The visa you need depends on the English language course you will study, the length of the course, and the English Language qualification that you have.
Find out which visa you will need based on the length of the English language course you will be studying:
If you are studying for more than 11 months
If you are studying for a period of more than 11 months, you must apply for a Student visa before travelling to the UK. Read our step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Student visa.
We recommend that you apply for a Student visa if:
- You have an offer to start an academic degree programme immediately after the completion of your English language course.
- Your course is longer than six months and family members are accompanying you as dependants.
- You wish to work part time.
To be eligible for a Student visa you will need to have a Secure English Language Test (SELT). You can find information about the English Language qualifications that we accept, including SELTs, on our English Language certificates page.
You must remain on your pre-sessional English programme if you hold a Student visa, even if you obtain a higher IELTS score during the course. This is because if you stop studying, the University must report this to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI and your visa will be cancelled. You must also return home as you cannot extend your visa inside the UK due to not completing the course for which your visa was issued.
Please note that Student visas can be extended from inside the UK if they meet the UKVI’s Academic Progression and other requirements.
If you are studying for six to 11 months
If you are studying an English language course for a period of six to 11 months, you can apply for a Short-term study visa.
Work is not permitted on the Short-term study visa and you cannot stay longer than 11 months or switch into another immigration route on this visa in the UK.
Short-term study visas require you to leave the UK and return home after completion of your English language course to apply for a Student visa for your academic degree programme.
Find further information about short-term study visas on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.
If you are studying for less than six months
A Standard Visitor visa is suitable for most Language Centre students, but a Student visa allows you to work part-time while you are studying.
Standard Visitor visas require you to leave the UK and return home after completion of the English language course to apply for a Student visa for your academic degree programme.
Read our comparison guide to help you decide which visa to apply for.
Who do I contact if I need visa advice?
If you have a question, or would like us to check your visa application, please contact the Student Visa Advice service.