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

From 1 January 2021 there will be a new way for students from outside the UK (both EU and non-EU students) to apply for a visa to study at UK universities and colleges. It’s called the Student route and it will replace 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, including those from Europe, coming to the UK to study after 31 December 2020 will need to apply through the Student route.
  • 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?

  • If you are already in the UK and applying under the Student route you can start your application after 1 January 2021.
  • If you are outside the UK and want to come to the UK to start your studies after 1 January 2021, you can apply from 5 October 2020.

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.