How to apply for a
Student visa

 The process for applying for your student visas are slightly different depending on whether you are: 

  • Applying for a new visa from your home country/outside UK;
  • Already in the UK and need to switch to Student visa;
  • Renew/extend your existing Student visa.

Who can apply?

You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 years old (or over), and you have:

  • An unconditional offer for a place on a course;
  • The required level of English language for your course;
  • Enough money to support yourself and pay for your tuition fees.

In most cases, you must apply for your visa before you enter the UK.

How much does it cost?

Depending on what you are applying for, you will need to pay the following fees:

  • Applying for a new visa (from outside the UK): £348;
  • Extending or switching (from inside the UK): £475 (priority services will be charged extra in addition to the application fee);
  • Immigration Health Surcharge - to calculate your health surcharge.

More information

You can find more information about applying for your student visa on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Most students will apply for their Student visa from their home country/outside the UK.

When to apply

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before the start of your course. How long it takes to process will depend on where you are applying from, but you should get a decision within 3 weeks.

Applying for your visa

  1. Fill in the online application form and pay the correct fee, including the immigration health surcharge and enter the alternative collection location for your BRP (further information about this will be in your CAS email).
  2. Print out your completed application form and cover sheet (if required).
  3. Book and attend your appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) (if required).
  4. Provide your biometric data and attend a credibility interview (if required).
  5. Submit your signed application form, supporting documents and passport, either at the VAC or by post.
  6. Your visa will then either be granted or refused. If it is refused, you must contact the Visa Advice Team who will be able to advise you on your next steps.
  7. If your visa application is successful, your documents and passport will be returned to you and you will have a short entry clearance vignette (visa sticker) in your passport which will be valid for 1-3 months. You will also receive letter telling you where to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from, once you arrive in the UK.
  8. Check that all the details on your visa are correct - if they are not correct, please contact Visa Advice Team before you travel.
  9. Travel to the UK on or after the 'valid from' date on your vignette, remembering to bring your BRP collection letter.
  10. Once you arrive in the UK and you have completed your quarantine (if required), you will need to collect your BRP from the location noted on your letter. This should usually be available 10 days after the date you stated you intend to travel, butf after 2 weeks your BRP is still not available to be collected, please contact Visa Advice Team.
Important information: when making your visa application, your course start and end dates must match the details on your CAS.


You can only apply for a new visa from within the UK if your current visa falls into one of the following categories:

When to Apply

  • The earliest you can apply is 3 months before the start oof your course.
  • You must apply before your current visa expires.
  • Your new course must begin no later than 28 days after the end of your current visa. If it’s more than 28 days from the end of your current visa, you will need to leave the UK and apply from your home country.

Academic Progression

If you want to apply for your Student visa from within the UK and currently have or have previously held a Student visa, you must also be able to demonstrate academic progression. To demonstrate academic progression:

  • your new course must normally be above the level of your previous course for which you were given student visa. For example, if you have completed an undergraduate course (BA), the next level would be a Master's program (MA).

If your new course is at a lower level than your previous course, you will not demonstrate academic progression so you won't be able to apply for your new Student visa from within the UK. If you are unsure whether you can demonstrate academic progression, please contact for further information.

Applying for your visa

  1. Create an online account with UKV&I.
  2. Complete the online self-assessment form and application form.
  3. Collect all your documents to support your application.
  4. Make an appointment to meet with a specialist Gateway adviser, taking with you all your supporting documents and a copy of your CAS letter or email. They will check your application and advise you about anything else you need.
  5. At the appointment, complete your online application and pay the application fee, including the Immigration Health Surcharge.
  6. Once your application has been received, you will be contacted to do your biometric enrolment either at UKVCAS centre or using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
  7. Once you have provided your biometric data, your application will be considered by a caseworker.
  8. Your documents and new visa (Biometric Residence Permit) will be returned to the specialist Gateway adviser. They will ask you to collect it from them. If, for any reason, your visa is returned to you directly, please bring it to the Campus Registry as soon as you receive it so that we can take a copy.

