The United Kingdom has long been a dream destination for students seeking to further their studies at the country’s top-ranked universities.
This article will walk you through the method, eligibility, fee, and other important elements for obtaining a student visa in the United Kingdom.
First of all, you can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if your age is 16 or above and you have met the following conditions:
- A registered student sponsor has given you a place on a course.
- You have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and pay for your study (the cost will vary based on your circumstances).
- You understand, speak, read, and write English.
- If you are 16 or 17, you have parental consent – evidence is required for application.
Timeline for Applying
When should you apply for a British passport? The type of study visa you need depends on whether you are applying from within the UK or from outside the country.
If you are applying from within the UK, the official criteria state that you can apply three months before the start of your study; the authorities will notify you of their decision on the visa within eight weeks.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you must apply for a visa at least 6 months before the start of your programme. In this instance, you should receive a decision on your visa within three weeks.
Moreover, you must apply before your current visa expires. It has also been directed that your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.
Duration of stay allowed
The basic question about the student visa is how long one can stay in the UK on a study visa, and the answer depends on the length of your course and what studies you’ve already done in the UK.
According to government criteria, if you are 18 or older and studying at the degree level, you can normally stay in the UK for up to 5 years.
If your course is not at the degree level, you can normally stay in the UK for up to two years.
If you are eligible, you may be able to extend your visa to continue your studies in the UK, switch to a Student visa from another visa if you are already in the UK, or switch to a Graduate visa to stay in the UK for at least two years after successfully finishing your course.
It is worth noting that the above time frame is not final, since the authorities assess a variety of reasons before granting permission to stay in the country. The detailed recommendations in this regard can be found here.
Fee For UK Student Visa
The fee for applying for a Student visa from outside the UK is £363, whereas the fee for extending or switching to a Student visa from within the UK is £490.
It is important to remember that you must pay the visa charge for each individual who joins you. Furthermore, keep in mind that the visa price does not include the university or course tuition, which must be paid separately.
In addition to the visa price, an applicant must pay a healthcare surcharge as part of their application, the cost of which is determined by the length of the visa.
UK Student Visa – What is allowed
You can study and work as a student union sabbatical officer in the UK while on a student visa. Furthermore, you may be eligible to work depending on what you’re studying and whether you work during or outside of term time.
UK Student Visa – What is not allowed
You are unable to receive public monies (benefits) or pensions if you have a UK student visa.
Furthermore, you are not permitted to work in some occupations, such as professional sportsperson or sports coach. You cannot work for yourself while on a student visa.
Furthermore, you are not permitted to attend an academy or a local authority-funded school (sometimes known as a maintained school).
once you are still unsure about the requirements of your visa, don’t worry; once your application is approved, the authorities will advise you of what you can and cannot do on a student visa.
Traveling to the UK
As far as traveling to the UK is concerned, it must be kept in mind that you can travel to the UK
before your course starts.
More specifically, you can travel to the UK, up to 1 week before the start of your course, if your course lasts 6 months or less.
If your course lasts more than 6 months, you can travel to the UK, up to 1 month before the start of the course.
Generally speaking, you must not travel to the UK before the start date given on your visa, no matter when your course starts.
Regarding the Course
The most crucial aspect of the student visa is that one must engage in a study course in order to come to the UK. You must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course from a licenced student sponsor in this area.
Once your education provider has awarded you a seat on the course, they will provide you a reference number (called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)).
It is important to remember that you will require a CAS before you can apply for a visa because you will need to enter this reference number on your visa application.
Most importantly, you must submit your visa application within 6 months of receiving your CAS.
How Much Money is required
Proof of financial stability is also required for the UK Student Visa. It means you should be able to show that you have enough money in your pocket to maintain yourself during your education.
In terms of course fees, you’ll need enough money to cover your tuition for one academic year (up to nine months). The sum required for this purpose is specified in the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
You do not need to prove you have this money for your visa application if you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.
Money needed to support yourself
This is a significant sum that you must have. Except if you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application, you’ll need to establish that you have enough money to sustain yourself.
