Get visa and immigration advice
*Please note, this service is currently affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Please check back for further updates or contact us if you have a query.
If you need visa advice before you arrive in the UK, please contact the International Experience Team by completing our online enquiry form. Our specialist advisers will answer your questions and can check your application before you submit it.
If you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)/European Union and you plan to study in the UK for more than six months, you need a Tier 4 (General) student visa, before travelling to the UK. The earliest you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa is three months before the start date of your course.
You can find out where and how to apply for your visa in your home country from the UKVI website.
The information in our Frequently Asked Questions will help you to apply for your visa and tells you what documents are required as part of the application.
The UK Home Office uses credibility interviews as part of the Tier 4 (General) student visa application process.
If you are only coming for a course of six months or less and you do not intend to work part-time or extend your immigration permission while you are in the UK, then you may wish to consider coming to the UK as a Short Term Student.
Immigration Health Surcharge
New regulations came into force from 6 April 2015. If you are applying for a visa for more than six months you must pay an additional fee to entitle you to free health care under the National Health Service (NHS). The charge is £300 for each student and £300 for each dependant for each year for the duration of your visa. Please see the UK Government immigration healthcare pages to calculate how much you will be required to pay.
You must pay the surcharge for you and any dependants at the time of making your visa application.
Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)
If you are successful in your application for a visa to enter the UK for more than six months, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) upon arrival in the UK.
Successful applicants will be issued with a vignette in their passport which is valid for 30 days from the date you indicate as your intended travel date in your visa application. The vignette is proof only of your permission to enter the UK and will allow you to travel to the UK.
You will then collect the BRP on arrival to the UK. The BRP is proof of the holder's right to stay, work or study in the UK.
Full details can be found in the Home Office overseas BRP leaflet (PDF 498 KB)
English language tests
Courses at NQF Level 6 and above (includes BA, BSc, MA, MSc, MPhil, PhD)
Sheffield Hallam is continuing to accept TOEFL tests for degree-level (and above) courses. The full list of English language qualifications accepted is available on the English language entry requirements page.
Courses at NQF Level 5 or below (includes HND)
If you require a visa to study in the UK you will need to prove your English Language Level with a UKVI approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). The list of approved tests can be found here.
On 17 April 2014, UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) announced the removal of TOEFL from the list of recognised Secure English language tests (SELTs). Applicants for courses at NQF Level 5 or below (HND and pre-sessional courses) who took a TOEFL test after 17 April 2014 are advised to seek an alternative English language test from the list here.
Time limits for studying in the UK
You are not allowed to exceed the maximum time limit spent in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. This is currently three years below degree level, five years at degree level. If you are applying to study for a Masters degree, following the successful completion of an undergraduate degree where the duration of that degree course was 4 or 5 academic years, then the limit will be set at 6 years in total instead of 5.
If you complete a PhD in the UK you will not be granted any further Tier 4 leave if you have already spent 8 years studying in the UK.
It is your responsibility to plan your studies in the UK according to these rules. If you are not sure whether your chosen course will take you over this limit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check the UKCISA website.
Tuberculosis screening requirements
Students applying to enter the UK for more than six months from the countries listed on Appendix T of the UKVI Immigration Rules policy must show a valid medical certificate issued by an approved medical practitioner, confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis.
See the UKVI website for the list of approved clinics in each country.
You will not need a TB test if any of the following apply:
- You are a diplomat accredited to the UK
- You are a returning UK resident and have not been away for more than two years
- You lived for at least six months in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK, and you have been away from that country for no more than six months
We strongly recommend that you take out insurance cover for your own financial and personal security. Many companies offer insurance policies specially designed for overseas students studying in the UK, which cover:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Cancellation or curtailment charges
- Personal money, passport and documents
- Course fees
- Personal liability
- Legal expenses
If you will be studying on a short course of up to six months, you must take out insurance to cover your medical expenses because you will not be eligible for free NHS medical treatment.
For comprehensive UK visa information please visit