Essential Information


Do I need a visa to study in the UK?
You will need a visa if you:

  • Are not an EEA national
  • Are stateless (you don’t have a nationality)
  • Hold a non-national travel document, or
  • Hold a passport issued by an authority that is not recognised in the UK.

You do not need an entry clearance if you are a non-visa national, but you will have to satisfy the Immigration Officer that you qualify for entry to study when you arrive in the UK. You must be able to show that you have been accepted on a course of study at an approved educational provider that is on the Border Agency Tier 4 Register of Sponsors.

How many types of visa can I apply for?

  • 1. Student Visitor Visa (Up to 6 months)/ Extended student visitor Visa (Up to 11 months)
  • 2. Tier 4 (General)
  • 3. Child visitor visa
  • 4. Tier 5 (non- EEU)

Student categories

Student visitor
You can apply as a student visitor if you are at least 18 years old, you want to come and study in the UK for up to 6 months (or up to 11 months to take an English language course), and you do not want to work while you are here. While you are in the UK as a student visitor, you cannot ‘switch’ and apply to extend your stay as a Tier 4 (General) student. If you want to study here under Tier 4 (General), you will need to leave the UK and apply from the country where you live.

Tier 4 (General)
You can apply as an adult student under Tier 4 (General) of our points-based system if you are coming to the UK for your post-16 education.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa
You can apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa if you:

  • Want to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme
  • Have a sponsor
  • Are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)  and Switzerland
  • meet the other eligibility requirements: further information

Which visa should I apply for if I study for less than 11 months?

If you are applying from January 10, 2011 onwards, are over 18 years old and intend to book an English language course for less than 11 months, you should apply for a Student Visitor Visa. This is basically a form of the Tourist Visa and will be outside the Points Based System. However, you can only be issued with the Short Term Study Visa if you are enrolled at an accredited institution, and you will have to satisfy immigration on the current tests of intent to study, ability to follow the course, and intent to return home afterwards. The Student Visitor Visa has no entitlements (no right to work, to switch to another visa category, to extend or bring in dependents).

It will have a maximum duration of 11 months and is intended for those who simply wish to come to the UK to take an English language course. If you are a ‘non-visa-national’ who does not normally need a visa to study for up to 6 months, you must apply for the extended visa if you wish to take a longer English language course.

Which visa should I apply for if I study for more than 11 months?

If you are over 18 years old and want to attend a course of more than 11 months, you must apply for the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa under the Points Based System.

How do I qualify for a Tier 4 (General) Adult Student Visa to the UK?

To be eligible for an Adult Student Visa under the new points-based system you must have a total of 40 points.

Students must meet the full requirements of the Immigration Rules and have 40 points in total as shown in the table below: Points required: 40

Having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from a Tier 4 sponsor – 30 points

Having enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs(also known as maintenance or funds) – 10 points

How do I show I have sufficient funds?

You have to demonstrate to immigration officials that you have enough funds in your bank account to cover your course fees for one year or whole length of course if shorter than a year and enough living expenses for your first 9 months in the UK (which is calculated as £1000 per month for London and £800 per month for everywhere else in the UK). You should submit ONE of the following as evidence of funds:

  • A bank account statement
  • A building society/savings account type passbook
  • A dated and signed letter from a financial institution stating the account number and the funds in the account held over the minimum 28 day period, and confirming that you are the account holder.

How do I prove I meet the minimum required English level?

Students whose first language is not English are required to show that they have a certain level of English ability. This has been identified by UKBA as follows:

  • Is from a majority English speaking country; or
  • Has completed an academic qualification, at least equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree which was taught in a majority English-speaking country; or
  • Is proficient at CEFR level B1 in each of the four sub-components of language learning (reading, writing, speaking and listening).  This is equivalent to at least an IELTS 4.0 in all of the four sub-components.

UKBA have provided further information on the changes and how they may affect you, as well as a new list of approved English language tests and how they meet the CEFR level B1 level.

How do I apply for a visa?

You can apply in a number of ways, for example, by post, by courier, in person or online. The staff at the visa application office or Visa Section (visa application office) can inform you of the most suitable application methods.

Some visa sections will only accept applications made online. To find out if you can apply for your visa online please visit the visa 4UK website.

If you cannot apply online you will need to fill in a visa application form (VAF3 – Student). You can get a form free of charge from your nearest visa application centre.
You should apply for a student visa in the country of which you are a national or where you legally live.

What are the implications if I apply for a foundation/diploma course?
Students who come to study a foundation course will only be given a visa for foundation/pre-Masters course to apply under Tier 4. Once you have successfully completed those courses and met the entry requirement of your intended university conditional offer, you can then apply (in the UK) for an extension to your visa. You will need original academic documents when you apply for the visa, as well as evidence of your English level.

Can I bring dependents into the UK?
If you apply for a student visitor visa then you are not allowed to bring dependents with you. However, if you apply for a Tier 4 Visa then you might be able to bring your dependents. Please check the criteria on the UKBA website.

When should I apply?
You should apply in good time for your entry clearance so that you are not delayed in getting into the UK. It can get very busy in visa sections, especially over the summer when lots of students are applying.

What happens if anything changes in the regulations?
Berlitz Manchester will continue to keep you updated of any additional changes as soon as we have this information. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Is there anything else I need to do after I get my visa?

Under the new system, Berlitz Manchester are also monitored by the UK Border Agency and must be able to check the following documents and contact details of all students:

  • Your Passport
    please bring this with you to school on your first day – each student’s passport photo page and UK visa details will be photocopied and stored in your student file.
  • You must provide full contact details (full address and a telephone/mobile number) to school staff on the first day, even if you have made your own accommodation arrangements.

The school will check your attendance in class daily. If you miss more than 10 days of classes, the school is required to report this to the UK Border Agency.

You must inform the school in advance of any planned absence such as an official appointment or family commitment. In these cases, you must present documentary evidence like an appointment card / an official letter to request authorised absence.

In the event of an unexpected illness, you are required to telephone the school on the morning of your illness. If the illness persists, you should seek medical advice and arrange for a doctor’s note.

Where can I get more help or advice?
You can contact the UK Border Agency. English UK also provides useful information to help international students prepare for studying in the UK.