General student visa (Tier 4)
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
- have been offered a place on a course
- can speak, read, write and understand English
- have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
- are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
- meet the other eligibility requirements
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. You and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. The scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019.
When to apply
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check visa processing times for your country.
It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
You must pay £348 per person for any dependants.
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.
How long you can stay
You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:
- up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
- up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months
How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.
What you can and cannot do
- work as a student union sabbatical officer
- apply from inside or outside the UK
- apply to extend your stay
- work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
- get public funds
- work in certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).
Read the full guidance to find out how long you might be able to stay and what you can and cannot do.