Following the Brexit vote there has been a degree of confusion as to who will or will not need a student visa to study in the UK. As far as education goes, there is little room to leave things to chance and it is much better to ensure that all the boxes have been ticked before you arrive, rather than to take any unnecessary risks. Here we look at how to get a UK student visa.
Who needs a student visa?
UK visa requirements and overall immigration matters are governed by UK Visas and Immigration. With eligibility and requirements dependant on your nationality and other factors, we recommend you use their online facility to check if you need a visa. Alternatively, you can contact our friendly visa team.
Student visa types
There are differing types of visa, and each may or may not apply to your course. If you are over 18 years of age and studying a short-term course then you may qualify for the short-term visa. This is valid for courses up to 6 months but may be extended to 11 months for English language course.
Longer courses are different. Firstly you need to ensure that the place at which you are studying holds the correct licence. It will need a tier 4 licence. If you are aged 4-17 you may need a Tier 4 child licence; If you are older than 16 you may need a Tier 4 general licence.
You can apply up to 3 months in advance of the course. Visas are granted on a points-based system and in order to qualify, you will need the following documents:
- A recent photograph
- Details of the course provider – at tier 4 or above
- Proof of English language skills, satisfied by taking the SELT (Secure English Language Test). However, students from English-speaking countries like the USA will not need this proof, likewise if you have a previous degree from an English-speaking country.
- Proof of Financial support – this can be from a sponsor, or bank showing you can meet the fees, accommodation and living costs. Outside of London this constitutes £1,015 per month and in London £1,265.
- You may need to produce evidence of your qualifications, attend an interview and even pass a biometric test, and, depending on your country of origin, show proof of vaccinations/test for TB.
- Under 18 needs proof of consent from your parents/guardian.
- You will need the Tier 4 visa as above.
Student visa fees
Currently the Tier 4 runs at £328 with an additional £328 per dependent. A healthcare surcharge of £150 per year is payable in addition. A 6-month student visa is £89 and an 11-month student visa is £170.
Your passport will be stamped setting out the duration of your stay. You are not permitted to stay beyond this period, which will exceed the total length of the course.
Some will need to register with the police. This must be done within 7 days of arrival.
You may need permission to work if you are from Croatia or outside the EU. If you are on a Tier 4 visa, you may work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full time at Easter/Christmas – though 16 and 17 year-olds have a restriction of 10 hours.
It would be simple if there were standardised rules for all students looking to study in the UK, but that simply isn’t the case. You need to ensure that you check and satisfy all of the criteria before you commit to a course.
If you’d like a consultation regarding your eligibility and the process required for obtaining a student visa, you can email our visa team for a free assessment here.