Three things why international students flock to the UK: world-renowned education system, multicultural environment, and endless opportunities. It’s a recipe for a successful and unique student experience. Should you decide to study in the UK, you need to find out if you need a student visa or not. Thanks to the UK’s official UK Visas and Immigration website, learning about the process and requirements is a breeze.
In this article, it covers the required documents, fees, and steps on how to apply for a UK student visa.
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What documents do you need to apply for a student visa in the United Kingdom?
A United Kingdom student visa is given to international students over 16 years of age and has been accepted in a university in UK which is approved. However, if you are from the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland, you may apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. If you need a UK student visa, the following documents are generally required:
- a valid passport
- a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a UK institution
- proof of financial income that can support your overall stay
- proof of English language proficiency via Secure English Language Test (SELT)
- proof you can speak, read, write and understand English on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale (some countries don’t need to provide this document such as the USA or Canada)
- proof of parental or legal guardian consent and proof of relationship for international applicants under 18 years old.
- proof of tuberculosis test results
- a valid ATAS certificate, if needed
How much money do you need for a UK Student Visa?
If you are applying for a student visa outside the UK, it costs £348 or US$480. If you are in the UK and wish to extend or switch to a student visa, it costs £475 or US$650. Moreover, for those applying with their family, you must pay for each person’s visa fee.
Aside from the visa fees, you need to make sure you have enough funds to support your studies for one academic year. You need £1,334 or US$1,834 per month for nine months if you are studying in London. For studies outside London, you need £1,023 or US$1,400 per month for nine months.
Plus, you need to pay the healthcare surcharge which depends on your length of stay. Lastly, applying for the EU Settlement Scheme is free if you are qualified.
Steps on Applying for a Student Visa in the United Kingdom
1. Get a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a UK institution
International students must first secure an unconditional offer from a licensed student sponsor under the Student and Child Student routes. The school you got accepted at will provide you with a reference number or a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). The CAS is needed before you can apply for a UK student visa.
We recommend applying for a United Kingdom student visa at least six months after obtaining your CAS. To help you get started, check the courses you can study for all levels at gov.uk.
2. Determine the type of visa you need
Check if you need a UK visa and what type is required. The type of UK student visa depends on the length of stay and nationality. You can obtain a Short-term Visa (short courses), a Sponsor License, a Child Student Visa (4-17 years old), or a General Student Visa (16 years old and above).
These visas will allow you to study and work as a student union sabbatical officer. However, you can’t be self-employed, claim benefits and pensions, work as a professional, or study at an academy or maintained school.
3. Complete the student visa application form online and prepare your documents
If you are applying from outside the UK, you need to confirm your identity by either submitting your biometric information which includes your fingerprints and a photograph, or via the UK Immigration: ID Check app where you’ll upload your identification document. After submitting your application, it will take three weeks to get the results if you are applying from outside the UK, whereas it may take eight weeks for those applying inside the UK.
It is recommended to apply for UK student visa at least six months before starting your studies, and three months before if applying inside the UK. In some cases, they may need you to submit more supporting documents or attend an interview before approving your application.
4. Wait for a decision on your application
If your United Kingdom student visa application is approved, you’ll receive either:
- a sticker or vignette for your biometric residence permit (BRP) – The BRP is given to those studying for more than six months or extending a visa to longer than six months. It includes your personal information, fingerprints, photograph, immigration status, benefits and health services, and a National Insurance (NI) depending on your visa status.
- a digital immigration status – This is given to those who have a settled or pre-settled status and applied using UK Immigration: ID Check app. The digital immigration status can be viewed online, where you can get your code to be shared with others to prove your immigration status. It can also be used to update personal information such as your passport details and email address.
5. Get your BRP
If you are already in the UK, you can get your BRP by courier service which is usually delivered in a week or 10 days. If you are coming from your home country, you can only get your BRP upon arrival in the UK. You should claim your BRP before the vignette sticker expires 10 days after arrival.
The decision letter given to you will explain the details of where to get your BRP from a Post Office branch or your sponsor. To claim your BRP, you need your passport and vignette sticker. You must be over 18 years of age to get the BRP, so for children needing a BRP, a person should be nominated to collect the BRP.
The Home Office will approve the nomination request and a letter of authority will be given which is needed upon collecting the BRP. In case you are sick or have a disability that prohibits you from getting your BRP, you can also nominate someone else to get it for you. The nominated person should be able to present a passport, an EU national identity card, or a BRP.
I hope that this article on how to apply for a United Kingdom student visa was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!