United Kingdom

Student Visa Requirements

You will need to have a valid passport and a visa in order to enter United Kingdom. Since it can take several months to obtain a passport and all the documentation, start the process as soon as you can. Here you will find information regarding Visa requirements and procedure, Immigration procedure.

Student visas can be obtained from the offices of the British High Commission in Delhi and the British Deputy High Commissions in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Students need to prove that they have an unconditional offer on a full time course, proof of accommodation, sufficient funds to cover the entire cost of studying and living in Britain and that they intend to return home on completion of their course.

Documents that are required for a student visa

  • Completed visa application form (IM2A and IM2S) with two passport size photographs.
  • Valid passport (in original)
  • Visa Fee (non- refundable)
  • Letter of unconditional acceptance from a UK institution for a full time course
  • Proof of funding (bank statement, details of securities held, chartered accountant’s certification, I – Tax clearance, letter from sponsor etc.)
  • Attested copies of education certificates and English language test (IELTS) score sheet (if applicable)
  • Proof of accommodation in the UK

Recent changes to immigration procedures mean that international students now have a more streamlined route to studying in the UK.

Requirements to enter as a student

The requirements to be met by a person seeking to enter the United Kingdom as a student are that he or she

has been accepted for a course of study at

  • a publicly funded institution of further or higher education; or
  • a bona fide private education institution which maintains satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance; or
  • an independent fee-paying school outside the maintained sector; and

is able and intends to follow either

  • a recognised full-time degree course at a publicly funded institution of further or higher education; or
  • a weekday full-time course involving attendance at a single institution for a minimum of 15 hours – organised daytime study per week of a single subject or directly related subjects; or
  • a full-time course at an independent fee-paying school; and
  • intends to leave the United Kingdom at the end of his/her studies; and
  • does not intend to engage in business or take up employment in the UK, except part-time or vacation work undertaken with the consent of the Secretary of State for Employment; and
  • is able to meet the costs of his/her course and accommodation, and the maintenance of him/herself and any dependants without taking employment or engaging in business or having recourse to public funds.

The British Government determines the list of visa-national-countries. Your nearest British Council office or British Mission (British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission) will be able to tell you whether or not your country is on the list. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK Visas website features a visa enquiry form where you can check if you require a visa: go to www.ukvisas.gov.uk and select ‘Do I need a UK visa?

If you are a visa national, you must apply for entry clearance before travelling to the UK. There is a charge for the application. You must satisfy the ECO at a British Mission that you meet the Immigration Rules. The ECO will then issue you entry clearance (more commonly known as a visa) in the form of a sticker in your passport. The entry clearance should normally be valid for the whole length of your course. When you arrive in the UK, the Immigration Officer at the port of entry (e.g. Heathrow airport) will put a date stamp in your passport to show when you entered the UK. Your permission to be in the UK begins on that date and expires on the date indicated on the entry clearance.

You will usually be allowed to bring your spouse and any children under 18 years of age to the UK, as long as you can show that you can financially support and accommodate them. You will also need to show the ECO a marriage certificate, and a birth certificate for each child. It is advisable for them to apply for entry clearance, even if they are not visa nationals. They will normally be given permission to stay in the UK for the same period as you. Your spouse or children will be allowed to work if your permission to be in the UK lasts for 12 months or more. Make sure they have a copy of your passport with them if they apply after you – the Immigration Officer will need to see the page showing your name, your entry clearance sticker (if you have one) and how long your permission lasts. If your permission to be in the UK lasts for less than 12 months, your spouse and children will not be allowed to work.