Direct light triggering of 4H-SiC thyristors with a 365 nm UV LED was demonstrated. Two different structures with etched and non etched gate were successfully tested. The current rise time was less than 100 ns and the delay time as short as 1.5 μs. The optical energy density necessary to switch-on a thyristor has been studied for different optical power densities and bus voltages. This work shows that the UV LED technology is becoming sufficiently powerful to switch-on SiC thyristors. Thus, an alternative, less expensive and more compact gate light source than UV laser is now possible. This can be of particular interest for very high voltage and pulse power electronic applications.