Studying in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) student visa
If you are a foreign resident (not normally resident in the European Economic Area or Switzerland) wishing to study in the UK, you will need to obtain a Tier 4 (General) student visa. To apply for this visa you must:
- be a resident in a country outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland
- have secured a place on a course of study at an eligible institution (a licensed Tier 4 sponsor)
- be able to speak, write, read and understand English
- be able to pay for your course of study, as well as living costs.
Once you have received an unconditional offer of a place on a course, the institution will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS). You will need this number when applying for your visa.
how to apply
You must apply online for a Tier 4 (general) visa, via the UK government website: www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa
Further to your online application, you will need to attend a visa application centre, where you will be required to have your fingerprints and photograph taken. This is to facilitate the creation of your biometric residence permit, which you will need to collect within 10 days of your arrival in the UK. A list of application centres can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre
The time it takes to process your application is usually around 3 weeks, although this may vary according to your particular circumstances. You can check processing times here: https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times
rules you must follow
Once you have acquired your visa, you may arrive in the UK up to one week before your course begins, if your course lasts less than 6 months, or up to 1 month beforehand, if your course lasts longer than 6 months.
note that students who are normally resident in the european economic area or switzerland do not require a visa to study in the Uk. this may change as a result of the Uk leaving the Eu so make sure you stay up to date on this issue.
Are you thinking of studying abroad in the USA? Check out our previous blog to find out what visa you need to study in the USA.
If you are planning to move to the UK to study, why not send your luggage with Send My Bag. This means you can quickly and easily set up home in the UK. Find out more about student shipping and claim your 10% student discount on our student removals page.
Study in the USA on an F-1 visa
If you wish to study in the USA, you will most likely require an F-1 visa. This visa allows you to study at an academic institution in the US, such as a university or secondary school, or to take an English-language course. This is different to a J-1 visa, which is for participants of work- or study-based exchange programmes. The F-1 visa is also distinct from the M-1 visa, which is for international students taking a vocational or non-academic course.