UK Student Visas: Popular FAQs

It’s visa application season, as the new academic year starts soon in UK schools and universities! If your child requires a visa to study in the UK, find out what other parents have asked us year-after-year. 

  • When should I apply?

Students cannot apply for a visa more than 3 months before the start of their course.

  • How long will the visa take to process?

It takes and average of about 3 weeks for the visa to be processed. Apply no later than 4 weeks before your course starts so you have time to travel to the UK after receiving the visa. 

  • Which UK student visa is right for my child?

If you’re between 4 to 17 years old and will attend an independent (private) school, it’s a Child Student visa that you apply for. Parental written consent is required and your school usually provides a suitable format. If you’re 16 years old or older and studying a higher education course, then a Student visa (previously known as a “Tier 4 visa”) is what you should be applying for.

  • Who will be the student’s “sponsor”?

In the UK, student visas are sponsored by the licensed institution where they will study. The student must have an unconditional offer of a place by the sponsor, and be in receipt of a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) to submit the visa application.

  • Where and how to apply?

Applications are submitted online. In addition, the student’s biometric information is collected at a visa application centre, such as VFS Global. You may apply from inside the UK if you are extending your student visa or switching from a different visa.

  • What does the visa cost?

The Child Student visa fee is currently £363 if you apply from outside the UK, but please check the pages for the latest fee schedule. Note the additional immigration health surcharge that is also payable.

  • What are the key documents I need to prepare?

The precise documents will depend on your particular circumstances, but you’re likely to be submitting:

  1. Current passport, plus any expired passports that you’ve previously travelled on to the UK
  2. The CAS letter, issued by your school or university
  3. A parental consent letter ad proof of their relationship with you (for under 18 year olds)
  4. Evidence of required funds
  5. Tuberculosis certificate (for affected countries only, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand)
  • Do the submitted documents need to be in English?

Yes – any original documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a translation certified by a professional translator.

  • What is a BRP?

BRP stands for “Biometric Residence Permit”.  It’s a legal document with your:

  1. Name, date, and place of birth
  2. Biometric information
  3. Immigration status and conditions of stay
  4. Your access to any public services or benefits, including healthcare

Most students will be able to pick up their BRP after they arrive in the UK, having indicated on their visa application where they would like their BRP to be delivered (eg. their school or a nearby Post Offce).

  • Can I do part-time work on a student visa?

Yes, there are some conditions in which international students may work temporarily while doing their studies.  For example, undergraduate students may work up to 20 hours a week during term time, and take part in work placements.

If you have other questions about the UK student visa, drop us a note at and we’ll do our best to help!