Who is required to apply for a visa to study in the UK

You will be required to apply via the Student Visa Route unless you:

  1. hold a full British passport,
  2. hold settled or pre-settled status (EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) or
  3. already have a different type of visa that allows you to study for the full length of your course

  • EU/EEA/Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status who arrive after 1 January 2021 will be required to apply for a visa under this route.
  • If you will be studying for less than 6 months or attending the College as an occasional or visiting student then please refer to our Short-term study webpage. 
  • Students on a part-time postgraduate course (excluding EMBA, Weekend MBA, Global MBA, MSc Strategic Marketing (Online) and MSc Business Analytics (Online)) will be required to apply for a part-time Student Visa. If you are taking an online programme or EMBA, WMBA, GMBA please refer to our  webpage. Please note: students on a part-time student visa are not permitted to work in the UK.

We have provided the information below, based upon common queries, to assist you with the application process however if you feel your query has not been answered below please contact the International Student Support team with your query.

Imperial College does not hold a Child Student Visa licence and as a result are unable to sponsor any students who are under 16 years of age. Your age will be taken as the age that you are on the date of making your visa application.

SR information

Some courses at Imperial require approval from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). You will be/would have been advised if this is a condition of your offer and that you need to apply for ATAS approval from the FCO.

Please click here for further information on applying for ATAS.

To be able to submit a Student visa application you will need a CAS number issued by Imperial. 

Students starting a brand new course will be issued a CAS by the relevant Admissions team.

Students who need a CAS for a continuing course will need to request a new CAS number from the International Student Support team.

Please click here for more information on CAS numbers.

Certain nationalities are required to undergo a TB screening before applying for their UK visa from overseas. A full list of nationalities required to undergo a TB screening can be found on the Home Office website and a list of approved clinics is also provided.

Please refer to our financial requirements page for detailed information.

For further information on the documents that you will need to prepare for your Student Visa application please visit our documents page.

Applying overseas
  • You cannot make a visa application more than 6 months before your course start date. Our Admissions Team will start to prepare CAS only once you have met all conditions of your offer and have provided a copy of your passport ID page. They will not start to process CAS more than 5 months before your course start date. Please be aware that the College issues thousands of CAS’s and this takes place over a period of time. Our Admissions Team will be in contact with you in due course in relation to your CAS so please just be patient and wait to hear from them.
  • You will be issued with a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) once you have met all the conditions of your offer (one of which may be ATAS).
  • Generally an overseas application should take 3 weeks but the length of time can vary so we recommend that you check the visa processing time in your country.
Applying within the UK
  • Continuing students: you can apply as soon as your CAS has been issued and you have prepared any required supporting documents.
  • New students: the earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course start date, as stated on your CAS. 
  • To continue to remain legally in the UK you must submit a visa application before your current visa expires
  • Anyone who is switching from the Graduate visa to the Student visa, you must have your new Student visa granted before you can begin your course. To ensure a speedy decision you may need to use the priority service.
Applying overseas
  1. You can access the overseas Student Route Visa application form on the GOV.UK website.
  2. Please refer to the Imperial Guide to completing the Student Route entry clearance application guide to assist you in completing the application.
  3. You will need to apply from the country where you are a resident through the nearest Visa Application Centre.
Applying within the UK
  1. You can access the Student Route Visa application form on the GOV.UK website.
  2. Refer to our Student Route Application Guide to assist you in completing the application.
  3. If you want your application form checking before you submit, please email a pdf copy to the International Student Support team before you reach the declaration page.
Biometric passport + smartphone

If you are an EU / EEA / Swiss national then you will need to verify your identity as part of your application. This can be done via a smartphone using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, as part of the online application.

You will need a biometric passport and a compatible smartphone. The app is free and is compatible with Android phones and iPhone 7 or newer models. If you do not own a compatible phone, you can use the app from a family or friend’s mobile phone. No information is stored on the phone or app after you close it.
If you use the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app and are successful in your application, you will receive written notification by email. This will include details of how to sign in to the View and Prove service on GOV.UK, where you can check your immigration status and its conditions at any time.

The View and Prove service can also be used to share and evidence your rights in the UK at any time – such as the right to work or study – by giving organisations or people, such as employers or universities, access to the relevant information about your immigration status. This is a fully secure, simple service which enables you to view up to date information about your immigration status at any time. You will receive your digital immigration status instead of a physical visa or permit card.

