Changes to UK Student Visa requirements from January 2024

As of January 1st, 2024, there have been some significant changes to the UK Student visa requirements for international students.

These recent changes in the UK might be confusing and a bit worrying for some of you.  We know how important it is for you to focus on your studies, and these changes may add complications to your plans.
We’re here to help you navigate through the details.

Here’s a summary of the key points:


If you’re starting a course in 2024, bringing your family with you is generally now not possible. Most students can no longer bring family members (partner/children) with them on their student visa. This applies to students starting courses on or after January 1st, 2024.

Exceptions exist for students on specific programmes

What are the exceptions?

Students enrolled in PhD or postgraduate research programmes can still bring dependants.

Government-sponsored students on courses lasting longer than 6 months can also bring dependants.

Other changes you should be aware of.

Switching to work visas:

  • Students can no longer switch directly to certain work visas (like the Skilled Worker visa) while still on their student visa. They must complete their course of study and have a job start date after finishing their studies.
  • PhD students must have completed at least 24 months of their PhD programme before switching to a work visa.

Changes to definitions:

  • The definition of “partner” for visa purposes has been redefined. Unmarried partners must now have been in a “relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years” to qualify as dependants.
  • The government has more discretion to reject applications that don’t meet the full validity requirements, though they also have greater flexibility to approve them in exceptional circumstances.

Please note that these changes only apply to the UK. If you’re considering studying in another country, the requirements will be different, and we advise that you research the specific requirements for the country in question.

We have listed some helpful resources for finding out more about the changes in the UK:

Below we have included some information about other points you may be interested in.

Graduate Route

This route allows international students to stay and work in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies. Under this route, students who have successfully completed a degree at a UK higher education institution will be able to remain in the country to gain valuable work experience and contribute to the UK’s economy. This makes the UK an attractive destination for international students who aim to build their careers in the country.

English Language Proficiency

International students will need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency when applying for a student visa to the UK. The UK government recognizes the importance of English language skills for academic success and to enhance the student’s integration into UK society. Students will be required to demonstrate their English language abilities by providing results from approved English language tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE), or one of the other test providers. The test must be no more than two years old.

Financial Requirements

International students will need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover their tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of their studies in the UK. This is to ensure that students can comfortably support themselves while pursuing their education without becoming a burden on public resources, or by having to focus on part-time work to the detriment of their studies. Proof of funds will be required either in the form of an up-to-date bank statement or by providing a financial guarantee from an official sponsor.


Supporting Students Through Visa Changes

We are planning a Q&A session next month to answer any questions you may have. If you are interested in learning more about how these changes might affect you, and/or you are interested in coming to study in the UK, please sign up here:

Alternatively you can email us on or call our WhatsApp helpline +44 (0) 7385 713751 where we can answer your study abroad questions or any queries about the new visa changes. We offer a free half hour consultation to discuss your study plans and can answer any questions you may have about the visa application.

These are new challenges, but we aim to support you every step of the way and help you find solutions and ensure you can achieve your academic goals.

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Changes to UK Student Visa requirements from January 2024
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