Studying in the UK

Studying while in the UK

If you are currently living in the UK under the limitations of your partner’s Tier 2 visa, you might be considering undertaking some form of study. Studying in the UK could allow you to expand your employment options, as well as expand your learning and skillset. Here’s what you will need to know.

What is a Tier 2 dependent visa, and can I study in the UK under it?

If your partner or parents is a Tier 2 Visa holder and is currently living and working in the UK, then you can apply for a dependent visa.

You can apply for a Tier 2 Dependent visa both from inside the UK and overseas, unless you are currently in the UK on a visitor visa. This is because when you are in the UK on a visitor visa, you are expected to leave the country at the end of your visa term.

What are the requirements?

As an adult, you can apply for a dependent visa if the main visa holder is your spouse, your civil partner, your unmarried partner or your same-sex partner. You can apply as their dependent if they are either:

  • Already living and working in the UK, or
  • If they are in the process of applying for their Tier 2 visa

As a Tier 2 dependent visa holder you will have to support yourself for the duration of your stay in the UK. You will not have access to public funds, and you must meet the minimum financial requirements as part of your visa application. There are currently no English language requirements for tier 2 dependants, and you will be allowed to work or study in the UK with relatively few limitations while you are here.

What’s the alternative?

Another option is the short-term study visa. If you’re planning a short course in the UK, and are from outside the EEA or Switzerland, you may find a short-term study visa to be ideal for you. Your short-term study visa will allow you to:

  • Attend a short course of study, such as training or an English language course
  • Conducting research for a short period of time as part of your degree if you are studying abroad

Some things that you can’t do are:

  • Study at a state school
  • Work (including work placements and work experience)
  • Extend the tie period of your visa
  • Bring family members with you – they have to apply separately
  • Access public funds

You can stay in the UK for 6 months to 11 months when you are granted your short-term study visa. You can stay for:

  • 6 months for any short course (including English language), or a short period of research, if you’re 16 years old or over
  • 11 months for an English language course, if you’re 16 years old or over

If you need a longer visa, there is also the option to apply for a Tier 4 student visa. This is a UK student visa that allows you a range of opportunities whilst living in the UK.

When you are in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you can:

  • Work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • Apply from inside or outside the UK
  • Apply to extend your stay
  • Work, although some restrictions apply

The requirements for this visa are:

  • You need to be 18 or over
  • You must not be intending to study at a state school or institution
  • You must not intend to study in the UK for extended periods by making numerous trips as a short-term student
  • You must not intend to take permanent employment – including any paid or unpaid work, a work placement or work experience – in the UK.
  • You must not intend to undertake self-employment, business activities or other professional activity in the UK
  • You must have enough funds to cover your return or onward journey when you leave
  • Any maintenance and accommodation that you need should be covered by funds available to you
  • You must not try and access public funds

When you are thinking about how to apply for residency UK in line with your study plans, there are a number of different options for you. The right legal support can help you to understand your options and what would be best for you.

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