What's the UK student visa processing time?

Zorica Lončar

If you’re planning to enrol at a UK university or educational facility and you live in another country, you’re going to need a UK student visa. Timing is key to getting this visa, as you’ll need it ready for the start of your course.

But what’s the UK student visa processing time, on average? And how soon before your course start date should you apply? We’ll answer these questions and more here in this handy guide.

We’ll also touch on a convenient way to manage your money while in the UK. Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send, spend, convert money in 50 currencies and receive in 10, including GBP.

But more on this later. For now, let’s focus on getting your UK student visa application sorted.

The UK student visa - at-a-glance

Before we look at processing times, it’s useful to know a little more about what the UK student visa is - and who it’s for.

Here are the key facts you need to know¹:

  • This visa is for people who’ve been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor
  • You can usually stay for up to 5 years for degree level courses (if you’re over 18)
  • The fee is £363 for a student visa if you’re applying from outside the UK.

How and when to apply for a UK student visa

If you’re applying for a student visa from outside the UK, the earliest you can apply is 6 months before the start of your course¹.

If you’re applying from inside the UK, the earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course start date¹.

You must apply online for a student visa. Head to the UK Government website to find all the relevant information and start your application. Once your application is submitted, you may also need to verify your identity. You can do this at a visa application centre in your country or using the UK Immigration: ID Check’ app².

So, what’s the UK student visa processing time?

The processing time for UK visas can vary from case to case. However, you should get a decision within 3 weeks if applying from outside the UK¹.

For applications made from inside the UK, the processing time is around 8 weeks¹.

To ensure there are no delays in processing your application, it’s critical that you check your forms and documents carefully. If there’s a mistake or you miss an important document, you could be waiting much longer to get your visa.

Manage your money with Wise while studying in the UK

The Wise multi-currency account is tailor-made for international students, letting you manage your money in 50 currencies at once.

You can send money worldwide for low fees³ and the mid-market exchange rate, and receive it for free in 10 major currencies.

Plus, there’s the Wise debit card for low-cost spending in GBP during your period of study in the UK. You can even use it when you go home during breaks, as it works in 175 countries.⁴

³ Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees

And that’s pretty much it - everything you need to know about UK student visa processing times.

Just make sure you plan ahead, have your documents ready and apply in advance of your course starting. Then, you’ll be all set to fly over and start your studies. Good luck!

Sources used:

  1. Gov.uk - Student visa
  2. Gov.uk - Student visa - apply
  3. Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees
  4. Country restrictions apply. Visit ‘Where can I use my Wise card

Sources last checked on date: 13-Feb-2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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