Current Student Route Visa holders

Many students will need to extend their student visa at some point during their stay in the UK.  This may be because you need additional time to complete an existing course, or you may wish to begin a new course of study.  It can seem complicated to understand what the visa requirements are, but do not worry, the Visa & International Support team are available to advise and assist you through the application process.


Applying for Student Route visa extension

It is very important to keep a note of your visa expiry date.  This will either be located on your visa inside your passport or on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card.  We advise you to make a note in your diary approximately 3 months before your visa is due to expire to enable you to make the necessary preparations to either extend your current leave under Student Route, to switch to another Tier of the Points Based System or to make plans to return home, depending on your circumstances.

Digital Immigration Status

You will be granted digital permission if:

  • You are an EU/EEA/Swiss national; or
  • You are a non-visa national and you have made an application from inside the UK after 31 December 2021; or
  • If you are an EU/EEA/ Swiss national who has been granted pre-settled/settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

If your country is not on the UKVI list of visa nationals, you are a 'non-visa national'.

Where is my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?

You will not receive a BRP or any physical documentation for your visa. You will instead receive an email from UKVI providing details of your immigration permission. The email will detail your visa start and end dates, the conditions of your immigration permission (what you can and cannot do whilst in the UK).

Visa nationals who apply for a visa from the UK using the ID check app will receive a digital immigration status as well as a BRP. 

How do I prove my immigration status in the UK? 

You will be able to generate a share code from the View and Prove web page to prove your immigration status for study, work or rent purposes.

Can I travel with a digital immigration status? 

To enter the UK border, you will only be required to carry the passport you used to apply for your digital status visa. UK border officers will be able to access your digital status via their systems should they need to. If you have applied for a Student visa, please ensure that you do not travel until your Student visa has been approved – you will receive an email once approved.

What if there is an error with my digital immigration status? 

If there are any errors, the process for reporting any other errors is carried out online by contacting the UKVI resolution team.

What do I need to do to extend my student visa?

You will be required to complete an online application form and submit a series of documents in support of your application. Before you complete the online form, it is important that you carefully read through the Student Route Policy Guidance. You are strongly advised to make an appointment with the Visa & International Support team up to 3 months before your current visa expires.

If you book an appointment with one of our advisors, they can assist you with the visa application. You can book an appointment using myFuture. Once you book an appointment, the team will send you an email giving instructions on how to prepare your application.

Switching Visa

If you change your immigration permission, you must notify the University by emailing

What changes are being made to the rules on switching visa category?

Students will no longer be able to switch out of the student route until they have completed their course.

The only exception is for PhD students who will be permitted to switch into the Skilled Worker route after they have completed 24 months towards their PhD.

When will the changes take effect?

When the immigration rules are laid on 17 July 2023.

Why are UKVI stopping students switching to the Skilled Worker route part way through their course?

The main purpose of the Student route is to enable applicants to undertake a course of study within the UK. We want to ensure that applicants are coming to the UK to study rather than to work. There are other routes available for those whose primary focus is to work.

What work routes will be affected?

  • Skilled Worker (including Health & Care Worker) (lead applicants and dependants)
  • Global Business Mobility x 5 routes (lead applicants and dependants)
  • Minister of Religion (lead applicants and dependants)
  • Representative of Overseas Business (lead applicants and dependants)
  • UK Ancestry (dependants only)
  • Global Talent (lead applicants and dependants)
  • High Potential Individual (lead applicants and dependants
  • Scale-up (lead applicants and dependants)
  • Innovator Founder (lead applicants and dependants)
  • International Sportsperson (lead applicants and dependants)
  • Creative Worker (dependants only)
  • Religious Worker (dependants only)
  • Charity Worker (dependants only)
  • International Agreement (dependants only)
  • Government Authorised Exchange (dependants only)

What if I have submitted an application to switch before the rules change?

Applications made before the changes will be assessed under the rules in force at the date of application.

When can a Student switch into the Skilled Work route?

Students must come to the end of their course before they are permitted to switch into the Skilled Worker route. The start date on their Certificate of Sponsorship for the work route must be no earlier than their course completion date. They can, as now, apply to switch up to 3 months before their Certificate of Sponsorship start date.

