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 you should read the information on applying for a short period of study 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

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

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.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS number)

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.

Tuberculosis (TB) testing

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.

Financial requirements

Please refer to our financial requirements page for detailed information.

Supporting documents

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

When to apply

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
  • You can apply as soon as your CAS has been issued and you prepared any required supporting documents.
  • To continue to remain legally in the UK you must submit a visa application before your current Student visa expires

How to apply

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. Email the International Student Support team to book an application check with an adviser.

EU / EEA / Swiss nationals

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.

Dependants (family members)

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

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.  

Application fees

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.

Immigration Health Surcharge

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

Cost: £ 470 per year for a main applicant and £ 470 per year per dependant for each year of the visa granted. 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.

How the surcharge is calculated: The amount payable will be based on the maximum period of time for which a visa could be granted under the relevant application route (eg 17 months for a one year Masters course). Where the maximum period includes part of a year, a pro-rata payment will be applied. Where this is for six months or less, the amount payable will be half the annual surcharge. Where the period is for more than six months, the full yearly surcharge will be payable.

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. 

What happens next

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 IDV app.