You can use an overseas bank account, but you will need to use the OANDA website to convert the balance into pounds (GBP). This is the same tool that UKVI use when checking your visa application.
There is an ‘approved list’ of banks in some countries. This applies if you have an account in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. You can find the approved list in Appendix P of the Immigration Rules.
Instead of a bank statement, your bank can produce a letter to confirm you have the required amount of funds available. This letter must confirm that the funds have been held for a consecutive 28-day period and the letter must not be dated more than 31 days before you make your Tier 4 visa application. The bank letter must show:
If you have an educational loan to cover the cost of your studies, you can use this to meet the financial evidence requirements.
To be acceptable as evidence of funds, the loan must be in your name and provided by your government (state, regional, or national), or be through a government-sponsored student loan company or educational loans scheme.
You cannot use any other form of loan for your Tier 4 visa application.
To use your loan in a visa application, you must provide a letter from the loan provider which includes:
If you have an official financial sponsor who is paying some or all of your tuition fees, and/or providing you with money to meet your living costs during your studies, you can use this as evidence of funds.
You will need to provide a letter from your financial sponsor which shows:
An official financial sponsor must be one of the following:
*If you receive full sponsorship from your government and are making a visa extension from within the UK, the letter must state that you have their permission to extend your visa in the UK.
If anyone else is providing you with money for your studies, they cannot be considered an official financial sponsor and the money will need to be in your own bank account.
Please note that if the money from your sponsor only covers part of your tuition fees or living costs, you need to ensure you have the remaining money in an eligible bank account.
Applying with dependants
If you are considering bringing your family members to join you in the UK whilst you study, you should first read about the visa application they will need to make.
Making a Tier 4 visa application from outside of the UK can be complicated. We’ve put together all of the information you’ll need to make the process as easy as possible for you.
You should have the following documents before applying:
Once your visa application is approved, you will be given a short visa in your passport. This is called a vignette and will allow you to enter the UK. It is usually valid for up to 30 days so you must make sure you enter the UK during this time.
After you have arrived, you will be able to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which is your actual visa and should be valid for the duration of your programme.
On your visa application, you will need to identify where you would like to collect your BRP. In most cases, it is easiest to select the university, so it is ready when you arrive for registration. If you prefer, you can also choose to collect it from a local Post Office. Please refer to our guidance on BRP collection for more information.
Your BRP will include:
If you wish to apply for a visa for your dependant(s) to come to the UK with you, please see our information about applying with dependants.
Apply for your Tier 4 Visa in the UK
Making your Tier 4 visa application inside the UK requires planning and preparation. We’ve put together guidance and information to help make your Tier 4 visa application go smoothly.
The information on this page guides you on the process of submitting your Tier 4 visa application from within the UK. If you are submitting your Tier 4 application from outside of the UK, the application form and process is different – see our guidance on applying from outside of the UK instead.
The Tier 4 application form for applications made inside the UK is completed online.
To make the visa application, you need to create an account. Once you have done this, you can access your application at any time and complete it at your convenience.
When you have filled in the online application form there are some fees you will need to pay in order to complete your online visa application:
As part of your online Tier 4 visa application, you are required to pay a fee for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). See the UKVI information about the healthcare surcharge for more detail.
After you have filled in the visa application form, you must choose one of the services below to submit your application.
|Method||Book an appointment at an approved visa application centre via the Sopra Steria system||Book an appointment at an approved visa application centre via the Sopra Steria system||Book an appointment at an approved visa application centre via the Sopra Steria system|
|Time scale||May take up to eight weeks for UKVI to make a decision from the date of your appointment||You will usually receive a decision within ten working days||You will usually get a decision on the day of your appointment|
You should note that all of the services require you to attend an appointment to submit your documents. The application form will explain how to book this appointment and attend it.
After submitting the Tier 4 visa application, all applicants are required to provide their biometric information (fingerprints). This is done at the same time as your appointment.
If you are applying with dependants (your spouse, civil partner, partner or children) then you need to confirm this in the application form. When you confirm that you have dependant/s, an additional section of the form will be created for you to complete with their details.
