FAQ 385
How do I apply for a student visa to come to the UK?

How do I apply for a student visa to come to the UK?

All non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals coming to study in the UK for more than six months are required to obtain a visa in advance (called 'entry clearance') before travelling. If you are a student from a visa national country you will be expected to obtain a visa regardless of the length of time you are studying in the UK. If you arrive in the UK without entry clearance when it is required you will be denied entry to the UK. 


Most students will need a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.


Where do I apply?

You should apply for your Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance at your nearest British Embassy or Consulate with a visa section. 


How do I apply? 

You can find out the exact process for applying in your country via the UK Visas and Immigration website. Usually you will submit an online application, followed by an in-person appointment where you will submit your original documents and have your biometric details taken.


How long will it take?

The processing times will vary, but it is best to apply at least 6-8 weeks (but no more than 3 months) before you begin your course. As you are usually required to maintain a certain amount of money for 28 days before you apply for your visa, it is important that you prepare early. Please note that the date of application is the date that the online visa application is completed. It is not the date of the visa appointment.


What do I need to prepare?

The documentation and financial requirements for the Tier 4 visa are complex and strict, so it is vital that you read the information on the International Student Support website thoroughly before you begin your application.


Are there any other types of student visa?

If you are coming to the UK for a short course, study abroad or for a supervisory visit or summer school as a distance learning student, you may want or need to apply for a Student Visitor visa instead of the Tier 4 (General) student visa. This is a restrictive visa and is only suitable for students in certain circumstances, but if you fall into any of the above categories, please read the Short Term Study section of the International Student Support website.


Can I bring my family?

If you wish to bring your spouse or children to the UK with you, please see the Dependants visa section on our website


This is a quick introduction to the student visa options. For more information, please follow the links above. If you have further questions, please log an enquiry via SID Online and an International Student Adviser will help.