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Longer stays for student visitors on English language courses.

From 10 January 2011, you will be able to enter the UK as a student visitor for a period of up to 11 months. The current limit is six months. This applies only if you are taking an English language course. All student visitors who want to come to the UK for longer than six months must apply for entry clearance (a visa). It will not be possible to extend your stay in the UK after you have arrived. The Immigration Rules do not allow you to enter the UK as a student visitor if you are under 18 years of age. However you can apply to enter the UK as a child visitor in order to study for a short period, up to 6 months. This can be part-time or full-time study.

Can I come to the UK before I get a place on a course?

Yes, but it is very important that you apply for entry clearance as a 'prospective student', and not as any other kind of visitor. You will be expected to provide evidence that you have made contact with institutions in the UK, for example letters inviting you for interviews in the UK. 'Prospective students' can stay in the UK for up to six months to make arrangements for their studies. When you have enrolled at a college or university, you will need to extend your stay in the UK as a 'student'. If you have not come to the UK with entry clearance in the immigration category of 'prospective student', you will not be able to do this in the UK and will have to return to your country to make this application.

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