Study Visa for UK

What is this guidance about?

This guidance explains what you will need to do if you want to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) to study, and what the Immigration Rules say. It is only a guide but it aims to answer some common questions.

How do I qualify to travel to the UK as a student?

You must have the ability to show that you've been accepted on the course of research at an educational establishment that's on the United kingdom's Department for Training and Skills (DfES) Sign-up of Education as well as Training Providers. Contact details tend to be under 'More guidance and information' at the conclusion of this assistance, or you may search the register about the DfES website from: Official Website

You must be able to show that you are going to follow:

  • a recognised full-time degree course, or
  • a course run during the week involving at least 15 hours of organised daytime study each week, or
  • a full-time course at an independent fee-paying school

You must also:

  • be able to pay for your course and support yourself and any dependants, and live in the UK without working or needing any help from public funds, and
  • intend to leave the UK when you complete your studies.

If you are a degree student and you successfully complete your studies, you may be able to take work permit employment if you meet the requirements.

If you graduate in an approved science or engineering subject you can apply to stay in the UK, to look for or to take work, for an additional year after your degree course finishes without getting a work permit. For more information, please see the Permit free employment (INF 14) guidance note.

Under the ‘Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland’ scheme, if you successfully complete a degree level course or above, and it was awarded by a Scottish institution, you may be able to apply to live and work in Scotland for up to two years after achieving your qualification.

What is a visa?

A visa is a certificate that is put into your passport or travel document by an Entry Clearance Officer at a British mission overseas. The visa gives you permission to enter the UK.

If you have a valid UK visa, we will not normally refuse you entry to the UK unless your circumstances have changed, or you gave false information or did not tell us important facts when you applied for your visa.

When you arrive in the UK, an Immigration Officer may ask you questions, so take all relevant documents in your hand luggage.

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Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

You will need a visa if you:
  • are a national of one of the countries listed at the end of this guidance
  • are stateless (you don't have a nationality)
  • hold a non-national travel document, or
  • hold a passport issued by an authority that is not recognized in the UK

If you are not an EEA national and you intend to stay in the UK for more than six months, you will need to get an entry clearance before you travel.

If you don't an entry clearance, you'll have to satisfy the Immigration Officer that you simply qualify for entry whenever you arrive in the united kingdom. They will then provide you with permission in which to stay the UK for approximately six months. You won't be allowed to increase your stay in the united kingdom as a student if you don't arrived with students or prospective college student visa, or you're studying on a training course at degree level or more.

To extend your stay you will have to apply for the residence permit in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. (Contact particulars are under 'More guidance and information' at the conclusion of this assistance. )#) They will ask you for a fee with this.


If you have any doubts about whether you qualify for entry, you should apply for a visa before you travel to the UK.

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How do I apply for a visa?

You will need to fill in a visa application form (VAF 1 – Non-settlement). You can download the form from this website, or get one free of charge from your nearest British mission overseas where there is a visa section.

You must apply for your visa in the country of which you are a national or where you legally live.

You can apply in a number of ways, for example by post, by courier, in person and online. The visa section will tell you about the ways in which you can apply.

In some countries, if you are applying for a visa to stay in the UK for more than six months, you may need to be tested for active tuberculosis before we will accept your application. You can find out if you need to be tested by using the Do I need a UK visa? on this website.
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What will I need to make my application?

You will need the following.

  • Photo taken against a light coloured background
  • clear and of good quality, and not framed or backed
  • printed on normal photographic paper, and
  • full face and without sunglasses, hat or other head covering unless you wear this for cultural or religious reasons
  • The visa fee. This cannot be refunded and you must normally pay it in the local currency of the country where you are applying.
  • Supporting documents relevant to your application.
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What supporting documents should I include with my application?
You should include all the documents you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK as a student. If you do not, we may refuse your application.

As a guide, you should include:

  • any relevant degrees or educational certificates you have
  • a letter in the university, college or school confirming you have been accepted on the course of study in the united kingdom, and a declaration of charges for that course
  • evidence associated with government sponsorship (in the event that appropriate)
  • bank claims, payslips or additional evidence to show that you could pay for your stay as well as your course of studies in the united kingdom, and
  • if you're being privately sponsored (for instance, by a college in the united kingdom) you should give a letter from your own sponsor giving information on how they will give you support during your research, and evidence that they'll do so.

We will refuse the application if we discover that any documents tend to be forged.
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What may happen when I help to make my application?
The Entry Clearance Official will try to create a decision using the application form and the actual supporting documents you've provided. If this isn't possible, they will have to interview you.

Please check your visa whenever you get it. Factors to consider that:

  • your individual details are proper
  • it correctly says the purpose that you want to arrived at the UK, as well as
  • it is valid for that date on which you need to travel. (You can request it to be post-dated for approximately three months if you don't plan to journey immediately. )#)

If you think there is anything wrong with your visa, contact the visa section immediately.
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What are public funds?
Under the Immigration Rules, if you want to travel to the UK to study, you must be able to support yourself and live without claiming certain state benefits.
You can find more information about public funds in the Immigration Directorate Instructions (IDIs) and Immigration Rules on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate’s website.

