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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.
Please note that there are changes for international students from 2024.
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.
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
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. Here is a checklist you will need to follow.
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.
- 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:
- 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:
- apply to come to the UK for longer than six months
- extend your visa to longer than six months
- apply to settle in the UK
- transfer your visa to a new passport
- apply for certain Home Office travel documents.
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.
Staying longer in the UK
You may be able to:
- extend your visa if you’re eligible. For example, to continue your studies in the UK
- switch to a Student visa from another visa if you’re already in the UK.
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
- 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.
- 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.
When you apply for a visa you will have to pay a visa application fee and your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
How much does a visa application cost?
For up to date visa application fees visit Student Visas – Gov.uk.
What is the Immigration Health Surcharge and how much does it cost?
The Immigration Health Surcharge is a fee that is charged at the time when you submit your visa application.
Immigration Health Surcharge is £470 per year for students, check Healthcare Immigration Application – Gov.uk for up to date costs.
Health surcharge payers will be able to access the National Health Service in the same way as a permanent UK resident, i.e. they will receive NHS care generally free of charge but may be charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment and prescription charges in England.
There are a limited number of exemptions to paying the health surcharge. You can read the full list of exemptions and further information about the health surcharge on the Home Office website.
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.
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.
If your postgraduate level course starts on or after 1 January 2024, it must be either:
- a PhD or other doctorate (RQF level 8)
- a research-based higher degree
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.
Babies born in the UK
If you have a baby while you’re studying in the UK, then you’ll need to find out how this affects you and your child.
Being born in the UK doesn’t automatically make a baby a British citizen. This baby needs to have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK in order to be British.
If your baby isn’t a British citizen, they can remain in the UK without making an immigration application. However, from April 2015, babies born in the UK are not entitled to free healthcare from the age of 3 months old, unless it is emergency treatment. Therefore in order to access healthcare, parents of babies born in the UK will need to make an immigration application within the first 3 months of the child’s life and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
To make any immigration applications on behalf of a child, you’ll need to get a national passport or travel document for the child from the relevant embassy, consulate or issuing authority in your country.
Applications can be made on behalf of babies born to students with a Student Visa/Tier 4 Visa for permission to remain in the UK or entry clearance as a student dependant if:
- Both the child’s parents are in the UK OR
- Both the child’s parents are applying at the same time as the child OR
- One parent has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing OR
- The other parent has died
To make an application for leave to remain in the UK:
- You must hold a Student Visa/Tier 4 Visa for a course of over sixth months duration AND
- The baby’s application must be made at the same time as yours OR
- You are a government-sponsored student on a course of more than six months OR
- You are on a postgraduate course of at least 12 months at a higher education institution.
UK Visas and Immigration has confirmed that babies born in the UK who are eligible to make an immigration application as your dependant from inside the UK can apply online.
If your child doesn’t meet these requirements, it may be possible for you to make a different application via form FLR (HRO). You’re advised to seek specialist advice if this applies to you.
Applications can be made on behalf of babies for entry clearance from your home country as your dependant if:
- The baby was born during your most recent period of Student Visa/Tier 4 Visa Student leave granted for a course of more than sixth months duration (unless the leave was for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of more than sixth months duration, in which case the baby does not have to have been born during your most recent period of student-related leave) OR
- The application is made within three months of the expiry of your most recent Student Visa/Tier 4 Visa.
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
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
How to apply
When to apply
To be eligible for the Graduate visa, your student visa must still be valid at the date your degree is awarded. Your degree can only be awarded having been ratified at an Exam Board and an Exam Senate. These events only take place a few times per year. If your course end date is delayed due to a deferral, an extension, a re-submission, or a resit exam, your results may not go to an Exam Board and Exam Senate until after your student visa expires, and so would not be eligible for the graduate visa.
Please note, it is not possible to extend your student visa for the purposes of waiting for results, or due to deferrals or re-submissions. The only way to ensure eligibility for the Graduate route is to successfully complete your studies on time.
You can only submit your Graduate visa application to the UKVI after the university has confirmed your eligibility to the UKVI. This can only happen after your degree award is ratified and your results communicated to you. Within 3 days of the Exam Senate, we check who has received their award and who has an eligible visa, and then we confirm their eligibility to the UKVI. Applications made before this may be rejected by UKVI.
The deadline for submitting a graduate visa application is midnight on the last day of your student visa.
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
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:
- work in most jobs
- look for work
- be self-employed
- continue living in the UK with your partner and children, if they’re eligible
- do voluntary work
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- 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 may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics.
More information can be found at: Graduate visa – GOV.UK (www.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.
More guidance can be found here, How to apply for an ATAS certificate – GOV.UK.
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.
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:
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.
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.