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Everything international students need to know about UK student visas

This guide to UK student visas details everything you need to know about deadlines, costs, language requirements and post-study work options

  • Study abroad
March 18 2021
UK student visa


The UK is a top study destination for international students because it is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Students often view the process of securing a visa as being difficult, feeling overwhelmed by various deadlines and the need to produce supporting documents. But you shouldn’t let that put you off studying abroad. Once the visa process is complete, the experience of studying abroad will outweigh any headaches you may faced during the visa application process.

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To help with your applications, we’ve put together this easy-to-use table for a quick overview of what is involved when applying for a student visa for the UK.

See below for all the key information on UK student visas, including costs, deadlines, language requirements, whether you can work or not on while a student and post-study work options.

More resources on visas for the UK

Bringing family with you on a UK student visa
Everything international students need to know about UK student visas
Student visa applications for the UK: what has changed under Covid-19?
A guide to UK tuition fees and student visas
A guide to post-study work visas in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Germany and New Zealand

  UK student visa requirements
What type of visa is required? Student visa
How much does a visa application cost? £348 when applying from outside the UK, and £475 to switch to a student visa when inside the UK.
What are the language requirements? An English level of at least B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Universities may require a higher language standard for acceptance on to certain courses – and will often vouch for your language abilities on your visa application.
What money do I need to have to prove that I can support myself? Course fees for one academic year, plus £1,023 per month (when studying outside London) for up to nine months. However, students from many wealthier countries may not need to prove they have this money. More information here.
Are there any additional charges? A healthcare surcharge of £470 a year.
Can I work while studying?  Students with full-time visas can work up to 20 hours during term time and full-time during vacation. The sponsoring university must have a track record of immigration compliance. Some types of work, such as self-employment, are excluded.
What are the post-study work options? Students who have completed their degree in the UK will be able to apply for a Graduate Route visa, which will allow them to work or look for work for two years for bachelor’s and master’s students, three years for PhDs.
When should I apply for my student visa? Up to six months before starting your course when applying from outside the UK, and up to three months before when applying from inside.

More resources for studying in the UK as an international student

Covid-19 travel updates for international students for the UK, the US, Canada and Australia
Everything you need to know about studying in the UK
Applications for UK post-study work visa to open in July

What happens after you submit your Ucas application?
A guide to UK tuition fees and student visas
The cost of studying at a university in the UK
Scholarships available in the UK for international students

Please note all costs and conversion rates were correct at the time of publication. These may vary over time.

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