Skip to main content

Student visas

Student visas

Important updates
For the latest immigration news, including Covid-19 concessions, as well as other key updates for international students, please see our Immigration and International Updates page.

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.



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


Applying for a visa from outside the UK (Entry Clearance): £348

Applying for a visa from inside the UK (Leave to Remain): £494.20

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): £470 per person, per year of visa to be granted. There are limited circumstance where you will be eligible for a refund, please read the IHS webpage for details.

Duration The length of your course + between 1 week and 6 months depending on the length and level of your course. Find out how long you should be granted.

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 students are not required to attend a biometrics appointment.
  1. Scan and upload supporting documents to your VFS Global or TLS Contact account.

    EU/EEA 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.

    EU/EEA students are not required to attend a biometrics appointment.
  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 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 students will receive a UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) decision email which includes instructions on how to view and use your visa (referred to as '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. The BRP card will cover the full length of your Student visa.

    EU/EEA students will not receive a BRP card as you will have a digital visa.
  1. If you are required to register with the police, you must take your new BRP and UKVI decision letter to the Police Station. Please see Police Registration for more information.

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 or Tier 4 visa.
  • 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. 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

Please note that the application process in the UK has changed in late December 2021. Most students will now complete identity checks using the UK ID Check app at the start of their application form. Students who complete their identity checks in this way will receive their visa in the form of a 'digital status' e-visa. Some students will also receive a BRP, while some will only have a digital status. We are working on updating our information below to reflect this but this will not be live until January 2022.

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

  1. 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.

  1. If you receive an email invitation to do so, you can submit your identity checks via the IDV app. Otherwise, you will need to book a biometrics appointment at a centre of your choice. A full list of locations is available on:
  1. When your application is complete, UK Visas & Immigration will email you with a decision and your new BRP card will be sent to our office within 10 days. We will send you an email when we receive your new BRP card with instructions on how to collect it from the University.
  1. If you are required to register with the police, you must take your new BRP and UK Visas & Immigration decision email (or letter) to the Police Station. Please see Police Registration for more information.

Click on the link to apply for a single entry replacement BRP visa, 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.

» Money

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

» CAS & Qualifications

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

» Before you arrive

A comprehensive final checklist for your Student visa application.

» Dependants

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