Find out when and how to apply for a student visa within the UK and what application documents you need.
The UK government has introduced various temporary concessions which can be used in specific circumstances, including:
- if you need to request exceptional assurance because you are unable to return to your home country in relation to Covid-19
- if your Entry Clearance was not activated due to Covid-19 restrictions.
You can also read about Covid-19 concessions on the UKCISA website.
If you are considering whether you’re eligible to make an application using one of these concessions, contact us directly so we can discuss your situation in more detail.
You might be able to apply for a student visa inside the UK if you’re:
- currently studying at Sussex and need to extend your visa (such as starting a new course), or
- repeating a year, adding a work placement or year abroad, getting an extension to your course, or
- planning to study at Sussex and are yet to start your course.
However, you cannot apply inside the UK if you have:
- a standard visitor visa or short-term study visa
- a parent of a child student visa, seasonal worker visa or domestic worker in a private household visa
- a visa that expires more than 28 days before your new course starts
- a visa outside the immigration rules
- left a previous course in the UK without completing it
- temporarily withdrawn from your course
- overstayed your visa.
In any of these cases, you must return to your home country to get a new visa.
Contact us for advice.
Important: Student visas are only valid for use on the course of study at the institution they were issued for. If you have a student visa that was issued for study at another institution (such as another university or the International Study Centre), you must apply to extend your visa before you can enrol at Sussex.
How to apply
To make a student visa application inside the UK, you’ll need:
- current immigration permission in an eligible category
- your new course of studies to start no more than 28 days after your current visa ends (as stated on your CAS)
- to have been awarded the qualification you have been studying, and for which your current student visa was issued in the first place.
Tip: Apply as soon as you’re eligible to. If you’re starting a course at Sussex, the earliest you can apply is three months before your course start date. If you’re continuing at Sussex as a result of extending your current course, you can start the process of getting a new visa by asking for a CAS when you are within six months of your current visa expiry date.
You must apply online for your visa.
Your application date is when you submit the application online. You must apply on or before your current visa expiry date.
The standard cost is £490, plus £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.
You should receive a decision (by email) within eight weeks.
You also have to pay a healthcare surcharge of £470 for each year of your course.
- give your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a UKVCAS service point
- use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to scan your identity document – you will also create or sign in to your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.
You’ll be told what to do when you apply.
If your application is successful, you’ll get either a:
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – if you gave your biometric information at a UKVCAS centre
- digital immigration status you can view and prove online – if you used the UK Immigration: ID Check app.
If you need your visa quickly, you can pay more money to get it sooner.
The cost is an extra £500. You should receive an email decision within five working days of giving your biometrics.
You can pay even more money for “super priority service”. This costs an extra £800 and gets you an email decision the next working day after giving your biometrics.
In both priority cases, if you need to attend a UKVCAS centre to give biometrics, you can’t check the availability of appointments until you have paid for the service. You may have to wait or travel to a centre that’s farther away.
Your BRP should follow within 10 days.
You’ll get deadlines for submitting documents and giving biometrics after you submit the online application. Stick to them to make sure your application is valid.
Your application will be invalid if you do not give biometrics within the required timeframe. You will become an overstayer if your current visa expires.
Documents you need
You need to supply several documents when making an application. See what you need to provide.
Proof of funds
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
Submitting proof of your application to us
You must show us a photocopy of your current visa and the cover sheet from your online visa application as proof that you have applied in time (on or before your visa expiry date).
We cannot register you for a new course, or keep you on your current course, without this.
Contact us if you think you have applied after your visa expiry date.
You may need to do a credibility interview with UKVI (using a video link) as part of your visa application.
If you don’t attend your interview, your visa application may be refused.
Collecting your biometric residence permit (BRP)
Your partner and children may be able to apply to extend their stay with you as dependants.