Study Full-Time as an Adult

This website answers key questions about studying full-time in the United Kingdom as an adult. The information is based on home office statement of intent published on 30 July 2008. The information on this page will be updated as homeoffice continue to develop the policy over the next few months.

Can I apply?

To be able to travel to the United Kingdom as a student after the end of March 2009, you must pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points before you come. You score:

30 points for a visa letter from a licensed sponsor; and

* 10 points if you can show you have enough finances to cover your course fees and monthly living expenses for up to 12 months (known as maintenance).

What is a visa letter?

It is an offer letter from your education provider who is your immigration sponsor, including information about you, your sponsor, the course, and your finances. From autumn 2009, the visa letter will be replaced by a confirmation of acceptance of studies when the first phase of the new IT system for education providers goes live. It will contain all the same information.

What is a licensed sponsor?

You must study with a licensed sponsor (who is the education provider) on our tier 4 register of sponsors, which you can find on this link.
Your sponsor is responsible for you while you are in the United Kingdom, and must tell home office if you do not arrive for the start of a course, withdraw from a course, defer or suspend your studies, or if you do not attend for significant periods of time.


The finances you need to pass the points-based assessment are:

Length of courseWhere you will studyMaintenance (funds) needed
12 months or lessLondon-basedCourse fees + £800 for each month of the course
12 months or lessOutside LondonCourse fees + £600 for each month of the course
More than 12 monthsLondon-basedFirst year of fees + £9,600 to cover the first year in the United Kingdom
More than 12 monthsOutside LondonFirst year of fees + £7,200 to cover the first year in the United Kingdom

How long can I apply to stay for?

If you are studying at degree level or above, you can stay for the full duration of your course, up to four years. If your course will be longer than four years, you will have to get an extension from us to finish your course.
If you are studying below degree, you will be you will be allowed to stay for up to three years.

What do I need to apply?

You will need to fill in the application form, pay your fee and include:

 How much will it cost?

The visa fee is currently £99.

Can I work?

You can work part-time (no more than 20 hours a week) during term-time while studying and full-time during vacations.
Depending on what you have studied, if you want to stay on in the United Kingdom once you have successfully got your qualification, you may be eligible to switch into the post-study worker category of tier 1.

You must provide each of the documents used to get your visa letter from the approved education provider (listed in the visa letter) which may include:

Qualification studying forSupporting documents needed
Course (at NQF level 3 or the same as or above)Original certificate(s) of qualification; and/orOriginal transcript of results;Visa letter to explain how your approved education provider assessed you were suitable for your course if it was not based on a qualification (for example, if you have been assessed by a portfolio of artwork).
English language course at level A2 of the Common European Framework of ReferenceIf your approved education provider assessed you using a reference we require the original reference including:your name;confirmation of the course type and level you did;dates of your study;date of letter;contact details of your referee.If you cannot provide the original reference, you can submit a copy, together with a letter from your approved education provider confirming it is a true copy of the reference they assessed.
Post-graduate studies leading to a Doctorate or Masters degree by research in one of the subjects listed in paragraph 1 of Appendix 6 of the immigration rules; orPostgraduate studies leading to a taught Masters degree in one of the subjects listed in paragraph 2 of Appendix 6 of the immigration rules; Study or research in the United Kingdom of longer than six months, which is part of an overseas postgraduate level course, in any subject listed in Appendix 6 of the immigration rules.Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Clearance certificateIf the ATAS certificate is not included, your application will be refused.
Recognised Foundation Programme (postgraduate doctor or dentist)Original certificate and/or original transcript of results of the recognised degree in medicine or dentistry completed in the United Kingdom.Original letter from the postgraduate Dean, on the letter-headed paper of the relevant Deanery, confirming you have been offered a place on a Foundation Programme that is recognised by the medical community. (If your approved education provider is the relevant Postgraduate Deanery, you can include this information on the visa letter they issue).If you provide a visa letter without the written confirmation from the relevant Deanery, we will not give points for the visa letter.