UK Student Visa – Congratulations on your acceptance to a university in the United Kingdom! Now, before you can embark on this exciting journey, it’s essential to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork in order. The UK visa application process may seem overwhelming at first, but with a little organization and guidance, it can be a smooth and less stressful experience. This article aims to provide a complete guide to help make your UK visa application process as easy as possible.
Apply to a UK university and obtain your acceptance letter
- If you haven’t decided on a university yet, it’s crucial to finalize your choice before starting the student visa application process. Once you’ve been accepted at a UK university, you will receive an acceptance letter, which is a requirement for your visa application.
- Determine if you need a visa to study in the UK: Brexit has introduced some changes and uncertainties, particularly for international students. Here’s a breakdown of who needs a visa to study in the United Kingdom:
EU/EEA and Swiss students
- If you arrive in the UK before December 31, 2020, you do not need a visa.
- If you arrive on or after January 1, 2021, you might need a visa.
- If you commence your studies before December 31, 2020, and wish to continue studying after January 1, 2021, you’ll need to apply for a settlement scheme before June 30, 2021.
- Citizens from Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein should check the applicable visa regulations.
Depending on the duration of your studies, non-EU/EEA students need to apply for either a Short-Term Study Visa or a General Student Visa (also known as Tier 4 Student Visa). The easiest way to determine if you need a student visa in the UK is by using the online tool on the UK Government website.
Determine the type of visa required for studying in the UK:
There are two types of visas for students in the UK:
- Short-Term Study Visa: This visa is available for 6 or 11 months and is suitable for students undertaking short language courses or engaging in a brief period of research as part of a degree program.
- Tier 4 (General) Student Visa: This visa is for students enrolling in academic degrees, such as Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. programs. The length of your studies determines the duration of this visa.
When and where to apply for a student visa in the UK
There are two options for obtaining your student visa in the UK: applying at the UK embassy in your country or submitting an online application on the official UK Government website. Depending on your nationality, you may need to visit a visa application center to provide biometric data (fingerprints and photograph) for a biometric residence permit.
Here are some tips for the UK student visa application:
- Always refer to the official UK Government website for the most up-to-date information regarding the UK student visa.
- Avoid postponing your visa application until the last moment. The Tier 4 Student Visa typically takes around 3 weeks to process, but it’s advisable to begin the application process at least 3 months in advance, considering regional variations.
- Ensure you have the Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your university before applying for the student visa.
- Gather all the necessary information before starting the application process.
- Verify that the institution you are applying to is licensed.
- Universities usually have trained visa advisors who can assist you with questions regarding the Tier 4 student visa and guide you through the application process.
Conditions for obtaining a Tier 4 Student Visa:
To be eligible for a Tier 4 Student Visa, you must meet the following conditions:
- Be over 16 years old.
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language (speaking, reading, and understanding). Generally, a Secure English Language Test (SELT) is required, and a language proficiency level of CEFR B2 is necessary for degree-level studies or higher. Some students from specific countries may be exempt from this requirement if they have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree.
Documents required for a UK student visa
To apply for a UK student visa, you will typically need the following documents:
- Completed visa application form.
- Passport or valid travel documentation.
- One passport-sized photograph.
- Proof of financial capability to support yourself during your stay in the UK, including tuition fees, living costs, and medical insurance. The amount required is £1,265 per month if studying in London and £1,015 per month for other parts of the UK.
- Parental consent if you are under 18 years old.
- Tuberculosis test results (for citizens of certain countries).
- Proof of payment of the visa application fee (£348).
- Immigration Health Surcharge (£150 per year of study).
- Self-assessment form Appendix 8 with attached documents (not required for online applications).
- Additional requirements may vary depending on your country of origin.
- Any documents submitted in support of the Appendix 8 form that are not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by an official full translation, independently verified by the UK Border Agency.
Remember, it is essential to consult the official UK Government website and stay informed about any changes or updates to the visa application process. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your university’s visa advisors, who are trained to assist you throughout the application process. Good luck with your UK visa application, and best wishes for your studies!