Making a Student route application in the UK

Last modified: 04 October 2023

This section guides you through the eligibility and application process for making a Student route application in the UK.  It is important that you check first that you are eligible to apply in the UK and that any time limits on study do not affect your application.

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 Home Office's Student and Child student guidance. We update it as soon as possible after any changes. If you have printed this page, we advise that you check on our website that it is still the most recent version before you rely on it.

The term 'Student' includes 'Tier 4 (General)' and 'Child student' includes 'Tier 4 (Child)'.

Can you apply in the UK?

Last modified: 04 July 2023

You can apply in the UK if you are not in the UK on immigration bail, and if you currently have any type of immigration permission except:

• visitor
• short-term student
• parent of a child student
• seasonal worker
• domestic worker in a private household
• permission outside the Immigration Rules

It is extremely important that you do not apply in the UK if you hold one of the types of immigration permission listed above because the Home Office will treat your application as invalid. This means that they will not consider your application and you will have no right of appeal or administrative review against their decision.

28-day gap

Academic progression

Your status before you receive a decision




Where, when, how to apply

Last modified: 04 October 2023

After you have checked whether you are able to make a Student route application in the UK, you need to prepare for the process.

How to apply

When to apply

Application fee

Immigration health surcharge


Medical Checks


Submitting your application

Last modified: 23 December 2021

This information on mode of application, applies to those not eligible to use the IDV app in order to re-use your biometrics.

After you have completed and submitted the form online, paid the associated fees (immigration health surcharge, biometric enrolment fee and visa fee) you must select your mode of application. Mode of applications include the standard service, priority service, super priority service and the VIP service.

Types of application

Applying with the help of your Student sponsor

Technical support

After you apply

Travel outside the UK before you receive a decision

Application checklist

Last modified: 08 August 2022

This checklist is a summary of the steps involved in making a Student route application in the UK. We have included links to more detailed information and to external websites.

  1. Choose institution and course
  2. Apply for a place and receive an unconditional offer
  3. Obtain a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) number from your institution. A CAS is only valid for six months, you must make your visa application within this time.
  4. Check that the gap between the end of your current permission and the course start date on your CAS is no more than 28 days. If it is you must go home and apply there.
  5. Apply for ATAS clearance if applicable (some institutions may ask that you do this before they will issue a CAS)
  6. Check that you meet the Student route requirements
  7. Make sure that you have all of the necessary evidence.
  8. Complete the Student route application form online. You can start completing the application form as early as you like; your application will not be made until you pay the application fee
  9. Pay the immigration health surcharge, choose which type of application to make, pay the biometric enrolment fee and pay the application fee online – at this point you have made your application.
  10. If you are not eligible to use the UK Immigration app to re-use your biometrics, book an appointment to attend a UKVCAS service centre in order to provide your biometrics.
  11. Scan and upload your documents in advance of your appointment or at your appointment (there will be a charge for this). Make sure that all your evidence shows that you met the requirements on the day on which you submitted your online application.
  12. Attend your appointment in order to provide your biometrics. If you have already uploaded your documents, you will need to bring your original passport to your appointment for identity purposes only. If you wish to scan all your documents at your appointment, bring all your original documents to the appointment. You will be able to take them away with you after your appointment.
  13. Attend a credibility interview if you are asked to do so.
  14. The Home Office will decide whether to grant or refuse your application. If your application has been refused you should contact an adviser at your institution as soon as possible.
  15. If your application has been successful your biometric residence permit (BRP) will be sent to you separately by post.
  16. Check that all of the details on your BRP are correct (including the conditions and length of permission), and show it to the relevant staff member at your institution so that they can update their records.

Biometric residence permit (BRP)

Last modified: 04 July 2023

Evidence of your permission to be in the UK is typically issued as a biometric residence permit (BRP), separate from your passport. A BRP is a plastic card similar to a credit card which contains your personal information, your biometric information (photograph and fingerprints) and states your immigration status and some of your conditions.

If you have provided biometrics to the Home Office as part of a previous visa application, you may receive both a BRP card and an eVisa. Non-visa nationals will normally receive an eVisa only, and visa nationals will normally receive both. 

If you are an EU or EEA national and used the UK Immigration: ID Check app in order to submit your application, you will not receive a BRP but a digital immigration status (eVisa) which can be used to view and prove your immigration status online.

Receiving your BRP

Start and end dates


Last modified: 14 October 2020

If your Student route application is refused, you will usually have the right to apply for administrative review of the refusal, which should be made clear in the decision notice. The Home Office will review its decision to see if it made a case working error. You should also apply for administrative review if the Home Office has granted you the incorrect length of immigration permission or placed incorrect conditions on your immigration permission.

You must meet the deadline for applying for administrative review, so seek advice from your Student sponsor or a lawyer as quickly as possible after you receive a refusal. Details of how to apply for administrative review are in the Student and Child Student guidance.

When an application is refused, the Student route fee is not refunded.  However, if you paid the immigration health surcharge (IHS) as part of your application this will be refunded in full.

You should tell your Student sponsor that your application has been refused so that you can receive help and advice about how this might affect your study and what your options might be.