No biometric passport or no smartphone

If you do not have a biometric passport or access to a compatible smartphone, or if ID verification through the app is not yet available for the route you are applying through, you will need to attend a Visa Application Centre. You should still start your application on GOV.UK. If you are directed to attend a Visa Application Centre you will be given further information about this process and what documents you will need to provide upon your visit.

If you complete identity verification at a Visa Application Centre and are successful in your application, you will receive a sticker (called a vignette) in your passport and will be granted a Biometric Residence Permit after your arrival in the UK. This will allow you to use some online services on GOV.UK, such as evidencing your right to work.
When making your journey to the UK, you will need to travel with the same document you made your application with.

Please refer to our page on dependants for further information on eligibility.   

If you do travel to the UK with family members please also sign up to our International Family Network - we organise lots of trips and events so that you and your family can meet other Imperial families.  

The visa application fees change annually and will differ depending on whether you apply from your home country or within the UK. This useful online tool will help you work out your visa application costs.

The Immigration Health Surcharge is charged at the time when you submit your visa application online.

Cost for an application: £ 776 per year for a main applicant and £ 776 per year per dependant for each year of the visa granted. Any period of time granted that is less than 6 months will be pro-rated at £ 388.


A 12-month Masters student; visa length granted will be 17 months.

Up to 1 month prior to the course start date + 12 month course + 4 month wrap-up period (total length 17 months) amount to pay £ 776 (12 months) + £ 388 (5 months) total payable       £ 1164.

The health surcharge is incorporated into the online visa application form and is paid only once the application has been submitted online. You can check online to calculate the health surcharge you will need to pay.

Healthcare provided to those who pay the surcharge: Health surcharge payers will be able to access the National Health Service in the same way as a permanent UK resident, i.e. they will receive NHS care generally free of charge but may be charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment and prescription charges in England

There are a limited number of exemptions to paying the health surcharge. You can read the full list of exemptions and further information about the health surcharge on the Home Office website. 

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity. How you do this depends on where you’re from and what type of passport you have. 

Applying overseas

You will either:

  • give your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre
  • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document - you’ll also create or sign into your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account
Applying in the UK

The UKVI is moving quickly to an entirely online digitial process when applying for a visa. This means that the majority of applicants should be asked to download and complete biometrics via the ID Check app.

Documents you need to upload before enrolment on My Imperial

My Imperial Documents

If you are a student with digital immigration permission only and do not have a physical Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), then you are required to generate a share code via the UK government website which we will need to check and verify your status. The code to prove your immigration status is different to the code for right to work or right to rent checks. Please select it is for “something else” when prompted. Please ensure you generate the correct code which can be done here: https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status.

Once you have the share code, please log in to My Imperial and go to My Visa. In the Visa Type, you will need to select Student Visa and then in the visa number field please input the share code which will be checked.  You can enter the start and end date of your permission. You will need to upload a pdf of your share code.

In addition, please also upload a scan of your travel ticket or boarding pass or travel itinerary confirming when you first entered the UK. We require this to confirm that you activated your student visa by entering the UK on or after its start date.

You need to upload a copy of your unstamped vignette from your passport in the first instance to My Imperial to ensure this is checked by the relevant Admissions Team and then you will be cleared to enrol. 

We are operating an appointment only service for collecting BRP cards. The Visa Compliance Team will email you when your BRP has been delivered to the College. Please wait for this email. You will be asked to send a scan/photo of the following documents

  • Stamped 90-day entry clearance vignette from your passport
  • Or, if you entered through the e-gates, an unstamped entry clearance vignette and evidence of your date of travel such as flight ticket/boarding pass or flight itinerary.

Once these documents have been received and checked, you will be sent a link to an online booking system where you can choose a suitable BRP collection time.

You need to upload a copy of your unstamped vignette from your passport in the first instance to My Imperial to ensure this is checked by the relevant Admissions Team and then you will be cleared to enrol. 

If you have opted to collect your BRP from a Post Office, you will be required to upload copies of the following documents to My Imperial:

  • A copy of both sides of your BRP card AND
  • Stamped 90 day entry clearance vignette from your passport
  • Or, if you entered though the e-gates an unstamped entry clearance vignette and evidence of your date of travel such as flight ticket/boarding pass or flight itinerary.

You will receive an email with further instructions when your BRP is delivered to the College. If you have opted to collect your BRP from the post office please see the instructions above.