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Student Visas

Student Routes

The Student Routes are for both European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA nationals who want to come study in the UK after 1 January 2021.

Short Term Studying

You can apply for a Short-term study visa if:
  • you’re doing a short course of study in the UK
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • you have been offered a place on a course in the UK at an accepted place of study
  • you have enough money to support yourself without working or help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house you
  • you can pay for your return or onward journey

How long can I stay in the UK on a short-term study visa?
You can stay in the UK for the length of your course or research.
You may be allowed to stay an extra 30 days if your total stay in the UK would be no more than 6 months, or no more than 11 months if you’re both:
  • 16 or over
  • studying an English language course

Your visa will say how long you are allowed to stay in the UK.

What am I allowed to do on a short-term study visa?
You can:
  • do a short course of study in the UK, such as an English language course or a training course
  • do a short period of research as part of a degree course if you are studying abroad

You cannot:
  • study at a state-funded school
  • work or carry out any business (this includes work experience or work placements, unless the placement is an eligible medical, veterinary or dentistry elective)
  • extend this visa
  • bring family members (‘dependants’) with you - they must apply separately
  • get public funds

How long does it take to receive a short-term student visa?
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Is there a fee?
Yes. It costs £97 for a 6 month visa, and £186 for an 11 month visa.

Long Term Studying

You can apply for a Student visa in the UK under Appendix ST of the immigration rules if you’re 16 or over and you:
  • do not have British nationality
  • have been offered an unconditional place on a course by a licensed student sponsor (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students)
  • can speak, read, write and understand English – minimum knowledge required is the equivalent of GCSE, A level, or Scottish Highers in English in the UK which they obtained while under 18.
  • have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - the amount will vary depending on your circumstances.

Note that there are exceptions to this requirement. For example, there is a list of countries listed under “differential evidence requirements” that includes EU/EEA countries which do not need to prove that they have enough money to support themselves.

If you are a child, you may be eligible for a different student visa under appendix CS. This is a different application with different requirements. Here, we are concerned with a general Student visa.

Do I need a Student visa as an EU/EEA national?
If you move to the UK before 31 December 2020, you can apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. If you have settled or pre-settled status, you will not have to apply for a student visa. However, if you come to the UK on 1 January 2021 or thereafter, these rules apply to you exactly like they do to no-EU nationals.

Which courses can I take on a Student visa?
You can do a course that’s one of the following:
  • a full-time course leading to a qualification that's below degree level (RQF level 3, 4 or 5) with at least 15 hours a week of organised daytime study
  • a full-time course leading to a qualification that's degree level or above (RQF level 6, 7 or 8)
  • a full-time course at degree level or above (RQF level 6,7 or 8) that's equivalent to a UK higher education course and is being delivered as part of a longer course overseas
  • a part-time course leading to a qualification that's above degree level (RQF level 7 or above)
  • a recognised foundation programme for postgraduate doctors or dentists
  • an English language course at level B2 or above in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Your course needs to be provided by a licensed student sponsor (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students).

You can also apply for this visa if you are taking up a full-time elected position as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, or if you are applying to extend your stay on the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

What can I do whilst I am in the UK on a Student visa?
On a student visa, you can:
  • student
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • you may be able to work - how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.

You cannot:
  • claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
  • work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • be self-employed
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

How long does it take to hear back after I have applied for my Student visa?
You will normally get a response to your application within 3 weeks.

How long can I stay in the UK on a Student visa?
How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed. If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

Can I extend my student visa?
You may be able to extend your Student visa to stay longer and continue your course or study a new course. This includes if you currently have a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

To extend your visa you must:

  • have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed student sponsor - shown by your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • show ‘academic progress’, meaning that your studies are at a higher academic level than your current course

If you no longer wish to study, but want to remain in the UK, this might also be possible. Those who have completed a degree at a UK Higher Education provider with a track record of compliance to stay in the UK for two years (three years for PhD graduates) after graduation, working at any skill level. They can then switch into work routes if they find a suitable job.

Can I switch into other visa categories whilst on the Student route?
Yes, it is possible to switch between routes within the Points Based Immigration system. Students can apply for further permission to stay from within the UK, provided they meet the Academic Progression requirement and the new course of study commences within 28 days of the expiry of the current leave.

Is there a fee?
It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the UK. You will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge. If you want to bring dependants with you, you must pay £348 per person. Finally, switching to a Student visa from inside the UK is more expensive. It costs £475.

Family Members of Students

Your family members (dependants) might be able to apply to join or remain with you in the UK whilst you are studying here.

Who qualifies as a dependent family member?
A dependant is either:
  • your husband, wife or civil partner
  • your unmarried partner
  • your child under 18 years old - including if they were born in the UK during your stay

When can I apply for my dependants to come to the UK with me?
You can apply to bring a dependant to the UK if you’re:
  • sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at level 7 on the Ofqual register or above that lasts 9 months or more
  • a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
  • a Doctorate Extension Scheme student

You must show that your dependants can be financially supported while they’re in the UK, unless they’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months or you and your partner or child are from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement.’

Each dependant must have a certain amount of money available to them - this is in addition to the money you must have to support yourself. The amount of money you need depends on:
  • the length of your course
  • where you’re studying in the UK
  • whether you’ve finished a UK course or are currently studying

Is there a fee?
If you want to bring dependants with you, you must pay £475 per dependant. They will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge.

Can you help me?

Yes. We can assist you with the application. You can contact us
here or send us a question on WhatsApp.


‘I appreciated the fact I could talk to someone who knows the issues about my specific immigration status, and I left the call feeling very confident of a way forward and reassured of my legal position. Money well spent!’


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