Student visa in the UK : Student visa requirements in 2021
With so many world-class degrees and top-class institutions in the UK, it’s easy to see why we’re the best possible place for you to study. But did you know we’re also the best place to prepare for your future career? Delve deeper into studying in the UK and the steps required to get your student visa in the UK.
A degree obtained in the UK can provide you with more than just an outstanding academic qualification. It can also provide you with valuable work placements and experiences.
Placements, internships and volunteering positions are integrated into certain degrees and programs to give you valuable experience. UK universities more often than not have such strong links with a lot of different industries ranging from engineering to fashion to science and more.
Firstly, find out if you need a student visa in the UK
Brexit has created a lot of confusion, especially among international students who are wishing to study in a British University. But we’ll do our best to clarify the changes and who needs a visa to study in the UK;
In terms of EU/EEA and Swiss students;
- If you arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020, you don’t need a student visa in the UK.
- If you arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021, you might need a student visa in the UK.
- If you started your studies before 31 December 2020 and want to continue studying after 1 January 2021, you will need to apply for a settlement scheme before 30 June 2021.
- Citizens from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein might benefit from the same rules, but they should always check what student visa regulations apply to them.
- Non-EU/EEA students would need to apply either for a Short-Term Study Visa or a General Student Visa which is also called a Tier 4 Student Visa
How to get a student visa in the UK
If you live outside the UK, you’ll need to get a student visa, including if you’re an EEA or Swiss national coming to the UK after January 1, 2021. Once you’ve been offered a place on a course or degree, the course provider will advise you on how to apply for your student visa from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
In addition, you can also apply up to three months in advance of your course start date. It normally takes up to 15 days but could be longer at peak times, so make sure you apply early as soon as possible.
However, there are a few things you need to do on your checklist before you can send off your student visa application for finalisation.
Firstly, add your passport number to your UCAS application either when you’re filling out your details prior to the course, or when you’re offered a place on a course.
You need to prove your English language skills. Your chosen course provider can advise that you would need to take a UKVI approved secure English language test, or engage in a Skype interview. If you are required to take a SELT, this must be taken in one of the SELT centres that are approved by the UK Home Office. View the approved secure English language tests and test centres that meet the Home Office’s requirements to gauge what the process would be like.
If you accept an unconditional offer of a place on a course then if your university or college has a Sponsor licence, they can give you Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies also known as CAS.
If you apply for a student visa in the UK, please make sure you provide all the information and documents required. This includes your CAS and English language test certificate if you need one. You’ll also need to show evidence that you can afford to study and live in the UK. It is advised to check the UKVI financial requirements for further support.
Find out what type of visa you need to study in the UK
These are the 2 types of UK student visas for which you might need to apply:
- Short-Term Study Visa (which is available for 6 or 11 months), is for students who plan to study a short language course or take up a short period of research that is an essential part of their degree.
- A Tier 4 Student Visa is for those students who enrol in an academic degree like a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD course. The Tier 4 Student Visa doesn’t have a fixed time or availability, the length of your studies determines how long your visa lasts for.
When and where do you apply for the student visa in the UK?
There are two ways of getting your student visa in the UK. You can apply for a student visa at your closest UK embassy or you can do it on the official UK Government website.
Depending on your nationality, you might need to have your fingerprints and your photograph taken at the visa application centre, to be in the process of getting your biometric residence permit (this counts as part of your application).
Tips about your student visa UK application
It is always handy to be up-to-date about student visas for the UK on the official UK Government website.
- Do not leave your visa application until the very last minute. It can take up to 3 weeks to receive the Tier 4 Student Visa. But depending on the country you are applying from, you should start the visa application process at least 3 months prior.
- Make sure you have the certificate of acceptance for studies (also known as CAS) from your university before applying for the student visa.
- Make sure you get all the information you need and are not clear o before you start the application process.
- Make sure the institution you are applying to is licensed and authentic.
Universities usually have trained visa advisors on hand that are able to answer your questions about the Tier 4 student visa and guide you through the application process for a student visa UK.
Conditions that you need to meet to receive a Tier 4 visa are;
- You must be over 16 years old
- You must have the ability to speak, read, and understand English
- Be financially stable in order to support yourself during studies
- Have an unconditional offer of study from a licensed university in the UK
- Meet the language requirements for studying in the UK
- To prove that your knowledge of spoken and written English meets British visa requirements, you will need to pass a secure English language test also known as SELT. You must meet the CEFR level B2 of language proficiency if you’re studying at a degree level or even higher
In addition, there are various ways for students coming from certain countries, where proof of English proficiency may not be required if they’ve completed a qualification or programme equivalent to a UK degree.
Documents required for a UK student visa
- Completed visa application form
- Passport or valid travel documentation to enter UK
- One passport-sized photograph
- Proof that you can support yourself during your stay in the UK, amounting to £1,265 per month if you live in London and £1,015 per month for the rest of the UK
- Parental consent, if you’re under the age of 18 years
- Tuberculosis test results (for goes for citizens of certain countries)
- Proof of paying the visa application fee which cost £348
- Immigration Health Surcharge, this amounts to £150 per year of study
- Self-assessment form Appendix 8 with attached documents (this is not required if you apply online)
Any documents that contribute to your student visa UK, will have to be submitted in support of the Appendix 8 form. If documents are not in English this must be accompanied by an official full translation transcript that can be independently verified by the UK Border Agency.