International students are required to obtain a student visa to study in the UK. The types of student visa will be different based on the study course and duration. Age also determines the visa types.
Below diagram can help you to understand the most applicable student visa type.
Student Visa (previously Tier 4 visa) is for students aged 16 or over and want to study at the post-secondary level. If the student’s age is between 4 and 17 and study at a secondary level and below, they should apply for the Child Student Visa (previously Tier 4 child visa). There is another type of study visa which is called Short-term Study Visa. This route for the students who want to join short courses that are up to 6 months long or English language courses up to 11 months long.
Below table provides a further breakdown of requirements for the different student visas.
UK Student Visa Requirements
|Types of Student Visa||Eligible Course||English Language Requirement||Financial Requirement||Visa Fees|
|Student Visa||Post-secondary level||CEFR* B2 level for degree level and above; CEFR* B1 level for below degree level||1st year course fee + 9 months of living cost (£1,015 to £1,265 per month)||£348|
|Child Student Visa||Secondary level and below||CEFR* B1 level||1st year course fee + 9 months of living cost||£348|
|Short-term Study Visa (6 months)||Short course less than 6months||Not required||Full course fee + living cost||£97|
|Short-term Study Visa (11 months)||English Language short course more than 6 months but less than 11 months||Not Required||Full course fee + living cost||£186|
*Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) B1 level is equivalent to IELTS 4.0 overall and in each sub-bands. CEFR B2 level is equivalent to IELTS 5.5 overall and in each sub-bands.
English Language Qualification
Students do not require a specific type of English qualification for visa application, as long as they can meet the universities’ requirements (such as IELTS, TOEFL and PTE test) on it.
But if you are pursuing foundation or English language course, you must use the IELTS for UK visa and immigration (UKVI) as your English qualification for the visa application.
- Students must show that they have enough money to support themselves and pay for the course. The amount of money for one year and above course should be at least 1st-year-course fee + 9 months of living cost. The living cost is £1,265 per month for the London area, and £1,015 for outside of the London area.
- Students are asked to provide financial evidence via a bank statement, bank letter or, if they are sponsored, through a sponsorship letter from their sponsor. The objective of providing this financial evidence is to prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your studies in the UK.
- The financial evidence must also meet the maintenance requirements. This requirement dictates that this fund must be held for at least consecutive 28 days in the same account. This evidence should have been issued within the past 31 days of visa application date.
Student Visa Checklist
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Student Visa route holders may work part-time up to 20 hours per week during the term, or full time during their university holidays. Child Visa route holders who are aged 16 or older can work part-time up to 10 hours per week during the term, and full-time during vacations. Short-term study visa students are not able to work.
At this moment, the Tier 4 visa will be valid for the course duration plus an up to further four months after students complete their course. International postgraduate students from the 27 universities under the Tier 4 visa pilot scheme can remain in the UK for another two months.
There is a new rule just released on Jan 2019, the Home office will increase post-study leave period to 6 months for all full-time international postgraduate students. For those who have completed a PhD will have 12 months post-study leave period. Graduates can use this extra time to live, look for work or apply for further study in the UK.
International students can switch to other types of work visa to work in the UK after they graduate. Depends on the nature of job and sponsor, they can apply the different category of work visas. The available work visas as following:
General work visa (Tier 2)
Intra-company Transfer visa (Tier 2)
Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5)
1. Applying for the wrong type of student visa: There are different types of student visa based on the student’s age and course of study.
2. Failure to submit accurate financial documents: The Points-based system: Student route guidance provides information on a specific amount of money which has to stay in student / parents / guardian account for at least 28 days.
3. Failure to meet the documentation requirements: All documents listed on the CAS have to be submitted during the visa application. Documents need to be in English or translated into English with details of the translator like name, contact details, date and signature.
4. Failure to prove as a genuine student: Credibility interviews will be carried out as part of the visa procedure. It is designed to check that student is coming to the UK to study and not for any other purpose. Ensure that you are prepared for the interview.
It usually takes about three weeks. However, the actual time may depend on each individual case. Expected processing time based on the country can be checked here.