The Full Guide To UK Student Visa Requirements 2023

The majority of international students looking to enrol on an academic degree within the UK must apply for a Student Visa, which allows you to live and study here during the length of your course. 

Before your university course begins, you must complete an application for a Student Visa given you meet the requirements set out by the government. 

Due to Brexit, the UK study visa requirements can be confusing and the application itself can be a lengthy process but don’t worry.

Here at Homes for Students, we’ve done our research so that your application for a Student Visa in 2023 is stress-free! 

uk study visa requirements

Who Can Apply For A UK Student Visa? 

If you are an international aged 16 or over and are looking to study at a university within the UK for longer than 6 months, it is more than likely you will need to apply for a Student Visa. 

To apply for a Student Visa in the UK, you need to have received an unconditional offer of a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor. 

You will also need to have enough money to support yourself during your studies, as well as pay for your course, which will vary from person to person. 

If you want to study within the UK, you also need to be able to speak, read, write and understand the English Language, which is determined by passing an English Proficiency Test from an approved provider.

For those who are aged 16 or 17, they also need to have consent from their parents and provide evidence of this within their study visa application. 

For further information on whether you need to apply for a Student Visa or not, you can head to the Student Visa webpage.

Who Can Apply For A UK Student Visa? 

Types Of UK Student Visas 

To study in the UK, there are a few different types of Student Visas, with the one you need to apply for depending on your plans and your age.  

The three main types of UK student visas are listed within our next section. 

types of UK student visas

Student Route Visa

Formerly known as the Tier 4 General student visa before October 5th 2020, the Student Route Visa is a points-based visa system which applies for all international students, including EU, EEA, and Swiss students.

If you’re an international student coming to the UK to study a full-time course of more than 6  months you must apply for a Student Visa (the Student Route) before your course begins. 

The length of your course determines the length of this visa.

Student Route Visa

Short-term Study Visa 

If you want to study English Language in the UK for a period of longer than 6 months and up to 6 months, you should apply for a Short-term study visa. 

If you have a short-term Study Visa, you cannot work, carry out a work placement or gain work experience whilst studying in the UK.

Short-term Study Visa 

Child Student Visa

If the above applies to you but you are aged under 18, you should apply for a Child Student Visa instead.

The Child Student Visa is for children aged between 4 and 17 who want to study at an independent school in the UK. 

How long you can live in the UK with a Child Student visa depends on the course length and your age. 

Child Student Visa

How To Apply For A UK Student Visa

After finding out whether or not you’re eligible for a Student Visa, you then need to create an application.

This can be done as early as 6 months before your course start date if you live outside of the UK. 

Whilst applying for a UK Student Visa can be difficult and time consuming, thankfully we are here to guide you through all the necessary steps. 

How To Apply For A UK Student Visa

1. Certificate of Acceptance of Studies

First and foremost, you will need to apply to your chosen university and receive an unconditional offer from this institution, before applying for your Student Visa. 

After accepting this offer, your university will give you a document called a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (or CAS).

You must enter this number during your online registration. 

Once you receive your CAS, you can then start your visa application to study and live within the UK. 

Certificate of Acceptance of Studies uk study visa requirements

3. Complete Application 

Next, you should complete your application for a Study Visa at the UK embassy in your country or complete it online on the official UK Government website.

The Student Route Visa currently costs £363 if you apply from outside the UK, and £490 to extend or switch to a Student visa within the UK.

On the other hand, the Short-term Study Visa currently costs £200 to complete.

complete uk student visa application

4. Gather Relevant Documents 

The next step when applying for a UK study visa is to prepare all of the relevant documents. 

The documents you will need include a valid passport or travel document, a recent photo and fingerprints (you can get these done at a visa application centre), your unconditional placement offer, proof that you afford your course fees and living costs, as well as proof of an English Language test. 

If you’re under 18 years old, you will need to submit a document showcasing parental consent from a parent or legal guardian within your application.

You may also be required to carry out a Tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months, depending on which country you are from. 

relevant documents for uk study visa

5. Immigration Health Surcharge 

If your higher education course is longer than 6 months, you will need to pay a fee called an Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your UK student visa application. 

This allows you free NHS hospital treatment in the UK, with students being entitled to a 25% discount for the IHS costing £470 per year.

If your course of study is 6 months or less, you will not be required to pay the IHS. 

For those with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may be able to apply for a refund for the IHS.

Immigration Health Surcharge 

6. Confirmation Of Acceptance 

Before you travel to the UK to live and study, you will need confirmation of acceptance of your Student Visa application. 

You can normally expect to receive a decision about your visa application within 3 weeks, but we’d suggest not leaving your application until the last minute. 

It’s best to get it completed sooner rather than later after accepting your unconditional offer from your university, as verifying your documents can take a long period of time, and you may need to attend an interview. 

Remember to always check the up-to-date up-to-date information about the UK Student Visa by visiting the official UK Government website.

visa confirmation of acceptance

With close to 700,000 international students studying at degree level within the UK, there are people you can speak to if you’re struggling with your student visa application, including your university and the UK Visas and Immigration office. 

We hope our full guide on UK Student Visa Requirements has been helpful for the 23/24 academic year! 

If you’re searching for the perfect apartment whilst at university, we offer a range of student accommodation across the UK. 

Preparing for your university applications? Read our guide on Tips To Make The Most Of A University Open Day.

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