Whether or not your student visa permits you to be employed will depend on your personal circumstances and the course that you are studying.
Generally speaking, if you are enrolled on a full time course of study, at degree level or above, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time.
If you or your employer are unsure about your ability to work under your student visa, please contact us.
If your visa permits you to work (see above), you are usually permitted to work restricted hours during term-time and can then work unlimited hours outside of term-time.
If you or your employer are unsure about your ability to work under your student visa, please contact us.
Each education provider has a list of term dates and vacation dates for each course of study. These dates determine when your term time starts and finishes.
Your employer will need to carry out a right to work check before your employment begins. Please see the Evidencing RTW Checks section of the visa hub.
If you are applying from within the UK, you can apply up to three months prior to the start of your course.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you can apply up to six months before the start of your course.
Most commonly, students switch to a Skilled Worker visa (formerly the Tier 2 General visa). This requires you to obtain a job offer from an employer which holds a sponsor licence. More information about the Skilled Worker visa can be found here.
You may also be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa (see below). The Graduate visa route launched in July 2021.
If your plan is to start your own business in the UK, the Start-up or Innovator visa may be more suitable. For further information about these visas, please see here.
There are also alternative visa options including, but not limited to the Temporary Worker (Youth Mobility Scheme) and Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) visas. For further information about these visas and your options after your studies end, please contact us.
All non-British nationals need a visa to study in the UK unless they have already been granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme or have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Yes, you need to receive sponsorship from your education provider before you can apply for your visa to study in the UK.
You can find a list of all of the education providers that are registered with UK Visas & Immigration to sponsor international students here. You will then be able to contact them directly or review their webpage for more information about sponsorship.
A CAS is a reference number received from your education provider when you are offered a place on a course and sponsored. You will need the CAS number to input into your visa application form online.
No, a new CAS is required every time you apply for a Student visa.
You must apply for the visa within six months from the date that you receive your CAS. However, you can apply for the visa at any time up to six months before the course start date on your CAS (if you are applying from outside the UK).
You will typically receive a decision from the Home Office on your visa within three weeks from the date of your application if you are applying from outside the UK.
You will be able to obtain a CAS if you are:
You will be able to obtain a CAS if your course is one of the following:
Student visas do not lead to ILR/settlement in the UK. You may however be eligible to settle in the UK based on being in the UK legally for 10 years. Please see the ILR section of the hub for further information.
If you obtain the student visa, your family members (known as “dependants”) might be able to apply to join or stay in the UK with you if they are your:
In order to be able to apply for a visa for your dependants, you (the student and main visa holder), must be:
You must also show that your dependants can be supported while they are in the UK. Each dependant must show that they have a certain amount of money available to them and that it has been in your or their bank account for at least 28 consecutive days before the application. The maintenance sum will depend on individual circumstances. Please contact us for more information.
This visa route has now closed and has been replaced by the Student visa route (see below).
In October 2020, the Tier 4 (General) student visa route was replaced by the “Student visa” route.
The Student visa is for applicants aged 16 or over who want to study in the UK on a course of further or higher education, a pre-sessional English course, a recognised foundation programme, on the Doctorate Extension Scheme or to take an elected post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
These questions focus on applicants for higher education courses. For other types of student visa application including doctorate extension scheme, child visas and short-term visas, please contact us.
The Student visa route applies to everyone apart from UK citizens and so is applicable to EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals.
If you already have a Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa you may be able to extend your visa.
To extend your visa, the following must apply:
You can typically extend your visa under the Student visa route for 5 years (please see below). You will need a new CAS number to extend your visa (please see above).
The key changes to student visas are as follows:
Yes, unless you have successfully obtained Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The financial requirement to be met is quite complicated and depends on a number of factors.
The starting point is that if you are applying for a student visa to come to the UK or to remain in the UK, you must provide evidence to show that you have at least:
You must have held this money for at least 28 consecutive days. Please also note that the end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date that you apply for your Student visa.
You must also show that you have sufficient funds to pay any outstanding course fees as stated on the CAS. If you have financial sponsorship or a student loan, you will need to provide evidence of this.
If you have already been living in the UK with a valid visa for 12 months or more at the time you apply, you will automatically meet the financial requirement and do not need to provide documentary evidence.
In addition, you do not need to prove the financial requirement if you are applying as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or to study on a recognised foundation programme as a doctor or dentist in training.
For further information about deposits that can be offset from this financial requirement and what evidence to provide to show that you meet the requirement, please contact us.
Unless an exemption applies, for courses of study at UK bachelor’s degree level of above, you must meet level B2 on the CEFR in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
You can meet this requirement by:
Some applicants are required to obtain an ATAS certificate in order to be able to apply for their Student visa. This is required for courses which lead to a master’s degree, PhD or other postgraduate qualification or for periods of study or research which are part of an overseas postgraduate qualification. It applies to certain academic subjects only.
Nationals of the following countries, are exempt from the requirement to provide an ATAS certificate: UK, EU countries, EEA countries, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA.
This visa permits you to study for up to 5 years for degree level courses and there is no limit on how long you can study at postgraduate level.
