What is UK Student Visa?

The Student visa is available to foreigners aged 16 or older who seek entry to the UK for the purpose of studying at an educational institution in the country. Most applicants who receive an invitation to enroll in an approved course with an official sponsor and meet the other eligibility requirements and are approved for a UK Student visa will be able to study in the country for at least five years. 

Who is eligible for UK Student Visa

  • In order to be eligible for a Student visa (previously called the General Student visa (Tier 4) you must: 
    • Be age 16 or older (and if 17 or under, obtain written permission from your parents for you to study in the UK).
    • Have received an invitation to enroll in an approved course with an official sponsor.
    • Meet the English language requirements.
    • Demonstrate that you can financially afford your schooling as well as your costs of living in the UK.
  • If you or your child is between the ages of 4-17 and is looking to attend an independent educational institution in the country, you or they might be directed to apply for Child Student visa instead of a Student visa. 

UK Student Visa Advantages

  • Live and study in the UK for between two and five years, with the possibility of extending that time period.
  • Work at certain jobs.
  • Have eligible family members join you in the country.

Length of stay for UK Student Visa

  • Student visa holders who are 18+ are typically granted permission to remain in the country for a five year period (if they are pursuing a degree). 
  • Those who are under 18 and are not pursuing a degree typically receive permission to remain for two years. 
  • Both categories of students (degree seeking and non-degree seeking) are typically granted the opportunity to extend their visas to match the time they need to complete their studies. 

How long does it take to get a Student Visa for UK?

  • Most students who apply from abroad will receive their Student visa (or a rejection) in as few as three weeks. 
  • Most students who apply from within the country will receive their Student visa (or a rejection) in eight weeks. 

When can you apply for a Student Visa?

  • If you are already in the country when you apply, you should do so prior to the expiration of your original visa (assuming you are applying to switch into the Student visa category). Additionally, your application must be lodged to coincide with the start date of your intended educational program. 
  • You cannot apply earlier than three months to the start-date of the educational program you seek to enroll in. Additionally, you may only apply for a Student visa to enroll in courses (or a degree program) that starts in 28 days or fewer from your original visa’s expiration date. 

UK Student Visa Fees

  • The price of a Student visa is £348 for those applying from abroad. 
  • The price of a Student visa for those who are applying to switch into the visa category is £475. 
  • The price for to extend a current Student visa is also £475.
  • Please note that basic price of a Student visa do not reflect the total application costs, which traditionally also include a healthcare surcharge and a fee for biometric data collection (typically £19.20).

Student Visa Restrictions

  • Student visa holders are restricted from the following: 
    • Employment at some jobs, including working for oneself, working as an athletic coach, or as a sportsperson. 
    • Enrolling in some schools, including “maintained schools” and at academies. 
    • Applying for welfare in the UK. 

Required Documents for UK Student Visa

  • Applicants for the Student visa must submit the following required documents and materials: 
    • CAS document (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), obtainable from the entity offering your educational program (i.e. proof that you have received an invitation to enroll an educational program in the UK).
    • Passport (valid, with space for your Student visa if required).
    • Evidence that you meet the English language requirement.
      • To qualify for a Student visa, you need to speak, listen, read, and write to the following levels (relative to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; CEFR). 
      • The level you need to achieve reflects the level at which you are currently studying. If your coursework is not in pursuit of a degree, you must reach or exceed the CERF level B1; If your coursework is geared toward a degree, you must reach or exceed the CEFR level 2.
      • Those who are enrolled with a Higher Education Provider (HEP) in pursuit of a degree or (above) may be able to take a different (i.e. non-SALT) exam, in the event that their instructors undertake their own independent evaluation of the applicant’s English speaking / writing / listening / reading abilities. This is fine so long as the applicant achieve a B2 or greater. 
      • You can demonstrate that you have met the English language requirement by: 
        • Having been enrolled at a school in the UK as a minor (i.e. you first enrolled when you were not yet 18), and having received from that school one of the following: Scottish National Qualification level 4/5, Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher in English, a GSCE, or an A-level. 
        • Taking (and receiving an acceptable grade in) an authorized SELT (Secure English Language Test). 
      • Individuals who fall into the following categories do not have to provide                                        evidence of having fulfilled the English language requirement: 
        • Those who demonstrated evidence of having fulfilled the English-language requirement on an earlier UK visa application.
        • Those who are currently enrolled in a four-year American college and are seeking a Student visa to the UK in order to study abroad there.
        • Those who are from one of the following countries (your citizenship status will be considered proof that you have met the requirement): Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, USA.
  • Depending on the nature of your application, the type of degree or course you seek to enroll in, and other factors (such as your nationality) you may need to supply some or all of the below supplemental documents and materials: 
    • ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate. 
    • Evidence that you can financially afford your schooling as well as your costs of living in the UK.
    • Evidence in writing that your sponsor agrees to you applying for a Student visa  (applies exclusively to applicants who have a sponsor who is financially supporting their educational and other expenses within the prior year). 
    • A negative tuberculosis test (if you are from a certain country). 
    • (For applicants who are not yet 18); Evidence that your parents (or parent, or guardian) agree to the following: 1) Your lodging of an application for a Student visa, 2) Your immigration to the UK, and 3) Your residence situation and general living situation in the UK. 
    • (For applicants who are not yet 18); Evidence of your legal relationship to your parents (or to your guardian); a scan of your original birth certificate complete with your parents’ names is typically requested as evidence). 

