If you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen then you do not currently need a visa to study in the UK. However, this may change after Britain leaves the EU. The Home Office periodically updates their predicted post-Brexit policies here.
If you are from a country that does not belong to the EU or the EEA, and you are not Swiss, then you will need a visa to study in the UK.
There are three types of UK study visas:
Short-term study visa
You can apply for a short-term study visa if you are 16 or older and you are going to study an English language course in the UK for 11 months or fewer.
Child study visa
You can apply for a child study visa if you are under 18 years old.
Tier 4 visa, also known as a general student visa
If you are coming to the UK to study a university or college course for more than 6 months, you should apply for a Tier 4 visa. You should also apply for a Tier 4 visa if you are coming to the UK to complete an English language course that lasts for more than 11 months.
Most international students who study at a UK university enter under a Tier 4 visa. To be eligible for a Tier 4 visa, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have been offered a place on a course
- Able to speak, read, write and understand English
- Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
- Be from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
- Meet the other eligibility requirements.
The Home Office’s website has a guide that outlines the full requirements of the visa. Be sure to read the full document thoroughly to avoid costly mistakes.