Expat FAQ

Do you have a general question on expatriation? FAQs give you answers to the most frequent questions: Departure.

UK: How do I obtain a study permit?

To apply to be a student in the UK, you apply for a Tier 4 (points system) adult (age 18 or over) or child (between ages 4 and 17) visa. A Tier 4 visa is a multiple-entry document. Applications for a Tier 4 study permit can be made from within the UK or outside of teh country. Depending on your country of origin or residence, you may need to apply for a Tier 4 visa online or by submitting paper documents.

As a Tier 4 adult visa holder, you may also work part-time while pursuing your studies. Minors who are 16 or 17 years old and coming to the UK alone for their studies must present a letter from one or both parents or guardians granting their permission. If you are a British national or a resident of one of any of the countries listed below, and sponsored by a Highly Trusted Sponsor, the UKBA considers you a Low-Risk Applicant, with relaxed requirements for submission of some necessary documents for a Tier 4 study permit.

Countries Whose Residents May Be Considered Low-Risk Applicants:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan (passports issued by Taiwan including identification card ONLY)
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

Document Requirements for a Tier 4 Study Permit:

  • Tier 4 application form (PDF)
  • Tier 4 Appendix 8 (if you were accepted for study in the UK prior to 21 April 2011 -- PDF)
  • Tier 4 Appendix 8 (if you were accepted for study in the UK on or after 21 April 2011 -- PDF)
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Proof of financial support
  • Original passport or travel document
  • Two (2) recent passport photos

Documents that are not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a translation into English or Welsh, along with documentation of the accuracy of the translation and the credentials and contact information for information or company that executed the translation.

Student Visitor Visa

If you wish to pursue a short program of study instead, you may apply for a Student Visitor visa (adult) or Child Visitor visa. You must present supporting documentation along with your visa application. As a Student Visitor, you may remain in the UK for up to 6 months if you are pursuing general studies, or up to 11 months if you are enrolled in a program to learn English. You must be accepted an institution that is registered, licensed or recognized within the UK to qualify for student visitor visa.

Prospective Student Visa

If you intend to begin studies within the UK but have not finalized your study arrangements, you may travel to the UK as a Prospective Student. You may or may not need to apply for a visa to enter the UK depending on your visa status, how long you intend to stay or other factors. You must apply for a student visitor, child visitor or prospective student visa before entering the UK. As an adult or child Student Visitor or Prospective Student, you may not work or seek government assistance for medical care while you are in the UK.


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