If you are studying at UEA as an international student, and do not have current immigration permission for the UK, you will likely need to apply for a Student route visa.

It is important that you come to the UK with immigration permission that gives you the Right to Study, so that UEA is able to register you formally on your course, when you arrive.

The guidance below is intended to assist you in making a Student route visa application and to give you an overview of the process. This guide is not intended to replace or substitute official guidance provided by the UK Visa and Immigration service (UKVI) or the Home Office and it is always recommended that you check the official government UKVI website and the Student visa Policy Guidance for all the updated and official requirements.

Student Life International have a Step-by-Step Guide to completing your online application form, and can provide additional application support - including checking your supporting documentation and your application form - before you submit. If you are unsure about anything, have any questions, or would like support preparing your application, you can contact Student Life International by emailing studentlife.international@uea.ac.uk.

You will need to apply for your Student route visa online. Application forms are completed online, and supporting documents are uploaded digitally also. You will be asked to provide Biometric Information by attending a Visa Application Centre.

The process and the supporting documents you will need differ depending on whether you are applying inside the UK or outside the UK. UKCISA has some helpful pages below:
Apply outside the UK

Apply inside the UK

If you are applying from inside the UK or as a Swiss or EEA national, you may find that you are directed to use the UKVI ID Verification App to upload your documents and prove your identity.

You should make your Student route visa application:

  • Before your current visa expires (if applying from within the UK)

  • Once you have received your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

  • A maximum of 6 months before your course start date, if applying outside the UK

  • A maximum of 3 months before your course start date, if applying inside the UK

The following fees are applicable to Student route visa applications and you will need to be able to pay these when submitting your online application form.

It costs:

  • £490 to apply for a Student visa from outside the UK

  • £490 to extend or switch to a Student visa from inside the UK

Most students are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of their Student visa application.

Paying this charge will allow you to use the National Healthcare Service (NHS). You will still need to pay for certain services such as prescription medications, dental treatment and eye tests.

You pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your online visa application. This fee is currently charged at £776 per year and in increments of 6 months (charged at half the cost, £388). For example, if your visa permission was 1 year and 1 month long, you would be liable to pay £1,164 in total. IHS is calculated based on the length of visa permission, which is usually longer than your course, and is not refundable if you leave the UK before your visa expires.

If you do not pay this charge or you do not pay enough, you will get an email from UKVI (you should check your junk folder for this email too) to tell you how many days you have to pay for the surcharge. If you do not pay the full amount, your visa application can be refused. 

When asked to list the course dates as part of your IHS application, you should list the course dates exactly as they are written on your CAS statement.

Dependants will pay the same IHS fee as you, if they are applying as dependants on your Student visa.

There are a few instances where you may be eligible for a refund of your IHS fee. This includes if your visa application has been refused. Students from EU countries, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, or Switzerland, who also carry an EHIC, may be able to request an IHS reimbursement, after entering the UK.  You can find further information on refunds here.

You can find out more about healthcare on our Healthcare webpage.

The documents required can vary from one application to another, depending on the applicant’s circumstances. Please visit ‘Student Visa – Supporting Documents’ for further information.

Academic Progression

If you have previously studied a course in the UK using a Student visa, you must be able to show that you have met the academic progression requirement or that you are exempt from it, to be able to apply for your Student visa in the UK.  Generally, you must be able to show you have successfully completed your previous course of study for which you were granted Student permission. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

You can find out more about Academic Progression on the Gov UK website under the section Academic Progress requirement for a Student (ST 14.1-ST14.5).  

This requirement does not apply if you are applying for new Student permission from outside the UK.

Time Limits

There are time limits for studying on a Student visa for some courses.  UEA Admissions may ask you about previous courses you have done in the UK to make sure you have enough time to complete your chosen course within these time limits. You can find further information about time limits on the UKCISA website.

If you are a dual national it is worth considering, when you apply to UEA and for your visa, which nationality will be your main nationality as there may be implications on:

  • Your fees

  • Whether you need a visa

  • The risk level of your visa application

  • Whether you can apply for Student Finance in the UK

When you have decided which of your nationalities is most appropriate for your applications you should consider that your “primary” nationality, in respect of your time as an international student, and should use that documentation for all your dealings with UEA and UKVI. This includes your applications, travel to the UK, when you register at UEA and when you travel home during vacations.

Some students can have family with them in the UK as their dependants. You can find out which students can have dependants, the financial requirements for dependants and other useful information on UKCISA’s website. This includes if a dependant can work and the type of work that they are not permitted to do.  This also has important information about what you will need to consider if you have a baby in the UK.  Your children will be able to enrol in local government schools between the ages of 5 and 16 and you will not need to pay for this.  You can find further information on what a dependant can and cannot do on the Gov UK website under ‘Dependants of a Student’, section ST 39.1 to ST 39.3.

If you plan to bring dependants to UEA with you, you should notify Admissions during the CAS preview process.

Student Life International can support you to make your dependant visa application whether you and your family are in the UK or not.  You can start this process by emailing Student Life International.

Once you have submitted your visa application, you should soon receive an email from UKVI telling you how they would like you to provide your biometric information. For some applicants, this will be by using the UKVI ID Verification app, available on both Apple iOS and Android devices. Other applicants will need to attend a Visa Application Centre to provide biometric information. Whichever service you are directed to is also how you will provide your supporting documents. You will either upload them to the UKVI IDV app, or upload them to the website where you book your Visa Application Centre (VAC) appointment. 

Please check your emails regularly, in case you are contacted by UKVI. Sometimes, they may require some additional information or evidence. You are normally given a short time to respond to questions and failure to reply could result in your visa application being rejected.

If you have paid for Standard Service, you should receive a decision on your application in approximately 3 weeks from outside of the UK, though this can be longer in busy periods. Applications made inside the UK may take up to 8 weeks. You should not leave the UK during this processing time.  Up-to-date waiting times can be found on the UK Government website.

Once your visa is granted, you will receive a decision email or letter explaining this to you. You will then receive your visa in one of two ways:

1.    Entry Clearance Vignette
This will be valid for 90 days and appears as a sticker on a page in your passport. You must travel to the UK within this 90-day period. You will then need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) when you arrive in the UK. If you applied from your home country, you may have used the ACL code (Alternative Collection Location) listed in your CAS for your visa application. UEA’s ACL code is 2HE564 and using this would mean your BRP card will be delivered to UEA. You will receive further instructions as part of UEA’s registration process, explaining how to collect this. You may also have chosen to have your BRP card delivered to a post office.  Your BRP card collection location will be in your confirmation email from UKVI.

2.    Digital Status
Some students will not be issued with a physical visa document but instead will have a digital immigration status. To prove this to anyone in the UK, you will generate a ‘share code’ online. These will most likely only apply to applicants from EU/EEA countries.

Have a look at our Checking your visa and Arriving in the UK page for information that should help you prepare for your arrival in the UK.

The Student Life International team have a help guide to assist you in preparing for your visa application. We also have a step-by-step visa guide, which runs through the sorts of questions you may be asked in your visa application. You can obtain these documents by emailing studentlife.international@uea.ac.uk.
You are welcome to contact us at any point if you are unsure of anything, have a query related to your supporting documents or a query related to your visa application.