Welcome to United Kingdom
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.
Student visa (previously Tier 4 visa)
If you are 16 or over and want to study at a higher education level, you’ll need to apply for a student visa through the Student Route. From 5 October 2020, the Student Route has replaced the Tier 4 Route. The Student Route falls under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
Visas that have been issued through the Tier 4 Route are still valid, and those eligible will be able to apply for the Graduate Route when it opens in summer 2021.
- You need to wait until you have an offer from a university or college before applying for a visa. Your university or college will then be able to give you a document called a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). To do this, your chosen institution needs to be approved by the UK government as a licensed sponsor.
- You will need to complete an application and have it accepted before you arrive in the UK.
- You will need to pay an application fee and have a current passport or another valid travel document.
- You will also need to pay a fee called an Immigration Health Surcharge. This gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service. Students receive a 25 percent discount on the usual cost of this surcharge .