- Who is eligible to apply for the UK Student Visa?
- How to get enough points for the UK student visa
- What are the financial requirements set out by the UK Student Visa?
- What is possible with a UK Student Visa?
- What is not allowed on the UK Student Visa?
- What is the English language test?
- What is the student visa application process?
- What are the required documents for the UK Student Visa?
- What are the UK Student Visa fees?
- Is it possible for my family members to come with me while I am in the UK?
- Can student visas be extended?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply for the UK Student Visa?
As of October 2020, the student visa replaced the Tier 4 General student visa.
International students interested in getting a student visa in the UK must be at least 16 years old and must meet the following requirements:
- Have been offered a place on a course of study by a certified student sponsor in the UK
- Can prove they have enough money to support the needs and tuition fees of the international student (this is applicable if the student is from a country that requires this)
- Can prove that they have English language proficiency (if you are from a country that requires this)
- Applicants aged 16 and 17 must have written consent from their parents
- Applicants under 16 may be eligible for the child student route (UK Child Student Visa) if they would like to study at an independent school in the UK
- Have 70 points towards the UK immigration points-based system
The list of acceptable educational institutions can be read here through the UK government immigration website, which also includes additional information about visa and tuition information.
When the students get their offer letter, the education instruction will/can provide a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). You must apply for the visa within 6 months of receiving the CAS.
How to get enough points for the UK student visa
Most applicants do not have much trouble reaching the required 70 points towards the UK student visa. If you meet the main eligibility criteria, you will hit the 70-point threshold.
The points are set up as follows:
- 50 points: Receiving a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
- 10 points: Meeting the financial requirements
- 10 points: Able to demonstrate your English language ability is at the level of B2 as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
What are the financial requirements set out by the UK Student Visa?
You need to show that you have enough money to support yourself in the UK. You will need to be able to prove that you have this sufficient money for 28 consecutive days, and the end date of this period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for the visa
The financial requirements are:
- £1,334/month for up to 9 months for courses based in the city of London
- £1,023/month for up to 9 months for courses based outside the city of London
- £2,668 per month four the Doctorate Extension Scheme is based in the city of London
- £2,046 per month for courses outside London if based outside the city of London
What is possible with a UK Student Visa?
With the UK student visa, holders are permitted to:
- Attend a full-time educational course leading to a qualification that is below a degree level (for example RFQ level 3-5) with a minimum of 15 hours per week of daytime study
- Join courses leading to a qualification that is degree level or higher (for example RFQ level 6, 7, or 8)
- Join courses at degree level or above (for example RFQ level 6,7 or 8) that’s equivalent to a United Kingdom higher education course and is being delivered as part of a longer course overseas
- Join courses leading to a qualification that’s above degree level (RFQ level 7 or above)
- Join a recognized foundational program for postgraduate doctors or dentists
- Join an English language course at level B2 or above in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
- Work a full-time position as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer
Regarding postgraduate doctors and dentists, they are permitted to apply for a student visa to attend a recognition foundation program if, they’ve already completed a recognized United Kingdom degree in medicine or dentistry and received that degree from a registered student sponsor and spent the final year and at least 1 other year of studies that got them that degree in the United Kingdom.
What is not allowed on the UK Student Visa?
The UK Student Visa does not permit the following:
- The student cannot claim public funds or pensions in the UK
- Get a job working in certain jobs such as a professional sportsperson or sports coach or be self-employed
- Study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also called a maintained school)
What is the English language test?
As part of the application, applicants have to demonstrate a good level of English. This is done by doing a SELT English language test, which can be done at one of the test centres around the world.
However, there are some exemptions from the English language requirements. These exemptions are:
- You have already completed a course in English at either undergraduate or postgraduate level at one of the approved educational providers
- You have already proved the required level of English via a different visa application
- You are applying to come to the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the USA
Students from a majority of English-speaking countries will not need to fulfil the English language requirements. These countries are exempt:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
What is the student visa application process?
For the application to begin, international students require an acceptance letter from the UK school that they wish to attend before making a study visa application. Applicants may start the application 6 months before starting to study in England.
Students can arrive in the UK up to 1 week before their course starts, if the length of your course is 6 months or less, or can arrive in the UK up to 1 month before the course starts if it lasts more than 6 months.
