UK Student Visa

The United Kingdom is a popular destination for international students who wish to study at some of the most prestigious and highest-ranked universities in the world. Woodcock Law can help you get a Student Visa.

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:

  • Study
  • 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

Student Visa

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)

Financial requirements

There are a few financial requirements you will have to meet, which vary depending on your situation. 

First, you must show that you have enough money to pay for one year of your academic year. The academic year can last for up to nine months. 

The fees you will have to pay for your course will be included on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.

In addition to the course fees, you will also need enough money to support yourself. 

If you are studying in London:

You will need £1,334 a month to support yourself.

Additionally, you will need an extra £845 a month to support any dependants you bring with you.

If you are studying outside of London:

You will need £1,023 a month to support yourself.

Additionally, you will need an extra £680 a month to support any dependants you bring with you.

The money must be in your bank account for 28 continuous days, and within 31 days of when you make your application. 

As previously stated, you will not need proof of funds if you are from one of the countries listed further below on this page. However, there are specific situations where you may still be requested to provide this information. UKVI will contact you if this is the case. 

Also, you do not need to provide proof of funds in the following situations:

  • You currently hold a UK visa that you have had for at least 12 months before applying for your Student Visa; you must be in the UK when you apply
  • If you are applying to as a student union sabbatical officer
  • You are making your application as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised programme 

How long can I stay?

There are options for 2 years or 5 years.

2 years:

Your course is below degree level. 

5 years:

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?
Graduate  2 Any No  No 
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:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on

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