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Student visas

So, you're coming to the UK to study an LLM. Well done! But before you start figuring out how on earth you're going to fit your entire life into one suitcase, there's some boring admin you need to do. Although you have your place at your university sorted, you need to sort out your place in the UK...

What visa do I need to study in the UK?

You'll be glad to hear there is a specific visa for international students who are coming to the UK. This has the ever-so-catchy name of 'tier 4 (general) student visa'. You can apply for one of these if you are 16 or over (which we imagine you are if you have a place on an LLM...).

If you are an EU national, you don't need a student visa! You already have to the right to study in the UK. Hurray!

Who is eligible for a student visa?

You'll have to have an unconditional place on an LLM course before you can get a student visa – otherwise you aren't a student!

You'll also need to be able to understand English – that means you can speak, read and write it. You'll need a high level of English to be able to do an LLM anyway, so this shouldn't really be a concern.

You'll also need to be able to support yourself financially – that means paying your own tuition fees and having enough money to live on. There is a postgraduate loan available, but unfortunately you must be an EU national to be eligible. You'll have to prove that you have £1,015 a month for living costs, if you are studying outside of London, or £1,265 a month if you're in the capital.

Can I work if I have a student visa?

You can work in certain jobs, for a certain number of hours. While studying an LLM you're permitted to work 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during holidays. You can't be a trainee doctor, a professional sportsperson, an entertainer or be self-employed. Though if you managed to do any of those things alongside an LLM, we'd be impressed.

How do I apply for a student visa?

You can apply for your visa from 3 months before the start of your course, and you'll usually hear back within 3 weeks. It costs £328 to apply, and you can apply online here.

By Lauren Bowes, Editor,