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Student Visa (Former Tier 4 General Visa)

A Student Visa is issued to eligible international students who want to study in the United Kingdom. In October 2020, the Tier 4 General Student Visa was replaced by the new Student Visa.

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Student Visa Guidance

In October of 2020, the Tier 4 General Student Visa was replaced by the Student Route. The new Student Visa (2021) is divided into the Student Route (for adults aged 18+) and the Child Student Route (for students aged 4 – 17).

International students from outside the UK need to apply for a Student Visa to study in the UK.

To be eligible for this category, you must intend to study a full-time degree course in the UK and meet specific requirements.

In other words, your eligibility is calculated using a points-based rules system, based on your course confirmation, sponsorship, English language skills, funding, immigration forms and your personal circumstances.

To find out more about whether you or your partner is eligible for this visa category, call 0121 667 6530. One of our Birmingham immigration lawyers would be happy to assist with your visa application.

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New UK Student Route (Updated 2021)

The new immigration permission is divided into:

  • Student route (for adult students aged 18+)
  • Child student route (for students aged 4 – 17)

The Student Route is available to both non-EEA and EEA international students. EEA nationals are subject to the same immigration conditions as non-EEA nationals post-Brexit.

Some of the main changes to the new Student Visa UK requirements include:

  • International students can apply for the visa up to six months before the course starts
  • To be eligible for the visa, the applicant will need to score 70 points in the new points-based system
  • A new Graduate Visa has been launched for those who graduate from a British educational institution. This will allow the graduates to work and look for work in the UK for up to two years

How to apply for a UK Student Visa

To apply for the visa, follow the below steps:

  1. Gather your financial evidence and supporting documents to show you are eligible for this visa. Your evidence should include your ability to pay tuition fees, personal living expenses, and living expenses of any dependent family members
  2. Prepare additional supporting evidence (including academic qualifications, English language test certificates, etc.)
  3. Accept your offer of a place at your university to receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  4. Where required, pay the £2,000 tuition fee deposit (depending on course requirements)
  5. Confirm that all details on your CAS are accurate
  6. Use the Gov.uk page to complete the online Student Visa application
  7. Choose where you intend to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) after you arrive in the UK
  8. Provide your supporting documents and BRP when you attend your visa appointment at the visa application centre
  9. Your passport will be sent to you with your entry sticker (vignette) affixed
  10. Travel to the UK and collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival

If you want to study in the UK, you should first ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. International students aged 16 years and over can apply for a visa if the following circumstances apply:

  • Have received an unconditional offer on an approved course
  • Can demonstrate their written and spoken understanding of English
  • Have enough money to support themselves while in the UK and pay for their course
  • Score at least 70 points in the points-based system

If you are applying to extend your existing visa or switching to a new visa from another immigration status, you must submit your forms to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) from within the UK.

What courses are eligible?

To be eligible for this visa, you must have received an unconditional offer from a licensed and approved sponsor. You must also do a course that is one of the following:

  • Full-time leading to a qualification that is at least level 6 on the Ofqual register
  • Part-time leading to a qualification that is at least level 7 on the Ofqual register
  • An overseas course of dependents study that is equal to a UK higher education course, and it is being run by an overseas higher education institution
  • Full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, and leading to a qualification that is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
  • A recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • An English language course at level B2 or above on the CEFR

What are the English language requirements?

As a part of your application, you must prove your knowledge of English by passing a secure English language test (SELT). The minimum fluency required varies based on the course you are going to do.

Educational institution Course English Level required
Higher Education Institution (HEI) Degree level or above Level B2
An institution that is not HEI Degree level or above Level B2
Any institution Below degree Level B1

The following categories of applicants are exempt from proving their knowledge of English:

  • Those who have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in an English-speaking country
  • Those who have previously studied in the UK as a Child Student
  • Those who are entering the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the United States

What documents do you need to apply?

When you apply for this visa, you must submit a bundle of documents to support your eligibility. One of our immigration lawyers in Birmingham will be happy to help you with gathering all the necessary evidence for your case, such as:

  • Your current passport or another valid travel document, which must have a blank page
  • A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies document from the approved course provider
  • Proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course
  • A written and signed consent from your parents or legal guardian if you are under 18
  • Evidence of your relationship with your parent or guardian if you are under the age of 18
  • Your tuberculosis test results (if required)

You may need additional documents based on your circumstances or immigration background.

Student Visa extension UK

In certain circumstances, you can renew your visa if your current sponsorship is still valid. You must submit your application before your authorised stay expires, but no more than 3 months before your course date starts. Once you have submitted your form, you will be allowed to stay in the UK until you get your decision.

