UK Student Visa
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A quick look
You can stay in the UK for 2-5 years.
2 years if it is below degree level and you are aged 16 or 17.
5 years If your course is degree level or higher and you are over 18.
The place offer you hold must be from a registered student sponsor. A full list can be found here.
You are allowed to:
- Work as a student union sabbatical officer
- Work or volunteer for up to 20 hours a week during term time
You are not allowed to:
- Apply for most public funds
- Work in certain jobs
- Be self-employed
- Study at an academy or a local authority-funded school
The UK Student Visa is the visa you need to apply for when coming to the UK to study.
This could be:
- A full-time level 3, 4, 5 qualification
- A degree-level course, full or part-time
- A master’s degree
- A foundation course for doctors or dentists
- A PhD
You can also apply for this visa if you are working full-time as a student union officer.
Everyone coming to the UK to study, including those from the EU/ EEA, need a Student Visa.
In order for your visa to be approved you will need the following:
- A written offer to study in the UK
- Proof of funds to support yourself while here (list of exempt countries below*)
- Proof you can speak, write, read and understand English (find the link of exempt countries here) – check out our video here.
- Written permission from your parent or guardian (if under 18)
- TB test results if needed (find the list of countries here)
- An ATAS Certificate (not required for all courses)
How long can I stay?
2 or 5 years.
Your course is below degree level.
Your course is at a degree level or higher.
Can I extend the Student Visa?
Yes, but you must:
- Hold a Student Visa already
- Have been offered an unconditional offer to study on your next course
- Be studying a new course at a higher level than your current one. E.g complete a master’s degree after an undergraduate
All of the above must apply for your visa extension application to be approved.
Do I have to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS)?
The Student Visa does require payment of the immigration health surcharge. This payment gives you access to the NHS while you are in the UK. It is a requirement, and not optional.
You need to do this before you apply for your visa as you need the IHS reference number for your visa application.
In July 2023 the government announced an increase to the IHS, which is now £1,035 per year that you are in the UK. You can check how much you will pay here.
Can I bring dependants?
In 2023 it was announced that anyone studying in the UK on a Student Visa from January 2024, will no longer be able to bring dependants except in extreme exceptional circumstances.
From January 2024, only those studying at PhD level will be able to bring their immediate family as dependants.
Can I switch from this visa?
From 2023 you are unable to ‘switch’ your visa to a work visa midway through your studies.
You are still able to switch to UK work visas once your course has finished.
These are the three most popular post-study work routes:
|Visa type||Time length (years)||Type of job||Can it be extended?||Does it lead to naturalisation?|
|Skilled Worker||5||‘Skilled’ – engineers, architects, finance||Yes||Yes|
|Health and Care Worker||5||Health and social care – carers, doctors, nurses||Yes||Yes|
Other Student Visa UK information
- You can apply 3 months before your course start date.
- Visa applications can take up to 8 weeks to be approved/denied.
- You must not enter the country and start your course if your visa is not approved.
- You must not overstay on your visa.
- Any documents not written in English or Welsh will need to be translated by a sworn translator.
*List of countries where proof of funds is not needed:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
- The Dominican Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
Ready for assistance?
If you have any questions about the changes or want legal advice, contact
Woodcock Law & Notary Public today. Contact us by phone on 0330 133 6490 or
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.