A standard processing time is normally 8 weeks but there are some premium options for making a visa application from inside the UK so that you can get your decision faster. You will be told if you can use the service when you submit your visa application.


Before you can apply for your student visa, you will need to request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from us. This is proof that you have been accepted to study a course at UCA and you will need to enter your CAS number on your visa application. You will not be able to submit your visa application without your CAS number.

We will only be able to issue this to you, once we have confirmation of the following:

  • You have an unconditional offer for a place on a course at UCA;
  • You have firmly accepted the offer;
  • You have paid your tuition fee deposit;
  • You have provided us with the required supporting documents, and they meet UKVI requirements.

Supporting Documents for your CAS

Once you have received your unconditional offer, you will be invited to create your account on CAS Shield. Through this online platform, you will be able to upload copies of all the required supporting documents we need before we can assign a CAS for you. Please do not email your documents to us and please do not send us any originals by post.

We will need:

  • A copy of your passport;
  • Any previous UK visas/BRPs/CAS statements;
  • If required - any financial documents you intend to submit with your visa application (e.g. bank statement/letter, loan letter).

Depending on your circumstance, we may require additional information. If required, we will contact you directly through CAS Shield to request this information.

Receiving your CAS Number

We will send you your CAS number via email along with details of the evidence that you have provided to get your place at UCA, such as details of your highest academic qualification. 

In the UK we have a healthcare system which is paid for through taxes. This means that all UK nationals and most UK residents have equal access to the National Health Service (NHS) without being charged each time they visit a doctor or hospital.

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has been introduced to help fund the NHS and will allow you the same access to the NHS as UK citizens.

Who has to pay?

  • If you are applying from outside the UK and your visa will be longer than 6 months, you will have to pay the IHS when you submit your visa application.
  • If you are applying for your visa in the UK, you will have to pay the IHS for any length of visa.

How much does it cost?

The surcharge for students is £470 per person for each year of your visa. Part years of less than six months will be charged at £235.

If you are bringing dependants with you, each of your dependants would also be charged the same amount as you if they are applying at the same time.

You can use the Immigration Health Surcharge tool on the Home Office website to check exactly how much you will have to pay.

Is anyone exempt from the charge?

Anyone applying from outside the UK for a visa that is less than six months do not have to pay the IHS charge. If you apply from inside the UK, you will need to pay half the yearly cost.

When you apply for your visa, you will need to show that you have enough money to pay for both your tuition fees and your living costs during your studies. 

How much money do I need?

You must prove that you have the funds to pay for any outstanding tuition fees for your first year.  The amount you need to pay will be on your CAS.

As well as the money to pay to for your tuition fees, you must also be able to prove that you have enough money for your living costs during your studies.  This means that for your course at UCA, you will need to show you have the funds for any outstanding tuition fees plus £9,207 for living costs.

How do I prove that I have the funds?

You can only use evidence that is in your name or your parent/s or legal guardian/s name, unless you are being officially sponsored.

You will need to show that you have held the required amount for at least 28 consecutive days on a statement that is not older than 31 days from the date you submit your visa application.

 Evidence you can use includes:

  • Personal bank or building society statements;
  • A building society passbook;
  • A certificate of deposit;
  • A letter from your bank, or a regulated financial institution, confirming your funds. 

A few things to remember:

  1. Funds must be in the form of cash held in your account or your parent/guardian’s account.
  2. Accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, and pension funds are not acceptable.
  3. Evidence of funds held in a credit card account is not acceptable.
  4. Your financial documents must show that the full amount of required money has been in the account for at least 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. If you cannot show this or the funds drop below the required amount over the 28 days, we will not assign a CAS for you until you can prove you have held the funds for the required time.

What if I have an official financial sponsor?

An official financial sponsor is defined in the Student visa policy guidance as one of the following:

  • The UK government;
  • Your home government;
  • The British Council;
  • An international company or organisation;
  • An international company;
  • A university;
  • An independent school.

