Which UK student visa do I need?

Living and studying in the UK holds great appeal for ambitious students worldwide. The chance to enhance your English proficiency, enroll in a prestigious university, and discover the charms of the British Isles presents a remarkable prospect.

The year 2020 witnessed a student population exceeding 500,000 from across the globe studying in the UK. Most of these students would have been in a situation similar to yours—navigating the process of applying for a UK student visa.

This article aims to simplify the UK student visa application procedure, enabling you to become part of the multitude of students already immersed in UK education.

From identifying the appropriate UK study visa to meeting prerequisites and understanding fees, here’s a comprehensive guide to equip you with all the essential information.

1. Do I need a UK student visa to study in the UK?

International students aged 16 and above, who intend to pursue higher education in the UK, will be required to submit an application for a UK student visa.

This visa facilitates your stay and studies in the UK throughout the duration of your chosen course.

To initiate the application for a UK study visa, you can use the GOV.UK platform, provided you fulfill the following UK student visa prerequisites:

1. You have received an offer for a university course or have been accepted by a licensed student sponsor.

2. Your English language skills encompass speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension, meeting a standard test level.

You might need to take an exam to validate your English proficiency. (For more information on TOEFL scores, PTE preparation, and Duolingo English Tests, refer to our previous articles).

3. You possess adequate financial resources to sustain yourself and cover your course expenses. Apart from tuition and accommodation fees, the current monthly living expenses are set at £1,023 (or £1,334 within London).

While you may opt for part-time employment during your studies, it’s inadvisable to depend solely on this income.

4. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must have written consent from your parents to pursue studies abroad.

For comprehensive insights into the specific details of UK student visa requirements, we have compiled a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to assist you through the UK study visa application process.

2. Which UK study visa do I need?

Starting from October 2020, the UK’s Tier 4 system underwent a transformation, giving way to The Student Route—a points-based visa framework tailored for international students, encompassing individuals from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland.

The objective behind The Student Route is to simplify the UK student visa application procedure by consolidating it into a centralized system. This strategic shift is aimed at enticing the most skilled and promising students from across the globe.

Consequently, whether aspiring scholars hail from the EU, Singapore, Chile, or any other corner of the world, they can anticipate a just and streamlined process when applying for a UK student visa.

When will I receive notification about the status of my visa application?

For those applying for a UK student visa from outside the country, you can commence your application up to six months before your course commencement.

Typically, you can expect a response from UKVI within three weeks, conveyed through means such as a letter, text message, or email.

If you’re applying from within the UK, you can begin the process three months ahead of your course start date.

While the timelines remain consistent, applicants in this category are more likely to receive a formal letter confirming the approval or rejection of their application.

Keep in mind that many courses commence in September, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance of this date.

It’s always wise to cross-check all the particulars with your educational institution!

3. How much is the UK student visa fee?

Let’s start with the not-so-great news: International students need to cover a UK student visa fee. The silver lining is that this fee is a one-time payment.

For those applying from outside the UK, the cost for a UK study visa application is £348.

However, for those who are already within the UK and seeking to extend or change their current visa, the fee is a more substantial £475.

We understand that this isn’t an ideal situation, but it’s important to persevere through it.

Additionally, you might also be required to pay a healthcare charge, as your access to NHS coverage won’t be on par with British citizens. Prior to applying, make sure to ascertain the exact amount you’ll need to pay for this charge.

4. How long does a UK study visa last?

If you’re aged 18 or above and pursuing a degree-level program, a UK student visa permits a stay of up to five years.

For studies below degree level, the typical duration is up to two years, though this period is subject to extension.

Undergraduate courses generally span three to four years, possibly longer if they include “years in industry” or work experience components.

Given the five-year validity of most UK study visas at the university level, there’s potential for an additional year or so after your university program concludes.

During this time, you could opt for further studies, part-time employment, or simply relish moments with newfound British friends.

Should you wish to prolong your stay in the UK beyond five years without pursuing additional studies, securing stable, long-term employment post-graduation offers the best avenue for a visa extension.

5. UK student visas: in summary

By exploring this comprehensive guide to UK student visas, we trust that you now possess a clear understanding of what lies ahead.

It’s crucial for international students to grasp the specific visa requirements, associated expenses, and the available pathways for continuing their stay in the UK after graduation.

UK universities warmly embrace international students, ensuring their seamless integration from the very onset of fresher’s week.

Moving to a new country, especially if English isn’t your native language, can understandably be overwhelming. However, it’s no coincidence that the majority of those who arrive find themselves reluctant to depart!

If you’re currently in the process of applying for a UK study visa, don’t hesitate to explore our step-by-step guide to student visa applications, along with advice on adeptly preparing for and succeeding in your UK student visa interview.

From the entire team at Edvoy, we extend our best wishes for a successful journey in pursuing your study abroad aspirations.


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