study in uk

Overview

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

have been offered a place on a course
can speak, read, write and understand English
have enough money to support yourself and and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
meet the other eligibility requirements

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the start of your course.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Check the guide processing time to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

How long you can stay

You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:

  • up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
  • up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months

How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

study
work as a student union sabbatical officer
apply from inside or outside the UK
apply to extend your stay
work - depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
You can’t:

get public funds
work as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach
You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).

Eligibility

You must have:

  • an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a qualified education provide
  • enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances

Read the guide and appendix for the full list of documents and how much money you’ll need.

Your course

You can do a course that’s one of the following

full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF)
an overseas course of degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
a full-time course with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study leading to a qualification below degree level but at least NQF level 3
a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist.

Postgraduate doctors and dentists

You can apply for this visa if you’re sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme and you’ve:

finished a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry
received that degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor
spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK

Confirmation of acceptance of studies

Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application.

You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS.

Further study in the UK

You can only get a CAS for a new course if you’ve studied in the UK before and you’re:

  • studying for a new qualification at a higher academic level
  • studying for a new qualification that’s at the same level of study but relates to and adds to your previous qualification
  • re-sitting exams or repeating modules
  • applying for the first time to a new institution to complete a course you started somewhere else.

Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can do this by passing an English language test - it must be on the list of approved tests and providers.

Your language test must be at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

You’ll need to pass a language test at CEFR level B2 if the course you’re going to study in the UK is at or above NQF 6, QCF 6 or SCQF 9.

Check what level the course you want to study in the UK is in the qualifications frameworks if you’re not sure.

You can also meet this requirement if you can show you:

have an academic qualification that was taught in a majority English speaking country and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree
have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student that was at least 6 months long, and that finished less than 2 years before you got your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
are considered by your sponsor to be a ‘gifted student’
Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.

Documents you must provide

When you apply for the visa you must provide:

a current passport or other valid travel documentation
2 passport sized-colour photographs with your name written on the reverse side
proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.

Read the guidance and appendix for the full list of documents and how much money you’ll need according to your situation.

 

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