Passport stamps

Student visa

For overseas students studying for over six months


The Student visa allows overseas students to study a higher education course with us – this visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) visa route.

On this visa, you can spend a maximum of five years studying at Undergraduate level in the UK. There's no limit for studying on courses at Postgraduate level.

The five years includes:

  • The length of your previous Tier 4 or Student visas
  • The time spent waiting for an application decision in the UK (under section 3C)
  • The time spent waiting for the outcome of an appeal or review
  • The time spent waiting for a previous Tier 4 or Student visa to be curtailed (for example, if you previously interrupted your studies or withdrew from a course)

If the you're studying a short course lasting 6 months or less, a Visitor visa might be more suitable for you. If you're studying an English language course that's more than 6 but less than 11 months, you should apply for a Short-term study visa instead.

Requirements and responsibilities 

It's really important that you understand and comply with the conditions of your Student visa. Non-compliance could have you reported to UKVI, and withdrawn from your course. Familiarise yourself with the guidelines provided by UKVI and UKCISA.

If you have problems with your application, view our visa guidance pages or get in touch.

Apply online

1) Apply for your CAS

Before you make your visa application, you must have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from us. This is an electronic document, confirming you've met our requirements and hold sufficient funds. Find out more.

2) Apply for your visa

Once you receive your CAS, you can apply for your visa from the UKVI. You must apply within six months of receiving your CAS and six months before your course starts.

You're usually required to apply for a visa from outside of the UK, unless you're already here on a visa that permits you to switch visas and you meet the requirements for an in-country application.

How to apply

  • Prepare your supporting documents (listed below)
  • Apply using the online visa application form on the UKVI website
  • Choose your language and select a country to attend a biometric appointment
  • Answer questions about yourself, your course, immigration and finances*
  • Pay for your visa application – the current fee is £363
  • Pay your Immigration Health Surcharge to access the NHS – £470 per year

*You must be 100% honest when answering these questions. You'll need to ensure the information you provide matches the details on your offer or visa letter issued by Regent's, if you are applying to start a new course.

Once you submit your application, you'll need to attend a biometrics appointment – which gathers your biometric information (fingerprints, facial ID) and verifies your documents.

See our application guide for more information. UKVI regulations are updated frequently, so this document should be used for guidance only.

Documents required

  • Your passport (with one free page for your visa)
  • Your CAS statement from Regent's
  • Proof of your English language proficiency
  • Proof of your academic qualifications
  • Details of where you intend to stay, with evidence like a hotel reservation*
  • Evidence of your intent to leave afterwards, like booked tickets*
  • Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay**
  • Official translations of any documents which are not in English or Welsh
  • Tuberculosis test results, if required (depends on your home country)

*Be careful about paying for accommodation or travel before you receive your visa, in case your application is refused.

**We advise a minimum of £1,334 per month for living costs. Evidence includes over six months of bank statements and recent payslips. Failure to show sufficient funds is one of the most common grounds for visa refusal.

If you have any questions about the application process, contact [email protected].

Credibility interviews

As part of your application, you may need to undergo a credibility interview, carried out by the UKVI. The credibility interview is intended to help assess your intent to study in the UK.

Not everyone will be asked to attend an interview – some applicants are interviewed at random, while others are interviewed based on their circumstances like their education or immigration history. We'll email you if this applies to you.

Then, the British Embassy in your country will contact you to ask a series of questions, either at your biometrics appointment, via Skype or via phone.

Top tips

  • The interviewer will expect you to respond to the questions in English
  • Be prepared to answer questions about what you'll be studying
  • Find out about the local area and where you plan to live
  • Explain how you're funding your studies and maintenance during your stay in the UK
  • Try to answer the questions as honestly and clearly as you can
  • Think about your passion to study and how it will contribute to your future career

If you'd like to discuss this further, contact [email protected]

English requirements

When applying for a Student visa, you'll need to show that your knowledge of English is sufficient enough to undertake your course – the UKVI has specific requirements, which depend on the level of the course you're going to study.

They use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). You'll need to obtain at least:

  • B2 level, if you're studying a Bachelor’s course or above
  • B1 level, if you're studying a Foundation or pre-sessional course

There are certain circumstances in which you'll automatically meet the requirement and won't need to provide any additional evidence:

If the this doesn't apply to you, there are other ways for you to prove your English level:

1) Show evidence of previous study

If you completed a course at Bachelor's level or above in the UK, in a majority English-speaking country (with the exception of Canada), or if your course was taught in English, you can simply provide your certificate and transcript. If your qualification was awarded outside of the UK, we'll also need to check it meets the required standards.

2) Take an English language test

You could take (and pass) an approved English language test to the required level. This must have been taken within two years of your application. You'll need to provide a valid digital reference number from the test provider. See approved tests and providers.

3) Take a Regent's assessment 

You could take our proficiency test. We test your abilities in four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening – unless you're exempt from meeting one of these due to a disability. If you pass our internal assessment, we'll confirm this on your CAS and you won't need to provide additional evidence in your visa application. Book your test.

Financial requirements

You must also provide evidence that you have enough money available in your account to cover your tuition fees and living costs while you're studying in the UK.

If you're a British national overseas, or you're from a country listed under the differential evidence requirement, you won't need to submit evidence of your funds with your initial application – however, you might be asked to show evidence at a later stage.

If you're applying to extend your visa while in the UK, or you're switching to a new visa, and you've held a different UK visa for at least 12 months, you'll automatically meet this requirement and won't need to provide any financial evidence with your application.

This does not apply if you're applying from outside the UK, or if you've been in the UK with a visa for less than 12 months.

How much money do I need to show?

