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-UK nationals, including EEA and Swiss nationals, who are coming to study in the UK for more than six months are required to obtain a visa in advance (called 'entry clearance') before travelling. 

Even 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 Student visa (previously a Tier 4 visa)

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 and upload scans of your documents, followed by an in-person appointment where you will 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 if you are in the UK) 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 requirement for the Student 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 Visitor visa instead of the 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 Visitor visas 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 Dependant visas 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 under the category 'Immigration' and an International Student Adviser will help.