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 www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration.
Last updated: November 2020
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 ‘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 ‘Visitor 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 ‘Student Visa’ (previously known as a ‘Tier 4 visa’)
See a full list here.
A 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 gov.uk 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 www.gov.uk/study-visit-visa/overview.
To apply online for this visa, visit the www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa website.
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:
- Request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) from a licensed Tier 4 sponsor such as IH London.
- Show that you have enough money for your stay
- Show acceptable proof that you have a suitable level of English. For more information about tests and levels see: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/knowledge-of-english
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about applying for this type of visa.
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 www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa website.
You can find out how to apply for a UK visa on the UK government website at www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa.
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.