The basics
THE UK: Visa Guides

Sri Lankan students applying for a UK student visa

Practical advice for Sri Lankan students travelling to the UK


Thanks to the UK’s endless opportunities for intellectual growth and cultural enrichment, UK student visas are often sought after. At the beginning of each school year, around 6,000 students from Sri Lanka apply for a UK student visa. With proper research and the help of this guide, your visa application process should go smoothly and there is no reason why you can’t take this next step in your study abroad adventure in the UK.


Tier 4 visa

You can apply for a study visa (known as a Tier 4 or General student visa) if you are 16 or over and meet the following requirements:

  • have been offered a place on a course
  • can speak, read, write and understand English (see Knowledge of English below)
  • have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances

When to apply

You can apply from three months before the start of your course. You will usually get a decision on your visa within three weeks. Most applications from the Sri Lanka are processed within 30 days.



It currently costs £322 to apply for a study visa from Sri Lanka. You will also have to pay £322 per person for any dependents.

You will have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application as well. How much you pay will depend on your age and the length of your study. You can calculate the cost on the UK government’s website.


Knowledge of English

Applicants must prove their knowledge of the English language when they apply. This usually means passing a secure English language test (SELT). This is a written and spoken test that is taken in the Sri Lanka prior to your study in the UK. You can find a list of available test dates on the British Council’s website.


Required documents

you will need to pay your application fee and schedule an appointment at the visa application centre in Colombo. You must schedule an appointment, as walk in applicants will not be accepted. When you apply for the visa, you must provide the following:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • one passport-sized colour photograph with your name written on the reverse side
  • proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you are under 18
  • your tuberculosis test results

You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances. Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.


Credibility interviews

Be prepared for a credibility interview. The interview takes about 10 minutes and is held by video conference. Expect detailed questions about the course contents and structure, your choice of university and also be prepared to explain why you need that particular qualification, why you want to study in the UK and what you plan to do after your course.


Application deadline

If applying for a September start date, you must complete your visa application by 5 July if you have already paid the immigration health surcharge, or you might have to pay it twice. You will be refunded for your first payment. Sri Lankan students must apply online for a student visa. You can find the online application form here.


You will also need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application. The centres are located in Colombo.


How long will it take?

Finally, decide whether you would like to schedule an appointment to pick up your documentation at the visa application centre or if you prefer to receive them via post to your home address.


After submission, your information should be processed within 30 – 60 days (although this time may vary). Depending on which option you choose, you will either receive your documentation at your home address via post or you will need to bring your receipt to the application centre in order to pick it up.


If you are issued a UK student visa, be sure to review all of your personal information to ensure that it is correct.


The visa application process should not be difficult as long as you are aware of what information you need and how to submit that information. Now that you understand the process and steps required to obtain your UK student visa, it’s time apply.


Useful links:

Study in the UK


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About Author

Aspiring to write Children’s stories and Young Adult novels, Alex Crosbie is a University of South Florida Graduate with a BA in Creative Writing. She also loves blogging and writing informational pieces in addition to her creative work. She’s very active and enjoys spending her free time outside, jogging, hiking, picnicking, biking and walking.

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