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This page provides advice on the Student visa.

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

Most international students coming to the UK to study will require a visa. The type of visa you will need will depend on the length of your course.

  • Student visa – courses six months or longer
    • If you wish to come to the UK to study a course which is longer than six months (or a pre-sessional course which will lead on to a course which is longer than six months).
    • To apply for a Student visa you will need to be sponsored by an educational sponsor. Solent University will sponsor you for your visa once you have met all the conditions of your offer and meet our visa checks by issuing you a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies).
  • Standard Visitor visa – courses up to six months in duration. Please see our guidance on our Visitor visa page.
  • EU nationals – unless you moved to the UK prior to 31 December 2020 and have EU Settled Status, you will require a visa to study in the UK.
  • Other visas – if you already hold a visa for the UK under a different visa category, you may be able to study on this visa. Please check your visa conditions and contact internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk if you are unsure.

If you are unsure please visit the Home Office ‘do I need a visa’ webpage.

Student visa - how to apply

To apply for a visa from overseas you will need to create an account and apply online.

  • After applying you will need to visit a visa application centre to submit any required documents and submit your biometrics (fingerprints/photo).
  • If you are from the EU/EEA you will usually be able to submit your documents via an app.

Student visa - when to apply

Preparing your visa application can take a long time but you can submit your online application for a visa within six months of your course start date. You should prepare all your documents in advance and submit your application as soon as possible. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within three weeks.

Student visa - documents required

  • Valid passport/travel document (with a page that is blank on both sides for the insertion of a visa vignette). We recommend you have at least six months validity left on your passport.
  • CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number. The University will provide you with this once you hold an unconditional offer and meet our pre-CAS checks.
  • Academic qualifications listed on CAS statement and translations if these are not in English.
  • Evidence that you meet the English language requirement or are exempt from the requirement. 
  • Evidence that you can pay for your tuition fees and living costs (£9,207) for the first year of your course. Your evidence must meet strict criteria, for example, holding the required funds in your/your parents' bank account for a period of 28 consecutive days. For full requirements, please see https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/money.
  • Consent from current or previous financial sponsor (only if you receive/have received funding from a government, an international scholarship agency, or an international company in the last 12 months).
  • If you are under 18, parental consent (or legal guardian consent) to travel to and study in the UK.
  • TB (tuberculosis) certificate if you are from a country where a test is required.
  • ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate if applicable to your course (link to portal page). Please see further guidance on our dedicated ATAS page.

Student visa - credibility interviews

The purpose of a credibility interview is to check you are a genuine student. Not everyone is invited to attend an interview, but if you are chosen you must attend.

During the interview you will be asked questions about your background, immigration history, about the studies you are planning to undertake in the UK, why you chose Solent University and your course, how you intend to fund your studies in the UK, and also how this fits into your career aspirations. There may be some more specific questions about Southampton and your choice of accommodation to ensure you have researched your place of study.

If you are invited to attend a credibility interview, you can talk to us about preparation by calling the international student adviser on +44 23 8201 3821 or email: internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk.

Student visa - fees

The cost of a Student visa application from outside the UK (entry clearance) is £348. You may be able to use a priority service at extra cost.

Dependant visitor visa applications are charged at the same rate as the main applicant.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

  • Most students and their dependants applying for a Student visa for a period of more than six months must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at the time of application.
  • Payment of the IHS gives you the right to access the National Health Service (NHS) while you are in the UK.
  • The IHS for a Student visa application is £470 per year for each year of your course. If this includes part of a year that is six months or less, you will be charged an additional £235 for this period. If it includes part of a year that is more than six months, you will have to pay an additional £470 for this period.
  • You can use the Immigration Health Surcharge tool on the Home Office website to check how much you will have to pay.

Mistakes on your visa

If you believe that any of the information on your visa is incorrect, as outlined on your decision letter, you should contact the visa application centre (VAC) you applied through as soon as possible and prior to travelling. Details of how to do this can be found on the FAQ pages on the individual websites for each VAC - a list of centres can be found here.

Travelling to the UK - vignette and biometric residence permit (BRP)

  • Before travelling to the UK, ensure you are aware of all current guidance. You will also find useful information regarding your arrival in Southampton on our Covid-19 information pages.
  • EEA/EU nationals who use the UK Immigration ID check app will not be issued with a physical visa. Your visa is issued as an online digital status accessible via a UK Government portal.
  • Non-EEA/EU will receive an entry vignette (visa stamp) and a visa letter. You will need to travel to the UK during the 30/90 day validity of your vignette.
    • On your arrival in the UK you will collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card, which is your visa.
    • Once you receive your new BRP please check the details carefully; any errors should be reported within 10 days to the Home Office.
    • Please email a copy (front and back) to PBI@solent.ac.uk as it is a legal requirement for the University to have this information.

Can I bring my family with me?

You can normally only bring your dependants to the UK if you are on a Student visa and:

  • you are a government-sponsored student and your course is longer than six months, or
  • you are doing a postgraduate course of nine months or longer.

Under the dependant partner rules, dependants are defined as:

  • husband or wife,
  • civil partner,
  • unmarried or same sex partner (you must have lived together for at least two years), or
  • children aged under 18 (on the date you are going to arrive in the UK).

Note that (with a few exceptions) both parents must be planning to come to the UK in order for your children to accompany you as your dependants.

Dependants will need to submit their application separately from the student application here.

For more information please visit the UKCISA website.

If you do not meet the criteria above, your family may visit you on a Standard Visitor visa.

Additional information

For more information, please visit the following organisations:

If you are unsure about any aspect of applying for a Student visa, please contact our international student adviser:

Email: internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk 
Telephone:+44 23 8201 3821

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