With globally-recognized universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, the UK is one of the top destinations for studying abroad. The UK student visa, as a result, is one of the most sought after visas and is required by any individual who is not a resident of the UK and the European Union. This post will throw light on all aspects related to this coveted visa.
Types Of UK Student Visa
There are various types of student visas in the UK. For a short term course, you are eligible for a six-month student visa, extendable up to 11 months.
For a full-time program, however, you need to apply for a longer term visa, which is called a Tier 4 visa. For this, your chosen institution is required to have a Tier 4 Sponsor License. Most reputed universities have this license to invite foreign students to study with them.
Tier 4 visas come in two types – Tier 4 general visa for those aged 17 and over, and Tier 4 child visa for those aged 4 to 16.
To obtain a Tier 4 student visa, you need to gather 40 points as following.
Course Confirmation: The proof of your admission is the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by your university. This document is given special status by UK Visa and Immigration and fetches 30 points towards your tier 4 visa.
Funding: As is the case with most student visas, visa-issuing countries need to ensure that you have the ability to pay for your tuition and living costs for the duration of your studies. This information is available on your university’s website and you must provide proof of funds to match or exceed the amount stated. With proper documents, you can fetch 10 points towards your tier 4 visa.
If you have gathered a total of 40 points from the above two sections, you are good to apply for the tier 4 visa.
Visa Application Process
The visa application process is online and fairly straightforward. You can apply for the visa on the UK Visa and Immigration website. Apart from the online application, you will have to appear at a visa application center in order to provide your biometric information i.e. fingerprints and photographs.
A successful tier 4 visa application typically requires the following documents:
- A current, valid passport
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) document issued by your university
- Evidence of funds towards your tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of your program. This may include bank statements, sponsorship letter from parents, or a loan issuance statement
- Passport-sized color photographs
- Tuberculosis test results if applying from certain countries
The tier 4 general visa current fee is £348 for the primary applicant, plus £348 per dependent, if any. Healthcare surcharge of £300 per year also needs to be paid if you are staying more for than 6 months. This payment will allow you to avail the National Health Service (NHS) while in the UK.
For the short-term visa, the costs are £97 for a six-month visa and £186 for an 11-month visa.
When To Apply
Since most academic programs start around September, the best time to start with your visa process is June i.e. 3 months earlier. For September programs, the CAS is generally issued towards the end of June. Once you obtain this document and arrange your personal financial proofs, you are eligible to apply for a tier 4 visa.
Things To Note While Travelling
Before traveling make sure that you are immunized as per the stated requirements. Carry all proofs of your immunization records, just in case they are needed. Of course, all the documents used thus far – CAS and financial proofs, plus other documents – must also be carried with you.
Citizens of certain countries are also required to register themselves with the UK police upon arrival. Please check if this is required from your countrymen.
Working While Studying In The UK
European Union students can work full-time. Students from other countries are allowed to work for 20 hours per week if they are pursuing a full-time program.
The UK government site has extensive information on student visas and you can refer to it for greater details. At Beyond Consultant too, we will be happy to guide you in your UK visa pursuit. Feel free to reach us when in need! Also, do not forget to share this article with your friends.
At Beyond Consultant, we help you bring your dreams to life, by guiding in your overseas education journey. For a free consultation, please get in touch with us here.