Getting a visa

The information on this page is for guidance only. If you are unsure about your visa status, or for the most up-to-date information, please contact your local embassy or visit

Last updated: April 2021


Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

If you are a ‘Non-Visa National’ (eg All EU/EEA countries, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Taiwan) you can enter the UK with a ‘Standard Visitor Visa’ that is issued on arrival. You can stay and study for up to 6 months.  You can enter through the e-gates and do not need to speak to immigration staff at the entry point. There will be no stamp in your passport. If you want to study for more than 6 months you will need to apply for either a Short-term Study visa or a Student Visa before you travel – see details below.

If you are a ‘Visa National’ (eg from China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine) you always need to apply for a visa before you travel. If your course is less than 6 months you can enter and study with a ‘Standard Visa’. If you want to study for more than 6 months you can apply for either a ‘Short–Term Study visa’ (up to 11 months) or a ‘Standard Visitor Visa’ (previously known as a ‘Tier 4 visa’)

See a full list here


Visa Types

Standard Visitor Visa

A Standard Visitor visa allows anyone to:

  • Study on a short course (including English language courses) for up to 6 months at an accredited school.
  • Stay in the UK up to 6 months

This will be the most suitable visa for many of our students.


Short-term Study Visa

A Short-Term Study visa allows those over 16 years old to:

  • Study on an English language course for up to 11 months
  • Stay in the UK for the length of the course plus 30 days.

You can apply for a short-term study visa up to 3 months before your date of travel and should get a decision within 3 weeks of application. Check the visa processing times for more information.

To apply for this visa you must provide proof:

  • of acceptance onto a course
  • that you have enough money for your stay
  • that you have money for your return journey

If you are under 18 years old you also need to show:

  • you have booked your travel and accommodation
  • you have permission from your parent or guardian

You can find details about eligibility for this visa and the documents you need to provide at

To apply online for this visa, visit the website.


Student Visa

A Student visa (previously called ‘Tier 4 visa’) allows those 16 years old or over to:

  • Study a full-time course including an English language course (at level B2 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) for up to or more than 12 months
  • stay up to 2 months after the end of the course.

To apply for a Student visa you must:

International House Trust Limited is a licensed sponsor under the UK Visas and Immigration points-based system (license no 5BY3ENNA5) for people coming to the UK to train or study.

Please contact us ( for more information about applying for this type of visa.

Other visas

It is also possible to study on some other visa types, for example:

  • Tier 1 – Investor / Entrepreneur visa
  • Tier 2 – General work visa
  • Tier 5 – Youth mobility visa
  • Diplomatic visa
  • Some Dependent visas

However, IH London is not able to provide advice or assistance in obtaining these.  


How do I apply for a visa?

You can check whether you need a visa on the website.

You can find out how to apply for a UK visa on the UK government website at


Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

You usually need to pay the IHS if your visa is over 6 months. It entitles you to use parts of the National Health Service that are free. You will need to pay the IHS even if you have Private Health/travel insurance.  


Visa FAQs

You can find answers to the most common questions in this document. 


Need further help?

Contact our friendly multilingual team.