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Why choose the UK as an international destination


About the UKComing-to-Study-in-the-UK

Working while studying

Working in the UK

Developing your own business

How much does it cost to apply for a visa?

What do you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa?

How long can they stay for?

About the UK

The UK attracts people from all over the world with its mix of vibrant cities and gentle countryside, its range of diverse lifestyles and its cultural attractions.

In 2014, over 500,000 international students from 200 nations studied in the UK, and a further 600,000 students came to do an English language course. As a student in the UK, you’ll get to know people from all over the world, and you’ll learn about many different cultures – on a single campus there could be students from more than 200 different countries, all contributing to its rich, diverse, multicultural society.

Multiculturalism has benefited the UK in all areas from industry and commerce to music, art, sport, science and literature. It has brought fresh ideas, new skills, labour and cultural diversity to the UK.


Working while studying

Special rules make it possible for international students to work in the UK during their studies. Opportunities available include part-time or vacation work, as well as course-related work placements.


How many hours may a student work?

The maximum amount of part-time work a student can do during term time is:

  • 20 hours per week if they are studying a course at or above UK degree level at a higher education institution;
  • 10 hours per week if they are studying a course that is below UK degree level at a higher education institution or any course at any level at a publicly-funded further education college

They can work full-time during vacations, within the above limits. If they have completed their course and they apply to remain in the UK under the points-based system before their existing permission to stay expires, they can work full-time (within the above limits) until their application is decided.

Private colleges and working

Students coming to study at a private college will not be able to work during their studies. New PhD Rules From the 6 April 2013 PhD students completing a course, can now apply to stay in the UK for a further 12 months, beyond the end of their course to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur.

Information about TIER- 4 GENERAL VISA


Visas for working in the UK after graduation

For students studying in the UK who want to work or develop a business in the UK after they graduate, there are a number of different visa options that they may be eligible to apply for:

Working in the UK

Tier 2

  • Tier 2 is open to recent graduates with a Bachelor or Master’s degree, PhD, PGCE or PGDE from a UK recognised or listed body. They can apply for Tier 2 without first having to leave the UK if they have an offer of a skilled job from an employer that is a licensed sponsor with UKBA – you can find a list of licensed sponsors here:  The job must meet minimum salary criteria and the minimum salary will differ depending on which profession they wish to work in. However, there is no limit on the number of students who can gain a Tier 2 visa for this scheme, provided they meet these requirements. On this scheme, they can stay in the UK for 3 years, with the possibility to extend.

Tier 5 temporary worker visa 

  • Graduates can also consider applying for a Tier 5 ‘temporary worker’ visa but they must leave the UK and apply from overseas for this category. The only exception to this is if you are undertaking postgraduate training or work experience that is relevant to their qualification in which case they can switch into the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange scheme from inside the UK. To be able to apply for a visa under most Tier 5 categories they must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor and pass a points-based assessment. There are different requirements under the Youth mobility scheme. Tier 5 work experience and internship schemes are limited to 12 months, but other schemes covering research, fellowships and training in the fields of science and medicine are limited to two years.
  • From April 2013, all PhD students who have completed their UK studies are now  allowed to stay in the UK to search for skilled employment or establish their own business for up to twelve months after they have completed their PhD. This will mean PHD students can focus on completing their studies and then have time to look for a job to gain experience of working in the UK.
Developing your own business

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

  • The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route is for students who want to develop their entrepreneurial skills by setting up a business in the UK. To be eligible, they need to be endorsed by a UK higher education institute (HEI) which has signed up to this scheme. They must also have completed their degree course with this same higher education institute. There is a limit of 1,000 places under this scheme for the first year. An additional 1,000 places will be available under this route for completing MBA students from April 2013. On this scheme, they can stay in the UK for one year initially but they have the option to extend this for a further 12 months if their HEI is willing to continue to endorse them. To find out which universities and colleges are currently taking part in this scheme, visit this page although other HEIs will be eligible to take part from April 2013.

There are a number of different visas an applicant can apply for entry into the UK and they need to ensure they apply for the correct one. The following may be appropriate for a student, depending on their circumstances:

  • Tier 4 (Child) student visa
  • Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Short-term study visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa


Applying for a visa can take time, so it’s important they apply well in advance of when they intend to travel (no more than three months before the start of theircourse and no later than six months after their Confirmation of Studies (CAS) was assigned). 

You can find out about visa processing times in your country here: Visa processing times

How much does it cost to apply for a visa?

The fee for your student visa application depends on whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK (and, if you are inside the UK, whether you are applying by post or in person). Visa fees from overseas are currently £322 for all Tier4 applicants. For more information, please visit:

What do you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa?

To apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa, students must pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points. Applicants require:

  • 30 points for having a valid confirmation of acceptance for studies, which they get forstudying a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (the ‘Tier 4 sponsor’), and for having acceptable English language skills; and
  • 10 points for having enough money (also known as maintenance or funds) to cover their course fees and living costs.
  • Most applicants will need to pay the healthcare surcharge and have an IHS reference number
  • They will need to fill in the visa application form available online at

Documents required can be found at:

How long can they stay for?

With a Tier 4 visa, a student can stay in the UK for the full length of your course, and for some time (depending on the type and length of your course) after their course finishes.

  • Four months after the end of the course, if their course will last 12 months or more
  • Two months after the end of the course, if their course will last six months or more, but less than 12 months
  • One month after the end of the course, if their course will last less than six months and is a pre-sessional course
  •  Seven days after the end of the course, if their course will last less than six months and is not a pre-sessional course
  • One month after the end of the course, if they apply to be a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a Foundation Programme.

If they will be studying for part of a month, this will not be ‘rounded up’. For example, if their course will last 11 months and three weeks, they will be granted an additional two months after the end of their course. At the end of that time, they must leave the UK unless they have applied to extend their stay or switch to another immigration category.

Web links:

Confirmation of acceptance for studies

A confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is an electronic reference number which is issued by the institution they wish to study at. The CAS is valid for six months from the date it was issued by the institution. They should only submit an immigration application once they are sure they can also include all the documents necessary to meet the Tier 4 requirements (but not more than three months before the course’s start date).


Money and maintenance funds

On their application they will need to show that they can cover course fees and living costs.Guidance is available at Guide to supporting documents:Points based system-Tier4(General)

Their confirmation of acceptance for studies tells UKVI the amount of money they need to prove they have in order to pay their course fees. If they do not know what this amount is, they must ask their Tier 4 sponsor. The monthly maintenance requirements state that they must show they have the required sum of money for maintenance in their account for a period of 28 days (£1,020 per month for nine months in inner London and £820 per month for outer London or elsewhere in the UK. Up to a maximum of nine months). This money must take the form of cash funds in the bank (including savings accounts and current accounts, even when notice must be given), a loan letter, or official financial or government sponsorship available to them. UKVI will add a declaration to the visa application form so that they must confirm that the funds are genuinely available for the purpose of funding their study and upkeep in the UK.

If they can show that they have already paid all or some of their course fees before making their application, this amount can be deducted from the total amount of money they will need to show.