Immigration and visas

If you want to study in the United Kingdom you might need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa.

  • If you live outside the UK you might have to get this visa as permission to study here.
  • EEA and Swiss nationals will not need it.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has information about whether you need a visa, and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has further details about healthcare, student support and working during or after your studies.

UK Visas and Immigration

UK Council for International Student Affairs

Requirements for a student visa

We collect your passport details so that your course provider can help you apply for your student visa. You can add your passport details to your application form, or if you do not have a passport yet we will ask you again when you receive an offer from a course provider.

Then your chosen course provider will give you advice on what to do next. You will need to get 40 'points' to get a student visa from UKVI.

30 points for getting a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a course provider

Your course provider will need to have a Tier 4 Sponsor licence – then when you accept a place on one of their courses they can give you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. This proves you are studying a course at an acceptable level to get a visa.

  1. You need an unconditional place studying a higher education course.
  2. And you have to demonstrate good English language skills. This is usually done by taking one of the UKBA approved English language tests, or your course provider might ask for other proof – an alternative test or a Skype interview.

10 points for proof of your financial capability

This is to show you can cover the tuition fees, accommodation and your living costs.check the financial requirements on the UKVI site, and check how much it costs to study in UK.

When to apply for a student visa

You can apply up to three months in advance of the start date of your course.

  • You need the Certificate of Sponsorship first – include it in your visa application, along with your English language test certificate if you needed one.
  • Please make sure you apply for your visa early enough and that you provide all the information required.
  • The application process is easy to follow and usually takes up to 15 days (but could take longer during peak times).
  • Your course provider will advise you how to make your application.

Apply for Tier 4 student visa from UKVI

Postgraduate study

If you are applying for postgraduate science, engineering or technology you might also need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

  • ATAS aims to reduce the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the creation and delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – an intention shared by the British Government and other Governments around the world.
  • As a result, if you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national you will need an ATAS certificate before you can apply for a visa, Entry Clearance (EC) or Extension of Stay (EoS).
  • It does not guarantee you a visa/EC/EoS, but is designed to ensure anyone studying certain sensitive subjects in the UK does not have links to WMD programmes.

Apply for an ATAS certificate from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Working in the UK afterwards

There might be other visas you can apply for after your studies if you would like to stay in the UK to work.

Check with UKCISA about work opportunities