Students from all over the world prefer to study in England because of the opportunities and higher standard of education it offers.

UK Visa for International students

When you file your visa application to your local UK embassy you will need to prove you have sufficient funds required to stay and study at UK, in the following way:

  • The required funds need to be deposited into a nominated bank account at least 28 days prior to submitting your student visa application.
  • You will be needed to provide documents that prove you have the funds (e.g. a bank statement).
  • All documents must not be dated more than 30 days prior to the date you submit your student visa application.
  • If someone else is sponsoring your studies you will need to provide documentary proof of your relationship (e.g. birth certificate).
  • All supporting documents mentioned above (transcripts, bank statements, certificates etc) must be original documents.

Video about new rules of 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 be able to show that you have been accepted on a course of study at an educational establishment that is on the UK's Department for Education and Skills (DfES) Register of Education and Training Providers. Contact details are under 'More advice and information' at the end of this guidance, or you can search the register on the DFES website at: www.dfes.gov.uk/providersregister

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

  • a recognized 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.

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.

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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. Back to questions

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

  • 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 do not need an entry clearance, you will have to satisfy the Immigration Officer that you qualify for entry when you arrive in the UK. They will then give you permission to stay in the UK for up to six months. You will not be allowed to extend your stay in the UK as a student unless you arrived with a student or prospective student visa, or you are studying on a course at degree level or higher.

To extend your stay you will need to apply for a residence permit at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. (Contact details are under 'More advice and information' at the end of this guidance.) They will charge you a fee for 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 their official website given above 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.

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What will I need to make my application?

  • Application form you have filled in correctly.
  • Your passport or travel document .
  • A recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm), colour photograph of yourself.
This should be:
  • taken against a light colored 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.
Back to questions

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 diplomas or educational certificates that you have
  • a letter from the university, college or school confirming that you have been accepted on a course of study in the UK, and a statement of charges for the course
  • evidence of government sponsorship (if appropriate)
  • bank statements, payslips or other evidence to show that you can pay for your stay and your course of studies in the UK, and
  • if you are being privately sponsored (for example, by a college in the UK) you should provide a letter from your sponsor giving details of how they will support you during your studies, and evidence that they can do so.

We will refuse your application if we find that any documents are forged.

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What will happen when I make my application?

The Entry Clearance Officer will try to make a decision using your application form and the supporting documents you have provided. If this is not possible, they will need to interview you.

Please check your visa when you get it. You should make sure that:

  • your personal details are correct
  • it correctly states the purpose for which you want to come to the UK, and
  • it is valid for the date on which you want to travel. (You can ask for it to be post-dated for up to three months if you do not plan to travel 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.

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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 recognized 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 recognized 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 enrollment 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.
Back to questions

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. Back to questions

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 enroll on a course of study within six months of arriving in the UK
  • you can pay for your course, support yourself and your dependents, 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.

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More advice and information

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) You can get more information about the DfES and the register of approved education providers.

Caxton House Tothill Street London SW1H 9FN

Phone: (+44) (0) 870 000 2288 Email: info@dfes.gov.uk Website: www.dfes.gov.uk

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

UKCOSA 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 advisers:

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

Website: www.ukcosa.org.uk

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:

Bridgewater House 58 Whitworth Street Manchester M1 6BB

Website: http://www.educationuk.org

UKvisas You can get more advice and information about visas from:

UKvisas 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 Immigration and Nationality Directorate.

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 E-mail: advice@iasuk.org Website: www.iasuk.org

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

Dorset House Stamford Street London SE1 9PY

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

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 travelers. If you are traveling to the UK, avoid any involvement with drugs.

Forged or destroyed documents

Travelers to the UK may commit an offense 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 offense 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:

UKvisas London SW1A 2AH Phone: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308