The process for applying for your student visa is slightly different, depending on whether you are applying for a new visa from your home country, already in the UK and need to change your visa, or renewing an existing visa.
Who can apply
You can apply for a Tier 4 (general) student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 years old (or over), and you:
- Have been offered a place on a course
- Can speak, read, write and understand English
- Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
- Are from a country that is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
There are a few more requirements, which are set out in the UK Visas and Immigration website.
When to apply
Before you apply for your visa, you must know the date you are planning to enter the UK.
You can apply for a visa up to three months before the start of your course. How long it takes to process depends on where you are applying from, but you should get a decision within three weeks. Check visa processing times for your country.
If you are applying for a new visa from within the UK, you must make sure that the start date of your new course (as given on your CAS letter) is less than 28 days from the end of your current visa. If your current visa expires before this, you will need to leave the UK and apply from your home country.
Applying from your home country
If you are applying for a new visa from your home country, this is how the process works.
- Fill in the online application form and pay the correct fee.
- Print out your completed application form and cover sheet.
- Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)(if required).
- Attend the VAC.
- Provide your biometric data and attend a credibility interview if required.
- Submit your signed application form, supporting documents and passport, either at the VAC or by post.
- Your visa is granted or refused. If it is refused, please contact our International Admissions team.
- Your documents and passport are returned.
- Check that all the details on your visa are correct.
- Travel to the UK on or after the 'valid from' date on your visa.
If you are applying from Cuba or North Korea you will need to use a printed application form, rather than applying online. You will then pay your fees at the Visa Application Centre. The rest of the process is the same.
You can print out the VAF9 form and guidance notes from the UK Visas and Immigration website.
Applying from within the UK
If you are already in the UK and need to extend your existing visa, or change to a Tier 4 student visa, you must apply before your current visa expires. If you are switching to a Tier 4 visa, you can only apply if your current visa falls into one of the following categories.
- Tier 4 (General) Student
- Tier 4 (Child) Student
- Tier 1 (Post-study Work) Migrant
- Tier 2 Migrant
- Prospective Student
We recommend that you speak to one of our specialist advisers. They can check your online application form and supporting documents, send your documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKV&I), track the progress of your application and take secure delivery of your returned passport and new visa.
This is how the process works.
- Create an online account with UKV&I.
- Complete the online self-assessment form and application form.
- Collect all your documents to support your application.
- Make an appointment to meet with a specialist adviser, taking with you all your supporting documents and a copy of your CAS letter or email. They will check your application and advise you about anything else you need.
- At the appointment, complete your online application and pay the application fee.
- The adviser will print out the cover sheet for your application and post your supporting documents to the UKV&I office.
- Once you have provided your biometric data, your application will be considered by a caseworker.
- Your documents and new visa (on a Biometric Residence Permit) will be returned to the specialist adviser. They will ask you to collect it from them. If, for any reason, your visa is returned to you directly, please bring it to the Campus Registry as soon as you receive it so that we can take a copy.
You can also apply for your visa in person. The process is slightly different, but gets things done quicker.
- Complete steps 1 to 5 as above.
- Book an appointment online to take your application and supporting documents to a UK Visas and Immigration Public Enquiry Office. The specialist adviser will then print out the cover sheet for you.
- Attend your appointment and provide your biometric data.
- You should receive a letter on the day of your appointment which confirms the outcome of your application.
- Your new visa (on a Biometric Residence Permit) will be returned to the specialist adviser. They will ask you to collect it from them. If, for any reason, your visa is returned to you directly, please bring it to the Campus Registry as soon as you receive it so that we can take a copy.
How much it costs
Depending on what you are applying for, you will need to pay the following fees.
- Applying for a new visa (from outside the UK): £322
- Extending or switching by post (from in the UK): £439
- Extending or switching in person – premium service (from in the UK): £839.
You will also need to pay the following fees for any dependants.
- Applying for a new visa (from outside the UK): £322 each person
- Extending or switching by post (from in the UK): £439 each person
- Extending or switching in person – premium service (from in the UK): £839 each person.
More information about student visas
You can find more information about applying for your student visa on the UK Visas and Immigration website