How To Apply For A Full-Time Student Visa In The UK?


United Kingdom is filled with world-class and top universities and colleges that many countries envy. If you want to study in the United Kingdom for more than 6 months, it is possible to apply for a Point Based System (PBS) category which is known in the UK as Tier 4 (General) Student migrant. Points are awarded for Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and Funds for Maintenance. If you are outside the UK, you can apply for entry clearance as a Tier 4 General Student from the British Embassy.

You can apply from 3 months before the start of your course. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.


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.


There are things you can and you cannot do as a Tier 4 (General) Student 

You can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • apply from inside or outside the UK
  • apply to extend your stay
  • work – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
  • bring your dependants (spouse and minor children)

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • work as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

When you apply for the visa you must provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • one passport-sized colour photograph with your name written on the reverse side
  • proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa. You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances. Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.

Apply outside the UK

You must apply online for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at the British Embassy (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.


About the Author:

Don Magsino MBA is a student of Oxford Brookes University at Post-Graduate Degree in Law in Oxford, England, UK. He is a graduate of Ateneo De Manila University Graduate School of Business. He is a qualified and a practicing Immigration Lawyer in the UK. His mobile phone is 07446888377 / Direct Line: 0207 316 3027 Email is don@stanfordlawassociates.co.uk. His London office is located at Regus, 239 Kensington High Street, London W8 6SN. He is accredited by the Law Society in England and Wales and regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 3: highest level in immigration professionals. He has represented clients in the First-tier Tribunal, Immigration Detention Courts and Deportation and Bail Hearings and to the Upper Tribunal and won many difficult cases in immigration law in the United Kingdom.

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