How to get a student visa
If you live outside the UK, you’ll need to get a student visa to study here – including if you’re an EEA or Swiss national coming to the UK after January 1 2021. Once you’ve been offered a place on a course, the course provider will advise you on how to apply for your student visa from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
However, there are a few things you need to do first before you can send off your visa application.
- Add your passport number to your UCAS application – either when you’re filling out your details, or when you’re offered a place on a course.
- Prove your English language skills – your chosen course provider can advise you whether you need to take a UKVI approved secure English language test, or an alternative test or Skype interview. If you are required to take a SELT, since 6 April 2015, this must be taken in one of the SELT centres approved by the UK Home Office. View the approved secure English language tests and test centres that meet the Home Office’s requirements.
- Accept an unconditional offer of a place on a course – then if your university or college has a Sponsor licence, they can give you Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
- Apply for a student visa – make sure you provide all the information and documents required – including your CAS (and English language test certificate if you needed one). You’ll also need to prove you can afford to study and live in the UK – check the UKVI financial requirements and our finance and support information.
Arriving in the UK
When you arrive at passport control here in the UK, you should expect Border Force officers to ask you simple questions about your studies or your stay in the UK. To help you plan for your first arrival in the UK as a student and what to expect, UKCISA offers helpful preparation and arrival guidance here.
Working in the UK after your studies
You might be able to apply for other visas after your course if you’d like to stay in the UK to work. For all international students graduating from an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, there will be a new Graduate Route introduced in summer 2021 to allow you to remain in the UK for two years to gain work experience.