You think about studying abroad, and the UK comes to your mind first. More than 480.000 foreign students in the UK have more than a reason to study there. It sounds like a secure-bright future. But, you need a UK student visa to move to the country.
This article will bring you whatever you should know about a student visa for the UK. It will cover who is eligible for a student visa, requirements, the application process, essential tests and certificates, FAQs, and more.
Who Needs a UK Student Visa?
The answer might seem a bit tricky. It is true after Brexit wich the UK left the EU. However, whether you need a UK student visa or not depends on two elements:
- Your nationality
- The lengths of your stay in the UK
The most guaranteed way to know the answer is the government of the UK. Here are the instructions to find out whether you need a UK student visa or not:
- Visit this page for the UK Visas and Immigration website. You see a question and a small box below it. The question asks about your nationality. It must be the nationality on your passport. Fill it and press NEXT SETEP.
- When you filled the box with your nationality, a few options will appear on the next page. Pick one that is appropriate for the purpose of your visit. In this case, it is studying. Then press the NEXT STEP button.
- Now choose the lengths of your course in the UK. There are only two options there:
- Up to six months
- Longer than six months
You have to be sure about the lengths of your stay. It is mandatory to pick the right type of visa. A few countries are free of the UK visa for short-stays. If you are one of them, you might not need a visa. Pick the lengths of your stay and press the NEXT STEP button.
The page will tell you whether you need a visa or not. If it says yes, you have to read the below sections to apply for a UK student visa.
EU, EEA, and Switzerland
For the national of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland, the time they will enter the UK is important. The UK Visas and Immigration explains the rules for them. For example, if they get to the UK before 31 December 2020, they do not need a visa. But, if they arrive in the UK after 1 January 2021, they might need a visa.
Who is Eligible for UK Student Visa?
You have to meet with the following conditions to be eligible for the UK student visa:
- Have enough funds
- Acceptance letter from a UK university or education center.
- Proof of language proficiency.
- Be at least 16.
- Pass TB test if you need one.
The eligibility standards might change depending on your case.
What are the Requirements for UK Student Visa?
The requirements for the UK student visa are as follows:
- Application form
Visit the application section below to know more about the application form for the UK student visa.
Look at your passport’s validity. It must be over the date your course will get finished.
- Acceptance Letter
having an acceptance letter from a UK university or education center is mandatory. It gets called Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS). Having the CAS is the precondition for applying for a UK student visa.
- TB test
You might need a TB test based on your nationality. See the section below to know about it.
- Clean record
Provide a clean criminal record from the Police in your home country.
- Permission letter
Providing that you are under 18, you need a consent letter from your parents. They must state having no objection to your study in the UK.
Proof to have enough funds
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme Clearance Certificate (ATAS)
Look at the below section to see the complete explanation for ATAS.
- Language proficiency proof
You must be proficient in English in the below skills:
The required point or skill depends on the UK university of the education center. Research to know what certificate they require. You could reach them to make sure of it. During your visa interview at the UK embassy, the visa officer might ask you questions in English.
A few countries might be free of the Language proficiency test. See the section below to know more.
Provide two passport-sized photos. They must be colorful.
- Proof to have enough funds
Make clear how and who will pay for your expenses in the UK. You could provide:
- Bank statements to approve you have enough funds for your stay.
- If your parents will cover you, provide a consent letter approving their sponsorship. Also, provide your birth certificate.
- Providing that you have a sponsor in the UK, provide his/her consent letter.
- Previous education
Provide the documents of your previous studies.
Note: Have all the documents translated into English. The translations must be:
- Verified by a certified translator.
- Hold the translator’s name.
- Confirmation that the translation is correct to the original documents.
UK Student Visa Application Process
The application process for a UK student visa (Tier 4) is as follows:
1. Do you need a visa?
Don’t do anything. Look before you leap. First, ask the essential question do I need a UK student visa? As explained above, a few countries might be free of student visa for the UK. See if you are among them or not.
You should also determine the type of visa you need:
Short-Term Study Visa
The short-stay visa could be valid for up to one year. Its validity depends on the lengths of your course.
General Student Visa
Students who apply for the below certificates need a long-stay student visa:
- D. course
The validity of long-stay depends on the lengths of your course.
There a few standards over the UK student visa. You have to comply with them to be eligible. Remember, the British officials are severe on their visa rules. Go through the above section and know about everything. If you do not, try to change your status.
