Student Visa Types

There are two main categories of Student Visa that you may consider:

1) General Student Visa


A General Student Visa is processed as part of the “points based system” for the UK, also know as “Tier 4”. People typically choose this if they want to study in the UK for a longer period.  It can last up to 3 years but is not available for students with a level of English below intermediate. It is only valid for study at the school named on it. It must always be obtained in advance and does not include the right to work.


  • Allows you to study for more than 11 months
  • Allows government sponsored English language students to bring their partners and children to the UK


  • Only available if you have intermediate level English or higher (CEFR B1 - about IELTS 4), which must be proved by an approved "Secure English Language Test" 
  • You can only study at the school which accepted you and sponsored you to obtain your visa.
  • If you wish to change school you will need a new visa.
  • You must obtain your General Student visa at home before you travel to the UK

This PDF has also been produced by UKVI and explains the process of applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa. This PDF has also been produced
by UKVI and explains the process
of applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa.
Download >>

Please also refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website for further information;


2) Short Term Study Visa


A Short term study visa is not part of the Points Based System. It is the visa used by most people who study in the UK for less than 6 months. This visa is available for English Language courses in the UK of no more than 11 months, for students aged 18 or over. A short term student visa has no minimum English level requirement, cannot be extended and can last no longer than 11 months. Students who are citizens of a “visa national” country must obtain this visa before they leave home. Citizens of “non-visa national” countries can get a Short term study visa when they arrive in the UK.


  • No minimum restriction on English level


  • It lasts a maximum of 11 months
  • It cannot be extended
  • For citizens of "visa national countries", applications must be examined and passed by a visa officer before travelling to the UK

Please refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website for futher information;


Next: General Visitor Visa >>


It’s well organised. The teachers are good. They are aware of our mistakes and help correct them. I live with a host family and I now notice when they don’t correct my mistakes so the teachers are obviously having a beneficial effect on my English!
- Matthieu Zwahlen (Switzerland)

Global School of English - Edinburgh is recognised by UKVI as a Tier 4 sponsor to bring students into the UK on Tier 4 General Student Visas under licence number 18EC8KTJ.