Student Immigration Service

When you can apply for a Student visa

You can apply for a Student visa up to 6 months before your programme starts. Once you’ve submitted your application and had all the necessary checks, the approval process should take 3 weeks.

Applying within 6 months of your programme start date 

If you’re applying outside the UK, you can submit your application up to 6 months before your programme starts, provided you’ve gathered all the documents needed for your application. How long it takes to gather these documents depends on the document type, your circumstances and the time of year.   

You should aim to start your application as soon as you have received your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. 

What is a CAS?

Don’t apply more than 6 months before your programme start date 

If you apply for your visa too early, your application will be rejected and you’ll lose your application fee. You’ll need to start the process again and pay again once you’re within the 6-month window. 

How long does the application process take? 

The process of applying for a Student visa can take several weeks or months. Some documents take longer to organise than others, which is why it’s important to research what you need before you start the application process. 

Find out what documents you will need

It normally takes 3 weeks (15 working days) to receive a decision once you have completed your visa application by submitting all your documents and confirming your identity at an appointment or with the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

You may be able to get a decision sooner than 3 weeks if you pay extra to use a priority service (provided this kind of service is available in your location). 

Find out how much it costs to apply for a student visa 

How much it costs to apply for a visa