How to apply for UK Student Visa

  • The Student visa application process is mainly online. Contact us here when you are ready to apply.
  • After filling out an online application form, submitting their required documents, and paying their visa fees, applicants will submit their photo and fingerprints (biometric information) at a visa application center (or alternatively upload their chosen ID to the UK Immigration: ID Check app—this option necessitates making a UK Visas and Immigration-UKVI-account). 
  • If you are applying from within the country, you are presumably in the UK on another visa, in which case you will be applying to either switch into the Student visa category or extend an original Student visa. In this sense, you cannot apply for a Student visa from within the UK—you can only apply to extend a current Student visa or to switch into the Student visa category. 
  • The processing time for Student visa applications is typically three weeks, however it may take longer depending on the nature of your application (i.e. whether your supporting documents require additional reviewing, you are asked to interview, or you have been previously convicted of a crime). Those who are willing to pay more can take advantage of the expediated service option (when available) and should receive their acceptance (or rejection) in as few as five working days after submitting their fingerprints and photos at a visa application center. 
  • After receiving notification of your acceptance, you should ultimately receive either your biometric residence permit or an online immigration status (depending on whether you submitted your fingerprints and photos via an application center or through the UK immigration app, respectively) both of which will enable you to enter and remain in the UK. 

Switch to UK Student Visa

  • Applicants who meet the above eligibility requirements and the below additional conditions can apply to switch to a Student visa. 
  • Applicants should apply to switch to Student visa before their previous visa expires. Applying within their current visa validity period will enable them to remain in the country pending the outcome of their application. In fact, applicants can only apply switch to a Student visa if they remain in the country. However, those who are on the following visas cannot apply to switch to the Student:     
    • Short term student visa. 
    • Domestic worker in a private household visa.
    • Seasonal worker visa.
    • Visit visa.
    • Parent of a Child Student visa. 
    • Or those who: 
      • Have permission to stay outside the immigration rules.
      • Are on immigration bail. 
  • If you are already in the country when you apply to switch, you should do so prior to the expiration of your original visa. Once you receive your CAS, you will have 6 months to apply for your Student visa. Additionally, your application must be lodged to coincide with the start date of your intended educational program. 
  • You cannot apply earlier than three months to the start-date of the educational program you seek to enroll in. Additionally, you may only apply for a Student visa to enroll in courses (or a degree program) that starts in 28 days or fewer from your original visa’s expiration date.  
  • The process of switching into the Student visa application process is almost entirely the same as applying for a Student visa outright—both processes are mainly online. Contact us here when you are ready to apply. 
  • After filling out an online application form, submitting their required documents, and paying their visa fees (£475, not inclusive of all fees) applicants will submit their photo and fingerprints (biometric information) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services—UKVCAS (or alternatively upload their chosen ID to the UK Immigration: ID Check app—this option necessitates making a UK Visas and Immigration-UKVI-account). 
  • The processing time for applications to switch into the Student visa category is typically eight weeks, however it may take longer depending on the nature of your application (i.e. whether your supporting documents require additional reviewing, you are asked to interview, or you have been previously convicted of a crime). Those who are willing to pay £500 more can take advantage of the expediated service option (when available) and should receive their acceptance (or rejection) in as few as five working days after submitting their fingerprints and photos at an UKVCAS center. 
  • Please note that applicants who are applying from within the country should not travel abroad while their application to switch is pending. If time is an issue, most applicants can pay to receive an expediated decision.