PhD students will be permitted to switch into the Skilled Worker route after they have completed 24 months towards their PhD.

How will you define "course completion" in this context?

Caseworkers will check the course completion date entered on the CAS. Students do not need to have received their final award as long as they have not had their sponsorship withdrawn prior to the course end date.

Can a Student switch into the Skilled Worker route if the course is completed early?

Yes. Where a student has completed their course early, it is the Student sponsor’s responsibility to report early completion to UKVI via the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) within 10 days. If they have not done this, UKVI will consider any information the applicant has provided, and they may contact the University to give the University the opportunity to provide further information, but this may lead to their application being delayed or rejected.

Financial Requirements

You must meet certain financial requirements in order to be awarded the necessary points to apply for the Student Route Visa.  The amount you must demonstrate depends on the length of your course.

You need to show living costs of £1023.00 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.  You will also need to show any outstanding fees you have with the university at the time of your visa application.

If you are a national of one of the exempt countries, the Home Office specifies that you can be considered under the differential evidence requirement.

This means that you do not need to send points-scoring evidence (financial and educational qualification documents) with your visa application.  Even if you are a differential evidence national, we strongly recommend that you ensure you have this evidence as the Home Office can request it as part of their decision process and they will refuse your application if you are unable to provide it within the specified timeframe. 

If you are making your visa application in the UK, and have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or more on the date of application, you will meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds. Please note however, if you have been out of the UK for a period of 3 months or more during this period, you will not qualify for this and will be required to show the financial evidence required. Further information regarding this can be found in the Financial Requirement Appendix.

If you are applying for entry clearance or permission to stay and have been in the UK with permission for less than 12 months, you must have the funds and provide evidence with your application.

How long must the money be in an account?

When you make a Student Route Visa application, you will need to provide evidence that you have maintained the required funds for a minimum of 28 days prior to submitting your application.  During this period, the funds must not drop below the required amount even if it's just for one day.

Immigration Health Surcharge

There is also an Immigration Health Surcharge that will have to be paid at the time of your visa application for you and also any dependants that are in the UK with you. The cost is £470.00 per year of visa granted to you – please note the exact amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you are granted if your visa application is successful.

Due to pending changes, the cost of the immigration health surcharge is to increase to £776.00. This is set to be implemented in the middle of January 2024.

Supporting Documentation

You must submit supporting documents as evidence of your visa application. The supporting documents may vary depending on your individual circumstances, however in general, the documents required for an application under Student Route Visa are:

  • CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number;
  • Current passport;
  • Any previous passports that you have used to travel to and from the UK during your period of study (if applicable);
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if applicable);
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable);
  • Documents that show an official name change e.g. marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Certificates of qualification and/or transcript of results;
  • ATAS certificate (if applicable)
  • Letter from your official financial sponsor - only if you are sponsored by your home government etc. (if applicable);
  • Bank statements covering a period of 28 days prior to your submitting your application.  The account should be in your name or your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and must clearly show your required level of maintenance on the date of your application. Statements must be no more than 1 month old and must be in the correct format as specified in the Student Route Policy Guidance. If the bank account you are using is in the name of your parent(s)/legal guardian(s), then you must show your birth certificate/family registration or court document and a letter of financial consent from your parent(s)/legal guardian(s).

How to submit your application

You submit your application online, pay the immigration health surcharge, and the visa application fee which includes the biometrics fee. Once you have submitted the online application, you will be directed to Sopra Steria’s website to create an account.

Some applicants are able to upload their biometrics using the new UKVCAS IDV app allows biometric information to be submitted straight to UKVI without having to attend a face-to-face appointment. Once you have submitted your visa application, UKVCAS will contact you regards to whether or not this is available to you.  If not, then you’ll have to attend an in person appointment.

If you are required to book an appointment at either a UKVCAS service centre or at an enhanced service centre. Attendance at a UKVCAS service centre may occur in a charge unless attending a non chargable appointment which are usually from 09:00 Monday to Saturday. Attending an enhanced service centre will incur an additional cost on the selection of prime time/non-prime time slot or weekend appointment. When you book your appointment, you will be able to see the costs of the available appointments. Please ensure to check both Edinburgh and Glasgow service centres for appointments.

