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Student visas

Student visas

Most non-UK students coming to study in the UK will need a Student visa. This includes EEA and Swiss students arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021. Your Student visa will allow you to stay in the UK for the whole of your course and comes with both privileges and restrictions.

International Student Support's specialist immigration advisers provide advice and support for all Student visa applications and provide a visa extension service if you are in the UK. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Attend or watch a webinar.
  2. Prepare your supporting documents: the Money page describes the financial requirements and how to evidence this as part of your visa application. The CAS & Qualifications page explains how you evidence your unconditional offer. You can then read our document list as a final checklist.
  3. Prepare your visa application form: read through our application form guide to help you answer the questions.

The process thereafter differs slightly if you are applying from outside the UK or applying to extend your visa from inside the UK. Check out the key facts which apply to everyone and then choose the relevant section below for information about applying outside or inside the UK. Note that you cannot apply from inside the UK if you are currently on a Visitor visa.



To come to the UK and study on a Student visa, you will need to show that:

- You have an unconditional offer for a course in the UK at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) registered sponsor (for example a CAS number from the University of Exeter)

- You are qualified to undertake that course

- You can fund your studies in the UK without working


Application fee: £490

You may be charged additional fees if you are required to attend a biometric appointment as part of your application.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): £776 per person, per year. You will be charged £388 for part of a year under 6 months and £776 for part of a year over 6 months. Use the IHS calculator to estimate how much you will be charged. There are limited circumstance where you will be eligible for a refund, please read the IHS webpage for details.


The length of your visa depends on the length and level of your course. 

Programmes that are 12 months or more: +4 months (PhD students extending their visa for less than 12 months should still get a 4 months post study period)

Programmes between 6 and less than 12 months: +2 months

Pre-sessional programmes less than 6 months: +1 month

All other programmes less than 6 months: +7 days


Full-time students: work up to 20 hours per week during term-time*

Part-time students: work is prohibited

*Note that INTO students may have different work restrictions

Study Your visa is linked to a specific course and institution – you will likely need a new visa if you wish to change
Application length

Applying for a visa from outside the UK (Entry Clearance): you will usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Check current visa processing times.

Applying for a visa from inside the UK: the standard service takes 8 weeks, however there are premium options if you require a decision sooner than this. Please contact us for further advice.

Visa conditions

To read through the visa restrictions associated with a Student visa please see our Visa Conditions page.

Now that you have prepared your application form and supporting documents including TB testing (check if you need a new test certificate), you are ready to submit your visa application. Unless stated, EU/EEA students will follow the same process.

  1. Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and application fee online. The date that you pay is your official visa application date.
  1. Book a biometrics appointment at a Visa Application Centre.

    EU/EEA/Swiss students are not required to attend a biometrics appointment unless you have not been able to use the UK Immigration: ID Check app.
  1. Scan and upload supporting documents to your VFS Global or TLS Contact account.

    EU/EEA/Swiss students: Scan and upload identity documents using the UK Immigration: ID Check app as instructed on the application form.
  1. Attend your biometrics appointment if instructed to do so by your local Visa Application Centre.

United States applications: after attending a biometrics appointment, the process differs from the below. See here for further details. 

  1. Some students may be asked to attend a short credibility interview.
  1. Once your application is complete, the Visa Application Centre will email with instructions on what to do next. You will receive a UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) decision email or letter with your passport. Your Student visa will initially be granted on a 90-day sticker in your passport and you will need to travel to the UK during this time.

    EU/EEA/Swiss students will receive a UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) decision email which includes instructions on how to view and use your visa referred to as a 'digital immigration status'. You will be able to view and prove your visa online.
  1. Collect your BRP card from the University or delivery location noted on your UKVI decision letter. For more information about how to choose the delivery location, see here. Note: BRP cards expire 31/Dec/2024 and are not being issued beyond this date as UKVI transition to electronic visas. UKVI will contact you with information on creating an eVisa account. To check the actual date your visa will expire, see your decision email or letter. You should check the letter carefully and store for future reference.

    EU/EEA/Swiss students will not receive a BRP card as you will have an eVisa. The University will be send you instructions on how to prove your status to the University as part of the registration process.

If you think you would like to apply for your next Student visa in the UK, you will need to check your eligibility to do so, and then follow the steps outlined below. International Student Support will help you to prepare and submit your application but it is important that you contact us early for advice and guidance.


