Study in the UK

This section covers short term study visas and visas for longer courses, degrees and independent schools

Find the right study visaCheck if you need a UK visa

There are various types of study visas:

Student visa

You can apply for a student visa if you’re 16 or over and want to study on a further or higher education course in the UK. The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.

You can apply for a student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

You will need to pay for your visa and UK immmigration healthcare surcharge as part of the application.

Dependent visa (partner and children)

Some students are eligible to bring their partner and children to the UK on a dependant visa.

A dependant for visa purposes is:

  • A husband, wife or civil partner.
  • An unmarried partner if you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least 2 years.
  • A child under 18 years old.
  • Similar to a student visa, dependants should apply in their country of nationality or country of residence (where you have permission to live). The application is made online. A separate application needs to be completed for each dependant.

Each dependent will need to pay for the visa and UK immigration healthcare surcharge as part of the application.

Child Student visa

You can apply for a Child Student visa if you’re between 4 and 17 years old and you want to study at an independent school in the UK. The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before the course starts.

You must:

You will need to pay for your visa and UK immigration healthcare surcharge as part of the immigration application.

Study English in the UK (Short-term study visa)

Visas and immigration operational guidance: detailed information

Sponsors and sponsorship

What do I need to do?

Most overseas students need a student visa to study in the UK. Your student visa will allow you to live and study in the UK throughout your course. You can attend a pre-departure briefing in your home country where you will pick up more handy tips on your visa application.

You will need to pay an application fee and have a current passport or other valid travel documents.

Finding out whether you need a visa to study is easy – check here on GOV.UK

How do I apply for a visa?

You need to wait until you have an offer from a university or college before applying for a visa. Your university or college will then be able to give you a document called a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). To do this, your chosen institution needs to be approved by the UK government as a licenced sponsor.

You will also need to pay a fee for a UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). You will have to pay the IHS if you apply for a visa for a period of longer than six months, and you make your visa application outside of the UK. This gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service. Students receive a 25 per cent discount on the usual cost of this surcharge – the rate for a student visa is £470 per year for a student, for example, £940 for a 2-year visa. The full amount must be paid upfront and payments are made by debit/credit card as part of your online visa application.

If you are applying online, you’ll be asked for your course dates. You’ll be sent an email with an IHS reference number. This will also be shown on screen when you’ve paid. Check your junk folder if you cannot see the email in your inbox. You can only use this number once – you’ll need to get another one if you reapply. You’ll need to write this on the cover of your visa application if you’re applying by post. 

The IHS covers free medical treatment (including emergency or hospital care). If you have a pre-existing condition and are already receiving treatment for it or are on specific medication this will be covered by your IHS. You’ll still need to pay for certain types of services such as prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.

If you have prescribed treatment/medication, you MUST bring this with you as a referral to a local haemophilia centre can take weeks.

If you are using the 6-month ‘student visitor’ route or the 6-month ‘short-term student’ route you should make sure you have private health insurance from the beginning of your stay.

You can apply for a student visa up to six months before your course starts. More information is available at StudyUK

Can I work in the UK on a study visa?

Many students in the UK take a part-time job, work placement or internship alongside their studies. The hours and type of work you do will depend on the type of visa and your sponsoring university or college.

Disclaimer:  The content of this page has been provided by GOV.UK and StudyUK, and is for general information only. It is subject to change without notice.