4. Acceptance letter (CAS)
You have to hold an offer from a UK university or educational center. It gets called Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS). It is not possible to apply without CAS for a student visa. Bear in mind that not every UK education center is not eligible to issue CAS. The education center must have a license from the UK government.
Part of the application process for a UK student visa is online. You have to apply to the UK Visas and Immigration website. If it’s the first time you apply, create an account for yourself. Complete the online application form there. The form requires some of your key information like:
- The country you are living currently
- Passport number
- The reason for your visit is to study.
- Passport number
Be prepared to provide all the information. So leave your important documents nearby. Some applicants made comments about visa denial due to false information in the application form. Concentrate on what you put in the form. They must be correct and honest. If there is a contradiction between your application and the document, the application will get rejected. In the end, print, date, and sign the application form.
Gather the requirements for a UK student visa. See the section above to know about them. Remember, you might need a long time to complete this part. So there will be no problem starting it before other stages.
7. Visa appointment
Schedule a visa appointment with the British embassy or consulate. In case there is no one in your country, fins an authorized visa center.
Remember that you may not get an appointment right away for the day after tomorrow. You might have to wait for some days. Get to the embassy on time and bring all the requirements. The visa applicant must attend the appointment in person.
Providing that you have never visited the UK, the embassy will take your biometrics. It includes the scan of your fingerprints and photo.
There is also an interview with the embassy. The authorities will ask about your background and your visit to the UK. The interview questions for the UK student visa could be like these:
- your background
- Education history
- Work experience
- UK lifestyle and culture.
- The city you will be moving to.
- UK university or education center.
- Course you will be taking.
- Reason you have chosen the UK for studies.
- Why have you chosen this UK university
- Your accommodation in the UK.
- How you will cover your expenses.
- Your plans after completing the course.
After finishing all the procedures with the British embassy, wait for processing. The processing time for the UK student visa depends on various elements. You have to wait longer if you apply during the peak season. Also, if the officials ask for additional documents, the process will be longer. Ask the embassy whether they provide priority service. In this service, you pay a little money and get a quicker visa decision.
When the embassy issues the visa, they will inform you.
8. Who Needs to Register with the Police after arrival?
A few students have to register with the Police upon arrival to the UK. Whether you should do it depends on:
- Your nationality
- You are over 16
The nationals from the following countries have to register with the Police:
How do I Register with the Police?
Visit a local police station to receive the application form. You have to schedule an appointment with them as well. Gather the following requirements and bring on the date of the meeting:
- 34 pounds in Cash.
- Certificate for registering with the university or education center
- Proof of registered UK address.
- Visa and Residence permit
After registering with the police for the first time, inform the Police if any change happens in your:
- Residence permit
- Place of study
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the registration with the Police might be suspended. You might not have to register as soon as you get to the UK. Ask the authorities in the city you live in.
Who Needs to Pass a TB test for the UK student visa?
Providing that you are from one of these countries, you have to pass a Tuberculosis (TB) test to enter the UK. Bear in mind that you have to take the test in authorized centers in your home country. If an authorized center is not available in your country, you can do it in a neighboring country. The UK visa and Immigration has provided authorized centers’ address.
Who is free of Language Proficiency certificate?
Having a language proficiency certificate is necessary for a UK student visa. Yet, you might be exempt from it:
- Providing that you have achieved a degree parallel to a UK degree. The degree must be from the countries listed below.
- If you are a national of the below list of countries.
- You are a citizen or nationals of Canada.
- You have demonstrated your English proficiency in your previous applications.
- You seek to study in the UK for a study abroad program. The course is part of a university degree course in the USA.
|Antigua and Barbuda||Grenada||St Kitts and Nevis|
|the Bahamas||Ireland||St Vincent and the Grenadines
|Barbados||Jamaica||Trinidad and Tobago|
How long is the UK Student Visa Valid for?
The validity of the UK student visa depends on two elements:
- The type of visa
- The lengths of your stay course
As explained above, there are two types for the UK student visa:
- Short-stay that is valid for up to one year.
- Lon-stay that is valid as long your course is valid.
The duration of your course and the visa you pick determines the validity of your UK student visa.
How to Extend my UK Student Visa?