The exact amount of money required is determined by where you will be studying.
According to the official criteria, you will require £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London or £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside of London.
If you are boarding at a residential independent school, you must pay boarding fees instead, and the amount due will be listed on your CAS.
For the purposes of the aforementioned charge, London refers to the City of London as well as the 32 London boroughs.
Another essential consideration is when you should have this money. According to the rules, you must have this money (stated above) for at least 28 days in a row. The 28-day term must finish within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.
For example, if you submit your application on January 1, 2021, you must demonstrate that the monies were in your bank account for at least the 28-day period ending on December 1, 2021.
If you have a student loan or financial support, you must produce proof from the loan or sponsorship company.
If you have had a UK visa for 12 months prior to the date of your Student visa application, the financial requirements are eliminated – you must be currently in the UK.
Furthermore, if you are applying as a student union sabbatical officer or as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised foundation programme, you are exempt from the above-mentioned financial requirements.
Furthermore, if you are a British national living abroad or from one of the nations listed here, you do not need to demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself.
If you are not from the UK and are from an impoverished nation, you must demonstrate knowledge of the English language.
English Language Proficiency
You can demonstrate your English proficiency by completing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider. The list of approved providers is available here.
Furthermore, you can demonstrate your command of the language by having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English obtained through study at a UK school when you were under the age of 18.
The applicant has to show their ability to read, write, speak, and understand English at a specific level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
If you are studying for a degree level or higher, the needed language skill is equivalent to CEFR level B2, and if you are studying for a lower level, CEFR level B1 is required. You may learn more about this by reading this guide.
Documents Needed for applying
The following documents are required when applying for a Student visa:
- Passport or other acceptable travel documents
- Acceptance for Studies (CAS) confirmation from your course provider
- Evidence proving you have the funds to maintain yourself and pay for your education.
- If your course and country require it, you must have a valid ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate.
- Proof of parental or other legal guardian consent, as well as your relationship with them, if you are under the age of 18.
- Test results for tuberculosis
- If you have received support for your study fees and living expenses in the last 12 months, you must provide written consent for your application.
Consent for individuals under the age of 18 must include their agreement to the visa application, their living and care arrangements in the UK, and their trip to the UK.
Furthermore, the applicant must supply a copy of their birth certificate (or similar government-issued document) that shows their parents’ names.
It should be noted that more documents may be required depending on your circumstances; nonetheless, the documents outlined above are required in all cases.
How To Apply
To apply for a UK Student Visa, first determine whether you are eligible (as defined above), then assemble all required documents, including the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), then apply online for the visa.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you must provide proof of your identification. For this purpose, you may be required to provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre, or you may be asked to scan your identity document using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
When the person applies, they will be told what they need to do for identification. It is not required to apply all at once because you can store your form and finish it later.
Decision on your application
Officially, the UK immigration authorities indicate that applicants normally receive a judgement on their visa application within three weeks, but they can pay to get a faster result, but this fast-track service may not be accessible for everyone.
After you Apply
If your application is complex and will take longer, such as if your supporting documents need to be validated, you need to attend an interview, or the circumstances demand more time, you will be informed after you have applied online.
You can make changes to your application after it has been submitted, however you must contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
If your application is approved, you will receive either a biometric residence permit if you provided your biometric information in a visa application centre, or a digital immigration status that you can check and prove online if you utilised the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
You can withdraw your application by contacting UKVI, but your fee will be reimbursed only if UKVI has not begun processing your application.
Can a partner join a student on Student Visa?
According to UK authorities, if you are one of the following, your partner and children (‘dependents’) may be allowed to apply to come to the UK or stay longer in the UK:
A government-sponsored student beginning a course that will last more than six months.
A full-time student enrolled in a postgraduate level programme (RQF level 7 or higher) for 9 months or more.
If your postgraduate level study begins on or after January 1, 2024, it must be a PhD or other doctorate (RQF level 8) or a research-based higher degree, according to the government requirements.