Passport being stamped by customs officer
Most international students need a valid Student visa to study in the UK. 
The way you will need to apply for this visa depends on where you are living when you apply. There are two routes by which to apply:
  • From outside the UK (you are applying for your first Student visa or a new Student visa after your previous one expired)
  • From inside the UK (you are already living in the UK on a valid visa or immigration permission and want to change or extend this)
The information you need to know for each route is provided below.
 

Applying from outside the UK

How to apply


Applying for a Student visa from outside of the UK: information sessions
Join us online for an information session about the Student visa application process from overseas. Various dates available. 

Documents

You should be prepared to provide the following:
  • Passport (current and any previous). Upload the information page and the page containing your current visa. Bring your passport to any official meetings relating to your visa application. 
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. 
    • This will be sent to you or your agent by email.
    • Include the unique CAS number in your online application form.
  • Evidence of finances
    • Most students must prove they have enough money to support their UK studies. You will need a year of tuition fees (these will be on your CAS) plus living costs (£9,207) held in a bank account for 28 continuous days. 
    • If you are using your parents’/official legal guardian’s bank statements as evidence of finances, you will need additional documents to support this. 
    • You will need to show more funds if you are applying with dependants. 
    • If you are officially financially sponsored, you will need a letter from your sponsor.
  • Gaps in study. You may need to take breaks from your studies for various reasons, including earning a livelihood, preparing for job exams or medical exams, and more. There could be unforeseen circumstances that keep you from continuing your education, like a personal or medical emergency. A study gap is a significant period of time (around a year or more) between your most recent qualifications and the degree you hope to get. The Home Office may question any long gaps of over 2 years so be prepared to add extra evidence to your visa application to show valid reasons why there was a break in study. You can add your work experience, salary slip, employer references, medical certificate, medical treatment report and other necessary documents related to your job or health history to validate your study gap.
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if applicable). Students on some postgraduate courses in the science, engineering, and technology disciplines may need to apply for an ATAS Certificate. Allow at least 20 working days for it to be processed. You will need to await ATAS approval before submitting your Student visa application. Your offer letter/CAS from the University will state if you need to do this. If it is not listed on your offer, you do not need one. Read more about ATAS.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) test (if applicable). Applicants from some countries, who are coming to the UK for more than 6 months, will need a TB test before applying for their visa. Check if you need a TB test for your visa application.
  • Credit or debit card to pay the visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) payment as part of the online application process.
If you are from a country listed under the 'differential evidence requirement', you do not need to provide evidence of your finances.
Documents must be translated into English.
You may be asked for additional documents during the visa submission process.

Costs

Standard application fee: £490 (paid as the equivalent in your local currency).
Priority services may be available, so check with the visa application centre in the country in which you plan to apply.
Applications for visas that are more than six months long will also include an Immigration Health Surcharge. The cost of this is based on the length of the visa that you are applying for. This charge is in addition to the visa application fee and separate from the maintenance requirements of the visa application.

Receiving your visa

A standard application outside the UK usually takes around 3 weeks to process (from the date you submit your biometrics and not the date you submit the application).  
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national and you have used the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app, you will receive a digital immigration status. If you have a digital immigration status, only travel to the UK within your visa’s validity period.  
If you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national, most students will receive a 90-day entry vignette (visa) in your passport followed by a BRP card once you arrive in the UK. If your course is less than 6 months, you will only receive a vignette. 
Check that your visa has been issued for the correct length of time and has no other mistakes. Any mistakes must be corrected before you travel to the UK.

Biometrics

UK Visas and Immigration is changing the visa application process. Some students will need to download the ID check app to provide their biometric information. If you are unable to use the app, you will need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre where you will provide your fingerprints and have your picture taken. 
You will be issued with either a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card or a digital visa. In some cases, you will receive both when your application is granted. The BRP card and your digital visa show information about you and your visa; you do not need both to study but you will need to meet our right-to-study check criteria. The BRP card also contains an electronic data chip that holds your biometric information and fingerprints. 
It is important that you keep a copy of the visa decision email or letter you will receive from UKVI once your visa is approved, as it will contain important information about your visa and clarify your visa conditions.

Credibility interviews

Credibility interviews may be part of the Student visa application process and are conducted by UK Visas and Immigration.
During the interview, you will be asked about 
  • your background 
  • immigration history
  • the studies you are planning to undertake in the UK
  • why you chose the University of Plymouth and your course
  • how you intend to fund your studies in the UK
  • how this fits into your career aspirations.
Read these example credibility questions so you are prepared to answer accurately.
 

