Can you come to the UK as a prospective student?
This page explains whether you can come to the UK as a prospective student.
The 'prospective student' category is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. If you are an EEA or Swiss national, or a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, the European nationals section explains how you can come to the UK.
You can come to the UK as a prospective student if you intend to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system but you have not completed all the arrangements for your course of study. For example, you can come here as a prospective student if you have been provisionally accepted on a course, with final acceptance dependent on an interview.
You should have a clear idea of the type and purpose of course that you want to study, and you should already have been in touch with educational institutions in the UK. If you only have a vague intention to study for qualifications or to enter an unspecified university or other institution, you cannot come here as a prospective student.
You must be able to show that you will start your course within 6 months of arrival in the UK. In some cases, you may be able to provide this evidence in a letter of acceptance or prospectus giving details of the course.
If you already have an unconditional offer of a place on a course, which you intend to accept, you should not come here as a prospective student - instead, you should apply to enter the UK under Tier 4.
You must show that you intend to:
- switch into Tier 4 of the points-based system to begin your course within 6 months of arriving in the UK, and then leave the UK at the end of your course;
- Leave the UK when your permission to stay as a prospective student expires, if you have not been able to switch into Tier 4.
You must also be able to show that you have enough money to meet the costs of your intended course and accommodation, and to support yourself, without working or help from public funds.
There is no minimum age requirement as a prospective student.
Your husband, wife or civil partner, and any of your children under 18, can come to the UK with you while your arrange your studies. They are known as your 'dependants'. You must be able to show that you can adequately accommodate and support them without working or needing any help from public funds.
For information about your rights and responsibilities while you are in the UK, see the Visitors' rights and responsibilities section.
You should provide documents to show that you meet the above requirements. The Documents page contains more information.
You must obtain a visa before you can come to the UK as a prospective student. The Do you need a visa? page contains more information.