UK Visa
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Can I extend my stay as a student?
If you enter the UK with a student visa or prospective student visa, or if you want to study on a course at degree level or higher, you can apply to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which is part of the Home Office. (Contact details are at end of this guidance.) The Immigration and Nationality Directorate will charge you a fee for any extension of your stay.

The maximum period of time that a student can stay in the UK on short courses one after the other, below degree level, is two years.

If you do not enter the UK with a student or prospective student visa, or you are not studying on a course at degree level course or higher, you will not be allowed to extend your stay.
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Can I work?
You can take part-time or holiday work, but you must not:

  • work for more than 20 hours a week during term time unless your placement is part of your studies, has been agreed with your educational institution and leads to a degree or qualification awarded by a nationally recognised examining body
  • do business, be self-employed or provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer, or
  • work full-time in a permanent job.

If you are coming to the UK as a student for six months or less, you must ask the Entry Clearance Officer (or the Immigration Officer if you do not need an entry clearance) for permission to work.
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Can I switch to work permit employment when I am in the UK?
You may be able to switch if:

  • you have completed a recognised degree course at either a UK publicly-funded institution of further or higher education or an approved private education institution that has satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance
  • you hold a valid work permit for employment
  • you have the written permission of any government or agency that is sponsoring you, and
  • you have not broken immigration law.
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Can I bring my husband or wife and children with me?
Your husband or wife and any of your children under 18 can come to the UK with you during your studies, as long as you can support them and live without needing any help from public funds.
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Will my husband or wife be allowed to work?
Your husband or wife will be allowed to work in the UK if we give you permission to stay in the country for 12 months or more.
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Can I go to the UK to arrange my studies?
You can travel to the UK as a prospective student for up to six months to arrange your studies. You will need to show that:

  • you intend to enrol on a course of study within six months of arriving in the UK
  • you can pay for your course, support yourself and your dependants, and live without working or needing any help from public funds, and
  • you intend to leave the UK when you finish your studies or when your permission to stay ends if you do not qualify to stay in the UK as a student.
Note: you should not buy a ticket, or pay all or part of the cost of a study course if your visa application being delayed or refused would mean that you lost your money.
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When should I apply?
You should apply in good time for your entry clearance so that you are not delayed in getting into the UK. It can get very busy in visa sections, especially over the summer when lots of students are applying. Back to questions

More advice and information

Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
Caxton House
Tothill Street
London SW1H 9FN

Phone: (+44) (0) 870 000 2288

You can get more advice about studying in the UK from:

The Council for International Education provides advice and information to international students studying or planning to study in the UK, their family, teachers and other advisors:

The Council for International Education
9-17 St Albans Place
London N1 0NX


British Council
The British Council provides information to help international students prepare for study in the UK. This link will take you to the British Council's "First Steps" guidance on preparing for entry clearance:

More information about studying in the UK is available from:

Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester M1 6BB


You can get more advice and information about visas from:

London SW1A 2AH

General enquiries: (+44) (0)20 7008 8438
Application forms: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308

Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND)
You can get more advice and information about extending your stay once you are in the UK from:

Croydon Public Caller Unit
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 2BY

General enquiries: (+44) (0)870 606 7766
Application forms: (+44) (0)870 241 0645

Immigration Advisory Service (IAS)
The IAS is an independent charity that gives confidential advice and help, and can represent people who are applying for a visa for the UK.

3rd Floor, County House
190 Great Dover Street
London SE1 4YB

Phone: (+44) (0)20 7967 1200
Duty Office (24 hrs): (+44) (0)20 8814 1559
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7403 5875

Revenue and Customs
Advice on bringing personal belongings and goods into the United Kingdom can be obtained from:

Dorset House
Stamford Street
London SE1 9PY

Phone: (+44) (0)845 010 9000

Health insurance
If you come from a country with a health-care agreement with the UK, or if you are enrolled on a course for more than six months, you may be able to get medical treatment on the National Health Service (NHS). Short-term students who are in the UK for six months or less are not entitled to free medical treatment, and you will have to pay for any treatment you get. Please make sure you have enough health insurance for the whole of your stay.

Drugs warning
Anyone found smuggling drugs into the UK will face serious penalties. Drug traffickers may try to bribe travellers. If you are travelling to the UK, avoid any involvement with drugs.

Forged or destroyed documents
Travellers to the UK may commit an offence if they do not produce valid travel documents or passports to the UK immigration authorities for themselves and their children. People found guilty of this offence face up to two years in prison or a fine (or both).

Alternative formats
In the UK we also have versions of our guidance notes in Braille, on audio tape and in large print. If you would like any guidance notes in one of these formats, please contact:

London SW1A 2AH

Phone: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308

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