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This page provides advice on the Student visa.

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 if you are unsure.

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

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.

More information can be found on the UKCISA website.

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.

  • 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
  • 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.

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:

The cost of a standard Student visa application is £490 and takes, on average, three weeks to decide, if you have applied outside of the UK. The time is caluculated from the time you provide your biometrics, not from the time of online payment. If you  had a visa refusal in the past, your application is likely to take longer. You may be able to use a priority service at extra cost, if you need your visa decision sooner.

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

  • 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.
  • The Government has now confirmed that the IHS will rise on, or shortly after, Tuesday 16 January 2024 - from £470 per year to £776 per year - for students and their dependants.

You should submit your application as soon as you have the required documents. We are unable to speed up your visa application if it is still withing the standard times. If you had a visa refusal in the past, or you fail to provide all required documents, or you submit more documents than needed, your application is likely to take longer. If you are applying late, we suggest you us a priority service or super priority service at extra cost.

If your application is outside the three-week window, send your visa cover letter and confirmation of your biometric appointment to and we will ask the Home Office what is holding up your decision.

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.

When you receive your CAS, review your details for accuracy. If anything changes, eg, you receive a new passport, or you notice a spelling mistake or issue with your course date, report this to Solent's admissions team before applying for your visa.
  • Before travelling to the UK, ensure you are aware of all current guidance.
  • 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. To activate your student visa, you must travel to the UK after the visa start date. At enrolment, you will be asked to provide your boarding pass/flight details.
  • 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.
    • You will need to show your BRP card at enrolment, or during a UKVI compliance team drop-in session, as it is a legal requirement for the University to have this information.

Family members can join you during your study time on either a Student Dependant Visa or a Standard Visitor Visa. For the latest qualifying criteria, please see the UKCISA website. Within the immigration policy, Solent University is defined as a 'higher education provider with a track record of compliance'.

Student Dependant Visa

Your partner and children ('dependants') may be able to apply to come to the UK or stay longer in the UK.

You must be one of the following:

  • a government-sponsored student starting a course that lasts longer than six months, or
  • a full-time student on a postgraduate-level course (RQF level 7 or above) that lasts nine months or longer.

If you postgraduate level course starts on or after 1 January 2024, it must be either:

  • a PhD or other doctorate (RQF level 8), or
  • a researched-based higher degree.

If you have started your studies before 1 January but have suspended and planning on resuming studies, you will still be able to bring your dependants under the old rules, if you were eligible to do so.

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.

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:

Telephone:+44 23 8201 2104

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