Student visa applications can be made up to 6 months prior to the start of the course. Immigration usually takes a decision (approve or reject) on a student visa within three weeks of application. The length of the visa depends on the duration of the course. If you are 18 years or above and your course it at degree level, you may be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If your course is below degree level you may be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 2 years.
Students can arrive in the UK either:
- up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
- up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months
While applying online, you need to pay the healthcare surcharge fees for yourself and/or family member/dependent accompanying you for the duration of your stay. On making the payment, you will be emailed an IHS reference number, which needs to be mentioned in the Visa application form. Now you can complete the process by paying the application fee.
Money you need
You must have enough money to pay for your course and support yourself in the UK. How much money you need depends on your circumstances and what you’re applying for.
You need enough money to pay for your course for 1 academic year (up to 9 months). The amount you need to pay will be on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, you do not need to prove you have this money for your visa application.
Cost for student only – You’ll need to show you have enough money to support yourself, unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application.
How much money you need depends on where you will be studying. You’ll need either:
- £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London
- £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London
If you’re applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme, and you’ve been in the UK for less than 12 months, you need to prove you have a total of £2,668 for courses in London, or a total of £2,046 for courses outside London.
You must have this money for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.
Your partner and children – Your partner and children may be able to apply to come to the UK or stay longer in the UK.You must be one of the following:
- a full-time student on a postgraduate level course (RQF level 7 or above) that lasts 9 months or longer
- a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
- a Doctorate Extension Scheme student
You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply, for example:
- a marriage or civil partnership certificate for your partner
- a birth certificate for your child
Money your partner and child need to support themselves – Your partner and child must each have a certain amount of money available to them. This is in addition to the money you must have to support yourself.
How much money they need depends on where you will be studying. They must have either:
- £845 a month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London
- £680 a month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London
If you’re applying at the same time as your partner or child (you’re applying together as a family), you’ll need to prove you have both money to pay for your course and to support yourself and additional money for each of them.
If your partner or child is applying at a different time to you (they’re applying separately) they only need to prove they have money to support themselves.
You (or your partner or child) must have this money for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date they apply for their visa.
If you have a student loan or financial sponsorship, you’ll need to provide evidence of this from your loan or sponsorship company. If your loan does not cover your partner or child, you’ll need to prove you have money to support them instead.
Apply outside the UK
Your partner and children must either:
- apply online as your partner
- apply online as your child
They’ll need your application number – you get it when you apply. This number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You’ll find it on emails and letters from the Home Office about your application.
As part of their application, they’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit). They’ll have to collect their biometric residence permit within 10 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.
In order to be eligible for a Student visa, you must satisfy the immigration rules for Student route points-based system. This requires that you score assessment ‘points’ against three sets of objective criteria to achieve an overall pass of 70 points. Applicants must score points based on the information below:
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) – 50 Points
That shows you have met the course requirement, approved qualification requirement, level of study requirement, and place of study requirement
Financial requirement – 10 Points
10 points are awarded for finances. You must be able to show that you have the required money to cover the costs of your tuition, accommodation and living costs in the UK.
English language proficiency – 10 Points
Students who are not coming from a majority English-speaking country and who are entering the University to do degree level study need to provide evidence that they are proficient in English example, IELTS 5.5 in each of the four components. The University will require higher levels of English proficiency depending on the level of studies and subject, and such requirements will be stated in your offer letter.
Steps to apply for UK Student Visa
You can only apply for your student visa after you have received a CAS certificate from the university. Any scholarships which you must have received from University should be mentioned on your CAS certificate. You should arrange your proof of funds as this step in very important in visa process.
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Get an Immigration Health Surcharge done for yourself as well as your family if you plan to take them along with you as a dependent.
Book your visa slot as early as possible. Give your biometrics at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) for receiving a Biometric Residence Permit. You can collect it within 10 days of arrival in the UK.
Get your Tuberculosis Screening done from UK approved clinics. Give your Visa interview either at a VAC or online through a video.
Here is the list of documents required to apply for student visa:
- Valid Passport
- Tuberculosis Screening Certificate
- CAS Form
- Statement of Purpose
- Academic documents (in English)
- Current or previous employment documents
- English language test score
- Proof of funds
- Proof of payment for Immigration Health Surcharge
- Passport size photos
- Original Birth Certificate
- Provide your biometrics and provide any additional information required
Work Part-Time while you study
As a student visa holder in UK, you have the rights to work part-time while studying, which will help you support your expenses. You are allowed to work 20 hours per week during semesters and full-time during semester break. International students who study in an exceedingly full-time program at a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. level may be allowed maximum of 20 working hours per week.
Your eligibility to work in the UK while studying depends on two major criteria: set by your university and set by the people of state-run official institutions. First, you need to make sure that your university doesn’t constrain you from working before dealing with state officials. for instance, looking at your study course your university may limit working hours to you, other than governmental restrictions.
Post Study Work Visa
The Graduate Route
From 1 July 2021, international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree will be able to benefit from two years’ work experience in the UK upon graduation, through the new Graduate Route. Students who complete their PhD will be able to stay for three years.
Here is everything you need to know:
The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have a valid student visa at the time of application and have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years if they have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree. PhD graduates will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
The new route will be launched on 1 July 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates after this date will be able to apply for the route. The Graduate Route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK.
Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student application in order to apply for the Graduate Route.