Overview of The UK Student Visa Guide

You can apply for a UK Student visa if you’re 16 or over and meet the following requirements:

  • Offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for the course
  • Proficient in English
  • Parental consent if you’re 16 or 17

If you’re 16 or 17 and want to study at an independent school, you might be eligible for a Child Student visa.

Application Timing

  • From outside the UK: Apply up to 6 months before your course starts; decision usually within 3 weeks.
  • From inside the UK: Apply up to 3 months before your course starts, before your current visa expires; decision usually within 8 weeks.

Duration of Stay

  • Up to 5 years for degree-level courses
  • Up to 2 years for below degree-level courses

Extending Your Stay

  • You can extend your visa or switch to another visa if eligible.
  • You can switch to a Graduate visa to stay for at least 2 years post-study.

Arrival in the UK

  • Up to 1 week before course starts (course lasts 6 months or less)
  • Up to 1 month before course starts (course lasts more than 6 months)
  • Do not travel before the visa start date.


  • £490 for applying, extending, or switching from outside or inside the UK
  • Additional healthcare surcharge applies.


  • You may bring your partner and children.

Permissions and Restrictions


  • Study
  • Work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • Possible limited work depending on the course and term-time

Not Permitted:

  • Claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
  • Certain jobs (e.g., professional sportsperson or coach)
  • Self-employment
  • Study at an academy or local authority-funded school

For further details, visit the UK government’s guidance on student visas.

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