Extend a Student Visa for UK

  • The process of extending a current Student visa is mainly online. Contact us here when you are ready to apply to extend.
  • If you are already in the UK on a Student visa or a General Student visa (Tier 4), and you need more time to complete your studies, you can apply to extend your visa, provided you still meet the original UK Student visa eligibility requirements, in addition to the following: 
    • You are already in the country (on your Student visa/General Student visa). 
    • You continue to have your CAS document (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), which you obtained from the entity offering your educational program.
    • You demonstrate that you can financially afford your schooling as well as your costs of living in the UK (if you have lived in the country for under a year when you apply to extend). 
    • You demonstrate your fulfillment of the “academic progress requirement”. This reflects the fact that going forward your new course is either: 
      • At an academic level that is greater than that of your original course OR 
      • Ranks equally and is also in keeping with your earlier professional ambitions/earlier program (re Higher Education Provider-HEP-it needs to be at or above degree level). 
      • If you began taking courses in dentistry, medicine, or medical science on your Student visa/Tier 4 General Student visa, your new course needs to be “intercalated” to that course.
    • Applicants who fall into one of the below situations do not have demonstrate their fulfillment of the academic progress requirement. These include those who are: 
      • Re-taking classes or exams. 
      • Submitting an application to a school/educational entity in order to finish a program of study that they originally began at a school/educational entity that they had to leave because it was deprived of its student sponsorship license (in addition, this current application attempt must be the only time they have applied to this particular school). 
      • Finishing a doctorate or a PhD which they began doing coursework for while on a prior Student/Tier 4 General Student visa. 
      • Are trying to pursue (or have already completed) a study abroad or a work placement (and they therefore need to extend their time in the country. 
      •  Previously were employed as a student union sabbatical officer and are now submitting an application in order to finish a qualification type that they previously worked toward while on their original Student visa/Tier 4 General Student visa.
      • Are still working toward a degree in dentistry, medical, or medical science following having finished a course that is intercalated. 
  • After filling out an online application form, submitting their required documents, and paying their visa fees (£475, not inclusive of all fees) applicants will submit their photo and fingerprints (biometric information) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services—UKVCAS (or alternatively upload their chosen ID to the UK Immigration: ID Check app—this option necessitates making a UK Visas and Immigration-UKVI-account). 
  • The processing time for applications to extend a Student visa is typically eight weeks, however it may take longer depending on the nature of your application (i.e. whether your supporting documents require additional reviewing, you are asked to interview, or you have been previously convicted of a crime). Those who are willing to pay more can take advantage of the expediated service option (when available) and should receive their acceptance (or rejection) in as few as five working days after submitting their fingerprints and photos at a UKVCAS center.
  • Please note that applicants who are applying from within the country should not travel abroad while their application to extend is pending. If time is an issue, most applicants can pay to receive an expediated decision.

