Visas for the United Kingdom

We would like to give you some guidance on visas and other related information when you consider studying at one of our schools.

Please note that all information on this website is for guidance only and you should always refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website for the most up-to-date information. While we try to keep this information accurate, LAL Language Centres (UK) Ltd cannot be held responsible for any information on this website that is out of date, and we will not accept any responsibility for a student who travels without the correct visa.

LAL Language Centres (UK) Ltd, made up of LAL Torbay, LAL London and LAL Summer Schools, are British Council accredited language schools, which can be confirmed on the British Council’s website.

If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland you are allowed to study at our schools in the UK without a visa.

Students from all other countries will need to obtain a visa.

Visa Types

There are three main types of student visa for students studying less than 11 months as summarised below:

1. Short-term Student (Child)

UKVI Short-term study visa overview

You will need this visa if you are under 18 years of age and you want to study for six months or less. The cost for a Short-term Student (Child) visa is currently  £85.

2. Short-term Student (6 months)

UKVI Short-term study visa overview

You will need this visa if you are an adult (18 years or over) and you want to study for six months or less. There are two ways of obtaining this visa, depending on which country you are from. UKVI separates the world into visa-nationals and non-visa nationals.

  • Visa-nationals will need to apply for the visa from their own country.
  • Non-visa nationals can arrive at the UK border and obtain the visa.

This visa cannot be renewed or extended and it offers the holder no right of work, paid or un-paid. You do not need to have a minimum level of English to apply for this visa and you are free to study for any number of hours per week.

While non-visa nationals can arrive at the border and receive their visa on arrival, we recommend you apply in your own country to reduce the risk of refusal. Having a visa is not a guarantee of entry.

The cost for a Short-term Student (6 months) visa is currently £97.

3. Short-term Student (11 months)

UKVI Short-term study visa overview

You will need this visa if you are an adult (18 years or over) and you want to study for six to eleven months.

This visa must be applied for before leaving and cannot be obtained at the UK border.

The conditions of this kind of visa are identical to the Short-term Student (6 months) in regard to work and study. However, if you wish to study a University Pathway Programme, you cannot apply for this visa.

When your visa has been approved you will be issued with a vignette in your passport which is valid for 30 days from the date you indicated as your intended travel date. The vignette is proof only of your permission to enter the UK. To stay in the UK you will need a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You are required to collect the BRP within 10 days of your arrival in the UK from the Post Office branch detailed in your decision letter.

The cost for a Short-term Student (11 months) visa is currently £186.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland so which type of visa should I apply for?

The main consideration will be the duration of the course you wish to attend. You will also need to consider your level of English if you wish to stay for more than eleven months. Look at the visa information above and if in doubt, contact us.

I would like to attend University after my English language course but I am not sure what level I am. What can I do?

Universities in the UK will require a minimum level of English which is usually higher than B1. They will require some kind of official exam, such as IELTS, to show your level of English. You should always check with the university first.If you want to study at LAL to help you reach that level, you can take a General English and/or IELTs preparation course for a maximum of 11 months.

To do this, you will have to obtain a Short-term student visa (6 months) or Short-term student visa (11 months), depending on the length of study, remembering that eleven months is the maximum you can study. However, you will have to return home and apply for a General Student Visa (GSV) after your course at LAL is finished. Remember that the application for a GSV can only be made upon return to your home country and there may be a delay in obtaining this.

I have decided to come to the UK to study an English language course. What do I do now?

If you are still unsure as to what kind of visa you should apply for, please email our reservations team [email protected] and they can advise you.

You can also check the UKVI website and look at the UKVI Visa Check information to give you further help. We will need to see a copy of your passport in order to process your booking
with us. This can be a scanned copy or sent in the mail. This enables us to supply you with an accurate letter to apply for your visa. We will be able to send you a visa letter to support your application (Short-term student visa). Remember, if you are a non-visa national, you will still need to have a visa letter to show the UKVI upon arrival at the UK border.

What is the difference between a visa letter and a CAS?

Students who want to obtain an Short-term student visa (6 months) or Short-term student visa (11 months) will need to supply UKVI with a visa letter, provided by the school. This letter states the licence number for the school, the course, the school’s name, confirmation that fees have been received and the accommodation option provided by the school. This letter can be sent as a PDF document to the student and printed locally to take to the embassy.

However, some embassies require the original document and this will be couriered to the student at a cost of GBP65. LAL will not send the letter by courier until full payment for this charge has been received. A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) is a number which the country’s embassy needs in order to process a GSV. We are not able to issue a CAS.

What happens if my visa application is refused?

According to LAL’s terms and conditions, where a visa application has been refused and the student provides LAL with the document from the embassy stating the refusal, all fees will be refunded except for any courier fee. All refusals are notified to the student in writing by the visa issuing office in your country so it is important that you obtain this and supply it to LAL. No refund can be made until we receive this official notification.

Does my visa require me to attend the whole course?

If you wish to develop your English language skills, you should attend all lessons. If you have a Short-term student visa (6 months) or Short-term student visa (11 months), there is no legal requirement to attend the course, though it must be re-iterated that you are not allowed to undertake any kind of work, paid or un-paid. It should also be mentioned here that LAL has an attendance policy for ALL students, and failure to attend the course to a certain level will lead to the course being terminated without refund. Please see our terms and conditions for more information.

When should I apply for my visa?

Processing times vary from country to country. We therefore advise that you check the UKVI website and look at the visa processing times in your country.

How do I apply for a visa?

Some countries allow you to apply online while others will need you to complete an application form. Please check the online application section 16 on the UKVI website.

How much is a Short-term Student (6 months) visa or a Short-term Student (11 months) visa?

Currently, a Short-term Student (6 months) visa is GBP89 and a Short-term Student (11 months) visa is GBP170. Please check the UKVI website for any updates on these fees as they can change at very short notice.

If I have a working visa, can I study in the UK?


What happens if I am ill while I am in the UK?

Students outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland will not receive free or reciprocal health care so insurance is strongly advised. Students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland should bring their EHIC card so they can receive the same level of care that a UK national would receive.


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