What you need to know about getting a visa to stay and study in the UK
Different Visa Status for Different Nationalities
You do not need a visa to study for up to six months. You need to apply for a visa if you want to study in the UK for more than six months.
Some other nationalities do not need a visa to study for up to six months. If you have a passport from a country on the non-visa national list, you can visit the UK and study for up to six months without a visa.
enter your nationality and how long you want to study and it will tell you what visa you need.
Visa Nationals (VN)
If you are a VN, you need a visa to enter the UK for any reason and must get it before you leave home (this is called ‘pre-entry clearance’). If you are from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or United Arab Emirates, you can apply for an electronic visa waiver.
Study English in the UK for 6 months or less
To study English in the UK for six months or less:
Other international students need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa (see below)
Choose an accredited course: From 2021, international students are only allowed to study at an institution that is accredited by one the government-recognised accreditation bodies. You can choose any English UK member centre – all English UK member centres are accredited by the British Council’s government-recognised quality assurance scheme, Accreditation UK.
Standard Visitor Visa
How to apply for a Standard Visitor visa
You need a Standard Visitor visa if:
you plan to study English in the UK for less than six months
If you want to study English in the UK for more than 11 months you need a Student visa.
Are you an EU/EEA/Swiss national? From 2021, you need a visa to study for more than 6 months. If you arrived in 2020 and want to study and work in the UK after June 2021, you can do so by applying for pre-settled status Link under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Key facts about Student visas:
Your course must include at least 15 hours of study per week
You must already have an intermediate level of English – you will need to prove your English level by taking a Secure English language Test (IELTS or Trinity College London) at a government-approved testing centre (find out more)
Some students studying English language courses with a Student visa can work for 10 hours per week
Application cost: £348, plus the immigration health surcharge for visas that are longer than six months. The cost depends on the length of the visa, starting at £470.
When to apply up to six months in advance
Other Types of Visas
If you have a Diplomatic Visa, you can study without any problems.
Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) Visa
If you are lucky enough to have one of these, you can do anything you like.
Electronic Visa Waiver
If you are from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or United Arab Emirates, you can apply for an electronic visa waiver (EVW). The EVW can be used for a single entry only, but you can stay for up to 6 months and study with us.
This is much quicker and cheaper than applying for a visa. You can apply online between 3 months and 48 hours before you travel, and you only have to pay a fee of £15.
You need to make sure that you fill in all the required details (your passport details, an address in the UK where you will stay, details of your journey, including departure and arrival dates and times) correctly or you won’t be allowed to travel. If any of details change e. g. you arrive at a different airport or you arrive 8 hours later than planned, you have to apply for a new EVW.
Please make sure that you print your EVW and take the print out with you when you travel, as electronic copies aren’t accepted.
What You Need To Do
What you must do if you want a STSV/STSV11
If you need a visa to enter the UK you will need support from us, so you must tell us what sort of visa you intend to apply for. Unless we know this, we do not know what sort of support to send you.
Send us a copy of your passport. We need information from it to produce the support that we will send you.
The cost of your visa letter is included in your registration fee of £50, however if you require us to make further changes we charge £30 for each letter.
Send us the information needed for a Short-Term Student Visa STSV support letter. If you want a STSV we will need to send you a STSV support letter, so we need certain information.
Date of birth
Passport expiry date
What you need before starting a course with us
Please make sure that you bring your passport or ID with you to school on the first day. If you do not need a visa, we must check this. If you do need a visa, we need to check that you have one, and take a copy of it.
Biometric Residence Permit
A Biometric Residence Permit is a credit-card sized plastic card which looks very similar to a driving licence.
If you have a Tier 4, a STSV11 or a YMV, and will stay for more than 6 months, you will no longer get a paper visa in your passport. You will get a vignette (rubber stamp) which will allow you to enter the country, and you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit after you arrive.
The vignette will be valid for 30 days from the arrival date that you gave when you applied for your visa. You must arrive in the UK during this period. If you will arrive later, you will need to apply for a new vignette.
When you are granted your visa, you will be told the address of a Post Office where you can collect your BRP.
After you have collected your BRP you must show it to us as we need to make a copy for our records.
You do not need to carry your BRP all the time and it might be safest not to do so. But you need to take it with you if you leave the country as you will need to show it when you re-enter the UK.
If you have a stamp in your passport which tells you to register your arrival in the UK you will need to visit The Overseas Visitors Records Office Longport Police Station, Ashford Road, Newington Kent, CT18 8AP. In this case, please see here.