Some of the extension requirements include showing that the reason for extending your stay is to engage in further academic progress. For full details on what constitutes progress, view the Gov.uk visa extension page.

It costs £475 to extend your visa, but you will also be required to pay the healthcare surcharge and an additional £19.20 to have your biometric information taken.

It usually takes up to 8 weeks to get a decision from the Home Office, but you can get a faster response to your request by applying for the Priority or Super Priority services.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for a UK Student Visa. Contact us

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Student Visa application fees for UK

If you wish to study in the United Kingdom, there are a number of costs you will need to pay.

It costs £348 to apply for a visa from outside the UK, while it costs £475 to extend or switch to this visa inside the UK.

If you are applying with your family, you must pay an additional fee of £348 per person for each of your dependants.

In addition, you will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge, depending on your circumstances.

Can you bring your family members?

You can apply to bring your wife, husband, unmarried partner and children under 18 years old in the UK with you if you are:

  • Sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at level 7 on the Ofqual register or above that lasts at least 9 months
  • A new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
  • A Doctorate Extension Scheme student

You family members may be able to work and study once in the UK.

When to submit your application

The earliest you can submit your application is 3 months before the start date of your course.

You will usually get a decision within 3 weeks.

However, you may apply for the Home Office’s Priority or Super Priority services to receive a response from the authorities between 5 working days or 24 hours.

How to get ILR from Student Visa

If you switch from the Student Visa to an eligible visa for a qualifying period of time, it may be possible to apply for ILR (indefinite leave to remain). The Student Visa itself does not lead to ILR (settlement), and the time spent in the UK on this visa cannot be used to count towards the time requirements.

If you wish to apply for ILR to stay in the UK, you must switch to an eligible visa. The visas you may be eligible to apply for include:

If you work in the UK, it may be possible to apply on the basis of time spent working in the UK on an eligible visa. Learn about how to apply for ILR after five years, and the difference between the five-year and ten-year routes.

For graduates who wish to work and stay in the UK after studying, one option is to switch to the Graduate Visa but please note that this does not lead directly to ILR.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to score 70 points on the points-based system in order to be eligible for the study visa.

Here is a table explaining the points-based system:

Points Type Requirements Number of Points
Study Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)                    Approved qualification requirement                                Level of study requirement      Place of study requirement 50
Financial Financial requirement 10
English language ability English language requirement 10

Our immigration lawyers are ready to assist you throughout the application process, assessing your eligibility and advising on the supporting documents to submit with your application.

The Secure English Language Test (SELT) is an English language exam approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for the purposes of proving language skills for a UK visa.

The SELT is a requirement for people applying for a Student Visa, unless they are exempt.

Nationals of the following majority English-speaking countries do not need to provide evidence of their English language skills:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The Bahamas
  • United States of America

There may be additional exemptions that apply to your circumstances. If you are in any doubt, speak to our immigration lawyers about what you may need for your Student Visa application.

The Tier 4 General Student Visa was the immigration route by which international students could apply to study in the UK. The route was officially ended on 5 October 2020 and replaced by the new points-based Student route.

With the ending of free movement in the UK, students from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Norway now need to apply for a visa if they wish to study in the UK.

Internation students in the UK who hold a study visa are typically allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during the university’s term time. This is typically the case for students on full-time, degree-level courses.

The 20 hours refers to both paid and unpaid work, and for one or more organisation. The definition of a week is the 7-day period, beginning on Mondays. Students are not permitted to undertake some forms of work, including permanent roles, and self-employed roles.

As well as the Home Office’s rules on working while a student, universities may also have limits on how many hours students may work. Please check with your university for further information.

To find your visa number, go to the vignette (sticker) in your passport. The visa number is displayed in the top right-hand corner, directly below the visa’s expiry date.

The following information can be found on the vignette:

  • Visa number
  • Place of issue
  • Single/ multiple entry
  • Type of visa
  • Valid from
  • Valid until
  • Conditions of visa (e.g., work restrictions or recourse to public funds)

Applicant information:

  • Photograph
  • Name
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Number of dependents

 

Our Student Visitor Visa page outlines in detail how to apply for this visa. You must apply outside the UK, using the online application form, and submit your supporting documents. If granted, you cannot switch to the Student Visa from a Student Visitor Visa.

It is a temporary visa that allows eligible international visitors to undertake a short course lasting a maximum of 6 months or less in the UK. It cannot be used to undertake a degree-level course of study.

One exception is if you undertake an English language course. In this case, you may be able to study for up to 11 months in the UK.