Visas

Visas

This page provides visa guidance for students wishing to learn English in the United Kingdom. Please note this information is for guidance only and is subject to regular change. For up-to-date information, please refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website.


Do I need to apply for a visa?

Many international students can study in the UK for up to six months without needing a visa.

EEA, Swiss nationals and other nationalities on the non-visa national list below will not need a visa if their course is six months or less.

Non-visa national list

Any EEA country
Argentina
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Dominica
East Timor
El Salvador
Grenada
Guatemala
Honduras
Hong Kong
Israel
Japan
Kiribati
Macau
Malaysia
Maldives
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Namibia
Nauru
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Seychelles
Singapore
Solomon Islands
South Korea
Taiwan
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
United States of America
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Vatican City

This list sometimes changes. You can check by using the UK government tool – enter the nationality and course length to find out if a visa is required. 

All international students need a visa to study for longer than six months.

Studying in the UK for six months or less

EEA nationals, Swiss nationals and other nationalities on the non-visa national list do not need a visa to study in the UK for up to six months. This will not change in 2021.

Students of other nationalities need to apply for a visa. After 1 December 2020, international students who want to study in the UK for six months or less should apply for a Standard Visitor visa.

How to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa

You will need a Standard Visitor visa if you:

  • plan to study in the UK for less than six months
  • apply on or after 1 December 2020

Key facts about Standard Visitor visas:

  • From December 2020, visitors can study as much as they like on this visa. It is possible to take different courses with different providers, as long as the courses have an approved accreditation.
  • Application cost: £95
  • When to apply: up to three months in advance
  • Financial requirements: the applicant will need to show that they have enough money to pay for their trip, including accommodation and living costs
  • For students who are under 18, there are additional requirements

Short-term study visa – for English language courses between six and eleven months

If you want to study English in the UK for between six and eleven months you should apply for a Short-term study visa before you travel. From 2021, this also applies to EU/EEA and Swiss nationals.

Key facts about Short-term study visas:

  • minimum age is 16 years old
  • Visa length: 11 months maximum
  • English language study only allowed on this visa.
  • Suitable for beginners – there is no minimum level of English required
  • Before applying, applicants must choose a course and have a letter of confirmation from an institution with an approved accreditation
  • Applicants need to show they have enough money to pay for course fees, accommodation and living costs
  • Students with this visa cannot work in the UK
  • Application cost: £186
  • When to apply: up to three months in advance
  • Apply online for a Short term study visa

Please note that if you are coming to the UK for longer than 6 months on Short-Term Study Visa, you must collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) in your first 10 days in the UK. If you don’t collect it in time, you may have to pay a fine (financial penalty) or go home earlier than you expected with no refund, so please come and speak to us about your BRP on your first day at school.

Electronic Visa Waiver

Passport holders of Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates qualify for an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW), which will allow them to study for a period of up to 6 months. An EVW form can be completed online; it is free of charge and quicker than applying for a visa. Students do not need to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints), attend a visa application centre or hand in passport in advance of travel. You must apply for an EVW online at least 48 hours before you travel.

What if I already have a visa?

Some other UK visas allow study, so if you already hold a valid UK visa but are unsure whether you can study on it, please contact us so we can check.

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