United Kingdom


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Do you want to study in the United Kingdom? Find out if you need to apply for a student visa in the United Kingdom and how the process works.

UK Visas and Immigration manages UK visa requirements and general immigration criteria, and it provides an easy-to-navigate website to help you figure out if you need a UK student visa. While Swiss nationals and EU/EEA citizens do not now require a visa to study in the UK, all other international students will very certainly require one.

The outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum on EU membership has created some confusion over visa requirements, however, the UK government has maintained that EU citizens’ rights and status would not change until 2021.

Types of UK student visa

If you’re over 18 and doing a short course, you might be eligible for a short-term study visa. For most short courses, this is valid for up to six months, and for English language courses, it can be extended for up to 11 months.

If you’re taking a lengthier course, be sure the institution you’ve chosen has a Tier 4 Sponsor License. If you’re between the ages of 4 and 17 and want to study at an independent school in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa, or a Tier 4 (General) student visa if you’re 16 or older.

UK student visa requirements

If you have been offered a place on a course, your course provider may be ready to assist you in applying for a UK student visa; inquire to see if this is the case. You can apply for the visa up to three months ahead of your course’s start date. Check your country’s average visa processing times and give yourself plenty of time.

A points-based system is used to issue student visas in the United Kingdom. You’ll need to furnish the following items to meet all of the UK student visa requirements:

Bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor can be used as proof of financial support, demonstrating that you can fund your tuition, housing, and living expenses. If you’re studying in the UK outside of London, you’ll need to show that you have £1,015 (US$1,300) a month for living expenses, and £1,265 (US$1,600) if you’re studying in London.

You may also be asked to provide documentation demonstrating your academic credentials, as well as to participate in an interview or biometric test, which includes a digital scan of your fingerprints. You may also be required to undergo specific medical immunizations or a tuberculosis test, depending on your place of origin.

If you’re 16 or 17 years old and applying for a Tier 4 (General) student visa, your parents or guardians must give you formal permission to reside and travel alone.

For the Tier 4 (General) Student visa, you must apply online after reading the entire advice here. You have until three months before the commencement of your course to apply.

UK student visa fees

The current charge for a Tier 4 (General) student visa is £348 (US$440), plus a further £348 for any dependents. You’ll also have to pay a £150 (US$190) healthcare fee to use the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay (this will increase to £300 (US$380) in late 2018).

The six-month Short Term Study Visa costs £97 (US$120) and the 11-month visa costs £186 (US$240).

27 universities have streamlined visa processes for master’s students.

As part of a new Tier 4 Pilot Programme, you can now apply for accelerated visa processing to study for a master’s degree at one of 27 qualified universities (listed here). Your course must be 13 months or less, and you can apply from anywhere in the world. The pilot program allows you to stay longer after the completion of your course (up to six months after your studies are completed) and eliminates the need to submit paperwork demonstrating your academic results or proof of money. You must, however, keep these documents on hand in case they are required, and you must adhere to all other immigration regulations.

Using your student visa in the United Kingdom

A UK Border Agency official will stamp your passport with the duration of your stay in the UK when you enter the country. If your course is 12 months or longer, for example, you can stay for the entire period of the course plus an additional four months. You will not be able to extend your stay beyond this time frame.

Before you come, make sure you are properly inoculated, and save your immunization record in your hand luggage in case the Border Agency official at your UK port of entry requests it. You should also include any documentation related to your studies (such as your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number), proof of financing, and evidence of lodging.

You may also be needed to register with the police within seven days of arriving in the UK, depending on your country of origin.

In the United Kingdom, you can work while studying.

While studying in the UK, all EU, EEA, and Swiss students are permitted to work. Tier 4 student visa holders who attend publicly supported higher education institutions can work up to 20 hours per week during the school year and full-time during the Christmas and Easter holidays (unless you are aged 16 or 17, in which case the maximum is 10 hours per week during term time).

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