You can apply for a visa in the UK if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Current valid Student visa (and your new programme must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring).
  • In the UK or plan to travel to the UK before your visa expires.
  • Have not had your current visa cancelled or curtailed.
  • Successfully completed the course that your current visa was for (or have confirmation from your previous institution that you are 'highly likely to complete' that course OR are extending your visa to complete a PhD, undertake re-sits or a repeat year, add a year of study abroad or industrial experience, or upgrade on an integrated programme).

You can also apply to switch to a Student visa in the UK if you currently have a visa that is not on the list prohibited from switching by UKVI. You cannot switch to a Student visa from within the UK if you have entered on a Visitor visa. This includes non-visa nationals who are able to enter the UK without applying for a Visitor visa in advance. We recommend that you seek advice from us if you are switching from another visa category.

Studying while your application is processed

This depends on your particular situation:

  • Current visa is valid for a different institution: You must submit your visa application before you register on your University of Exeter course.
  • Current visa is for a University of Exeter course which you have completed: You can register on your new University of Exeter course, but you must submit your visa application within 6 weeks of your course start date.
  • Continuing on your current programme in one of the situations mentioned above: You can continue with your studies while your visa application is processed.

How to apply

  1. Attend a webinar or watch a recording of a previous session.

  2. Prepare your application form. Most students will complete identity checks using the UK Immigration: ID Check app at the start of the application form. If you are unable to use the app, for any reason, you will be directed to a different form. Follow our step by step instructions in the guide here.

  3. Book an appointment with International Student Support to use our free visa application service. During your appointment: 

    - We will check your application form and supporting documents.
    - You will pay and submit your visa application online.
    - We will help to upload scans of required documents.

    If you choose to submit your own application you should follow the instructions listed on the online application form and contact us if you have any questions.

  4. Submit and pay for your application. UK Visas & Immigration will send you multiple confirmation emails including payment receipts. You do not need to do anything with these emails, but keep them for your reference. IMPORTANT: Do not make any international travel bookings until you have both your passport and new visa as we cannot guarantee UKVI processing times.

  5. Some students will need to book a biometrics appointment at a visa application centre. You only need to do this if you didn't use the UK Immigration ID Check app at the start of your application. A full list of locations is available on:

  6. When your application is complete, UK Visas & Immigration will email you with a decision:

    - If you used the UK Immigration ID Check app: you will receive an email confirming your eVisa. You will need to share this with the University. Please contact us once you receive your eVisa and we will give you further instructions.
    - If you used the UK Immigration ID Check app and you are a Visa National: you will receive an eVisa and a BRP card. The BRP card will be sent to the postal address listed on the application form. By using our guide and entering our address, you will receive an email when your BRP card is ready for collection. If your BRP card is sent to your home address, please send us a scan.
    - If you attended a biometrics appointment: you will receive a BRP card. This will be sent to the postal address listed on the application form. By using our guide and entering our address, you will receive an email when your BRP card is ready for collection. If your BRP card is sent to your home address, please send us a scan.

Click on the link to apply for an replacement vignette, select your language, then select 'BRP Vignette Transfer', then follow the instructions below. 

  • Add the country where you will be making your application and providing your biometrics. 

  • Confirm you can travel to a biometric enrolment location 

  • Click on Apply Now  

  • In Category of application, select To transfer or replace your visa (vignette)  

  • Register your email address and create a password  

At the end of the application form, there's a free text box, where you can explain the reason you didn't travel during your entry visa dates and your future travel plans. 

Submit and pay for the application (approximately £154 + User Pay’s fee in certain countries*) then make an appointment according to the instructions for your nearest UK embassy or visa application centre.  *A priority service may be offered at extra cost.  

We recommend that you submit your original CAS statement and a Student Status Letter (available to download on iExeter) as additional evidence. If previously required, you will also need to submit a valid TB Certificate with this application.

» Webinars

We run webinars to help you prepare for study at Exeter. We'd love for you to join us.

» Application form

A guide to completing your Student visa application form.

» CAS & Qualifications

How to meet the visa conditions using your unconditional offer and previous qualifications.

» Money

Find out the amount of money required and how you can show this.

» Document list

A comprehensive final checklist for your Student visa application.

» Dependants

Guidance for your spouse and children to apply for visas as your dependants.