Student route: eligibility and requirements

Last modified: 11 October 2023

The Student route is a points-based visa system for all international students, including EU, EEA, and Swiss students, who want to study in the UK. The term 'Student' includes 'Tier 4 (General)' and 'Child student' includes 'Tier 4 (Child)'.

Student visas can only be issued for certain courses.  If your course is eligible, your education provider (Student sponsor) will give you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you use to apply for a Student visa. The course details will be on the CAS.

Student visas can also be granted for work as a student union sabbatical officer or as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in training.

This information is based on the Immigration Rules and on the Home Office's Student and Child Student guidance. We update our information as soon as possible after any changes. However, if you have printed this webpage, we advise that you check on our website that it is still the most recent version.

Eligible courses

Last modified: 04 July 2023

Students on the Student route can study a range of courses, but those courses must meet certain requirements including minimum levels of qualifications.

For information about how different qualifications compare across the UK and Ireland, see the guide Qualifications can cross boundaries

You may be able to undertake work placements as part of your course, depending mainly on the level of your course. Students on the Student route are subject to time limits on their study.

If the course you want to study does not seem to fit within the Student route requirements, ask the course provider for advice and you might want to consider whether you can qualify for permission under a different category which permits study, for example, the Youth Mobility Scheme visa or UK ancestry.

Full-time degrees and degree-level courses

Part-time postgraduate courses

Study abroad

Courses below degree level

Pre-sessional courses

English language courses

Re-sits and repeats

Postgraduate doctors and dentists in training

Supplementary study

Time limits

Last modified: 23 June 2023

There are time limits ('caps') on how long you can study with a Student visa. Before they issue your CAS, a Student sponsor will check that your proposed studies will not take you over the cap. When assessing your application, the Home Office will also check that you will not exceed the cap, unless there are "compelling and compassionate circumstances", such as injury or disability.

How the time limit is calculated

Your course is below degree level

Your course is degree level

Time limits and Coronavirus (Covid-19)


Last modified: 11 October 2023

In addition to studying an acceptable course and not exceeding any relevant time limits on study with Student immigration permission, there are some other requirements you must meet in order to apply for permission as a Student.

Information about how you prove that you meet these requirements is set out in Evidence.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Financial requirements

English language ability

Criminal convictions

General grounds for refusal


Last modified: 16 August 2023

You must meet all the Student requirements and be able to provide evidence in the required format in order to make a successful application. Your documents may be copies or originals.

Many Student sponsors offer their students help in checking documents. Make sure you submit only the documents your Student sponsor has approved, as other formats may result in a refusal. If in doubt, go back to your Student sponsor before submitting a different document, even if the difference is very small.


Low-risk applicants

Your qualifications

English language evidence

Evidence you meet the maintenance requirements

Check your financial documents carefully

Acceptable and unacceptable financial institutions

Using your partner's funds

Official financial sponsors

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)


Police Registration Certificate

Syrian applicants