The UK is a hub for pursuing higher education and is renowned for its high standards of academic excellence. Students in the United Kingdom are encouraged to develop themselves to the best of their potential as well as enjoy a social life. The UK is known all over the world for its history of warmth and welcomes to international students. Last year alone, Britain had over 1.5 million full-time undergraduate students in higher education, which also included over 104,000 international students.
For student visa in the UK, the visa requirements and general immigration criteria are handled by UK Visas and Immigration. If you are over 18 years of age and are planning on studying a short course in the UK, you may be eligible for the short-term study visa. The short-term study visa is valid for up to six months for most of the short courses, which can be extended for a stay of up to 11 months for a course that is in the English language. If you are planning on studying a longer course, you will have to make sure that the institution that you have chosen comes under the Tier 4 Student Visa category.
Visa can be applied three months before the course begins. The average visa processing time should be checked for your country so that you have plenty of time.
Student visas for the UK are awarded on a points-based system. To meet all the UK student visa requirements, you will need to provide:
- Passport details
- A recent photograph
- Provide proof of an unconditional offer to you on a course that is offered by a licensed Tier 4 Sponsor and evidenced by a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) form from the institution providing your course (worth 30 points)
- Provide proof of adequate English language skills that can be demonstrated by passing one of the secure English language tests (SELT). If you belong to an English-speaking country such as the United States or if you have completed a qualification that is equivalent to a UK degree in an English-speaking country, you will not need to provide any SELT results.
- Proof of your financial support throughout your stay in the UK (worth 10 points)
Bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor can be presented as financial proof, which proves that you can cover your tuition fees, your accommodation and living costs. You have to prove that you have £1,015 (~US$1,230) per month for living costs if you are studying in the UK, outside of London and if you are studying in London then your living costs £1,265 (~US$1,540) a month.
You need to present documents that show your academic qualifications. You might also need to attend an interview or a biometric test, which typically includes a digital scan of your fingerprints. Besides this, you may have to take certain vaccinations or undertake a tuberculosis test, depending on which country you belong to or you are currently living in.
If you are 16 or 17 years of age and are applying for the Tier 4 (General) student visa, it is necessary for you to have a written consent from your parents/guardians stating that you can live and travel independently.
You can apply online for the Tier 4 (General) Student visa. You also have the option to apply up to three months before your course commences.
As of now, the fee for the Tier 4 (General) student visa is said to be £328 (~US$400), with an additional fee of £328 per person if there are any dependents. You will also be needed to pay a healthcare surcharge of £150 per year (~US$180) in order to access the National Health Service (NHS) for the duration of your stay.
The Short Term Study Visa costs £89 (~US$110) for the six-month option and £170 (~US$210) for the 11-month visa.
On entering the UK, a UK Border Agency officer will be putting a stamp on your passport that states the period of your stay in the UK. For example, if the duration of your course is 12 months or more, you will be permitted to stay for the entire duration of your course along with an additional four months, but you will not be allowed to extend your stay beyond this period.
Moreover, before your arrival in the UK, you have to make sure that you are fully immunized, remembering to pack your immunization record in your hand luggage in case you are asked to show it to the Border Agency officer at your UK port of entry. You must also make sure that you are carrying the documents that are related to your studies (including your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS number), a proof of your finances and a proof of your accommodation.
Furthermore, you may also be required to register with the police within the first seven days of your arrival in the country depending on where you come from.
All students coming from EU, EEA and Swiss are allowed to work while studying in the UK, although students coming from Croatia might need to gain authorization. Students that belong to publically funded higher education institutions on Tier 4 student visas are permitted to work for up to 20 hours per week during the time their term is going on and can work full-time during Christmas and Easter breaks (unless you are 16 or 17 years of age, in which case the maximum is 10 hours per week during your term time).
Contact our expert counsellors at Collegepond Counsellors Pvt. Ltd. for a more comprehensive information on applying for a UK student visa.