Student Visa

U.K. offers two categories of student visa, Short Term Study Visa and Long Term Study Visa.

Short Term Study Visa

Overview

A Short-term study visa application allows you to enter the country if you have an opportunity to study a short course of study. This is the type of visa that you must apply for if you belong to a country that is outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. If you intend to enter the country as an academic visitor, you must apply for the standard visitor visa. If you qualify for British Citizenship, you cannot apply for this visa but instead must apply for British Citizenship.

With the Short-term study visa, you can apply for an English language course, a training course or study opportunity or a short period of research in any university in the country. However, you do not have the permission to study at a state-funded school or access any state funds, apply for any work or business or even bring any family members with you on this visa. Additionally, this is a visa that cannot be extended beyond the tenure it was initially applied for.

Length of stay in the UK

This visa allows you to stay in the UK for the length of your course or research. An additional 30 days may be added to your visa if the total length of your stay does not exceed 6 months. If you are over 16 years of age and are applying to study a course in the English language, your total length of stay can be up to a period of 11 months.

If you do not typically need a visa to visit the UK, you can study for up to 6 months without applying in advance. In this case, you are advised to see a border officer when you arrive in the country and not use the ePassport gates which other visa-holders may use. An application for a Short-term study visa must be made if the course you intend to study is for a tenure that is longer than 6 months.

Fee structure

A Short-term study visa application for a length of 6 months costs £97 and if the application is for an 11-month tenure in the UK, it costs £186.

Timelines

Applications for a Short-term study visa can be made up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. Once the application has been made, you can expect to receive a response within a 3-week timeframe.

Qualifications

The most important criteria for a Short-term study visa application is the verifiable evidence that you have procured an admission into the intended place of study in the UK. Additionally, you must be able to prove that you have the financial resources necessary to stay in the UK and support yourself for the duration of the intended stay without taking recourse to state funds in any eventuality, or that you have friends or family who will be able to support you adequately. You must also be able to provide evidence that you will be able to make arrangements for your return journey at the end of the course of study. Your application must be supported by a document stating permission to study in the UK from your parent or guardian, if you are under the age of 18 years.

As part of the criteria, you must be accepted on a course with an education provider that holds a Tier 4 sponsor license, which is a list of institutions licensed to sponsor migrant students, and includes information about the category of students they’re licensed to sponsor and their sponsorship rating.

If you are learning English as a foreign language, you must be at least 16 years old and accepted on a course entirely focused on learning English as a foreign language when making an application for an 11-month Short-term study visa.

You can apply for a Short-term study visa if you’re at least 16 years old and studying at an overseas higher education institution and part of your course is in the UK. In this case, the institution you are applying to must hold its own national accreditation and only part of the educational programme must be offered in the UK. The institution must also offer programs that are equivalent to a UK degree.

Short-term Research assignments in the UK

If you are already registered for a degree course, it is possible for you to come into the country for a short-term assignment which requires research and study in the UK. For this application to be valid, the course you are studying must be equivalent to a UK degree, you must be at least 16 years old and the research must be carried out in a recognized educational body or one that is eligible to accept public funding as a higher education institution in the UK.

General student visa (Tier 4)

This General Student visa application can be made once you have a confirmed educational opportunity with a university in the UK and you can adequately prove you have the resources required to pay for the course. You must be over 16 years of age and must have a proven ability of an excellent fluency of the English language, if you are from a country that is not a part of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

You and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK if the UK leaves the EU without a deal once the economic situation is settled. The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course and you can expect a response from the UK government within a 3-week timespan.

Fee structure for a General Student Visa

If you are applying from outside of the country, the visa costs £348 and an additional amount of £348 per person for any dependants. There is an additional medical fee that needs to be paid as a mandatory part of the application.

Length of stay in the UK

The visa allows you to arrive in the UK up to 1 week before your course starts, if your course is for a time period of 6 months or less or up to 1 month before if you are coming into the country for a course that is going to last more than 6 months. The length of your stay in the country is also determined by the kind of course you’re doing and what study you have already completed.

Additional regulations

With a General Study visa you can study, work as a student union sabbatical officer, apply from inside or outside the UK, apply to extend your stay, work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have. You are also allowed to have family members and dependants accompany you on this visa.

However, this visa does not permit you to access any public or state fuds, work as a professional sports coach or study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school).