Find out more in our information about applying with dependants.
If you would like guidance and advice about submitting your Tier 4 visa extension application, the International Student Advice Service will be happy to assist you. We strongly recommend getting advice before making your application, to maximise your chances of success and reduce the likelihood of any problems.
When making your Tier 4 visa application, you will need to submit some specific documents to prove that you meet the criteria
The documents you need to provide with your visa application depend on your circumstances. Some documents are mandatory and others need to be provided depending on your circumstances and what your CAS says. The following list should help you to work out what documents you will need to provide. It’s important to provide all of the documents needed, as not doing so can cause a visa refusal.
A current passport or other valid travel documentation.
Qualifications stated on your CAS. All qualifications listed in your CAS. You should note that if no qualifications are listed in your CAS, you are not required to provide any.
English language evidence. UKVI ask for proof of your knowledge of the English language. Universities can choose how they assess a student’s knowledge of English. Your CAS will confirm how your English language ability has been assessed by the university. If it has been assessed by you providing a certificate or qualification, then this will be listed in your CAS and you must provide the certificate listed. If no English language qualifications are listed in your CAS, then you will not need to provide any with your application.
Translations. If any document is not in English, the original must be accompanied by a full translation. The translation must contain:
Proof of finances. You need to provide evidence that you have a specific amount of money available to you for tuition fees and living costs in the UK. See our information on the financial requirements for guidance on how to check what this amount is.
The types of document you can provide to prove your finances are:
See our information and guidance on finance documents on the demonstrating your finances page. Please note that it is important to provide finance documents which meet the requirements, to avoid a visa refusal.
Letter of consent from government sponsor. If you have received any official financial sponsorship from a government in the past year, you must provide a letter from this sponsor which confirms the sponsor’s consent for you to make the Tier 4 application.
Proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian. If the funds you show are held under a parent’s name, you must prove your relationship to your parent(s). Birth certificates or adoption certificates are accepted.
Letter from parent/ guardian. If the funds are held under a parent’s name, you also need a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) providing consent for you to use the money. The letter does not need to follow a strict format, but it must be signed and dated.
Proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18. If you are under the age of 18 when you start your studies, you will need to provide a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and also your birth certificate or adoption certificate. Contact us for more information and advice if needed.
Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test. Note that if you have been living in a country for the past six months where the TB test is not required, then you will not need to provide this (If you have been living in the UK for six or more months, then you will not need to take a TB test.) See the UKVI information on TB tests to check if this applies to you.
ATAS Certificate (Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate). This is a certificate required by some postgraduate students. (It does not apply to students on undergraduate programmes of study.) You should note that it takes approximately one month for an ATAS certificate to be issued. Your CAS will confirm if you need an ATAS certificate. See our ATAS information for more guidance.
This is the electronic document that you will receive from the university via email, which is essential to making your Tier 4 application. You should note that as the CAS is electronic, you only need to provide the CAS reference number in your visa application form and there is no requirement to provide a paper copy.
Information about getting your CAS for extending your visa (continuing on the same programme of study with an extension.)
If you are a ‘low risk’ applicant, you do not need to provide qualifications or finance evidence with your visa application. However, you must have these documents available, because UKVI reserves the right to ask a low risk national to send them the documentary evidence during the processing of the visa application. If you are asked to provide the documents and cannot do so within a specified time, it is likely that your visa application will be refused.
Whether you are a ‘low risk national’ or not depends on your nationality. You can find a list of low risk nationals in appendix H of the immigration rules.
If you are an existing student, registered on a degree programme in the UK, you can use a Short-Term Study visa to return to the UK in order to:
If you need to stay in the UK longer than six months, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 visa.
As part of your visa application, you may be interviewed by UKVI. You’ll need to prepare for this interview to make sure your visa application has the best chance of success.
As part of your Tier 4 visa application, you may be asked to attend an interview with a UKVI caseworker. Interviews are conducted via video link to the UK and usually take place at your local Visa Application Centre.
UKVI will use your interview to check that you are a genuine student. The interview is nothing to be concerned about – all you have to do is be confident, honest, and tell the truth. However, it helps to be as prepared as possible.
