Find out more about eligibility, required documents and everything you need to do before and after receiving your Student Visa. The Student route replaced the Tier 4 (General) route for applications made after 9am on 5 October 2020.
Contact the Student Advice Service for advice on making your visa application.
Contact International Admissions via your application portal for any CAS related queries.
Please see the Tier 4 visa FAQs for the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for visa holders.
Who should apply?
Students aged 16 years or over who meet both financial and English language requirements, and that are coming to UAL to study:
- A full-time degree or degree-level course (e.g. BA, MA, PhD).
- A part-time postgraduate course at RQF level 7 or above (e.g. MA or Postgraduate Diploma).
- A further education course (e.g. Foundation Diploma).
- A pre-sessional course.
- An English language course (at level B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
- There are time limits on how long you can study on a degree or below degree level course.
- There are no time limits at postgraduate level and above.
- Full-time students can work a limited number of hours, part-time students can't work.
- You may need to register with the police.
- Full-time postgraduate students may be able to bring dependants (family members), part-time students cannot bring dependents.
- Full-time students may be apply to extend their visa whilst in the UK, part-time students cannot extend in the UK.
- The University must report to the UK Government if you don't enrol or don't attend your course.
You can apply from a country in which you are legally resident (e.g. your home country), or from the UK if you are eligible. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course begins if applying inside the UK and 6 months if applying outside the UK.
You should prepare your application carefully and ensure you understand all of the requirements to have a successful visa application. Misunderstanding the financial requirements is the main reason for student visa refusals. Our visa application guides should be read before making your application.
Before you apply
Read our guides
We understand that the visa application process can seem complex but our comprehensive guides have been designed to help you through the process step by step.
If you're applying from outside the UK:
- Understanding the process and requirements (PDF 852KB)
If you're an EEA or Swiss national, you will not need to submit biometric information at a Visa Application Centre as described in our guide. You will use the UK immigration: ID Check app on your phone to scan your biometric passport. Your visa will be issued as a digital immigration status which you can view online. Please contact us if you need further advice.
If you're applying from inside the UK:
Document check service
The Student Advice Service can check that your visa supporting documents meet the Home Office requirements. Please complete our form and wait for our feedback before submitting your visa application online. If a mistake is found in your document, this must be corrected before you pay for your application. At peak periods it will take up to 5 working days to receive feedback on your documents.
Getting a CAS
A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) is required before you can apply for your Student visa. A CAS is an electronic document created by the University which contains information about you and the course you will study. It's stored on a database that the Home Office can see.
You'll receive your CAS document by email from the Admissions team if you're a new student and the Immigration Compliance team if you're a current student.
Help with your CAS
If you're a current student continuing your course, please get in touch with the Immigration Compliance Administrator at your College.
After receiving your visa
Read your decision notice
It will explain if your visa application has been successful and will contain important information about your stay in the UK, including any conditions you must meet.
If you do not understand the notice, or if your visa application has been refused, contact the Student Advice Service.
Check for errors
Errors on your visa sticker or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) must be corrected or this can cause problems with your immigration status. Check all information immediately, especially the expiry (end) date.
Register with the police
Some students are legally required to register with the police at the Overseas Visitors Registration Office (OVRO) after receiving their BRP. If you applied for your visa outside the UK, your visa sticker will tell you if you have to register with the police. If you applied for your visa in the UK, your decision notice will tell you if you must register so read it carefully.
After registration, you will receive a certificate with some personal information, your UK address and details of your BRP.
During your stay in the UK
Keep your BRP and passport safe
It can be costly and take a long time to replace your BRP or passport. You don't need to have them with you all the time, it's better to keep them safe at home. For everyday identification purposes, you can get a Validate UK card or Citizencard. You should also take a photocopy of your passport and visa.
Lost/stolen visa or BRP
You need to report this immediately and apply for a replacement.
Find out more
Attend your classes and inform UAL about absences
Let us know if you can't attend classes. UAL must report continued unauthorised absences to UK Visas and Immigration. If this happens, your visa will be cancelled and you will have to leave.
Find out more
Changes to circumstances
If you change your personal details or you get a new visa, BRP or passport, contact:
You can usually work during your studies, but there are restrictions on type of work and the number of weekly hours. See the UKCISA website to learn more.
After the end of your course
You must leave the UK on or before the date that your visa or BRP expires. It is a criminal offence to stay in the UK after your visa or BRP expires. See the UKCISA website for more information.
Please note that if you left the country after the end date of your course as shown on your CAS, Border Force officials will need to be satisfied when you are re-entering the UK that you will either complete the activity you intend to carry out and leave the UK before your visa expires, or that you will submit an in-time application to extend your leave in the UK. You should carry any documentation relevant with you when you travel to show to the Border Force officer if required.
If you have a CAS to start another course and you wish to return to the UK to apply for a Student visa for that course, you should seek advice from the Student Advice Service.
If you submit a valid, on time application, you can stay in the UK while a decision is made on your application. This happens if you completed a BA course and applied for an MA course, or if you are about to start a job. Learn more about visa options after completing your course.
You should return your visa to the Home Office, when you no longer need and one of the following applies:
- You are taking time-out from your course and returning to your home country
- You have come to the end of your course and are returning to your home country
- You have applied to extend your visa in the UK and have a new visa
You put a short note in the envelope explaining why you are returning it. The return address is:
PO Box 195
If your Tier 4 or Student visa has expired or you have left the country once your course finished, you must apply for a suitable visa to return to the UK and attend your graduation ceremony.
Please check: Visa Guidance for Graduation 2019 (PDF 307KB)