Student Visas

Jump to: EU Settlement Scheme | Visa requirements | Visa extensions | Family members | Graduate visas | Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) | Visa refusals/rejections | Visa cancellations/curtailments 

Welcome to the student visa section of the website. Here you will find useful information on how to apply for a visa and what the requirements are.

The information on this page is based on the latest UKVI guidance.

Who needs a student visa?

Most non-UK students wanting to study in the UK will require either a visa or to have applied under the EU Settlement Scheme (if you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen). If you are not sure please visit the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website where you can check.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You can also apply if you’re a family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

The deadline for most people to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021.

If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you can still apply if you or a family member were living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You must also either:

  • meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply
  • have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by 30 June 2021

You can also apply if you already have pre-settled status, and you’re applying for settled status.

You may be able to stay in the UK without applying – for example, if you’re an Irish citizen, or you already have indefinite leave to enter or remain.

If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.

Criteria for later deadlines and ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the deadline

In some cases, you can still apply after 30 June 2021.

For example, if you’re joining a family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, your deadline will be based on when you arrive in the UK, as long as:

  • you were their family member by 31 December 2020 (this does not apply to children born or adopted after this date)
  • the family relationship still exists when you apply

You can also apply if you can show ‘reasonable grounds’ (such as medical reasons, or being the victim of domestic abuse) for why you did not apply by 30 June 2021.

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, including further examples of what counts as reasonable grounds for not applying by the deadline.

If you already have pre-settled status

If you applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and were given pre-settled status, you need to apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires.

Settled status will let you stay in the UK for as long as you like. You can usually apply for citizenship once you’ve had settled status for 12 months.

Check what you’ll need to do to apply

Visa requirements

Course unconditional offer

You must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed student sponsor, the University of Buckingham is a Student (General Student) licence holder.

To prove this, we will send you a reference number, called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), once we’ve offered you a place on the course. You need a CAS before you can apply for your visa.

Money you need

You must have enough money to pay for your course and support yourself in the UK.

How much money you need depends on your circumstances and what you’re applying for.

More information can be found at, Student visa: Money you need — GOV.UK

English language requirement

You must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by:

  • passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved SELT provider
  • having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18.

To find more about the levels of English required and who doesn’t need to prove their knowledge of English please go to, Student visa: Knowledge of English – GOV.UK

Supporting Documents

When you apply for your Student visa you must provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your course provider.

You may also need to provide:

  • proof you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances. Please see, Your Money – GOV.UK
  • a valid ATAS certificate if your course and nationality require it
  • proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
  • proof of your relationship to your parent or guardian if you’re under 18
  • your tuberculosis test results- GOV.UK
  • written consent for your application from your financial sponsor if you’ve received sponsorship for your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months.

When to Apply?

When you can apply depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.

Applying from outside the UK

The earliest you can apply for a visa is six months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within three weeks.

Applying from inside the UK

The earliest you can apply is three months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.

You’ll usually get a decision within eight weeks when applying from inside the UK, three weeks when applying from overseas.

How to Apply?

You must apply online for a Student visa.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity. How you do this depends on where you’re from and what type of passport you have.

You’ll either:

  • give your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre – GOV.UK
  • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document. You’ll also create or sign in to your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.

You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.

Once you’ve started your application, you can save your form and complete it later. Student visa: Apply – GOV.UK.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

A biometric residence permit (BRP) can be used to confirm your:

  • identity
  • immigration status
  • right to study or work in the UK
  • right to any public services or benefits you’re entitled to.

You’ll usually get a BRP if you:

You do not have to apply separately for a BRP.

More information can be found at, Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs).

How long you can stay?

How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed.

If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to five years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to two years.

Read the guidance to find out exactly how long you can stay.

Staying longer in the UK

You may be able to:

When you can travel to the UK

You can arrive in the UK before your course starts. This can be either:

  • up to one week before, if your course lasts six months or less
  • up to one month before, if your course lasts more than six months.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer.