During your interview, you will be asked a series of questions. Your answers should be as reflective as possible, so make sure you have thought about what you want to say in advance.
You should expect to be asked about:
The interview will be conducted in English and you are expected to be able to communicate without the need for a translator.
We have produced a useful interview guide to help you prepare for your interview. Please take time to read this in advance.
To help you prepare for your interview, we may ask you to undertake a practice interviews with one of our team before we issue you with a CAS.
This practice interview is designed to help prepare you for your real interview with UKVI and will follow a similar format. To make this interview as genuine as possible, we will conduct it over Skype, so a Skype address will be needed.
If you are required to undertake a practice UKVI interview, this will take place after you have an unconditional offer and paid any required deposit. We will provide you with a time and date for your interview, and you will need to confirm your availability and Skype address.
You should read our interview guide to help you prepare for your interview. Please ensure you read this in advance of your practice interview.
After the interview, we will review your answers and come back to you with some feedback. If we have concerns about any of your answers, we may ask you to attend another interview.
Please note that we do not require all applicants to have a practice interview.
If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa (or already hold one) and you have dependants, they may be able to apply for PBS dependant visa to join you in the UK. You may want them to apply for their visa(s) at the same time as you, or you may prefer them to apply for their visa at a later date.
For Tier 4 students, dependants are defined by UKVI as:
You can usually bring dependants to join you in the following circumstances:
If your dependant (or dependants) are applying for a visa outside of the UK, they will need to complete an online application form. Each dependant needs to complete a separate application form. At the time of writing the application fee is £348 per dependant.
If your dependant/s are applying for a visa inside the UK, they will need to complete an online application form. If they are making the application at the same time that you are making your Tier 4 visa application, you should indicate in your answers that you have a dependant/s applying with you. The application form will then generate extra sections for each dependant which you then fill in with their details.
At the time of writing, the PBS dependant application fee inside the UK is £475 for standard applications, £952for priority applications and £1085 for premium applications.
For each dependant, there is a fixed amount of money that must be held in a bank account for a 28 day period. These funds can be held in a bank account belonging to the dependant, or to you. See the PBS Dependant Policy Guidance for confirmation of the amounts that apply and contact the International Student Advisers for advice on the application if you need it.
If you have been issued a visa which is longer than 9 months and for postgraduate level study, your dependants should have the right to work in the UK. Their visa will confirm this. Check the wording on it carefully and seek advice if unsure. It is very important to be sure of the restrictions to working in the UK to avoid breaching any conditions.
These regulations are reasonably complex, so seek advice where necessary. The International Student Advice Service can advise you on dependant visas if you need it.
If your dependant/s wants to join you for a visit only, or they cannot apply for a dependant visa, they could apply for a visit visa instead. The visit visa is an option for family members other than partners and children and also for friends. See our information on inviting a visitor to the UK for more guidance on this.
Short-term study visa
This is a UK student visa for any short study course lasting 6 months or less (or up to 11 months for English language courses if you are over 18). It is also valid for short training courses and undertaking research as part of a degree if you are studying overseas. The length of this UK student visa cannot exceed the length of your course and cannot be extended and is conditional on being offered a place on a course at a licensed place of study and proof that you can support yourself for the duration of the course without working.
Please note that any form of visit visa cannot be used to study in the UK.
Short Term Study visas
If you are coming to the UK to study on a programme that is less than 6 months long, you can apply for a Short-Term Study visa (STS).
You can also use a Short-Term Study visa to come to the UK to undertake a short period of research, if this is part of a degree that you are studying overseas.
You cannot extend a Short-Term Study visa and you must leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your programme (or sooner if your visa expires before this).
You are not allowed to work in the UK if you have a Short-Term Study visa. This includes work placements and unpaid work.
If you are registered on a distance learning programme in the UK, and need to enter the UK for short periods of time as part of your studies, you can use a Short-Term Study visa. However, you must not intend to spend more than 56 days in the UK in any 6 month period.
In order to apply for a Short-Term Study visa, you will need:
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Please refer to the UKVI guidance on Short-Term Study visas for more information on the documents you need.