What you need to know about getting a visa to stay and study in the UK
Different Visa Status for Different Nationalities
If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you can come and go as you please. You can ignore all these notes about visas. This is true even if you also hold a non-European passport. For example, if you are Brazilian but also have an Italian passport, you can use your Italian passport to enter the UK without visa formalities.
If you are a VN, you need a visa to enter the UK for any reason and must get it before you leave home (this is called ‘pre-entry clearance’). If you are from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or United Arab Emirates, you can apply for an electronic visa waiver.
This is the normal visa used to study English. It lasts 6 months. It’s available for people at any level of English.
If you are Non-Visa National you can get this free on arrival in the UK. You must book a course before you come to the UK and bring your course acceptance papers, including a STSV support letter, to show at immigration when you arrive.
If you are a Visa National you must apply at home. You must provide Biometric Data and pay the appropriate fee (£97). Biometric Data means fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre. You will probably have to prove that you have a good reason for learning English and persuade the Entry Clearance Officer that you will return home after the course. In some cases, depending on your nationality, you may find this difficult
If you get a STSV before you leave home, it will be a piece of paper stuck into your passport. If you are a NVN and get a STSV on arrival it will just be an entry stamp. This is still a visa.
You cannot extend this visa. You have to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course or at the end of the 6-month period of leave granted, whichever is the earliest. If you are a non-visa national and you leave the country and re-enter, you may get a new one (this is not supposed to happen, but it often does).
If you are using an agent in your own country, they will help you with the visa application. If you are applying personally you can do that here
This is a special visa available if your course will last for more than 6 months. A Short-Term Student Visa (11 months) lasts 11 months and is available for people at any level of English.
It is only possible to get an STSV11 if the original course you book lasts for more than 6 months. You cannot get a STSV, then decide to stay longer and convert a STSV to a STSV11 in the UK.
An STSV11 is only valid for studying English. You can change school and course, but you cannot stop studying English and start studying something else.
You cannot extend an STSV11. You have to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course or at the end of the 11-month period of leave granted, whichever is the earliest.
Whatever your nationality, you must get your STSV11 at home before you come to the UK. You must have a visa support letter from us and show that you have enough money to pay for your course and to live on. You must provide Biometric Data and pay the appropriate fee (£186). You will probably have to prove that you have a good reason for learning English and persuade the Entry Clearance Officer that you will return home after the course. In some cases, depending on your nationality, you may find this difficult.
If you get a STSV11 you will just get a vignette, valid for 30 days, in your passport and must get Biometric Residence Permit when you arrive in the UK.
If you are using an agent in your own country, they will help you with the visa application. If you are applying personally, you can do that here.
You are not allowed to work if you have a Short-Term Student Visa (11 months).
Students from certain countries studying for 6 months or longer must undertake pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening before they are granted a visa for the UK. For a list of countries affected, please click here.
Anyone entering the UK with a Short-Term Study Visa lasting more than 6 months must pay a Health Surcharge fee, which allows them to use the National Health Service. This costs £150. Please note that this must be paid even if you also have private health insurance.
Other Types of Visas
Standard Visitor Visa
This visa has replaced the Visitor Visa (VV) and Business Visitor Visa (BVV)
The Standard Visitor Visa allows you to enter the UK for leisure, business, to take part in a sporting or creative event or to receive private medical treatment.
It is possible to study with a Standard Visitor Visa provided that your course lasts no longer than 6 weeks (30 days) and studying is not the main reason for your visit. If you want to study for longer than 6 weeks you will need a STSV, However the STSV will cancel your Standard Visitor Visa as you can’t have two valid visas at the same time.
If you have a Diplomatic Visa, you can study without any problems.
Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) Visa
If you are lucky enough to have one of these, you can do anything you like.
Electronic Visa Waiver
If you are from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or United Arab Emirates, you can apply for an electronic visa waiver (EVW). The EVW can be used for a single entry only, but you can stay for up to 6 months and study with us.
This is much quicker and cheaper than applying for a visa. You can apply online between 3 months and 48 hours before you travel, and you only have to pay a fee of £15.
You need to make sure that you fill in all the required details (your passport details, an address in the UK where you will stay, details of your journey, including departure and arrival dates and times) correctly or you won’t be allowed to travel. If any of details change e. g. you arrive at a different airport or you arrive 8 hours later than planned, you have to apply for a new EVW.
Please make sure that you print your EVW and take the print out with you when you travel, as electronic copies aren’t accepted.
What You Need To Do
What you must do if you want a STSV/STSV11
If you need a visa to enter the UK you will need support from us, so you must tell us what sort of visa you intend to apply for. Unless we know this, we do not know what sort of support to send you.
Send us a copy of your passport. We need information from it to produce the support that we will send you.
The cost of your visa letter is included in your registration fee of £50, however if you require us to make further changes we charge £30 for each letter.
Send us the information needed for a Short-Term Student Visa STSV support letter. If you want a STSV we will need to send you a STSV support letter, so we need certain information.
Date of birth
Passport expiry date
What you need before starting a course with us
Please make sure that you bring your passport or ID with you to school on the first day. If you do not need a visa, we must check this. If you do need a visa, we need to check that you have one, and take a copy of it.
Biometric Residence Permit
A Biometric Residence Permit is a credit-card sized plastic card which looks very similar to a driving licence.
If you have a Tier 4, a STSV11 or a YMV, and will stay for more than 6 months, you will no longer get a paper visa in your passport. You will get a vignette (rubber stamp) which will allow you to enter the country, and you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit after you arrive.
The vignette will be valid for 30 days from the arrival date that you gave when you applied for your visa. You must arrive in the UK during this period. If you will arrive later, you will need to apply for a new vignette.
When you are granted your visa, you will be told the address of a Post Office where you can collect your BRP.
After you have collected your BRP you must show it to us as we need to make a copy for our records.
You do not need to carry your BRP all the time and it might be safest not to do so. But you need to take it with you if you leave the country as you will need to show it when you re-enter the UK.
If you have a stamp in your passport which tells you to register your arrival in the UK you will need to visit The Overseas Visitors Records Office Longport Police Station, Ashford Road, Newington Kent, CT18 8AP. In this case, please see here.