Yes, you can apply for a Student visa from within the UK if you are present in the UK and have a valid UK visa which is not one of the following visa types:
In addition to providing your CAS number, evidence of meeting the English language and financial requirements (if applicable), you will need to provide your passport and may need to provide additional documentation depending on your circumstances. For example, a valid ATAS certificate.
For further information regarding your personal circumstances, please contact us.
The Graduate Route is a new visa route which launched on 1 July 2021. It allows eligible students to work, or look for work, in any role at any skill and salary level, after completing their studies in the UK.
The new Graduate Route opened for applications on 1 July 2021. Applications are made online on the gov.uk website on the specified form “Graduate”. The applicant will upload their own documents and complete a live scan (similar to a ‘selfie’).
Broadly speaking, to be eligible for this route, applicants must:
The following courses are deemed to be ‘relevant qualifications’:
No, there is no maintenance requirement and applicants do not need to demonstrate English language ability.
The application fee is £700 and applicants will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year. The full amount needs to be paid at the time of applying. Dependants will also be required to pay the application fee, as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge.
No, applications must be made from inside the UK. Those who apply from outside the UK will be rejected and refused entry to the UK and may be prevented from applying under the Graduate route in the future. In addition, application fees may not be refunded.
To be eligible, applicants must have studied in the UK for a minimum period of time. The minimum period of time depends on the length of the course that the student is studying.
For courses of 12 months or less, the student must have studied in the UK for the full duration of the course.
For courses longer than 12 months, the student must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months.
Note, this requirement will not be breached where students have completed a permitted study abroad programme, or where they are studying remotely due to COVID-19 (see below).
Students are normally expected to undertake their studies in the UK (see above). However, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of ‘Coronavirus Concessions’ have been published:
No, the Graduate Route is unsponsored, meaning applicants do not need a job offer to apply for the route. There are no minimum salary requirements and graduates on this route are able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career in the UK.
You are allowed to take up extra study, but you cannot study with a student sponsor on a course which would meet the requirements of a Student visa, and you cannot study at a state school.
Work (including self-employment and voluntary work) is permitted, apart from work as a professional sportsperson.
You can travel out of, and re-enter, the UK whilst holding valid permission as a Graduate.
You cannot access public funds.
Students who complete a course at bachelor’s or master’s level will be able to stay in the UK for 2 years. Doctoral students will be able to stay for 3 years.
This visa cannot be extended but applicants may be able to switch to the Skilled Worker route, or another route, from within the UK, if they are eligible.
You cannot bring new dependants with you under the Graduate Route.
Dependants already in the UK as a Student dependant may apply as a dependant partner or child of a Graduate.
Children born in the UK during the last grant of Student permission can also apply as a dependant child of the Graduate.
No, dependants are not required to meet any financial requirement.
No. Please note however that time spent in the UK under the Graduate route will count towards residence in the UK under the ’10 year route’. If you would like further information regarding this, please contact one of our immigration experts.
You should receive a decision within 8 weeks.
You should apply once your student sponsor has sent you your final course results and has notified the Home Office that you have successfully completed your course of study. You do not have to wait until you have graduated to apply.
If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered.
Those unable to use the app will need to visit a UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre to complete the application process. You will be told how to book this when you apply.
You will need the CAS number from your current Student or Tier 4 visa to apply. If you do not know your CAS number, please contact your university.
If you applied using the digital route, you will receive a digital status if your application is successful. You will receive an e-mail confirming your digital status and this will include a PDF of your decision letter.
If you applied by attending a UKVCAS to enrol your biometrics and upload your documents, you will receive a BRP only.
A High Potential Individual (HPI) visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years. To apply, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years. There is no job offer requirement for this visa which means applicants have the freedom to look for work whilst living in the UK, can switch jobs without affecting their visa and can also be self-employed.
This visa is for applicants that hold a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PHD from a qualifying university.
Depending on your year of graduation, you can find a list of eligible universities here:
With a High Potential Individual visa you can:
To be eligible for the High Potential Individual visa, you must have been awarded your qualification within the last five years. The qualification must also have come from an overseas establishment on the global universities list.
The application fee for a High Potential Individual visa is £715. You will also have to pay Ecctis to run a check to ensure your qualification is valid which is £210 if applying from outside the UK and £252 if applying from within the UK.
You must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which is £624 for each year you will be in the UK. This fee is paid up front.
You must also demonstrate that you have enough savings, namely £1,270, to support yourself whilst in the UK (the maintenance requirement). You will need to be able to show that you have held these funds in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for the visa.
You will not need to show proof of funds if you have been in the UK for at least 12 months.
You will usually need to prove your knowledge of the English language by demonstrating that you can read, write, speak and understand English at Level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
This can be done with any of the following:
Nationals of a majority English-speaking country (as defined by the Home Office) and those who have already evidenced their knowledge of English at level B1 for a previous UK visa, will not have to prove their knowledge of English language.
If you have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree the High Potential Individual visa will last for two years. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for three years.
You cannot extend a High Potential Individual visa however, it may be possible to switch to a different visa such as a skilled worker visa once it expires.
If you are already in the UK on a visa, you can switch into this visa unless you are on:
You are also not able to apply for this visa from the UK or abroad if you have already been granted a graduate visa or have come to the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.
Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
As a hub, we have included references to articles and explainers from third parties. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.