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How to apply for a student visa in the UK

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 years or over and not from a European Country or Switzerland. The student visa system is based on a points based system and you will need to obtain 40 points in order to qualify for a visa.

You can apply for up to 3 months before the start date of your course.

The first thing you need is to get an offer of a place on a course at an acceptable educational institution called a trusted sponsor. UKVI regularly publish a list of such trusted sponsors. The college or university that offer you a course should also be able to confirm to you that they are on the list of acceptable sponsors.

You can do a course that’s one of the following:

  • full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF),
  • a degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution,
  • a full-time course with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study leading to a qualification below degree level but at least NQF level 3 or
  • a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist.

You will need to prove that you can speak, read, write and understand English to a certain level. Your sponsor institution will assess your language ability and will only issue you with a CAS once they are satisfied that your English is up to the required standard.

If you meet the requirements, your sponsor will then issue you with a confirmation of accepted studies or CAS.

If a CAS is issued, you will be awarded 30 points.

You must also prove that you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course.

The money you will need to show must be enough to cover the course fees for your first period of study or, if you are continuing a course, for the next period of study, and living costs for up to a maximum of nine months. Living costs are currently calculated at £1000 per month for study in London and £800 per month outside London.

You must hold this money in a bank account in your name or that of your parents. The full amount must have been in your account for a period of 90 days.

If the decision maker is satisfied that the financial requirement have been met, a further 10 points will be awarded.

Even if you have met the 40 points you can still be refused under the general grounds for refusal for example if you have used deception/false documents or you are not of a suitable character/have criminal convictions.

Should you require any assistance with making such an application, please contact our experienced team on


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