You'll need to show you have enough money to:

  • Pay your course fees for the first year
  • Support yourself in the UK

For course fees:

Find your course fees here. You'll need to have at least your first year's tuition fees available in your account, minus the amount you've already paid to us as a deposit – which will be detailed on your CAS. If you put money towards your fees after your CAS has been issued, you'll need to present payment receipts issued by Regent's to be able to discount this amount. For example, if your course fees for the first year are £19,500 and your CAS confirms you've already paid £10,000, you'll only need to show £9,500 in your bank account.

For maintenance:

You'll also need to show that you can fund your living costs, including accommodation and general maintenance. As a London student, you'll need to show £1,334 per month of your study, for a maximum period of nine months, even if your course is longer. For example, if your course is 14 months long, you'll only need to show maintenance for the first 9: £1,334 x 9 = £12,006.

If your course is shorter than 9 months, you'll need to round up to the nearest month. For example, if it's 6 months and 2 days, you'll need to show maintenance for 7 months – £1,334 x 7 = £9,338.

If your accommodation is arranged by Regent's, you can discount up to £1,334 from the total maintenance you're required to show. This will either need to be confirmed on your CAS, or you'll need to have receipts proving your payments. For example, if you've already paid £5,000 towards your accommodation, you can take £1,334 from the total.

What documents do I need?

Once you've calculated how much money you're required to show, you'll need to ensure you have the right documents to prove you have the funds. These include:

  • A letter from your bank
  • A compliant bank statement
  • A student loan letter
  • Evidence of official financial sponsorship

The money can be in a currency different than pound sterling, but please ensure that the amount held corresponds to the required amount in GDP using these exchange rates.

Funds held in a bank account

If you're relying on funds held in a bank account, it needs to be in your name or your parent or guardian’s name. If your funds are in your parent’s or guardian’s bank account, you'll also need to provide:

  • A letter of consent, allowing you to access the funds
  • A legal document confirming your relationship (birth/adoption certificate)

Funds may be held in any form of personal bank or building society account (including current, deposit, savings, pension from which the funds can be withdrawn), provided the account allows the funds to be accessed immediately. The funds must be held in the account for a consecutive period of 28 days, with the last day being within 31 days prior to your visa application.

Student loan

If you're relying on a student loan, you'll need to provide an official letter meeting the following criteria:

  • Dated no more than six months before your visa application
  • Provided by an official source*
  • Stating the amount of the loan, and that the loan is to you
  • Confirming there are no conditions on release, other than a successful application
  • Confirming funds will be available to you before you travel – or paid directly to your sponsor before you travel, and then to you by the time you're in the UK

*Including governments, a government-sponsored student loan company, or an academic or educational loans scheme.

Official financial sponsorship 

If you're receiving money from an official financial sponsor to cover your course fees and maintenance costs, you'll need to provide an official letter proving this.

Official financial sponsorship can be granted by:

  • Her Majesty’s Government 
  • Your home government 
  • The British Council 
  • An international organisation 
  • An international company 
  • A university.

If the amount you're receiving does not cover the full amount you're required to show, you'll still need to prove you hold the remaining funds by providing a bank statement.

Additionally, if you've received official financial sponsorship within the last 12 months at the date of application (for example, for a previous course you studied), you're required to provide your sponsor’s written consent for the new application.

Arriving in the UK

Receiving your visa

Once your application has been approved, you'll receive a decision letter from the UKVI via email or post confirming the outcome of your application, describing your visa conditions and stating your start and expiry dates. This is usually sent within 3 weeks of your biometrics appointment.

You should then visit your nearest Visa Application Centre, or post your passport there, to get your visa endorsed (a sticker in your passport). Your visa will be valid for a period of 30 or 90 days – this is the window during which you need to travel to the UK.

Depending on your nationality, you'll also receive:

  • EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals – a digital immigration status which you can view and prove online
  • Non-EU nationals – a Biometric Residence Permit used to confirm your identity and your right to study. You'll collect this when you arrive in the UK: usually from a local Post Office or Regent's (details are in your decision letter)

If you spot any errors, please contact your Visa Application Centre to correct them asap before travelling. If it isn't possible to correct them beforehand, please get in touch.

At the UK border

You must receive your decision letter and have your visa endorsed before you travel to the UK.

On arrival, make sure not to use the e-gates – instead, go through the standard Border Control queue. When you speak to the Border Control Officer, make sure to tell them that you’re coming to the UK to study and show them your visa and decision letter. They’ll need to stamp your passport with the date of your arrival. If they don't, ask them politely to do so, saying you were instructed by your University.

You should keep all your documents in your hand luggage, just in case the Border Officer asks to see them.

Extending your visa

Everyone can apply for a new Student visa – but it's not always possible to do so while you're in the UK. To do so, you must:

  • Have completed your current course
  • Apply for a higher level course – for example, if you're progressing from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s
  • Still hold a valid visa while applying
  • Have at least 28 days left on your visa before your new course starts

If you don't meet these requirements, you'll need to leave the UK and submit your new application from your home country.

If your course has been extended due to exam resits or module retakes, you might be able to apply for a visa extension while in the UK. Get in touch for more information.

How to apply

To apply for a new Student visa, simply follow the same steps you took to receive your first visa (under 'apply online').

When to apply

The earliest you can submit your application is three months before your course starts. You must also apply before your current visa expires.

After you apply

After submitting your application and attending your biometrics appointment, it should take around eight weeks for you to receive your decision. Please do not travel abroad while waiting for the outcome. This will automatically cancel your application.

While waiting for a decision, your current visa will be extended under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 – this means that even if your visa expires while you're waiting for a decision, you'll be able to legally remain in the UK until your new application is decided (as long as you applied before your visa expired).