The UK study visas for students creates an avenue for students to move to the UK to further their education. You don’t need to secure an employment in order to be eligible for these visa types, but you might need a sponsor. In this article, you will learn all about the UK study visas for students, eligibility and course requirements, visa costs and financial requirements, visa application guide, visa validity period and extension guide, UK study visa FAQs and answers, etc.
There are 3 main UK study visas for students you should know about:
- Student Route Visa: For adult students who are 18 years old and above. It replaced the Tier 4 (General) Student visa.
- Child Student Route Visa: For students between the ages of 4 and 17 years. It replaced the Tier 4 (Child) Student visa.
- Short-term Study visa for international students who wish to study English language in the UK for up to 11 months.
Eligibility Requirements for UK Student Visas
You can apply for a Student UK visa whether you are a EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA national. But you must score up to 70 points in the UK immigration Point Based System.
Some of the requirements you must meet before you will be granted a UK study visa for students include:
- You must have been offered a course of study by a recognized institution in the UK. The UK institution will issue you a document known as Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) as a proof of acceptance.
- You must have the financial resources to fund your stay in the UK. Apart from the tuition fees for your course of study, you need £1,265 every month if you are studying in London, and £1,015 every month if you are studying outside London. If you have dependents (partner and/or child) as a student, then you need about £800 every month for each of your dependents.
- Also, you must take and pass an English language proficiency test from an approved provider. You must score a minimum of B2 if you are studying a degree-level course or above. For courses below degree level, you must score up to B1.
- For Student route, you must be up to 18 years old. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must provide an evidence of your parent’s consent when applying for the visa.
UK Student Visa Course Requirements
If you are get admission into a UK-recognized institution in any of the following courses, you can get a UK Student visa:
- Full-time course, below degree-level (referred to as RQF level 3, 4, or 5) – more than 15 hours per week of study. This includes A levels (usually the last 2 years of high school), apprenticeships, or the first two years of a Bachelor degree.
- Full-time course, which includes: RQF level 6, 7, and 8 (Bachelor, Postgraduate, Masters, or Doctorate degree). In other words, a course that leads to a degree level or above degree-level qualification.
- A degree-level part-time course, which is above RQF 7 (Postgraduate, Masters, or Doctorate degree).
- Approved program for post-graduate doctors or dentists.
- An English language course in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (from at least, level B2 or above).
UK Student Visa Cost/Fees
The cost for the Student visa application depends on whether you are applying from outside the UK, or if you are extending or switching to a Student visa from inside the UK.
- If you are applying from outside the UK, it costs £363 to apply.
- If you are extending or switching to a Student visa from inside the UK, it costs £490.
NOTE: Each person that intend to join you in the UK must pay this fee.
You will also pay the immigration health surcharge during the visa application. The amount you pay depends on whether you are applying alone, coming to the UK with dependents, or applying to join somebody (a main applicant) in the UK. You can calculate your immigration health surcharge.
Required Documents for UK Student Visa
Here are some of the documents you are required to provide when applying for UK student visa:
- A current passport or other valid travel documents.
- A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), which will be given to you by your course provider.
- Proof that you have enough funds to pay your tuition fees and also support yourself and your dependents (if any).
- A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if your course of study and nationality require it. You can learn more about UK ATAS Certificate.
- Written proof of parental or other legal guardian consent for your visa application, your travel to the UK, your living and care arrangements in the UK, if you are under 18 years of age.
- Proof of your relationship to your parent or legal guardian if you are under 18 years of age. This could be your birth certificate or any other government-issued document that shows the name of your parents/guardian.
- Your tuberculosis test results.
- If you have received sponsorship for your tuition fees and living costs in the last 12 months, you will need to provide a written consent from your financial sponsor.
- If your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) will be captured at the visa application center, then you need a blank page in your passport for your visa. When you apply, you will be informed if you need this.
NOTE: Depending on your specific circumstances, you might be required to provide additional documents during your UK Student visa application. For more details check out this guide: UK Student Route: Caseworker Guidance.
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How to Apply for UK Student Visa
All UK Student application must be done online, and you will usually get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.
You need to first check the eligibility requirements for the Student visa and make sure you are eligible before you go ahead to apply. Then get all the required documents ready before you start the visa application.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you will be required to prove your identity. There are 2 options for this, depending on the type of passport you have and nationality:
- Option 1: Capture of biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) at a visa application center.