You may be able to work, how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.

You cannot:

  • claim public funds (benefits) or pensions
  • work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • be self-employed
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school).

If your application is successful, you’ll be told what you can and cannot do on a Student visa.

Police Registration

Some people need to register with the police after arriving in the UK with a visa, or after getting permission to stay for longer in the UK.

If you need to register, you must go to the police within seven days of you:

  • arriving in the UK if you applied for a visa from outside the UK
  • getting your biometric residence permit if you applied to stay for longer from inside the UK.

Check if you need to register

If you applied outside the UK

Check your visa ‘vignette’ (sticker in your passport). You must register if it has ‘Police registration’ or ‘Register with police in seven days of entry’ on it.

If you applied inside the UK

Check the letter you get from the Home Office when your application’s approved. It will tell you if you must register.

If you do not register, your permission to stay might be shortened and you’ll have to leave the UK. You can also be stopped from getting or extending a UK visa in future.

After you register

The police will give you a registration certificate. Keep it while your visa or permission to stay in the UK lasts so that you can:

Check Registering with the Police – GOV.UK for more information.

Visa extensions

You may be able to extend your Student visa to stay longer and continue your course or study a new course. This includes if you currently have a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Extending your visa

To extend your visa you must:

  • be in the UK on a Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed student sponsor – shown by your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • have successfully completed your previous course if you hold a Tier 4 (General) or Student visa
  • show that your studies are at a higher academic level than your current course (called the ‘academic progress requirement’) – there are some exceptions.

Showing academic progress

If you’re currently studying in the UK, you’ll usually need to show your studies will be at a higher academic level than your current course.

Your new course must be one of the following:

  • at a higher academic level than your current course
  • at the same level and related to your previous course or career aspirations – it must be degree level or above at a Higher Education Provider (HEP)
  • intercalated to a medicine, dentistry or medical science course you started studying under your Student visa (including a Tier 4 (General) student visa)

When to apply?

The earliest you can apply is three months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin with 28 days of your current visa expiring.

For example, if your visa expires on 1st December, you must apply for a new visa before 1st December. Your new course must begin by 29th December.

You can stay in the UK until you get your decision.

If you applied for an administrative review because your application was refused, you can stay in the UK until you get your review decision.

More information on extending your visa and applying can be found at, Student visa: Extend your visa – GOV.UK.

Family members

If you are studying on a full-time postgraduate programme of nine months or longer, your partner and children may be able to apply to stay in the UK with you. Any visa will expire at the same time as yours.

Who can apply as a family member?

A dependant partner or child is one of the following:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner
  • your unmarried partner
  • your child under 18 years old – including if they were born in the UK during your stay.

More information can be found at, Your partner and children – GOV.UK.

What evidence do family members need to provide?

You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply, for example:

  • a marriage or civil partnership certificate for your partner
  • a birth certificate for your child.

If your child is 16 or 17 on the date you apply you’ll need to prove they are not living an independent life, for example, that they’re not married or in a civil partnership.

Unless you and your partner or child are from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ and you’re applying at the same time then, your partner and child must each have a certain amount of money available to them. This is in addition to the money you must have to support yourself.

How do family members apply for a visa?

Your partner and/or children must apply online and they’ll need your application number, you get it when you apply. This number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You’ll find it on emails and letters from the Home Office about your application.

More information can be found at, Your partner and children – GOV.UK.

Graduate visas

A Graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK.

You must be in the UK when you apply.


You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:

  • you’re in the UK
  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you’ve successfully completed that course

Check if your course is eligible and how long you need to have studied in the UK.

If you’re not eligible for a Graduate visa, you may be eligible for another type of visa to stay in the UK.

How long you can stay

A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years. If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years.

Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.

If you want to stay longer in the UK

You cannot extend your Graduate visa. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.

Check you can apply for another type of visa to stay in the UK.

