Applying for a Student Visa from inside the UK

How to apply for a student visa inside the UK and how long the application process takes.

You can only apply to extend your visa inside the UK if you meet the academic progression requirements.

When to extend your visa

You must apply before your current visa expires, the earliest you can apply is three months prior to your visa expiry date. We would encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

If you are applying to start a new course after successfully passing a previous course and wish to apply inside the UK, your new course must start no more than 28 days after your current visa expires.

How to apply

You must complete the student online application on the UK government website.

Apply online

It is important that when you apply, your application is considered to be ‘valid’ by the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) authorities.

A 'valid' application is one that the UKVI can process because it meets all of the initial requirements.

If the UKVI consider your application to be ‘invalid’ they will return it. An invalid application is not considered to be an application at all.

Applicants will be charged an administration fee of £25 for an application that is rejected as 'invalid' before attendance at a UKVCAS centre. This means the application fee minus £25 administration fee is refunded to you, rather than the full fee.

Submitting the application and biometric information

After completing the online application form you must choose the type of service you wish to use. The service options are:

  • Standard service costs £475
  • Priority service costs £975 (standard service + £500) - currently unavailable due to the covid-19 pandemic
  • Super Priority service costs £1,275 (standard service + £800) - currently unavailable due to the covid-19 pandemic.

If you have no travel plans in the near future, we recommend using the standard service.

After submitting the online form and paying the relevant fee by credit or debit card you will be directed to the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) website.

You will be required to create an account on the UKVCAS website. You will then be contacted usually one to two weeks after application, advising you to either arrange a biometric appointment at a UKVCAS centre or to confirm your identity through the IDV app.

If you need to attend an appointment, the nearest free centre is in Manchester, however, for a fee you can attend the centre in Liverpool.

You will not be able to book a biometric appointment or use the IDV app until invited to do so.

The online application will create the following PDF documents to download:

  • Confirmation and document checklist - confirming the date of application, how and what documents to submit
  • The submitted application form.

Please see the Biometric Residence Permit page for more information about giving your biometrics and the Biometric Residence Permit.

Prior to the biometric appointment or using the IDV app, you should upload copies of your evidence through the UKVCAS website.

At the appointment, you will need to take your original passport, provide your biometric information (fingerprints, photograph and electronic signature) and any documents which you have not pre-uploaded.

How long it takes to get a decision

The expected processing times to receive a decision are:

  • Standard within eight weeks
  • Priority within five working days
  • Premium within one working day.

It can take a further 7-10 working days for your BRP to be delivered following the decision regardless of which service type you use.

If your application takes more than the above processing times please ask IAG for advice.

You should not travel outside the UK until your application has been decided and you have your new BRP card, your visa. If you leave the UK whilst your visa application is ongoing it will be automatically withdrawn and you could be refused re-entry to the UK.

You do not need to do anything further after this except wait for a decision.

Most students will receive a decision through email, so please regularly check your email including your junk/spam folder in case the email is automatically filtered there.

Your BRP will be sent within 7-10 working days of you receiving a successful visa decision email/letter.

If the UKVI request further information or documents, or your application is refused or returned as invalid, please contact us as soon as possible.

Partner and children

If you have a partner or children (dependants) in the UK with dependant visas, they can obtain an extension too.

If they are applying at the same time as you, they will be included on your student online application form. They should be added to your application account as 'another applicant'.

If your dependants are applying separately to you, they will need to complete their own PBS dependant online application form and will need to state at the beginning of the form who they are dependant of and provide details about you.

Whether your dependants apply at the same time as you or separately, there is a fee to pay. For more information about dependants please see our family (dependants) visa pages.

Speak to a International Advice and Guidance advisor

If you are unable to find an answer to your query on our web pages email or book an online confidential one-one appointment.