With the implementation of GIR, the United Kingdom is certain to become a popular location for students seeking higher education. The Graduate Immigration Pathway, announced on September 11th, 2019, allows students to stay and work in the UK for an additional two years following graduation. GIR will be implemented beginning in Summer 2021 for students who graduate in or after 2021. This will very certainly increase the number of students applying to UK universities.
To assist these students with the UK immigration procedure, we have created this blog to describe the complete UK student visa process in depth. With this UK student visa guide, we’ll make the visa procedure easier for you by offering step-by-step directions, so you can get your UK visa quickly!
To apply for a UK student visa, you will need to follow these steps:
- Choose your course and university: First, you will need to choose the course you want to study and the university you want to attend. Make sure that the university is on the UK government’s list of recognized institutions.
- Apply for a place at the university: Once you have chosen your course and university, you will need to apply for a place. The application process will vary depending on the university and the course you are applying for. Make sure to check the university’s website for information on the application process and deadlines.
- Pay the application fee: Most universities in the UK require an application fee, which can range from £20 to £100. Make sure to pay the fee and provide any required documentation.
- Obtain a CAS: Once you have been accepted by the university, they will provide you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). You will need this document to apply for a student visa.
- Complete the online application form: You can apply for a student visa online on the UK government’s website. You will need to provide your personal information, your passport details, your CAS number, and other required documents.
- Provide biometric information: You will need to provide your fingerprints and a photograph at a visa application center.
- Attend an interview: Depending on your circumstances, you may need to attend an interview as part of the visa application process.
- Pay the visa fee: You will need to pay a fee to apply for a student visa, which can range from £348 to £475, depending on your circumstances.
- Wait for a decision: It can take several weeks for your visa application to be processed. Once a decision has been made, you will receive a decision letter.
- Travel to the UK: Once you have been granted a student visa, you can travel to the UK and start your studies.
Note: The visa application process may vary depending on your circumstances, so make sure to check the UK government’s website for the most up-to-date information.
What is the new UK student visa?
The United Kingdom government has revealed a new route for the UK student visa, as well as a new points-based immigration system. On October 5, 2020, the new Student Route and Child Student Route will open. It is a streamlined path for pupils that serves all students equally. The route has been created in order to attract a large number of foreign students, and hence there is no restriction to the number of international students who can come to the UK. The path is an enhancement to the Tier 4 student visa, making the procedure more efficient and transparent.
What Type Of Visa Should You Apply For To Study at a UK University?
The length of the course, type, and place of study decide the type of visa to apply for. There are mainly three types of visas –
- A Short-Term Study Visa – This is for students planning to study short courses in the UK. The visa is valid for 6 months and can be extended to 11 months if the student is above the age of 16 and studying an English language course. Students cannot work on this visa.
- Student Route Visa – previously known as Tier 4 Student Visa – This is for students for the longer course duration. Students pursuing undergraduate courses, postgraduate courses, M.Phil, Ph.D. need to apply for this visa. Students must be sponsored by a college or a university and have a confirmed place to stay. Students can also work on this visa.
- A Child Student Route Visa – previously known as Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa – This visa is for students aged between 4 to 17 years who want to study at an independent school.
What is a Biometric Residence Permit (BPR)?
A Biometric Residence Permit is issued to applicants who have applied to come to the UK for longer than 6 months. It is needed to confirm the applicant’s identity, the applicant’s right to work or study in the UK, and the right to any public service or benefits that they are entitled to. A BRP can also be used to open a bank account in the UK. There is no separate application for a BPR. It is automatically issued when the immigration application is approved. Most importantly, it needs to be collected before the vignette sticker expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.
A BPR Includes –
- Applicant’s name, date, and place of birth
- Fingerprints and photograph
- Immigration status and the conditions of the stay
- Whether they can access public funds, such as benefits and health services
What Are The Requirements For the Student Route Visa?
The Student Route visa is for students applying for a course that is longer than 6 months. The visa allows students to study and work in the UK. A student can work for 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacations. They can also apply to extend their stay. Students can also bring in family members/dependants on this visa.
It is a point-based system with a total of 70 points. A student must meet the full requirement and have 70 points in total. To achieve the points, the student will have to –
- Demonstrate that they can fund their education in the UK,
- Prove that they have an offer from an approved educational institution,
- Prove that they speak English.
What Are the Eligibility Criteria For a Tier 4 Visa?
- The student must be aged 16 or over.
- The student must have an unconditional offer letter from a licensed sponsor.
- The student must have enough funds to support themselves and proof of those funds. The student is required to maintain the funds in the bank account for 28 days including living costs. The living expenses are set at £1,265 if you are living in London, and £1,015 if you are living outside of London. If the student has dependents, then they need approximately £800 per month for each of them. A loan sanction letter can also work as proof of funds. Remember that a certain kind of sanction letter doesn’t work for the visa. To know in detail, you can get in touch with GyanDhan’s education loan counselor.
- The student must also have basic language proficiency.
What Is The Cost Of the Student Route Visa?
It costs £348 to apply for this visa. In case there are any dependents, they will also have to pay £348 per person.
Healthcare Surcharge – along with the visa fee, students will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge of £400 per year. For example, for a 2-year visa, the student needs to pay £800. It is also called the ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’ or the IHS.
The amount is refunded if the visa application is rejected or the student withdraws the application.
How To Apply For the UK Student Route Visa?
Before applying for a student visa, the student must provide the following information.
Documents Required –
- A current passport
- Proof of funds
- A ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ given by the university. It is a reference number that needs to be entered in the visa application.
- Documents verifying test scores and academic qualifications and transcripts.
- Proof of English language proficiency
- An Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if applicable.
- A tuberculosis test result to prove that the student is medically fit. The certificate should not be older than 6 months.
Process of Applying For the Visa –
- Apply for the visa online and book an appointment.
- Select a visa application center to attend a visa interview. You will be provided with a UK student visa checklist and informed if you need to bring any of the documents with you on the day of your interview.
- At the appointment, your fingerprints and photographs are taken as part of your application.
- UK student visa processing time is usually 3 weeks. That is, the decision on the application is given within 3 weeks but you can get a faster visa decision at an additional cost. You can get it within 5 days – ‘Priority Service’ or 24 hours – ‘Super Priority Service’.
- The process will end when your passport is ready for collection. At this point, you will be contacted to collect your documents.
- Once you reach the UK, collect your Biometric Residence Permit within 10 days or before your vignette expires, whichever is later.