From 31 March 2009, new rules should make it easier to apply for a student visa. And when a new computer system goes live in the autumn, getting a visa may be faster as well.
There are other important benefits for students. From now on, you will only get a visa to study in the UK at an accredited school, which means it has to meet high standards of education and care.
"For the first time, overseas students coming to the UK on a visa will have quality assurance. They will know that the school they are coming to is accredited. It will be safer and more reliable for them to choose a school here under the new system," says Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK which has more than 400 accredited member schools.
Under the new system there are two kinds of student visa. Under-16s can apply for a child student visa, and over-18s an adult student visa. If you are 16 or 17, you can choose which visa to apply for. These visas entitle you to spend enough time in the UK to finish your studies and graduate.
If you have an adult student visa you can do up to 20 hours work a week in term time. You can do more hours of paid work in the holidays. You can also bring dependents, although you must support them.
The new system will help students in other ways. In the past people with visas have sometimes been refused entry to the UK because immigration officers did not believe they were genuine students.
Now there are clear entry requirements which every student will have to meet before getting a visa.
So how do you get a new visa to study in the UK? Follow these simple steps.
Your visa application will be processed in a central office, and you are likely to hear the outcome within 14 to 21 days.
For more detailed information, see http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/studyingintheuk/