Family Members of UK Student Visa Holder

  • Student visa holders can apply to bring eligible family members with them to the UK so long as they are a student who is either: 
    • Classified as full time and enrolled in a program at the post-graduate level (specifically at RQF 7 level or higher). This course must run for a minimum of 9 months in order to qualify. OR
    • Participating in the “Doctorate Extension Scheme”. OR
    • Participating in a program that runs a minimum of 6 months and is also sponsored by the government. 
  • Eligible family members are technically referred to as “dependents” and may include: 
    • An applicant’s spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner. 
    • Children 0-17 (as well as any children born in the country while the applicant was on a visa there). 
      • Please note, any children you have who are aged 16-17 when you lodge your Student visa application are only eligible to join you as dependents provided that you show evidence that they are not themselves in a civil partnership/married and that they are, in fact, dependent on you (financially and otherwise). This will involve you giving evidence of the following: 
        • Your child’s address (in the event that your child lives away from home). 
        • The fact that the child is financially reliant on you (in the event that your child lives away from home). 
        • Money (such as rent) which your child gives you every month. 
      • In order to present evidence of the dependent status of children who reside at the same address as you, you must submit a minimum of two of the below forms of evidence (which display their address).
        • Driver’s license 
        • NHS document for registration
        • Bank statement 
        • Credit card statement 
        • Valid letter from the child’s school (college or university) 
  • Each dependent that you include on your application needs to demonstrate his or her possession of a certain amount of money (that is independent from funds you need to possess as evidence of your ability to financially support yourself). These will be: 
    • £845 per month if you are studying in London. You will need to demonstrate that you possess this amount each month, for 9 months). 
    • £680 per month if you are studying outside of London. You will need to demonstrate that you possess this amount each month, for 9 months).
  • Any evidence of the above funds needs to be in your account for a minimum of 28 days in a row. 
  • Applicants who apply as a family (i.e. those who submit their application for a Student visa when their family members submit their own dependent applications) will need to present evidence that they can financially afford their costs for schooling as well as their costs of living in the UK, in addition to the fact that they can afford their dependents. 
  • Applicants who are not applying as a family (i.e. those whose would-be dependents are submitting their application to join them in the UK after they have already applied) are exclusively required to present evidence that they can financially cover their own costs (rather than that of their family members as well). 
  • Applicants who are financially sponsored or have taken out student loans must obtain (from the company that is sponsoring them or loaning them money) proof of this fact. In the event that the applicant’s loan fails to provide coverage to the applicant’s dependents, the applicant will need to submit evidence of his or her ability to financially afford their dependents UK living costs. 
  • The following categories of would-be dependents do not need to present evidence of being able to financially afford their costs of living in order to apply: 
    • Family members who have legally lived in the country for at least a year.
    • If you (and your would-be dependents) are applying as a family and you are nationals of certain countries who are exempt from this requirement. Please keep in mind, however, that while this specific category of person is exempt from providing evidence of this requirement in theory, in practice, this information could be requested from them while their application is still pending (for example, UKVI could still reach out to them and request this information post-application submission). 
  • In addition to providing evidence of the above funds, each dependent will be charged the basic visa cost of £475 (please note this is not inclusive of healthcare surcharges and other traditionally levied fees relating to biometric data collection, etc.).
  • An applicant who receive a visa as a dependent of a Student visa holder will be granted permission to remain in the country for a period that is equal to that of the original Student visa holder’s visa validity period. To clarify; when the Student visa holder’s visa validity period ends, so does that of his dependent(s). 

Applying as Dependent from Abroad

  • Dependents should apply online using the application number that the Student visa holder received when he or she applied (known as a Unique Application Number (UAN) or Global Web Form-GWF). 
  • At the final stage of their application process, dependents will need to go to a visa application center for the purpose of submitting their photos and fingerprints (biometric information), which they will need for their biometric residence permit. Once they arrive in the country, they will have 10 days to pick up their permit (10 days from the date they originally gave for when they would enter the UK). 
  • If the processing time is an issue, most applicants can pay to receive an expediated decision. 

Applying to extend or switch

  • Student visa holders who are applying to either switch into the Student visa category or extend a current Student visa who are already in the country should ideally apply to have their respective dependents switch or extend when they themselves apply to switch or extend. If this is not possible, the Student visa holder can theoretically apply to extend or switch the visas of their dependents to a Student visa sometime in the future, provided that they do so before the visas of their dependents have expired. 
  • Those who are on the following visas cannot apply to switch to the Student:
    • Short term student visa 
    • Domestic worker in a private household visa
    • Seasonal worker visa
    • Visit visa
    • Parent of a Child Student visa  
  • After filling out an online application form, submitting their required and supplemental documents, and paying their visa fees, dependent applicants will submit their photo and fingerprints (biometric information) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services—UKVCAS (they may also be able to submit any supplemental documents they were unable to upload in person at this appointment). 
  • Please note that dependents who are applying from within the country should not travel abroad while their application is pending. If time is an issue, most applicants can pay to receive an expediated decision.

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