Are you interested in studying in the UK as an international student? Then you are required to get a Student Visa. Getting a student visa is one of the important things you have to get to fulfill your dream of studying in the UK. A student visa is available to full-time university students pursuing a degree program in the UK. As a student, you need a student visa for an extended stay in the UK. The Visa is now called Tier 4 (General) student visa.
In this post, we’ll tell you all you need to know about UK student visas, and as well guide you through the process of getting a visa to study in the UK.
Types of Visa for study in the UK
Before we go further, it is safe to bring to your notice here that there are three types of visas for studying in the UK. These are:
- A student visa or short-term student visa
- A standard visitor visa.
- Tier 4 student visa
Short-term Student Visa
Short-term student route visas are available to students who want to join courses that are up to six months long or English language courses up to 11 months long
Tier 4 student visa
This visa is available for students who are up to 16 years old and above and wants to pursue independent higher education in the UK. Here, you’ll need to apply for a student visa through the Student Route.
You can only apply for this visa after you might have gotten an offer from your chosen institution. Your chosen institution needs to be approved by the UK government as a licensed sponsor before they can issue you a document called a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). You’ll need this document before you can apply for this kind of visa.
Who is eligible to apply for a student visa in the UK?
Students from The European Union, European Economic Area (EEA), or Swiss citizens don’t need a visa in order to study in the UK. This also includes those who have dual nationalities (two or more) and who use an EEA/EU/Swiss Passport in order to get into the country.
On the other hand, Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will need a visa to study. UK Border Control has two categories of nationalities, so, you’ll have to determine which category you fall under before you know how to apply. Your visa application will also be based on what you’re studying and how long you plan to stay in the UK. To read more about the categories of nationalities, click this link.
When to apply
The time to apply for a study visa in the UK depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK. If you are applying from outside the UK, then you should apply for a visa 6 months before the commencement of your course.
Once you have been offered admission by your chosen institution, the university will send you a document called Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (you can request for CAS from your institution if you’ve been offered admission.) This document makes you eligible to apply for a visa. Use the CAS number to support your student visa application form.
If you are applying from inside the UK, you should apply for a visa 3 months before your course starts. You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.
How much does it cost to apply for a student visa in the UK?
The fee you need to pay while applying for a student visa depends on the type of visa you wish to get, and the area (your nationality) you are applying from.
- If you apply from outside the UK, it will cost you £363 for a Tier 4 Student visa.
- Those applying from inside the UK will have to pay £490 to get a student visa.
Note: If you are applying from inside the UK, you can:
- switch to a Student visa from another type of visa
You need to keep the following documents when you apply for a student visa. However, you should know that visa restrictions and requirements in the UK change regularly. Therefore, you must always check the official visa policy guidelines before initiating an application.
When you apply for your Student visa you must provide all or some of the following:
- a current passport or other valid travel documentation
- a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your institution
- proof you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
In general, you need to seek particular visa requirements before applying for a student visa in the UK.
What can you not do with a UK student visa?
There are a number of things you cannot do with a UK student visa even though your visa is still valid. The following sections highlight the limit to which you can use your UK student visa
- You can:
- work as a student union sabbatical officer
You may be able to work – how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.
- You cannot:
- claim public funds(benefits) and pensions
- work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
- be self-employed
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
Can I bring my relatives to the UK with my Student Visa?
Yes, your relatives may come to the UK or stay longer for an extended period of time. However, there are some restrictions and exemptions you have to know. These relatives are referred to as ‘dependents.’ You can only bring your dependents to the UK under the following conditions:
- You are a full-time student on a postgraduate level course (RFQ level 7 or above) that lasts 9 months or longer.
- You are a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months.
- A Doctorate Extension Scheme student.
Your Dependent is one of the following by UK definition:
- Husband, wife, or civil partner
- Unmarried partner
- Your child under 18 years old – including if they were born in the UK during your stay.
Other relatives are not in this category and cannot be brought into the UK.