Can you come to the UK as a student visitor?
This page explains whether you can come to the UK as a student visitor.
The 'student visitor' 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.
To come to the UK as a student visitor, you must have been accepted on a course of study in the UK. The institution that provides the course must be:
- accredited by Accreditation UK or the Accreditation Body for Language Services (ABLS), which offer accreditation service for providers of English Language courses; or
- accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) or the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC), which offer accreditation for a range of institutions and courses; or
- inspected or audited by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland), Estyn (in Wales), the Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland) or the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI); or
- an overseas higher education institution which offers only part of its programmes in the UK, holds its own national accreditation, and offers programmes of an equivalent level to a UK degree; or
- a licensed sponsor under Tier 4 of the points-based system.
If you are enrolled on an overseas course you can also come to the UK for a short period of research. Your overseas course must be equivalent to UK degree level, and you must have been accepted to undertake the research at a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institute from:
- the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland;
- the Higher Education Funding Council for England;
- the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales; or
- the Scottish Funding Council
You must not intend to study at a maintained school.
You must show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:
- take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership;
- carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor; or
- receive private medical treatment.
You must also be able to show that:
- you are 18 or over;
- you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months (or 11 months if you will be undertaking an English Language course - see below);
- you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
- you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
- you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
- you are not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).
Here we define an English Language course as a course in English Language for students whose first language is not English and who are learning it as a foreign language. A mixed course, with a portion of time spent learning English, does not qualify as an English Language course.
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 may need to obtain a visa before you can come to the UK as a student visitor. The Do you need a visa? page contains more information.