Two students sitting at a computer

Visas for international students

Here you will find all the information University of Birmingham has on international student visas.

If you are a national of a country outside of the UK, then you will require a visa in order to study in the UK.

All International students need a visa (entry clearance) to study in the UK. Even students classed as ‘non-visa nationals’ will need to apply for the correct permission to study in the UK.

On this page you will find guidance on the following:

  • Student route visa*
  • Financial requirements for student visas
  • Biometric Residence Permits (BRP)
  • What to do if you are a holder of a current student visa for the University of Birmingham
  • If you have a student visa issued for another university
  • Standard Visitor visas or Short Term visas for study
  • Dependent Visas
  • Visitor visas for graduation.

* Students requiring a Student Route visa will need to apply before coming to the UK: it is not possible to switch to this visa category on arrival.

Two female students sat on grass in front of a tent in the Green Heart

Applying for a Student Route visa to study

To study in the UK on a full time course that is longer than 6 months duration, you will need to apply for a Student Route visa.

The Student Route visa is appropriate for students that can prove their ability in English language, have enough funds to support themselves and are able to meet the other eligibility entry requirements, under the points-based system.

If you enter the UK on a Student Route visa you may be permitted to work in the UK, subject to restrictions, and certain students may be able to bring family members (dependants). In addition, it is possible, subject to restrictions, to extend a Student Route visa if you need more time to study.

Financial requirements for student visas

In order to come to the UK with a Student Route visa you will need to show that you have enough money to cover your course and to support yourself during your studies (maintenance).

The 28 day rule

  • You must have the required amount of money for at least 28 consecutive days (minimum balance held).

  • The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.
  • The most recent balance on the statement must be within one month of submitting your visa application.

UKCISA has detailed information about how to prepare financial documents. Find out more information on financial requirements below. 

Biometric Residence Permits for visa applications to enter the UK

If you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months you will need to apply for an 'entry clearance' visa from outside of the UK. Applicants coming to the UK for more than 6 months are required to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

You will receive a decision letter when the visa is granted which contains details of how to collect the BRP card, and you will receive a visa vignette (sticker) in the passport which is valid for 30 days. This may now be 90 days due to the current travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are coming to the UK for less than six months, the BRP requirement does not apply to you; when your passport is returned to you it will contain a vignette (visa sticker) for the duration of your visit, and there will be no need to collect a BRP when you arrive in the UK.

Frequently asked questions

If you already have a Student visa and want to start a new course

If you already have a current student visa that you want to use for your new course, you must first check if your visa can be accepted by the University of Birmingham to enable you to complete your registration to start your studies.

Holders of a current Student visa for the University of Birmingham

If you have completed a course at the University of Birmingham and your current Student Route visa has not yet expired, the UKVI Immigration Rules state that you must not start a new course of study until you have made an in-time valid Student Route visa extension application.

Student visa issued for another university

If your current Student visa was issued by a different University, but you would like to use this visa for a new course at the University of Birmingham, you will need to take action before the start of your new course.

Applying for a Standard Visitor visa or Short Term visa for study

For other types of courses, you may need to consider a Standard Visitor visa (visit to include study). 

These may include:

  • Courses that are less than 6 months duration
  • English Language courses that are 6-11 months duration
  • Distance Learning courses of any length

UKCISA has further information about the Standard Visitor route. You can also check out the GOV website to find out more about applying for a Standard Visitor visa for study

If you are interested in studying an English Language course in the UK, you can also apply for a Short-Term Study visa. This particular visa route is only for English language courses with a duration from 6-11 months maximum. If your course is different to this then you must consider another type of visa.


Dependent Visas

Students joining courses after 1 January 2024 can only bring dependants if they are government sponsored, studying a PhD/other doctoral qualifications or research-based higher degree. Dependants already in the UK can continue to extend their visa.

Visitor visas for graduation

You and your guests may need visitor visas to attend your graduation ceremony. You can apply for a visa to stay up to six months.

A visa is needed to visit the UK if you are a visa national. This list is subject to change so you and your guests should check when planning a visit.