The Ultimate Guide to Getting a UK Student Visa

This page provides you with all of the information that you will need in order to find out how to get a UK student visa. It includes information on who qualifies for an English language requirement and all of the details you will need in order to successfully apply for one.

The Ultimate Guide to Getting a UK Student Visa

If you’re an international student interested in studying in the UK but are worried about how to get a UK student visa, then this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of getting your student visa in no time at all.

This guide will cover what you need to do to prepare before submitting your application, where to get help if you have any questions along the way, and how long it will take once your application has been approved by Her Majesty’s Home Office. If you’re ready to start your adventure abroad, then let’s get started.

However, the result of the UK’s referendum on membership in the European Union (‘Brexit’) has led to some uncertainty over visa regulations, but the UK government has stated that there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens until further notice. 

Why Study in the UK?

It’s no secret that Britain is one of the world’s most desirable study destinations. According to some rankings, England’s University of Cambridge has been named the top university in Europe for two years running, with another survey placing it at number three globally. It’s perhaps not surprising then that around 130,000 students from across 162 countries choose to study in Britain each year.

Types of UK student visa

Before getting into how to get a UK student visa, it’s important to understand that there are actually several types of student visas available. Currently, British citizens have access to three different categories of student visas: Tier 4 General Students (Sub-category), Tier 4 Postgraduate Study, and Tier 5 Temporary Workers. Depending on your academic and professional background, you may be eligible for any one of these programs.

Note If you’re studying a short course and are over 18 years old, you may be eligible for the short-term study visa. This is valid for up to six months for most short courses and can be extended for a stay of up to 11 months for English language courses.

UK student visa requirements

The UK student visa is issued on a case-by-case basis by each individual country. Before you apply, be sure you understand these requirements: Your course must lead to a qualification that is equivalent to at least an upper second class Honours degree. 

You’ll need to provide evidence of your English language ability – you’ll need a minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL iBT 92 (or Cambridge CAE grade C).

 You will also need to prove that you have enough money available for your stay in England – £945 per month for an undergraduate course or £1,890 per month for postgraduate study. If you’re applying from outside of Europe, you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship before applying for your visa. 

And if you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss student studying a sensitive subject, you may also need an ATAS certificate
Proof of financial support can take the form of bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor, showing you can cover your tuition fees, accommodation, and living costs. You must prove that you have £1,015 (~US$1,300) per month for living costs if studying in the UK outside of London, and £1,265 (~US$1,600) a month for living costs if studying in London.
 This document can be obtained from your university and shows that they are willing to sponsor your studies.

Details of your passport

A recent photograph
An unconditional offer of a place on a course offered by a licensed Tier 4 Sponsor, evidenced by a 'Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) form from your course provider (worth 30 points)

If you’re 16 or 17 years old and applying for the Tier 4 (General) student visa, you must have written consent from your parents/guardians that you can live and travel independently.

You must apply online for the Tier 4 (General) Student visa, ensuring you’ve read the full guidance here. You can apply up to three months before the start of your course.

What Does it Cost?

Applying for a visa can be expensive, but there are things you can do to keep your costs down. First of all, check with your school if they have any special agreements with visa agencies, which would allow you to apply directly at their campus rather than via an agency.

You may also be able to apply in another country such as Canada or Ireland (for EU citizens), or Australia (for Australian citizens). This is known as applying for regional preference status and will significantly reduce your application fees. The costs associated with attending school in Europe can vary from country to country.

In general, however, students can expect tuition and living expenses to cost between $20,000 and $50,000 annually. That may sound like a lot of money, but remember: Students studying abroad have an opportunity to live and learn in a whole new culture—and that experience will pay off in spades when it comes time for you to graduate and enter into your first job or career. It’s worth it!

The current fee for the Tier 4 (General) student visa is £348 (~US$440), with an additional £348 fee per person for any dependents. You’ll also need to pay a healthcare surcharge of £150 per year (~US$190) in order to access the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay (this will rise to £300 (~US$380) from late 2018).

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

How long you can stay

How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed in the UK.

If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

However, we have also provided for you where you can get the closest embassy in the united kingdom.

UK Embassy and Consulates addresses-

Here are the locations of the embassy and consulates addresses in the united kingdom so if you are already in the united kingdom you can get to any of these centers that are nearest to you.

1. British High Commission New Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi 110021

Phone: 011-24192100

2. British Deputy High Commission Mumbai

Naman Chambers, 
C/32 G Block Bandra Kurla Complex, 
Bandra (East) 400 051

3. British Deputy High Commission Chennai

20 Anderson Road
Chennai 600 006

4. British Deputy High Commission Kolkata

1A Ho Chi Minh Sarani 
Kolkata 700071

Working while studying in the UK

If you want to work in addition to studying, you will need a Tier 4 visa. However, unlike a Tier 4 visa for study, you cannot work just anywhere.

In order to qualify for a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you must either be enrolled in an English language course or have been admitted and planning on studying full-time at an institution that is part of an exchange program with your home institution.

You can also apply for a Tier 4 visa if you are coming to England as part of an official exchange program sponsored by your school. You should check with your school’s international office before applying for a Tier 4 visa.

Your university will tell you whether it has such programs available and whether they are eligible for student visas. If not, they may be able to put you in touch with other schools that do offer these programs so that you can apply through them instead.

Scholarships for studying in the UK

UK’s education system is considered one of the best in the world. However, most international students need financial assistance to pursue their higher education from there. In order to fulfill the aspirations of international students, different types of scholarships are available to study in the UK. Below you will find the list of some of the top fellowships for studying in the UK.

Lady Meherbai D.Tata Education Trust Scholarship
London Business School Fund Scholarships
Global Study Awards
The Oxford and Cambridge Society of India Scholarships- University of Cambridge.

Additional Resources

If you’re reading through these articles because you want more information on how to get a UK student visa, there are lots of great resources out there. Check out my free beginner’s guide it gives an overview of how things work. You can also read about applying for a student visa in detail here.

See more related posts: How to Student in the USA: A Guide for International Students 

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Final thought 

A student visa for any country is not impossible, it just takes diligence and proper planning. Working in another country is always challenging but with preparation, you’ll be able to successfully gain entry into your desired program. Good luck!
Remember though, as always, that working while studying in another country can affect your ability to return home. There are also many other factors like scholarship availability or job placement that must be considered before accepting a position abroad. All of these are details that will vary depending on which program you choose and where it is located.