Which visa should I apply for?

If you are studying for a period of less than six months you can choose to apply for a Student visa or a Visitor visa. This summary explains the differences to help you choose.

Visitor visa

If you choose to apply for a Visitor visa there are two ways to apply, depending on your nationality. Check if your country is on the list of visa national countries.  Please also read the UKCISA guidance. 

  • Visa nationals – you must apply before you travel.
  • Non-visa nationals – you can apply before you travel or get the correct immigration permission at the UK airport when you arrive.

If you apply before you travel

  • It costs £95.
  • You can stay for a maximum of 6 months, but you must leave the UK within 30 days of the course end date.
  • You are not allowed to do paid work or unpaid (voluntary) work.
  • This is a multiple entry visa, so you can leave the UK and re-enter.
  • You cannot extend this visa or change the type of visa from inside the UK.

If you get immigration permission at the airport 

  • It is free of charge.
  • You can stay for a maximum of 6 months, but you must leave the UK within 30 days of the course end date.
  • You are not allowed to do paid work or unpaid (voluntary) work.
  • This is a single entry visa, but if you want to leave the UK and re-enter during the semester you can request permission to enter again if you leave the UK.
  • You cannot extend this visa or change the type of visa from inside the UK.

Student visa

You must apply before you travel.        

  • Visa fee £348. 
  • You may need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge fee (payable if your visa is valid for more than 6 months)
  • If you are studying for less than 6 months, you can arrive up to 7 days before the start date of the course. You can stay for up to 7 days after the course finish date.
  • If you are studying for 6-12 months, you can arrive up to 1 month before the start date of the course. You can stay for up to 2 months after the course finish date.
  • You can work part-time during term-time in the UK, up to 20 hours per week.
  • This is a multiple entry visa, so you can leave the UK and re-enter.
  • You cannot extend this visa or change the type of visa from inside the UK.