What is the UK Student Visa?
On October 5, 2020, the “Student Visa” replaced the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. Those who wish to study in the UK need to apply for this UK visa. As a result of Brexit, that includes European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and Swiss students.
If you wish to study in the UK for longer than six months, a Student Visa is for you. The UK Student Visa enables successful international students to study at a registered UK university or educational institution with a sponsor licence. In addition, they must have already been accepted by that institution to study an approved course.
A Student Visa enables prospective international students to study in the UK. To obtain this visa, you must receive an unconditional offer of a place from a course provider. The institution from which you receive your unconditional offer must be a registered sponsor.
What are the requirements for a UK student visa?
The Student route has some eligibility criteria that applicants must meet. To apply, you must:
- Be aged 16 or over. If you are 16 or 17, you will need consent from your parents
- Have received an unconditional acceptance for an eligible course with an eligible UK educational institution that is a licenced sponsor and a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- Meet the financial requirements
- Score at least 70 points in relation to the points-based immigration system
- Meet the English language requirements
- Be able to give proof of a number of important identity documents
- Be able to complete the online application form fully
The points-based immigration system for the study visa
One of the eligibility criteria for the Study Visa is to meet the 70-point threshold. The Home Office will use a points-based system to assess your eligibility. It is relatively easy to meet. You get:
- 50 points on receiving a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies
- 10 points on meeting the financial requirements
- 10 points on meeting the English language requirements
What courses can you study on a student visa?
To stay in the UK under this immigration route, your course must be one of the following:
- A course with a minimum of 15 hours of classroom study per week
- A full-time course leading to a qualification below, at or above degree level
- A full-time degree level or above course that is equivalent to a higher education course in the UK and is a part of a longer course outside the UK
- A part-time course that results in a qualification above degree level
- Minimum B2 level of an English language course
- A foundation programme that is recognised for postgraduate doctors or dentists
In addition, if you’re studying above certain levels or on certain topics, you may be required to provide an Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate.
More importantly, your license sponsor, which is your UK institution, must have sent you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). That has a reference number that you will need while applying for Student Visas.
UK Student Visa Financial Requirements
The UK government requires that applicants provide additional evidence that they have enough money to pay for their course and living costs while studying in the UK.
For international students about to begin a university course, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary funds to pay for your course fees for the first year of study. For situations where the course lasts less than a year, you must demonstrate that you can afford your fees for the entire course.
In circumstances where the course has already started and you are applying for further leave to continue your university course, you must demonstrate that you can pay for your course fees to the end of the current academic year and the next (if you will continue on the same course then.
You will need to prove you have:
- Enough money to cover the course fees (as detailed in your CAS) for one academic year, up to nine months
- £1,334 per month for up to 9 months if your course is in London
- £1,023 per month for up to 9 months if your course is outside London
- The boarding fees listed in your CAS if you are boarding at a residential independent school
You must have the money that applies to you from the above for at least 28 consecutive days, of which the end of the 28 days must be within a maximum period of 31 days of your application start date.
There are various ways to prove you meet the requirements, including a letter from your parents if they are your sponsors, a regulated or government-sponsored student loan or grant, and bank statements from a government-regulated bank if you are sponsoring yourself.
The financial requirements do not apply if you are:
- Currently in the UK with a valid visa and have been here for at least 12 months before your application
- Applying as a student union sabbatical officer
- Taking a recognised foundation postgraduate doctor or dentist programme
- A British national overseas
- From one of the 63 countries that are exempt from the financial evidence requirements
Student Visa UK English Language Requirement
To study in the United Kingdom, you must understand, read, write, and speak English.
With regard to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), those studying at degree level or above will need to prove B2 level while below will need to prove a level of B1.
The most common way to prove your knowledge of English is taking and passing the SELT – Secure English Language Test from an approved test provider. There are many test centres around the world that administer the tests.
Alternatively, if you have an A level, GSCE, Scottish Higher or Advancer Higher in English or a Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5 that you gained through studying in a school in the UK from the age of 18, those can serve as proof.
You are exempt from the requirement if you are a national of or are an international student with a qualification that is equivalent to a UK degree in one of these countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Also, international students who have done the English language test in a previous visa application or are applying for immigration permission for a study abroad programme as part of a USA University degree do not need to provide evidence of their knowledge of English.
What document is required to apply for a student visa?
For applicants under 18, UK immigration rules require written consent from their parent(s) or legal guardian. Also, You must include a copy of the birth certificate showing both parents, the parental/guardian consent for the visa application, living and care arrangements, and travel to the UK.
If you received financial support for your course fees and living expenses from a financial sponsor in the last 12 months, you must provide written consent for that.
In addition, every applicant must provide financial proof, English Language proof (if applicable) and:
- A valid passport
- Other travel documentation
- Tuberculosis test certificate
You will only need to provide tuberculosis results if you are coming to the UK for longer than six months and have resided in a country where you must take the test.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a digital record that contains information regarding your details and your course of study. You will receive this once you have been offered a place on a course.
The information that appears on your CAS statement will be provided by your sponsor. Additionally, your sponsor will provide you with the information used to grant you your CAS, such as your course details and tuition fees.
