Before all other applications and flight bookings, inquire whether you need to apply for a visa. Study visas depend on your age, the length of the course and the course levels that you want to pursue.
Do you need a visa?
Visit the UK Border Agency website to find out if you need a visa. This may take some time, so if you do need a visa, it’s essential that you file an application well in advance. Find out about the visa processing times in your country through the UKBA’s visa services pages.
What kind of visa do you need?
- Tier 4 (Child) Student: You can apply as a child student under Tier 4 of the points-based system if you are between 4 and 17 years old. If you are between 4 and 15 years old, you must be coming to the UK to be educated at an independent fee-paying school.
- Child visitor: You can apply as a child visitor if you are 17 years old or under and you want to come and study in the UK for up to 6 months. This includes activity-based programs such as football summer school. You cannot switch and apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa while you are in the UK as a child visitor. If you want to apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa, you must apply from the country where you live.
- Tier 4 (General) Student: You can apply as an adult student under Tier 4 (General) of the points-based system if you are coming to the UK for your post-16 education. If you want to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you must apply from the country where you live.
- Student visitor visa: If you are 18 or over, and you want to study in the UK for up to 6 months, and you do not want to work while you are here, then you will need a Student visitor visa. If you want to study purely English language courses, you can apply for a Student visitor visa that allows you to stay for up to 11 months. You can only apply for the extended student visitor visa from outside the UK. While in the UK on a Student visitor visa, you will not be allowed to switch and apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
- Prospective student: You can apply as a prospective student if you want to come to the UK to help you decide which course to study, or if you plan to start a course of study within 6 months. You will be able to switch and apply for a Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child) student visa while you are in the UK.
For more details, visit the UKBA’s Studying in the UK page here.