UK Student Visas - Study in the UKThe UK is very keen to attract bright young people to come and take advantage of the many types of high quality courses and opportunities to study in the UK. We are also keen that you might stay after you have graduated and join the UK workforce.
This applies to people coming from overseas and people already here in the UK.
Obtaining a UK Student Visa has changed greatly in recent times and so has the process and criteria for what you can do during and after your UK education such as working, further study or something completely different like setting up your own business or consultancy.
This and other pages on our site aim to help you define your options. There are also links to relevant resources for Students in our Service and Resource Centre. These aim to help you with every day life in the UK during your studies as well.
You need to have this firmly in mind before you exercise your requirements and many questions need answering, including:
- Can you switch to a work permit?
- Do you actually need a work permit?
- Can you switch to other categories?
- Can you stay in the UK whilst you do this?
- How long might your chosen process take?
Of course the process has to start with choosing your course and ensuring that you can apply for, and obtain, your relevant student visa for that course.
Choosing your course and getting your Student Visa
(If you are engaging a private Training Provider for a training course, please also see our Training and Work Experience page).
There has been much work done by the Government to stop misuse of courses and student visas to gain entry to the UK under false pretences.
It is now mandatory that you choose your course only from Institutions that appear on the official Register of Education and Training Providers list as published by the Department for Education and Skills.
Currently our rates for student applications are substantially discounted. You need to get this right.
So you have to have been accepted for a course of study at one of the above institutions which include:
- a publicly funded institution of further or higher education
- a bona fide private education institution which maintains satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance
- an independent fee paying school outside the maintained sector
- a recognised full time degree course at a publicly funded institution of further or higher education
- a weekday full time course involving attendance at a single institution for a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime study per week of a single subject, or directly related subjects
- a full time course of study at an independent fee paying school
- You must intend to leave the United Kingdom at the end of your studies.
- You must not intend to engage in business or to take employment, except part time or vacation work undertaken with the consent of the Secretary of State for Employment, whilst studying [see section 2 below].
- You must be able to meet the costs of the course and accommodation and the maintenance of yourself and any dependants without taking employment or engaging in business or having recourse to public funds.
Although students studying here are not normally allowed to work in the UK, they can work without permission as long as they do not work for more than 20 hours per week or start a business and the work they do is not a full time job.
What can you do whilst studying?
This is another area where changes have occurred. If you have a UK graduate degree you can switch to full time work without having to leave the UK.
What can you do after your course is completed?
You can do this by :
- Obtaining a sponsored work permit
- Obtaining an HSMP permit
- Taking advantage of IGS (The International Graduates Scheme)
Depending on your specific circumstances, there may be other ways to achieve the right to work in the UK from Student status.
We can also help you extend your stay in the UK as a Student.
There are specific criteria for award and extension of student visas for:
Student NursesThe term student nurse means a person accepted for training as a student nurse or midwife leading to a registered nursing qualification; or an overseas nurse or midwife who has been accepted on an adaptation course leading to registration as a nurse with the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.
You must have been accepted for a course of study in a recognised nursing educational establishment offering nursing training which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.
The possession of a Department of Health bursary may be taken into account in assessing whether the student meets the maintenance requirement.
Postgraduate Doctors and DentistsYou must be a graduate from a medical school and eligible for provisional or limited registration with the General Medical Council.
You must intend to undertake Pre Registration House Officer employment for up to 12 months and have not spent more than 12 months in aggregate in Pre Registration House Officer employment.
Or you must be a doctor or dentist eligible for full or limited registration with the General Medical Council or the General Dental Council, who intends to undertake postgraduate training in a hospital or the Community Health Services or both.
Prospective StudentsYou must demonstrate a genuine and realistic intention of undertaking, within 6 months of his date of entry, a course of study which would meet the requirements for an extension of stay as a student.
Six months is the maximum permitted leave which may be granted to a prospective student but you can extend after that.
Of course, the families of Students or prospective Students are welcome under the Immigration rules. There is more information relating to your family here.
Sponsored ResearchersThis category is for:
- someone who has a job overseas, for which they are still being paid, or someone who is currently on paid or unpaid sabbatical
- has come to the UK to undertake a period of research at an employer/host organisation
- remains overseas
- is transferred to the UK employer or host
- is arranged and paid by UK employer or host
Remember, if you are looking for Private Training or Work Experience, different rules apply.
If you have completed, or are nearing completion of your UK education, or wish to move away from education prior to completion have a look at our work related pages like Work Permits or HSMP.