Applying for a Student route visa outside the UK

Last modified: 06 February 2024

This page outlines guidance on visa applications under the Student route, including applications by EEA nationals. There are some key differences between applying for a Student visa from outside of the UK and within the UK. We advise that you review the information on this page carefully in preparation for any Student visa application made overseas.

Most Student sponsors offer their students information and advice on making a Student route application. Depending on their resources this may include written guidance or web pages, workshops about the application and one-to-one advice.

This information is based on the Immigration Rules, and on the policy guidance and application forms issued by the Home Office. We update it as soon as possible after any changes.

Considerations before applying

Last modified: 20 January 2023

You can make applications under the Student route outside the UK. This is also recommended where potential applicants also do not meet the rules to apply inside the UK (see Can you apply in the UK?). You cannot hold immigration permission (a visa) under multiple categories simultaneously for the UK, so any successful application under the Student route will cancel any other immigration permission held.

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

Where can I study with a Student visa?


Where, when, how to apply

Last modified: 11 July 2023

Where to apply

When to apply

How to apply

Under 18s

Submitting your application

Last modified: 06 February 2024

This information provides guidance on completing the application process. After you have completed and submitted the form online, paid the associated fees (immigration health surcharge, biometric enrolment fee and visa fee) you will have a choice to select some “value-added services”. These are provided by the visa application centre and include priority services, courier services, and VIP lounges.

Application fee

Immigration health surcharge

Tuberculosis tests

Providing your biometrics


Processing times, cancelling an application

Application checklist

Last modified: 24 January 2023

If you want to make a successful application, it is extremely important that you:

  • check that you meet all the requirements
  • allow time to obtain any supporting documents you need to provide 
  • provide your supporting documents in the format required  
  • complete all sections of the form, fully and accurately
  • follow any specific guidance from your sponsor institution

It is very important that you plan in advance when applying for your Student visa. If your programme requires you to obtain an ATAS certificate for example, this can take upwards of 8-10 weeks. You will need to think carefully about when to start the process, and if you have any questions you should speak with your education provider.

We have provided a checklist for you to download and use to help your preparations for your Student visa application. Remember to make sure you understand the requirements for the Student route before starting the application process.



Receiving your decision

Last modified: 20 January 2023

This guidance will explain what to expect once you have received a decision on your initial application. There is important information included about when, and when not, to travel to the UK, how your visa will be issued, and how long it will be issued for.

Once your visa is issued

Start and end dates

What are the conditions of my Student visa?

Is your visa correct?

Travelling to the UK with your Student visa vignette

Collecting your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)


Last modified: 03 December 2021

If your application is refused we strongly advise that you contact your institution for advice. The immigration adviser or international student adviser there can tell you to what extent they can assist you with your options following a refusal. 

If you think the refusal was incorrect, based on the evidence you submitted with your application, you may be able to ask the Home Office for an 'administrative review' of the decision. Whether or not you can do this will be outlined in your decision letter.

An administrative review is applied for online and costs £80. You must request the administrative review within 28 days of the date you receive your refusal notice. Your refusal letter should detail why you are refused and give instructions for requesting an administrative review. The administrative review request notice and accompanying guidance can be accessed on the website.

You cannot produce new or different documents for an administrative review unless:

  • your application was refused on grounds of deception, breach of conditions, or overstaying your previous leave; and/or
  • your application was refused on the grounds that it was submitted outside of the permitted time limits; and/or
  • the Home Office made an incorrect decision not to request additional evidence under paragraph 245AA of the Immigration Rules. This paragraph states that the Home Office can request missing documents if you submitted necessary documents but:
    • a document did not contain all of the specified information
    • a document was in the wrong format (for example, if a letter was not on letterhead paper as specified); or
    • evidence was missing.

Be aware that at present the Home Office states that an administrative review may take up-to 6 months. If your application is refused, contact your institution immediately for advice and support as they may be able to advise if an administrative review is likely to be completed in time for you to either apply again, or receive a new decision approving your visa in time to start your programme of study.

You cannot submit a new entry clearance application at the same time as requesting an administrative review of an earlier entry clearance application. If you make a new visa application while you have an administrative review pending then your administrative review will automatically be withdrawn.

If you make a further application for immigration permission you are likely to be asked whether you have ever been refused immigration permission in the past. It is very important that you do declare any refusals, as requested.

If your visa is refused your application fee will not be refunded, however if you have paid the immigration health surcharge then this will be refunded.

Frequently asked questions

Last modified: 20 July 2023

I want to travel to the UK as a Visitor before my course starts. Is that OK?

I have a Tier 4 or Student visa that is still valid. Can I use it to re-enter the UK after my studies have finished?