This section describes the immigration category of Prospective Student Visitor, and explains who can come to the United Kingdom as a Prospective Student Visitor.

The information here is based on paragraphs 82-87 of the Immigration Rules.

This category is for prospective students who intend to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system but have not completed all the arrangements for their course of study.


Can you come to the UK as a Prospective Student?

The 'prospective student' category is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. If you are an EEA or Swiss national, or a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, the European nationals section explains how you can come to the UK.

You can come to the UK as a prospective student if you intend to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system but you have not completed all the arrangements for your course of study. For example, you can come here as a prospective student if you have been provisionally accepted on a course, with final acceptance dependent on an interview.

You should have a clear idea of the type and purpose of course that you want to study, and you should already have been in touch with educational institutions in the UK. If you only have a vague intention to study for qualifications or to enter an unspecified university or other institution, you cannot come here as a prospective student.

You must be able to show that you will start your course within 6 months of arrival in the UK. In some cases, you may be able to provide this evidence in a letter of acceptance or prospectus giving details of the course.

If you already have an unconditional offer of a place on a course, which you intend to accept, you should not come here as a prospective student - instead, you should apply to enter the UK under Tier 4.

You must show that you intend to:

  • switch into Tier 4 of the points-based system to begin your course within 6 months of arriving in the UK, and then leave the UK at the end of your course;
  • Leave the UK when your permission to stay as a prospective student expires, if you have not been able to switch into Tier 4.
You must also be able to show that you have enough money to meet the costs of your intended course and accommodation, and to support yourself, without working or help from public funds.

There is no minimum age requirement as a prospective student.

Your husband, wife or civil partner, and any of your children under 18, can come to the UK with you while your arrange your studies. They are known as your 'dependants'. You must be able to show that you can adequately accommodate and support them without working or needing any help from public funds.

For information about your rights and responsibilities while you are in the UK, see the UKBA's website on Visitors' rights and responsibilities section.


Required Documents as a Prospect Student Visitor

This page contains information about the documents that you may want to provide to support your application to come to the UK as a prospective student.

If you apply for a visa, you should provide these documents with your visa application. If you travel to the UK without a visa, you should bring them with you so that you can show them to our officers at the border.

You should provide as many relevant documents as you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK. If you do not provide them, we may refuse your application.

You must decide which documents will best support your application. We advise you to consider providing documents that contain:

  • information about you
  • information about your finances and employment
  • your accommodation and travel details
  • information about your visit to the UK