- Option 2: Scan your identity document using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app. For this, you will need to first create a new UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account or sign into your existing account if you already have one.
If there is any need to pause your application, you can always save your application progress and continue later.
NOTE: You can only apply for extension of your UK Student visa or switch from another visa type to Student visa from inside the UK.
If there is any complication in the processing of your visa application, you will be contacted and informed accordingly.
Also, if there is need to change something in your visa application after you have submitted it for processing, you can contact the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
Once your visa application is successful, you will be issued a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if your biometric information was captured at the visa application center. If you submitted your scanned and submitted your identity document via the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app, you will receive a digital immigration status, which can be viewed and verified online.
For more details and the UK Student visa application link, check out this guide: Apply for Student Visa.
UK Study Visas Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Validity Period of UK Student Visa?
The validity period of a UK Student visa usually tallies with the number of years of the course of study for which it was granted. For example, UK Student visa granted for a degree-level course can be valid up to 5 years. Also, UK Student visa granted for a course which is below degree-level can be valid up to 2 years.
Can I Extend my UK Student Visa?
Yes, but you can only extend your UK Student visa if you are admitted in an institution in the UK to study a different course which is at higher level than the first course for which the visa was granted. You should apply for visa extension at most 3 months before the start of your new class.
Can I Work With a UK Student Visa?
Yes, international students studying in the UK can take some categories of part-time work, depending on your degree-level and course of study. If you are a bachelor-degree course or a higher level course in a recognized institution in the UK, you can work up to 20 hours per week (with a Student visa). During summer holiday or vacation bachelor-degree (or higher) students can work full time. But if your course is below UK degree level, you can only work for 10 hours per week. However, students with Short-term Study visa are not permitted to work in the UK.
Am I Permitted to Have Dependents with a UK Student Visa?
Your dependents (partner and children) may be able to join you or stay longer in the UK if and only if:
- You are studying a full-time post-graduate level course (RQT level 7 and above), with duration of 9 months and above.
- You are sponsored by government to study a course that will last more than 6 months in the UK.
- You are a student of the Doctorate Extension Scheme.
A valid dependent partner or child is one of the following: your husband, wife or civil partner; your unmarried partner; your child under 18 years old, including the ones that were born during your stay in the UK.
- Evidence to prove your relationship with your dependent(s) is required during the visa applications. For your partner, you can use a marriage or civil partnership certificate as proof. For your child, you can use a birth certificate clearly showing your name as one the child’s parents as proof.
- You and your dependents must prove that you have enough money to sustain your stay in the UK. The amount needed depends on the location of your institution in the UK:
- For courses in London – £845 a month (for up to 9 months).
- For courses outside London – £680 a month (for up to 9 months).
- If you born children while studying in the UK, they don’t become British citizens automatically. If you wish to travel in and out of the UK with your child, then you must apply for a child’s dependent visa for them. A full UK birth certificate showing the names of both parents will be required for each child during the dependent visa application.
For more details, check out this guide: UK Student Visa Guide for Dependents.
Can I Remain in the UK After My Studies?
If you want to remain in the UK and work after completing your studies, then you must apply for UK Graduate visa. The UK Graduate visa permits you to stay in the UK for up to 2 years after graduating, to work or look for job. The visa permits PhD graduates to stay up 3 years in the UK after graduating. For more details, check out this guide: Graduate Visa Guide.
If within the first 2 years after your graduation, you were able to secure a good job in the UK, then you can switch to a UK Work visa. For more details, check out this guide: UK Skilled Worker Visa Guide.
In summary, UK Student visa does not give you a work permit. You will need to apply for UK work visa separately after graduation. Also note that you cannot be self-employed in the UK with a UK Student visa.
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You have now learnt all about the UK study visas for students, eligibility and course requirements, visa costs and financial requirements, visa application guide, visa validity period and extension guide, UK study visa FAQs and answers, etc. If you met the requirements of any of the 3 main categories of the UK Study visas for students, you can go ahead and apply. Always make sure you choose the right course of study in higher institutions. Check out this guide: 10 Things to Consider when Choosing a Course/Program of Study.
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