How Long Can You Stay on a Student Visa?

How long can you stay on a student visa?

Are you looking to study in the UK on a student visa? Wondering how long you can stay on a student visa?

Then, look no further, because we will tell you everything you need to know and hopefully answer any questions you may have on the topic of student visas.

To find out more about student visas, click here to read our blog article on ‘what is a student visa.

What is a student visa in the UK?

A student visa is a legal document which allows international students to study in the UK. There are 2 types of student visas: a short-term study visa, and a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

If you are studying on a short course (less than 6 months) and you are over 18 years old, you may be eligible for a short-term study visa.

If your course is longer than 6 months because it is a degree-level course, you may be eligible for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

The Home Office processes all applications for student visas. Applicants usually hear back with a decision within 3 weeks of applying.

If you are applying for a student visa, you should get your supporting documents ready at least 3 months before you apply, so that all your paperwork is in order and ready to be submitted with the application form.

The earliest you can apply for a student visa from outside of the UK is 6 months before your course start date.

How long can you stay on a student visa in the UK?

Student Visa application

A student visa will only let you stay in the UK for a limited amount of time, usually for the duration of your studies.

The length of your stay in the UK will depend on how long your education course is, and what study you have already completed in the UK.

  • If you are 18 or over and your course is at a degree level or higher, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years.
  • If your course is below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

When your student visa expires, you can make an application to extend your current student visa.

For this, you must have a licenced sponsor- e.g. some universities offer a scheme to allow international students to stay in the UK for a further 13 months to study a Master’s degree course.

How can I extend my student visa?

After studying in the UK on a student visa, you may wish to extend your stay, because you want to study a new course.

To extend your student visa, you must:

  • be in the UK on a Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licenced student sponsor – demonstrated by your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • show that your studies are at a higher academic level than your current course (called the ‘academic progress requirement’) – there are some exceptions

If you have brought your partner and children with you to the UK as your dependants, you will have to make a separate application to extend their visa.

Visa application

What requirements do I have to meet when I apply for a student visa?

You must be awarded a total of 70 points in the table below:

Points type

Requirements to be met

Number of points


  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Course requirement
  • Approved qualification
  • Level of study
  • Place of study



Enough funds to support yourself in the UK


English language

Evidence of English language requirement


What proof of funds do I need to apply for a student visa?

You must submit evidence to prove that you have enough money to support yourself while you are studying in the UK.

If you are studying in London, you will need to show you have £1,334 per month.

If you are studying outside of London, you will need to show you have £1,023  per month.

You must have this money for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.

The financial evidence you submit can be bank statements from a savings or current account. The account can be in your own name, or in one or both of your parents’ names, to make the combined total cash amount. The money in the account must NOT drop below the required amount during the 28-day period.

Immigration law

Can a student visa be denied?

Yes, your student visa application can be rejected, which means you will not be granted the student visa. Your rejection letter from The Home Office should tell you the reason(s) why your application has been rejected, and outline any next steps.

Your application for a student visa can be rejected if:

  • Your application is incorrect, falsified, or fraudulent
  • Your supporting documents are incorrect, inconsistent, fraudulent, or in the wrong format
  • You do not have enough funds to support yourself
  • Your financial documents are insufficient or more than 31 days old
  • You do not meet the English language skill requirements
  • Your application has been submitted too late
  • The Home Office does not believe that you are a genuine student
  • You have no intention of returning to your home country
  • You have failed to disclose previous criminal convictions
  • You have failed any background checks
  • There is something wrong with your travel history to other countries

Can you work in the UK on a student visa?

Yes, if you are an international student on a student visa and you are studying full-time on a degree-level course, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term time.

You can work full-time outside term time, which includes before the course starts, the summer, Christmas and Easter, on work placements, and after your period of study in the UK has ended.

You are allowed to work as a student union sabbatical officer.

While on a student visa, you cannot:

  • claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
  • work in certain jobs, e.g. as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • be self-employed
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

Can I do a work placement as part of my course while on a student visa?

Yes. Many education providers ask students to complete work placements as part of the course.

If you are on a student visa, you can undertake work experience as part of your course- these are permitted where the placement is an integral and assessed part of the course, as long as it does not involve the student filling a permanent vacancy.

What happens if you overstay on a student visa in the UK?

You will have to leave the UK within 30 days of your visa expiry date. If you do not do this, you could be deported and banned from re-entering the UK in the future, even as a visitor to the UK.

I am an international student in the UK on a student visa. I have been offered a graduate job in the UK. How do I stay in the UK to work in a graduate job?

If your current student visa has expired, you can switch to a Graduate Visa.

A Graduate Visa allows you to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after you have successfully completed your course.

You must be in the UK when you apply. Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.

You cannot extend your Graduate Visa. You may be able to switch to a different visa- like the Skilled Worker Visa.

Click here to read our blog article on ‘what is a Skilled Worker Visa’  if you would like to learn more.

Young students

Where can I get help with my student visa application?

Here at Synergy Immigration Solutions, we help individuals who are coming to the UK for a short stay or intend to remain permanently.

We can assist you with the process of applying for a student visa. If you book with us, we can simplify the process for you and support you every step of the way, because we understand that immigration applications are long and complex.

We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our advice to suit your needs and ensure that your application has the best chance of success. We process applications in an efficient and timely manner and ensure that our clients are kept up to date throughout the process.

Click here to enquire about our visa services for individuals and we will be happy to help you.

We hope you now have a better understanding of student visas and how you can stay on a student visa in the UK.

To find out more about Synergy Immigration Solutions and our visa services, visit our website here.

To contact us, call us on 020 315 05359, email or fill in our online contact form here.

Read our articles on our blog here to find out more about skilled worker visasstart-up visas, student visas, sole representative visas and innovator visas.

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