Study in the UK
You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
- have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor
- have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
- can speak, read, write and understand English
- have consent from your parents if you’re 16 or 17 - you’ll need evidence of this when you apply
You must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed student sponsor.
To prove this, your education provider will send you a reference number (called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)) once they’ve offered you a place on the course. You need a CAS before you can apply for your visa.
Courses you can study
You can do one of the following courses:
- 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
You may also need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics at RQF level 7 or above.
You can also apply for this visa if you’re:
- taking up a full-time elected position as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer
- applying to extend your stay on the Doctorate Extension Scheme - you must currently have permission to be in the UK on a Student visa (or a Tier 4 (General) student visa) and your course must lead to a PhD
Postgraduate doctors and dentists
You can apply for this visa if you’re sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme and you’ve:
- finished a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry
- received that degree from a registered student sponsor
- spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK
Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Once they’ve offered you a place on the course, your education provider will send you a reference number called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.
You need enough money to pay for your course for 1 academic year (up to 9 months). The amount you need to pay will be on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
If you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, you do not need to prove you have this money for your visa application.
Money to support yourself (‘financial requirement’)
You’ll need to show you have enough money to support yourself - unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application.
What you can and cannot do
- 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.
- 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)
Your partner and children
Your partner and children may be able to join you or to stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours. You can only bring your dependents if you are studying a full-time postgraduate course at level 7 RQF or above.
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.
• have an unconditional offer of a place on a course at an independent school
• be able to show you’ll have access to enough money to support you in the UK and pay for your course
• have the consent of your parent or guardian to study in the UK - you’ll need to prove this when you apply
How long you can stay
How long you can stay depends on your age on the date you apply and the length of your course.
Age when you apply
How long you can stay
Course length (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards
16 or 17
Course length (up to 3 years) plus 4 months afterwards
What you can and cannot do
You can study at an independent
If you’re 16 or over you can work:
- part-time during term for up to 10 hours per week
- full-time during vacations
- on a work placement as part of your course (but not for more than 50% of your course)
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school) or further or higher education institution
- get public funds (benefits)
- take a full-time permanent job or be self-employed
- work as a professional sportsperson (for example a sports coach) or entertainer
- apply for settlement
- bring family members (‘dependants’) - if a parent wants to accompany you, they’ll need to apply for a Parent of a Child Student visa visa
You can apply for a Short-term study visa to study English language in the UK.
This visa is for English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 month
What you cannot do
- study on any other course or change your course while in the UK
- study at a state-funded school
- work or carry out any business (this includes paid or unpaid work, work experience or work placements)
- extend this visa
- bring family members (‘dependants’) with you on this visa
- apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension
Disclaimer: The information provided above only provides general guidelines on Immigration Law and these rules change regularly (last update March 2021). It is highly recommended that you call our office for more in-depth advice and assistance.
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