When should I apply for a visa?
Once you’ve received your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), you can apply for your visa. You can apply from three months before the start of your course. You’ll usually receive a decision within three weeks of applying. This varies though, depending on what country you are from.
What’s the Immigration Health Surcharge?
You may need to pay a healthcare surcharge (the 'Immigration Health Surcharge' or IHS) as part of your immigration application. The cost varies depending on your circumstances so we recommend you check how much you’ll need to pay using the UKVI calculator tool.
If you're applying online or through the premium service centre, you'll pay the IHS as part of your application or when you book an appointment.
If you're applying by post, you’ll need to pay the IHS online before you send your application. You'll need to include the IHS reference number on your application form.
You'll then be able to use the National Health Service (NHS). Remember, you'll still need to pay for certain types of services, such as prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.
You don't have to pay the IHS if you're applying from outside the UK for a visitor visa or any visa that lasts six months or less. This means you don't need to use the healthcare surcharge service or get an IHS reference number for your visa application. Instead, you'll have to pay for any healthcare you get through the NHS at the point you use it.
What documents do I need when I apply for my visa?
You’ll need to have your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) with you before you apply for a visa. You’ll be sent your CAS once you have an unconditional offer to study, have paid your deposit to INTO, and have met any other conditions.
You’ll also need:
- a current passport or other valid travel documentation with at least one page in your passport that is blank on both sides for your visa
- one passport-sized colour photograph with your name written on the reverse side
- proof you can support yourself financially and pay for your course
- proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
- your tuberculosis test results, if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You may be asked to provide additional documents depending on your individual circumstances. Supporting documents are usually returned within 14 days.
What are the UK Visa regulations?
You’ll need to meet British immigration requirements. And, if you’re studying for more than six months, you’ll be required to have entry clearance as a student. Please be aware that you won’t be able to change from a visitor visa to a student visa from within the UK.
If you’re a student from China, you can find information and advice on visas on the British Embassy website. The UK visas website will help answer some of your initial questions, and you can also find information and advice on entry clearance and visas on the UKCISA website.
What knowledge of English will I need?
You’ll need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. This usually means passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
- Higher education institution (HEI) at degree level or above: You’ll need to be able to read, write, listen and speak English (Equivalent to CEFR/Common European Framework for languages level B2)
- Institution that's not HEI at degree level or above: You’ll need SELT level B2 in reading, writing, listening and speaking
- Any institution below degree level: You’ll need SELT level B1 in reading, writing, listening and speaking
Applicants to any of our courses at below-degree level will always need to pass a SELT test at the appropriate level, and include this as part of their visa application. Your test also needs to be from an approved provider. You'll need to check the entry requirements for your specific course page.
What is an IELTS test?