How to apply to study in the UK through the new Student route

From 5 October 2020, students from outside the UK who need a visa to study at UK universities and colleges, will apply for a Student visa. This has replaced the Tier 4 visa used before this.

What is the new Student route?

The Student route is a points-based visa system for all international students, including EU, EEA, and Swiss students, who want to study in the UK.

Who needs to apply?

  • All international students on degree courses need to apply through the Student route. This includes those from Europe coming to the UK to study after 31 December 2020 
  • If you are from the EU and you started your course before 31 December 2020, you can apply under the EU Settlement scheme to remain in the UK after this date to complete your studies.

How do I apply for a visa through the new Student route?

You will apply online, either on the GOV.UK website or through a visa application centre near you.

You need to show that you have:

  • been made an offer to join a university or college course
  • the right level of English to join that course
  • finances to pay for your studies and living expenses

For more information, go to the GOV.UK website

When should I apply?

You can apply for a Student visa from three months before the start date of your course if you’re already in the UK, and from six months if you’re outside the UK.

If you are already in the UK and eligible to apply for your Student visa without returning to your home country, you must make sure there is no more than 28 days between the end of your previous course of study and the start of your new course.

How much does it cost?

  • A standard Student visa application costs £348 if you apply from outside the UK, and £475 if you apply when you are already in the UK.
  • If you choose to apply using the priority or super priority service, for a faster decision on your visa, the fee is more expensive. These services may be available in some countries but not others. You may also be able to choose other optional services, such as document checking or interpretation, for an additional cost.
  • As well as the visa application fees, you will need to pay the immigration health surcharge. From 27 October 2020 this is £470 for each year of the visa for which you are applying. For example, £1,410 for a three-year visa.

Where can I get further information about the Student route?

The UK Government published details of the Student route on 10 September 2020, as part of wider changes to the immigration rules.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also offers useful general advice and guidance on student immigration processes, and has further details about the new Student route.

If you need individual visa advice, ask an adviser from the university or college you hold an offer from, or a qualified immigration adviser in the UK or your country.

If you begin a course of study in the UK that is longer than six months, you must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your visa application. From 1 January 2022, EU and Swiss full-time students studying in the UK can apply for a reimbursement of the IHS. Further details on eligibility for reimbursement are available on the UK Government’s website.