If you receive funding from one of the above, you will need a letter from them confirming how much money they will pay towards your tuition fees and living costs.

Please note: if your sponsor is only covering part of your tuition fees or living costs, you will still be required to show evidence that you have the remaining fees or living costs.

When you apply for your Student visa, you will need to submit all the documents listed in your CAS with your visa application. We advise that you take a copy of all your documents and print out your application form before you send them. Keep these copies for your records in case there are any problems with your application.

You must include the following documents with your visa application:

  • Cover sheet - confirmation your visa application has been submitted;
  • Passport (with at least 2 clear pages that are next to each other if you are applying from outside the UK);
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if you have previously lived in the UK and have been issued with a BRP);
  • Two new passport photos that have not been used for a UK visa application in the past;
  • Police registration certificate (if applicable);
  • Tuberculosis test certificate (if applicable). Please check if you are required to have this certificate by checking here.
  • Evidence confirming you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and living costs (if required)
  • Evidence of any official financial sponsorship or consent to complete studies (if required).
  • Letter from your parents if they are supporting you financially.
  • Original certificate or transcript of previous studies as mentioned in the 'Evidence used to obtain' section of your CAS.
  • English language qualification as mentioned in the 'Evidence used to obtain' section of your CAS.

You may be required to submit extra documents depending on your situation. For example, if you are under 18 years old or bringing any dependants with you. Please contact if you have any questions about the documents you need to submit with your visa application.


If your application includes any documents which are not in English (or Welsh), you must also include an original translation of each document. Each translation must contain:

  • Confirmation from the translator or translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document;
  • The date of the translation;
  • The full name and original signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company;
  • The contact details of the translator or translation company.

If your visa application is successful, you will be issued with a 90-day entry clearance visa. This is issued as a vignette (visa sticker) in your passport.

Your Vignette is valid for 90 days only. If you do not travel to the UK within this time, your visa will expire and you will need to apply for another vignette. You will have to pay a fee for this. For more information on this please check here.

Your permission to stay in the UK is issued as a biometric residence permit (BRP). This is a plastic card, which contains your personal information, your biometric information (like photograph and fingerprints), your immigration status and visa conditions. Find out more about what a biometric residence permit is and what it can be used for.

You can use your BRP to confirm your:

  • Identity;
  • Right to study or work in the UK;
  • Right to any public services or benefits you’re entitled to.

After you arrive in the UK you must collect your BRP within 10 days or after you have completed your quarantine period (if required). You will be informed where to collect your BRP, this is normally at your campus Academic Registry office or Post Office that you have selected for collection during your visa application. For more information, please check with your campus Academic Registry.

You will need your BRP to fully enrol on the course, open a bank account, or request any official letter from the university.  If you are having any problems collecting your BRP, you can contact or your specialist Gateway adviser.

When you collect your BRP, it is important that you check that all the information is correct, such as:

  • Your full name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Your student visa status;
  • The correct sponsor licence number;
  • The start and end dates of your visa;
  • How many hours per week you can work on your Student visa;
  • Whether you need to register with the police.

Some information is wrong on my BRP?

You must check your permit carefully when you receive it, to make sure that all the details on it are correct or if anything is missing. If you find a mistake, you must report to UKVI within 10 working days of receiving the permit - otherwise you may be charged for a replacement and will have to apply again. For help with this please contact your specialist Gateway adviser based in your campus library.

I’ve lost my BRP?

If your permit is lost or stolen, you must report the loss or theft to the UK Visas and Immigration office as soon as possible. You must also report the loss or theft to the police and obtain a police report and a crime reference number, as soon as possible.

  • If your BRP is lost or stolen while you are in the UK, you must apply for another permit within 3 months of reporting the loss or theft of your original BRP.
  • If your permit is lost or stolen while you are outside the UK, you must apply for a replacement visa in order to re-enter the United Kingdom. You must then apply for a new BRP within 1 month of re-entering the UK.

For help with this please contact your specialist Gateway adviser based in your campus library. or email