Find out everything you need to know about applying for a Student visa from outside of the UK.

Before you begin

 Check if you need a Student visa to study in the UK

Stages of a Student visa application

  1. Student visa application requirements
  2. Preparing your Student visa application
  3. Applying for your Student visa
  4. During your Student visa application
  5. Receiving your Student visa
  6. The next steps
  1. Student visa application requirements

    You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 or over and you:

    Check the Government website for other eligibility requirements as set out by the UK Government.


  2. Preparing your application

    When making a visa application you have to follow the rules and requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration.

    To ensure that you have a successful visa application you should follow the guidance on our website pages below on what documents to prepare and the proof of funds requirement.

    Documents you need for a Student visa

    The exact documents needed will be different for each student, depending on your circumstances, check our webpage that goes into more detail.

    Proof of funds

    You will need to show that you have the funds available to pay for your course fees and enough funds to maintain yourself while in the UK.
    To see our guidance on what documents are accepted and in what format see our webpage: Proof of funds.


  3. Applying for your Student visa

    When and where you can apply

    You can apply from any country where you are living. “Living” means you are in a country lawfully for a reason other than a short-term visit, such as work or study, (not as a tourist). 

    Cost of application

    • It costs £490 to apply outside the UK.
    • You also have to pay the Immigration health surcharge (IHS) which is £776 for each year of your Student visa granted.
    • You can use the surcharge calculator to find out the cost.

    Apply online for your Student visa

    You must apply online on the UKVI website.
    The standard processing time for a Student visa application is usually 3 weeks.You can check the processing times online. 

    You may be able to pay for a faster decision on your Student visa application. All applications (whether standard or priority) can take longer than the advertised processing times if deemed by UKVI as not straight forward.

    Apply online via the UKVI website


  4. During your Student visa application

    Proving your identity

    As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity. You will be told during your application process how this will be done.
    You’ll either:
    • give your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre – many centres have extra services available for a fee but these are not required.
    use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to scan your identity document.

    Credibility interview

    You may need to do a credibility interview (done via a video link) with UKVI as part of your Student visa application. You will be informed if this is required.
    If you don’t attend your interview, your Student visa application may be refused.
    Find out how to prepare for your credibility interview.

    Waiting for a decision

    While waiting for a decision on your Student visa application, UKVI may contact you to request further information.

    You should frequently check your emails, including the spam and junk folders.


  5. Receiving your Student visa

    Receiving your application outcome

    You will be contacted by the UKVI via email informing you of the outcome of your Student visa application. This email is referred to as the “Decision/Grant letter”. If you are successful, it will tell you:

    • the validity of your Student visa
    • conditions of your Student visa
    • whether your Student visa will be physical or digital.

    If you receive a visa refusal contact our international advice team as soon as possible and we can advise on the next steps.

    Evidence of your Student visa

    If your application is successful, you’ll get either a:

    • digital immigration status or,
    • vignette (sticker) in your passport, which will be valid for 90 days.

    If you receive a vignette, it will be valid from either 30 days before the course start date on your CAS or seven days before the date you said you would travel to the UK, whichever is later.

    Important: You must always arrive in the UK within the validity of your Student visa. This will either be within the validity of your 90-day vignette (if you have been issued one) or after the valid from date of your Student visa (this applies to most EU nationals who have been issued a digital immigration status).

    How long your Student visa will last

    If your course is:

    • 12 months or longer, you receive a Student visa that is the length of your course plus four months
    • between six and 12 months long, you receive a Student visa that is the length of your course plus two months
    • less than six months long, you receive a Student visa that is the length of your course plus seven days.

    If you’re studying a pre-sessional course which is less than six months, you'll receive a Student visa that is the length of your course plus one month.

    Checking your Student visa is correct


  6. The next steps

    Arriving in the UK

    See our guidance for what to do when you arrive in the UK.

    Collecting your biometric residence permit

    You collect your biometric residence permit as part of the Sussex registration process

See more from Applying for a student visa