Qualifications

Some of the eligibility criteria for a General Study visa application include a confirmed and verifiable place at an educational institution in the country, which is also ratified as a licensed Tier 4 institution. It is mandatory that you are able to prove you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course.

Knowledge of English

An excellent grasp and fluency with the English language is absolutely mandatory if you are applying to enter the country with the intention of studying on a General Study visa.

This usually means passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider

 

Institute of study

Course of study

Required fluency of English language

Level

Higher Education Institution (HEI)

Degree level or above

Reading, writing, listening and speaking

Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2

Institution that’s not HEI

Degree level or above

SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking

CEFR level B2

Any institution

Below degree

SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking

CEFR level B1

 

HEIs can choose to assess a student’s knowledge of English at a CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher or SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking and CEFR level B1 if you’re not studying at a degree level.

Extension of the General Study visa

You may be able to make an application to stay longer to continue your course or study a new one if you meet the eligibility requirements of this visa, continue to stay in the UK and have an open position with a reputed and certified educational institution which is a higher education institute (HEI). The HEI must be an independent overseas entity and must offer pathway courses. You must include your dependants in your application if they’re on your current visa, including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

Applications can be made within 6 months of getting a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and before your current visa expires – but no more than 3 months before the course start date on your CAS. You are allowed to stay in the UK until you get your decision.

Fee structure for a General Study visa extension

The cost for each visa extension is £475 with the additional medical fee. There is a mandatory £19.20 which must be paid for the biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) which are a mandatory part of the application. You can expect to get a response on your application within an 8-week timeframe.

However, you can avail the provision for an expedited process with an additional £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days. You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday, or in 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend.

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

All applications must be made online and adequate, verified biometric information and supporting documents must be provided. Any travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man is prohibited in the time period between the application until you get a decision from the government on your application. Any failure to adhere to this regulation may result in a withdrawal of the application.

Child Student visa

Overview

This visa application is relevant only if you are between the ages of 4 and 17 years and if the institution you want to study at is an independent entity in the UK. You must be able to produce a verifiable document that shows you have admission for a course, that you have the consent of your parent or guardian and the proven financial ability to support yourself in terms of fees and living expenses for the duration of the course. You must also be from a country that is not a part of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

Timelines

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course and you can expect a response to your visa application within an 8-week timeframe.

Fee structure

A Tier 4 (Child) student visa application that is made from outside the country costs £348 with the additional medical fee that is a mandatory part of the application.

Length of stay in the UK

The length of your stay in the UK is determined by your age and the length of course you intend to study.

Your age at the time of application

Length of stay

Under 16

Course length (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards

16 or 17

Course length (up to 3 years) plus 4 months afterwards

You can arrive in the UK up to 1 week before your course starts if your course lasts 6 months or less or up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months

Additional regulations

With a Tier 4 (Child) student visa, you are allowed to study at an independent school. This application can be made from outside the UK and there is a provision for you to make an application for an extension on your stay.

If you are over 16 years of age, you can also work part-time during term for up to 10 hours per week or full-time during vacations. This visa also permits you to take up an opportunity for a work placement as part of your course (but not for more than 50% of your course time) or as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

However, you are not permitted to study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school) or further education college or access any public or government funds in any way. Additionally, you may not take a full-time permanent job or be self-employed, or work as a doctor, dentist or a professional sports coach. This visa does not allow you to settle in the UK or bring dependants with you into the country. If your parents want to accompany you when you come to study in the UK, a separate application needs to be made under the Parent of a Tier 4 (Child) visa category.

Qualifications

To apply for a Child Student visa, you must be able to produce a verifiable proof of admission on a course with a reputed and certified Tier 4 institution, with adequate proof of your ability to pay for your course and support yourself financially during the length of your study in the country. You can apply for a course that’s taught in line with the national curriculum with independent school education inspection standards

You can also do a course that’s accepted as being at the same academic level by any of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), the HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland), Estyn (in Wales), Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland) or Independent Schools Inspectorate.

Extension of the Child Student visa

An application for an extension of the Child Student visa can be made if you are already in the UK and meet all the eligibility requirements of being offered a course by an independent school in the country.

You must apply within 6 months of getting your confirmed seat in the institution and also before your current visa expires – but no more than 3 months before the course start date on your CAS. You can stay in the UK until you get a response form the government.

Fee structure for extension of Child Student visa

Refer to section on General Student visa

Timelines

Refer to section on General Student visa