Yes, you could extend your UK student visa. It is possible to extend it to go on staying in the UK and continue your education. Yet, you have to meet the following conditions:
- Currently, you are in the UK under a student visa.
- Have an acceptance Letter from Confirmation from a UK educational center or university. It must have a license from the British government. Providing the of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is mandatory.
- The course you are going to take part in must be higher than your previous course.
You can extend your UK student visa for the latest three months to the date the new course begins. You may not extend it if your current visa gets expired. You have to pay 475 pounds to extend your UK student visa.
You could also extend your visa even if you do not want to continue your course. The time you can stay in the UK depends on the lengths of your course. Begin the application in a UK visa and immigration to know about it.
Do I need an ATAS Certificate for the UK Student visa?
If you are a non-EU and Switzerland national, you might need an ATAS certificate. It is the abbreviation for the Academic Technology Approval Scheme. The students who will study at a postgraduate level in some majors need ATAS. The knowledge received in these majors could be used in:
- Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT)
- Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)
- Ways to deliver the mentioned weapons (for example, projectiles)
You need an ATAS certificate before applying for a UK student visa to the above options. Bear in mind that some undergraduate students might need ATAS as well. The decision is up to the UK officials.
How do I know I need an ATASA?
You could find it out by visiting the UK Visas and Immigration website. There is a section for it to ensure whether you need an ATAS or not. You could pick your major and your nationality. The search engine will tell you whether you need it or not. If you need the certificate, you could apply through the mentioned link.
Remember the following list of countries is free from the ATAS certificate:
May I bring my family to the UK under a student visa?
The answer depends on your condition. You might be able to bring your child and spouse. However, you must fall in the following situations:
- You must be a full-time student on a post-graduate course. The lengths of your course must be at least nine
- You have sponsorship from the government on a full-time course that its duration is at least six
- You will be on a Doctorate Extension Scheme.
Bear in mind that you have to provide evidence of your relationship with your partner.
- Both of the couples must have reached the consent age (18).
- The couple must have the intention to live together in the UK. You have to do it once arriving in the country.
- You must hold enough funds to cover the expenses for your partner.
- Having a marriage certificate or registered partnership for the couple is a must.
- For your unmarried partner or same-sex partner, provide the evidence of a relationship or living together for at least two
- The child must be LESS THAN 18.
- Your child must be single and not make a relationship. He/she can not do so in the UK.
- The child must live with the parents.
Also, you must have enough money to cover the expenses of your family. The expenses differ based on the place you live in:
- £845 per months
Out of London
- £680 per month
The mentioned expenses are for nine months of stay in the UK.
Can I work under a UK Student visa?
Yes, you can work in the UK under a student visa. Yet, you have to meet a few standards:
- You have a long-term UK student visa.
- The permitted time to work is 10 hours per week.
- The job must no interfere with your studies.
- To get a job, you must be at least 16 or older.
- There are some jobs that you have no authorization to work in, like sports coaching.
Do I have the Authorization to stay in the UK after my graduation?
The answer to this question depends on the year you entered the UK. Up to 2019, the foreign students only had permission to stay in the UK after graduation for four months. It is true for them now. When you find a job offer, you can apply for a UK work visa and stay. If you don’t, you might have to leave the UK.
In September 2019, the British government announced that foreign students could stay in the UK after graduation for two years. They can work or look for a job in this period. It is an opportunity to look for a job an apply for a UK work visa. The new rule only applies to the students graduating in the summer of 2021 and later to it. The students graduating before that will have four months to stay in the UK. The new law gets called Graduate Immigration Route.
UK Student visa Processing time
The standard processing time for a UK student visa is 2-3 weeks. However, it could take longer than that. The processing time is subject to change due to various reasons. For example, if you apply during the peak season, the embassy is busier. So, you have to wait longer.
The British embassy could require supplementary documents. It is up to your case and their decision. This could lead to longer processing time. Bear in mind that the earliest time to apply for the UK student visa is six months. There is no need to be in a rush, but the sooner, the better.
Let’s sum up…
This article brought you whatever you should know about the UK student visa. It explained whether you need a visa, who is eligible for it, requirements, the application process, the tests and certificates you might need, validity, FAQs, and more.
If you should know about other types of UK visas, visit the left-sidebar. You could gain more about other country’s visas by visiting the homepage of the Visa Library.
Visa applicants beg you to share your knowledge or experience in the comment section. They are valuable tips for applicants.