How to apply

You must apply online.

Your partner and children can also apply to stay in the UK if they are eligible.

When to apply

You must apply before your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.

You can apply as soon as your education provider (such as your university or college) has told you that you’ve successfully completed the course you took with your Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

Your application may take longer if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks.

You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.

How much it costs

When you apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to:

  • pay the application fee – this is usually £700
  • pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK

Check how much it will cost.

If you work in public sector healthcare

If you’re a doctor or nurse, or you work in health or adult social care, check if you’re eligible to apply for the Health and Care Worker visa instead. It’s cheaper to apply for and you do not need to pay the annual immigration health surcharge.

What you can and cannot do

With a Graduate visa you can:

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • work as a professional sportsperson

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Graduate visa.

Studying with a Graduate visa

You can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If your course is eligible for a Student visa, you can extend your Student visa instead.

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics.

More Information

More information can be found at: Graduate visa – GOV.UK (

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to all international students (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects.

Which subjects require an ATAS certificate?

The subjects are those where students’ knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery. These students must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK.

Who requires an ATAS certificate?

Students who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate.

The requirement for an ATAS certificate applies to all other students irrespective of the country of residence when they apply.

To check if you need an ATAS certificate you will need to know the CAH3 code that applies to your course. Your Higher Education Institute (HEI) will either include this on your official offer letter or will be able to confirm it for you separately.

Check if you need an ATAS certificate – GOV.UK

More guidance can be found here, How to apply for an ATAS certificate – GOV.UK. 

Visa refusals/rejections

There is a significant difference between an application that has been rejected and one which has been refused. Any visa refusal or rejection must be reported to us immediately.

Visa refusals

A refused application is a valid application that has been assessed by a caseworker but does not meet the student visa requirements.

In this instance, you will receive a refusal notice explaining why your application was refused; in other words, which requirement was not satisfied.

There are a number of reasons why your visa may be refused. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Financial evidence is incomplete, or the format of the financial documents provided does not meet UKVI requirements
  • The UKVI believe that the applicant has used deception or did not disclose relevant information (e.g. previous refusals)
  • The UKVI deem the applicant not credible.

If your application for leave to remain is refused, you will receive a refusal notice from the Home Office. The notice will tell you why your visa was refused and will tell you whether you have the right to an administrative review of the decision.

The following provides more information on how to appeal the decision based on where you are:

Visa rejections

If you apply for a student visa in the UK and it is an invalid application then it will be rejected instead of refused. If your visa application is rejected, you will not be covered by Section 3C Leave and may become an ‘overstayer’ straight away if your visa has already expired.

Visa cancellations/curtailment

Under the Student Sponsorship duties, we are required to report to the UKVI changes in student circumstances.

When will the University curtail sponsorship?

In the following circumstances we will curtail our sponsorship with the result that the student’s visa will be cancelled and they will need to leave the UK:

  • the student did not enrol within the enrolment period
  • the student stopped academically engaging in their studies (please see our Attendance and Engagement Policy)
  • the student has deferred/suspended or withdrawn from their studies
  • the student’s studies have been terminated as you have not met the requirements to progress (normally following poor performance in assessments)
  • the student’s studies have been terminated following a breach of university regulations.


We are required to report on these to the UKVI within 10 days of being notified and the student will have 60 days in which to leave the UK. Where university regulations permit an appeal, the 10 day period starts once all stages of the appeals process have been completed.

Failure to leave within the permitted period is likely to result in the student being considered an ‘overstayer’ by UKVI which is likely to result in future visa applications being rejected for at least a period of 12 months.

Leaving the UK

If the student is required to leave the UK as a result of their visa being curtailed, they should provide us with details of their flights (including scanned copies of tickets/boarding cards) and if possible scanned copies of any entry stamps when they arrive home.

Providing evidence that they have left the UK as requested may help with any future visa applications, though acceptance cannot be guaranteed.