The Student Visa application is completed online and can be done from both inside and outside the UK.
Regarding the time frame, if the application is done from outside of the UK, students can expect to receive a decision within three weeks. Applications made from inside the UK typically get a response around eight weeks.
What are the required documents for the UK Student Visa?
As per the Student Visa application, you are required to submit certain information and documents. Without providing this information and documentation, your application will be rendered unsuccessful.
Some of the required information and documents for the UK Student Visa are:
- Your current passport or another valid travel document
- A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from your educational provider
- Proof that you have the necessary financial means
- A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate (if applicable)
- Tuberculosis test results (if applicable)
- Written consent from your sponsor if they have agreed to financially support you for your course fees and living costs
If you are under 18 at the time of study in the UK, you will need to provide additional information including written consent from your parents/legal guardians showing that they consent to your visa application, your living and care arrangements in the UK, and your travels.
All documents must be translated by an accredited translator into English or Welsh.
Identification verification is an important step at this stage of your student visa application. How you do this depends on where you’re from and what type of passport you have.
You will either provide fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) to a visa application centre or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document. To use the app, you’ll also create or sign in to your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account
Normally, the student visa process does not involve an interview for many international students, unless your case is considered complex.
Should your application be approved, you will receive a shareable code as proof you can study in the UK through the ‘UK Immigration: ID check.’
What are the UK Student Visa fees?
At present, the visa fees for the student visa are as follows:
- £348 for applications made outside the UK
- £475 for application made inside the UK
- £475 for Student Visa extensions
You will also be responsible for paying the immigration health surcharge fee.
Is it possible for my family members to come with me while I am in the UK?
As of January 2024, international students will not be able to bring dependents with them to the UK unless they are either:
- A government-sponsored student starting a course that lasts 6 months or longer
- Enrolled in a postgraduate course designated as a research programme that lasts 9 months or longer
Eligible postgraduate programmes include PhDs and other doctoral qualifications or masters programmes with a research component, including a requirement to produce original work.
International students who do not fit either one of these categories will not be eligible to bring their dependents with them to the UK.
This restriction will apply for all international students starting courses from 1 January 2024.
The UK government defines a dependent as a legal spouse, civil partner, or common-law partner, children under the age of 18. Families will need to prove their relationships with their dependents by providing original copies of marriage/civil partnership paperwork and/or birth certificates for children.
If your child/ren does live with you, you’ll need to provide 2 of the following documents:
- A bank account statement
- Credit card bills
- Driving license
- NHS (health insurance) registration document
- An official letter from their university degree program or college
The dependent visa will be valid for as long as the Student’s visa is valid.
Can student visas be extended?
It is possible to apply to extend your visa before the end date of your current student visa, up to 3 months early. In order to extend, you have to:
- Be in the United Kingdom on a UK Student visa
- Hold an unconditional offer from a course based in the UK that is licensed to sponsor student visa holders by the United Kingdom’s government
- Show that your studies are offered at an academic level that’s higher than your current course (called the ‘academic progress requirement’)
Therefore, your new course must be one of the following:
- Be a higher academic level than your current course
- Be at the same level and related to your previous course, educational opportunities, or career aspirations
- Be related or a continuation to medicine, dentistry, or medical science course you started studying under your Student visa
To continue your study in the UK, it is also possible to switch to a Graduate student visa, another student route that permits another 2 years after completing your course.
If your dependents came with you to the United Kingdom, they will need to apply separately to extend their visa. They do their new visa applications at the same time as you, or before their current visa expires.
The application fee to extend the visa is £475 per person and it normally takes around 8 weeks.
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No, all time spent in the UK via the student route does not count towards the minimum UK residency requirements.
That being said, international students who extend their visa in the UK through the Graduate Visa or apply for a work visa after studying will start to accumulate time towards the minimum UK residency requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain and even British citizenship.
Depending on your citizenship, some students do not need to meet the financial requirements such as the following:
- You received a UK visa for a period of at a minimum of 12 months directly prior to the date of your Student Visa application and you are currently in the UK
- You are applying as a student union sabbatical officer
- You are applying as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised foundation programme
The points-based immigration system is used by the UK government to decide if an applicant is eligible for the visa. International students need to score 70 points on the system to be eligible for a UK study visa.