Student Visas

The UK is a popular destination for international students, with thousands of students entering the UK educational system every year. The UK government is eager to continue its tradition of providing top quality educational services to international students and therefore there are no limits on the number of student visas it issues.

Student visas are issued by the UK government’s Home Office. For further information see the UK Visas and Immigration website.


Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

Check to find out if you need a student visa in order to study in the UK.


When should I apply for a visa?

You should begin the application process well in advance of the start of your course. It is possible to apply for a visa up to three months before your course starts, but it is advisable to start looking into the requirements as soon as you can in order to begin preparing.

Requirements may include:

  • Proof of your finances and qualifications;
  • An interview
  • Biometric information
  • An English language test.


Depending on your home country some institutions may also ask you to be vaccinated or have a chest x-ray.

Decisions regarding visa applications are usually made within three weeks. Visit the UK Visas and Immigration guide to processing times for more information.


What kind of visa do I need?

The following visas are suitable for students who want to do a short course or an English language course for a period of up to 11 months:


Short-term student visa: A short-term visa is suitable for those aged 18 or over, wanting to study for up to six months. If you want to study English you can apply for an 11 month visa.

Short-term student (Child) visa: This visa is suitable for those aged 17 or below, wanting to study in the UK for up to six months.


The following visas are suitable if you wish to do a longer course in the UK:

Tier 4 (Child) student visa: This visa is suitable if you are between 4 and 17 years old. If you are between 4 and 15 years old and you must be coming to the UK to attend an independent, fee-paying school.

Tier 4 (General) student visa: This visa is suitable if you are aged 16 or over and meet certain specific requirements (click here for details).


English language requirements

Some students applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa may need to take an English language test as part of the application process. UK Government guidelines and regulations on Secure English language test (SELT) providers are subject to change and should be checked at the time of application. Your home country and the type of course you are doing may affect the test you must take for your visa and as part of the application process for your course. Read this article for more information: Do I need to do an English language test to get a UK visa?



If you are applying for a visa to come to the UK for more than six months you will be required to pay an NHS health surcharge of £150 per year. This applies to students applying from within the UK as well as those from outside.


Approved institutions

In order to apply for a UK student visa you must have been allocated a place at a UK government approved school, college or university. Click these links for a list of approved institutions:


Family members

Some international students on a student visa may be eligible to bring their dependents with them. Please see the Bringing your family section.


Working on a student visa

Students: It is possible for international students in the UK to have part-time jobs or to carry out internships. The exact hours and type of work you are able to do will depend on the type of visa you have and on the rules of your sponsoring institution. Click here for more information, Working alongside your studies or visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.


Renewing a Tier 4 visa

You may need to renew a Tier 4 visa, if, for example:

  • you need more time to complete your studies with your current Tier 4 sponsor
  • you are switching to a new Tier 4 sponsor
  • you are extending your stay in the UK to work as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or as a Doctor or Dentist in training, or for the Doctorate Extension Scheme, all of which are done with Tier 4 leave


Working on a student visa

Graduates: There are a number of possibilities available to international students who wish to stay and work in the UK upon completing their studies. Find out more about UK work visas for graduates here.


Further information


EK has a team of professionals who can help make your visa application as easy and hassle free as possible, we also have legal specialists and solicitors to assist in complicated cases and provide consulting services.


For more information about UK student visas, please contact EK Consulting Group,