Most UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) have resumed services where local restrictions allow, following closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For updates to the status of VACs in your country, contact:
- TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
- VFS global for all other countries.
Further information can be found on the UK Government's website.
When to apply for a visa
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.
You can apply for your visa as soon as you receive your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) statement, providing you can meet the financial requirements and you meet all of the other visa requirements.
The UK authorities can be very busy during the summer months processing Student visa applications before courses begin in September. It is, therefore, recommended that you apply as soon as you are eligible to do so.
How to apply
You must complete the student visa application online.
The fee for a student visa application from outside the UK is payable locally and is £348.
Submitting biometric information
You will need to have your fingerprints and photograph, known as your biometric information, taken at a visa application centre, as part of your application.
This information will be stored securely and will ensure that your identity is not being used by someone else to get a visa in your name.
This data will be used to create your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which will be your new visa.
You must collect your BRP before your vignette expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK - whichever is the later.
You may also be asked to attend a credibility interview as part of your visa application. This is a brief interview with UK Home Office staff in which they will check your level of English ability and your ability and intention to study your new course. If you are requested to attend one of these appointments do not worry, this does not mean that there is a problem with your application, it is simply a part of the application process.
These interviews do not include an opportunity to discuss your application or evidence.
How long will the application take to process?
Applications made outside the UK can vary in their processing times, however, the majority of standard applications should be processed within 15 working days (three weeks) from the date of appointment at a visa application centre where you provide your biometric information.
In many countries there is an option to pay for a priority or super-priority visa service, your application should then be processed quicker than the standard 15 day service.
If your application is successful, your passport and documents will be returned to you and you will be issued with a vignette (stamp) inside your passport valid for 90 days.
The 90 days will start from seven days before the course start date on your CAS or seven days before the date that you specified on your application as your intended date of travel to the UK, whichever is later.
This will be for anyone who applies for a student visa for six months or longer. This stamp will allow you to travel to the UK within this 90 day period.
You will also be issued a decision letter. You must bring this decision letter with you to the UK as it will be required to collect your BRP. The decision letter will tell you the date from which your BRP will be available for collection as well as the post office branch where you will need to collect your BRP. The post office branch where your BRP will be held is linked to the postcode you submitted in your visa application.
You will not need an appointment to collect your BRP from the post office but will need your decision letter and your passport containing your 90-day vignette with an entry stamp on it given by an immigration officer at the airport of arrival.