UK - Applying for a Visa

For updated information, please refer to the Official United Kingdom Visas website. The site shows whether you need a visa for the UK and how to apply for one if you do.

Please note that the visa rules for students changed in January 2021. There are now 2 routes for coming to the UK to study at an English Language School:

Standard Visitor Visa - to study in the UK for up to 6 months. Perfect for a short course of English lessons in Brighton.

Short Term Student Visa - to study in the UK for between 6 and 11 months. This used to be called the Extended Student Visa. Perfect for improving at an English School in Brighton, or getting ready for an advanced English exam. 

Do I need a visa to learn English in the UK?

If you are from an EEA country or Switzerland:

You do not need a visa if want to study for up to 6 months. However, you will need a letter from the school showing your period of study, confirmation of your accommodation, and will need to show your passport on arrival. You will also need to show you have a valid reason, such as a letter from your education provider or employer, that you have enough funds to support yourself, and that you plan to leave the UK at the end of your study.

You do need a visa if you are from the EEA and want to study for longer than 6 months, or extend your stay in the UK. For example, to go to university after your English Language Course in Brighton. 

If you are from outside the EEA:

You do need a visa if you are from any country outside the EEA. For study of up to 6 months, you can come to the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa, or for 6 - 11 months, you need a Short Term Study Visa. You must apply for either visa before you travel. 

If you are unsure if you need a visa, it is best to contact us for help. 


Refusal of visas

If the visa is not granted, you should send proof of refusal at least 1 week prior to arrival. Castle School will then refund the total cost of the course and accommodation. Castle School does not refund the Administration Fee of £120.

Almost all of our students do get their visas.

Most refusals are due to not being prepared and having the right paperwork. Castle School and your agent can help you, but we strongly recommend that you check the UK visa requirements very carefully before applying.

Usually, visa applications take around 3-4 weeks, but in busy periods (June to August), it can take longer. We recommend that you apply for your visa immediately after enrolling at the school. 

Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV) and Tier 4 visas

From January 2021, the Extended Student Visa no longer exists. It has been replaced by a new Student Visa system - see above. This new system should be a lot easier for most students.The old Tier 4 systems with CAS numbers is no longer used for English Language Schools. 

Please make sure that you know the right visa to apply for before making your application. We are happy to help! 

For more detailed information, please visit

What should you do?

In order to qualify for a visa, you should enrol on a full-time course of a minimum of 15 hours tuition per week.

You will need to take the relevant documents together with passport photographs, application fees and your passport to your local embassy in order to apply for a visa to the UK.

Students should check with the Embassy or British Council in their own country as requirements vary considerably from country to country.

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