Visa update: six month study route closes 1 December, health surcharge increase
29 October 2020

Who needs a visa to study in the UK

Student visas - changes announced in October

The Government has announced that planned changes to the short term study route will come into effect on 1 December 2020: 


Students will study for up to six months as visitors from 1 December

From 1 December 2020, anyone applying for a visa to study in the UK for less that six months will need a Standard Visitor visa. Visitors will be able to take as many courses as they wish in six months and can study with different providers.

Current holders of visitor visas are not eligible to study for the full six months. The application for the visa must have been submitted on or after 1 December 2020 to be eligible.

Students from the EU, EEA, Switzerland and other non-visa national countries do not require a visa to study for up to six months - they can travel without a visa and use the e-gates.

The short-term study route will only be for students who want to study English for between six and 11 months

This route is for English language courses only. Students who want to study any other subject for longer than six months, or to study English for longer than 11 months, will need a Student visa.

Students can apply for a short-term study visa if they:

  • are 16 years or older on the date of application
  • want to study for between six and 11 months
  • study an English language course at an accredited institution (British Council accreditation is recognised)
  • students must leave the UK within 30 days of the end of the course, or at the end of 11 months, whichever comes first
  • students must have prove they have enough money to be cover fees, living costs, accommodation and return journey
  • students will be restricted to studying on the course for which the visa was granted (this is a newly introduced condition)

Immigration Health Surcharge increased on 27 October

The International Health Surcharge has increased to £470 (up from £300) for students applying to come to the UK for more than six months.


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