Studying in the UK and your visa

How to apply for a tier 4 visa to study medicine in the UK, how much it costs and eligibility criteria.

Location: International
Audience: Medical students International doctors
Updated: Wednesday 20 April 2022
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Students in the UK spend between four and six years of study at medical school before applying to enter a two-year foundation programme.

The majority of UK medical graduates progress onto the foundation programme and then on to GP or specialty training.

Read more about the UK medical training pathway.


Before applying for a visa

The UK immigration system is based on a points-based system.

International medical students apply for a general student visa (tier 4).

Before applying for your visa, you must have an unconditional offer of a place at medical school and enough money to support yourself and pay for your course.

The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months before you start your course and you will usually get a decision about your visa within three weeks.


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New to studying in the UK? Join the BMA

Membership is free for students in your first year.

  • Access our online library
  • Get help with your research and dissertation 
  • Access our huge range of learning resources
BMA member benefits

Submitting your visa application

If you wish to study in the UK you will need to submit your visa application and pay the health surcharge.

  • A tier 4 visa currently costs £348.
  • The health surcharge costs £300 a year and you will need to pay this upfront for the duration of your course. The charge is to fund your own healthcare when living in the UK.
  • Include your confirmation of acceptance of studies reference number on your visa application.
  • Only submit your application when you are sure you have submitted all the requested documents.


Biometric residence permit

Remember, before you start your course, you must have your biometric residence permit. You will get one automatically when your visa is approved. You can then use this to confirm your identity, right to study or work in the UK and right to any public services or benefits you’re entitled to. 

When you have met all of the criteria, the Home Office will grant you a visa for the duration of your course.

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