There are two types of visas designed specifically for students entering the UK to study: ‘short term student’ and ‘Tier 4’ visa. Short term student visas are for students wishing to study courses up to six months long, or up to eleven months for English language courses. Tier 4 general student visas are available for a range of other courses at degree level, or an English language course or below degree level course that leads to a qualification. For a detailed explanation see and more information see: gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa
What do I need to apply?
To apply for a student visa you need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from your institution, this will be delivered electronically and is valid for six months. You also need enough money to cover the first year’s tuition costs (or the whole course if under a year) and enough to cover your living costs. If you plan to study in London you will require £1,265 for every month of your course, to a maximum of nine months (£11,385 in total). If you plan to study elsewhere in the UK you will require £1,015, also limited to nine months (£9,135 in total). To show this you will need to provide evidence of the funds in your (or your parents’) bank accounts, a loan letter or proof of a scholarship.
When should I apply?
You can apply from three months from the start of your course. Applications are generally processed within three weeks but vary depending on country. The application costs £328 if you are applying from outside of the UK, and an additional £328 per person for your dependants.
For information on visa processing time see: gov.uk/visa-processing-times
When can I arrive in the UK?
This varies on the length of your course. If your course lasts for less than six months then you are only permitted to enter the country one week before your course starts. However, if you are studying for more than six months then you can arrive in the UK one month prior to the commencement of your studies.
If you ever need assistance in the UK, there are great resources on hand to help. Australia House by Trafalgar Square is the embassy, and also is a place you can vote if you happen to be in London.