Receiving your CAS is a key part of your visa process. Your CAS will have a unique reference number. It is the responsibility of your sponsor to provide you with this. You will need to enter your reference number on your visa application.
You must commence your UK student visa application no more than six months after you receive your CAS. It must contain the same details as those on your passport and must not have been withdrawn by your sponsor.
Contact our immigration experts for assistance with gathering supporting documentation and support during your Student Visa application process. Call 020 4502 8582 or contact us online.
How to start the Student visa application
To start a standard Student Visa application process, you can apply online from within or outside the UK.
If you are outside the UK (entry clearance), you will need to prove your identity at a biometrics appointment at a visa application centre.
Alternatively, you can scan your ID documents using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. You’ll need to create an account or sign in using your existing UK Visas and Immigration account details to use the app.
The next step in the visa process is filling the Student Visa application form to answer questions related to personal details, immigration history and criminal background.
If you are applying from within the UK, you should already be in the UK on a current UK visa. You can either extend your study visa or switch to a study visa (if it’s one of the eligible switchable UK visas).
For further advice or help with your application, contact London Immigration Lawyers. We will ensure your application is completed with the highest standards for success. Call 020 4502 8582 or contact us online.
When successful, you will get a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or digital immigration status if you verified in a visa application centre or app, respectively.
Cost and processing times
How much does a UK Student Visa cost?
If you are making the application from your home country, your visa fee is £348. Applications made from inside the UK attract £475 in fees.
There is an additional fee attached to the tests (English language, Tuberculosis) you may be required to take. Also, having your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) taken comes at an additional cost of £19.20.
In addition, you are required to pay Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £300 for every year of your course.
UK Student visa processing times
Applications from within the UK typically take 8 weeks. You may be able to pay for priority service or super priority services for faster processing.
If you apply for the visa from your home country, expect a decision letter within 3 weeks. You may be able to get faster processing if you give your biometric information at a visa application centre.
To prevent a delay, ensure that your supporting documents are correct and complete before submitting them. Changing information or an incomplete submission can delay your visa. If your application is delayed for any other reason, the Home Office will contact you.
It is hugely important that you make clear your intention to return to your country of origin once your university course ends. To start with, your visa is linked to the specific course in your application.
If the course you have applied for lasts longer than six months, student visas will allow you to arrive in the UK up to one month before the start date of your degree course. If a course lasts less than six months, your visa will allow you to arrive in the UK up to 1 week before its start date.
The length of time for which you can remain in the UK under this visa category is dependent on the length of the university course you have applied for. Also, the amount of study you have already completed at your chosen institution has a major bearing on how long you can remain in the UK.
We understand the monumental importance of having access to the education you want. For this reason, we do everything we possibly can to ensure that you receive your desired outcome.
Our team of expert immigration lawyers are hugely experienced in advising international students looking to school in the UK. We will guide you through every stage of the visa application process, removing the stress from proceedings.
The services we provide include:
- A thorough document check to ensure that all necessary paperwork is in place
- Liaising with your sponsor throughout the process
- Confirming that your chosen institution is able to act as your sponsor
- Arranging and obtaining your CAS from your chosen institution
- Producing a Letter of Representation that will emphasise the strengths of your application
- Completing your application form to the highest possible standard
Student visa extension
Student UK visas typically last for the duration of the course you attached to your visa application. If your visa expires and you need to extend it, you may be eligible for an extension.
Those who have graduated may apply for immigration permission to remain in the UK on a Graduate Visa. It allows them to stay in the UK for up to two years to live, work, and look for work. If you graduated from a PhD program, you might get up to three years.
Student visa denial
Your Student visa application may be denied. If it is, you will get a refusal notice. If you show incorrect or insufficient financial evidence or do not fulfil the other requirements, a denial may happen. If your visa application is rejected, you can reapply at any time.
At London Immigration Lawyers, we have helped international students from all over the world. We can assess your application and help you formulate a stronger application. Please call us today on 020 4502 8582 to get started.
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For international students at university in the UK with a study visa, there are certain things you cannot do. These are:
- Access public funds
- Study at a state funded school/academy
- Take up certain job roles, such as sports coach
Most UK visas allow you to switch to the UK Student Visa.
Some visa categories are not allowed to switch to the study visa. If you entered the UK illegally, you or have a valid visa is one of the following, you cannot switch:
- Visitor visa
- Parent of a Child Student visa
- Domestic worker in a private household visa
- Short-term study visa
- Seasonal work
If your degree course at your chosen institution lasts 12 months or more, you will be allowed to stay for the full length of the course plus an additional four months once the course comes to an end.
If your main course of study lasts more than six months, but less than a year, you can stay for its full length plus an additional two months.
For a short course that lasts less than six months, you are permitted to stay for its full length plus an additional seven days.
If you wish to take another course after graduating, you can extend your visa; your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring. Alternatively, you can apply for a Graduate Visa if you successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree.
You can bring your partner and children if you are in an eligible program. Also, they need to have enough money to cover living costs and provide supporting documents.
Please seek advice or assistance from immigration experts if you wish to bring dependents. Call 020 4502 8582 or contact us online.
You will not get a refund on your visa application fee if your application is refused, but you will be refunded your payments for the Immigration Health Surcharge.
However, your visa application fee will be refunded if you withdraw your application before the UKVI starts processing.