As part of the online application, you can scan and upload your documents prior to your appointment at UKVCAS with assistance at your appointment. It is recommended even if you choose to scan and upload your documents prior to your appointment, that you take original documents to your UKVCAS appointment in case there have been any issues uploading your documents.

Attend the biometric enrolment appointment

Make sure you take the appointment confirmation, passport and supporting documents with you to your appointment.

As part of the interview process, you must have your photograph and your fingerprints taken – this is known as your biometric enrolment and you have already paid for this as part of your application fee.

Once you have attended your appointment, you will be able to leave with all your original documents as you are no longer required to submit original documents with your application.  You will also get your passport returned to you at your appointment, however, you should not travel outside the UK until you receive a decision on your application.

Application decision

When your application has been processed by the Home Office, you will receive a letter or email notifying you of the outcome and if your application has been successful, your BRP will be sent to the correspondence address within 7-10 working days.

What if my application is refused?

If your application is refused, please contact Visa & International Support as soon as you have received the notification.

Applying with Dependants

What changes are being made to the rules on bringing dependants to the UK for Student visa holdrs?

UKVI will no longer be allowing Student visa holders to bring dependants with them to the UK (on a student dependant visa) for students studying on a course that starts from 01 January 2024 unless studying on the below:

  • A PhD or other doctorate (RQF level 8)
  • A research-based higher degree

What about students who apply before 17 July 2023 to bring dependants on courses starting after 1 January 2024?

Their application will be dealt with under the rules in force at the time they submitted their application.

Can dependants of students who have started their course in Autumn 2023, come into the UK after January 2024?

The changes will affect students who are starting their courses from 1 January 2024 onwards. These changes will not affect dependants of overseas students where the student is already in the UK on their course of study. Those starting a taught postgraduate course in the Autumn will still be able to have dependants join them after January 2024 (where the other requirements of the rules are met).

Can dependants extend their permission to stay in the UK if the student needs more time to complete their course, but the course no is no longer eligible for dependants?

Dependants that are already in the UK can extend their permission if the main applicant is granted further leave to remain under the Student route.

How much does a dependant need to show for their visa application?

Each dependant will need to show maintenance (living costs) of £680.00 for each month of the main Student Route applicants leave, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Can dependants still work?

The rules around dependant work rights have remained the same.


Family members of a Student can work (in line with UK employment law) in the UK except when:

  • They are being granted leave as a dependant after previously being the Student’s dependant when the Student had permission to study a full-time course of 6 months or longer and the Student is now applying for permission to study a new full-time course that is less than 9 months in length (unless the Student is continuing a course of study on which they had previously been granted at least 9 months permission for)
  • They are being granted leave as a dependant after previously being the Student’s dependant when the Student had permission to study a full-time course of 6 months or longer and the Student is now applying for permission to study a new full-time course below degree level

A person with leave as the dependant partner of a Student cannot take employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).

What about children of student visa holders born in the UK after the rules changes?

In line with current rules, students are able to regularise the status of their child as their dependant where the child is born in the UK during the last/current grant of permission, and this has not changed.

Will there be a concession for disabled students to be able to bring carers?

There are currently no concessions for disabled students to bring carers and this will continue to be the case.

Will these reforms affect Irish students?

As per Section 3ZA of the Immigration Act 1971, Irish citizens can enter and stay in the UK without requiring permission regardless of where they have travelled from. This means Irish students will remain unaffected by the reforms to the student route.

Is the Graduate route impacted by these changes?

There is no change to the Graduate route. Dependants already in the UK as a Student dependant may apply as a dependant of a Graduate at the same time as the applicant.


Need Help?

The Visa & International Support team can help you submit your visa application and check your supporting documents before you submit your visa application.  In order to make an appointment to meet with an advisor, please email us or call us on 0131 455 2272 or book on myFutures.

Please be aware that International Support can check your application, but it is your responsibility to ensure your application is correctly completed and all supporting documents required are submitted

It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your application is processed in good time. You MUST apply for a new visa BEFORE your current visa expires.

International Support offer guidance only. They should not be viewed as legal representation and the guidance offered is to be viewed strictly as guidance not legal advice.

International Support and Edinburgh Napier University are NOT part of the Home Office/UKVI.

Edinburgh Napier University is a separate and independent body from the Home Office/UKVI.