As an education provider, you will need to become a student sponsor so you can sponsor international students to study in the UK. You will need to apply and be successful with a sponsor licence prior to enrolling students from overseas.
Applications can be made online with supporting documents in accordance with Sponsor Guidance Appendix A. If successful as a sponsor, you will be given a probationary sponsor licence of 12 months which can be extended at
the end of the probation, provided a compliance assessment is successful.
As an education provider who is sponsored by the Home Office, you will need to provide a potential international student with an unconditional offer for a course to apply for a student visa in the UK.
The UK Student visa is a points-based system, meaning an applicant will need to achieve 70 points from different sources to qualify. If successful, an applicant who is 18 years or older and studying at degree level will normally be able to stay in the UK for up to 5 years (there are some exceptions for subjects including medicine, dentistry, and architecture).
If an applicant is studying below degree level, a student visa will usually be granted 2 years leave to remain. There are rules in place for the hours of work a student is permitted to do.
Direct family members (usually spouse/partners or children under the age of 18) can apply to join an international student on a UK Student visa if they are studying a full-time postgraduate course (NQF level 7 or above) that lasts 9 months or longer, or a government-sponsored course that lasts longer than 6 months.
Students and their family members will need to show that they can support themselves without recourse to public funds and have a genuine relationship with their family member. This can typically be evidenced by a marriage certificate for a spouse or partner or a birth certificate for a child.
If studying under 6 months, an individual may enter on a UK Standard Visitor visa, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Students under the age of 18 will need written parental consent to travel, confirmation of suitable arrangements for travel and stay and proof they can financially support themself without recourse to public funds and have enough money to pay for a return or onward journey.
Non-visa nationals do not need to apply for a UK Standard Visitor visa prior to travelling.
Visitors are unable to work, bring dependents, or extend their visa within the UK. Doing so may have consequences for future visas to enter the UK.
If a student aged 16 or over wishes to enter the UK for the purpose of a short-term English language course at an accredited institution, they may apply for a Short-term Student (English Language) visa.
This visa allows an applicant to stay in the UK for up to 11 months, or 30 days after the end of their course of study, whichever ends sooner.