Applying from inside the UK

If you already hold a Student visa, you will need to meet the Academic Progression requirements to apply in the UK. The Student Immigration team can help you assess whether you are eligible to apply in the UK or will need to leave the UK to make your application from your country of residence. 
If you are changing to a Student visa from a different immigration category, you should be eligible to apply in the UK provided you are not here on immigration bail and you currently have any type of immigration permission except:
  • visitor
  • short-term student
  • parent of a child student
  • seasonal worker
  • domestic worker in a private household
  • permission outside the Immigration Rules​.
View a step-by-step guide on how to complete the visa application form

How to apply

Documents

Submit the following documents using the extend your Student visa application form (printouts and scans are acceptable):
  • Passport. Upload the information page and the page containing your current visa. Bring your passport to any official meetings relating to your visa application. 
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. 
    • If you are a student continuing on the same degree and need to extend your visa, email internationalstudentadvice@plymouth.ac.uk to request a new CAS.
    • If you are currently a student and have applied to study on a new degree programme, you do not need to request the CAS as it will be sent to you with your unconditional offer by our Admissions team. 
    • Include the unique CAS number in your online application form.
  • Evidence of finances.
    • Most students must prove they have enough money to support their UK studies. You will need a year of tuition fees (these will be on your CAS) plus living costs (£9,207). 
    • If you are using your parents’/official legal guardian’s bank statements as evidence of finances, you will need additional documents to support this. 
    • You will need to show more funds if you are applying with dependants. 
    • If you have been in the UK with a valid visa for over 12 months, you do not need to show evidence of your finances on your visa application. 
    • Some students may not need to show financial evidence; please contact the Student Immigration team for advice.
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if applicable). Students on some postgraduate courses in the science, engineering, and technology disciplines may need to apply for an ATAS Certificate. Allow at least 20 working days for it to be processed. You will need to await ATAS approval before submitting your Student visa application. Your offer letter/CAS from the University will state if you need to do this. If it is not listed on your offer, you do not need one. Read more about ATAS.
  • Credit or debit card to pay the visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) payment as part of the online application process.
Documents not in English must be translated.
You may be asked for additional documents during the visa submission process.

Costs

Standard application fee: £490 per applicant.
Applications for visas that are more than six months long will also include an Immigration Health Surcharge. The cost of this is based on the length of the visa that you are applying for. This charge is in addition to the visa application fee and separate from the maintenance requirements of the visa application.
There may also be a fee when you book your biometric appointment at a UK Visa and Citizen Application Services Centre. This may range from £50 to £500 per applicant. Please see the biometrics section below.
All these fees are payable by bank card within the online application process.

When to apply

You must apply before your current visa or immigration permission ends.
As soon as you have prepared your documents and have completed the online application form, you can make an appointment with us to submit your new Student visa.
You can only apply for a Student visa in the UK if your new course starts no more than 28 days after the end of your current immigration permission. 
If the gap between the end of your current immigration permission and the start of your new course is longer than 28 days, you must leave the UK and apply from your home country.
If you remain in the UK after the date on which your current immigration permission ends without applying for a new Student visa, you become an overstayer, which is a criminal offence. 
The University will not permit you to continue your studies if you become an overstayer and will withdraw your CAS. If you think that you are unable to submit a visa application before your current immigration permission expires, you should speak to the Student Immigration team urgently.

Biometrics

UK Visas and Immigration is changing the visa application process. Some students will need to download the ID check app to provide their biometric information. If you are unable to use the app, you will need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre where you will provide your fingerprints and have your picture taken. 
You will be issued with either a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card or a digital visa. In some cases, you will receive both when your application is granted. The BRP card and your digital visa show information about you and your visa; you do not need both to study but you will need to meet our right-to-study check criteria. The BRP card also contains an electronic data chip that holds your biometric information and fingerprints. 
It is important that you keep a copy of the visa decision email or letter you will receive from UKVI once your visa is approved, as it will contain important information about your visa and clarify your visa conditions.

Credibility interviews

Credibility interviews may be part of the Student visa application process and are conducted by UK Visas and Immigration.
During the interview, you will be asked about 
  • your background 
  • immigration history
  • the studies you are planning to undertake in the UK
  • why you chose the University of Plymouth and your course
  • how you intend to fund your studies in the UK
  • how this fits into your career aspirations.
Read these example credibility questions so you are prepared to answer accurately.