Thinking of studying abroad in the UK? Before you pack your bags to begin the adventure of a lifetime, you’ll have to jump through the bureaucratic hoops to get your visa. Here are 10 common student visa questions, answered.
1. I’m European, but am from a country outside of the EU. Do I need a student visa?
If you’re from a country that’s part of the EEA (European Economic Area—all countries
in the EU as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein), as well as Switzerland, then
you don’t need to apply for a visa. It’s smooth sailing for you!
2. What type of student visa do I need?
If you’re studying abroad in the UK for less than six months, you can apply for the Student Visitor Visa. This visa can also be extended to eleven months if you’re coming to the UK specifically to study English.
The second, and more common, type of student visa is called the Tier 4 (general) Visa. You’ll need it if you’ll be studying in the UK for longer than six months.
3. How far in advance should I apply for the visa?
If you’re applying for the Student Visitor visa, you can do this up to three months before the start of your program.
If you’re applying for the Tier 4 Student Visa, you’ll need to turn in the application no less than 3 months before the start of your program, but no more than 6 months after you received your CAS form.
4. What is the CAS form?
The CAS—Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies---is a virtual document with a unique reference number, sent to you by the institution that accepted you to study. You’ll need it to apply for your student visa. It contains important information such as the details of your program; tuition costs; your personal information; and your acceptance into the university.
5. What is the deal with the UK’s point system for visas?
The UK’s immigration system is now point based. In order to study abroad in the UK, you’ll need to earn 40 out of 40 points. The CAS form and the information provided therein covers 30 of the 40 points; the other ten come from proof that you’ll be able to pay for your studies and support yourself financially whilst you’re there. If you don’t obtain all 40 points, your application may be rejected.
6. How much do I need to show for proof of funds?
You’ll need to prove that you or your parents have enough money in the bank to support yourself for the duration of your studies. This means covering costs of the program’s tuition, as well as living expenses, which will vary on a case-by-case basis.
If you’re studying in inner London, you’ll need to show that you have £1020 per month for living expenses for the duration of your studies.
If you’re studying in outer London or anywhere else in the UK, you’ll need to show proof that you can provide £820 a month for living expenses.
7. How much is the student visa application fee?
There is a £310 fee to obtain the Tier 4 (general) visa.
A 6-month Student Visitor visa costs £83.
An 11-month extended Student Visitor visa costs £150.
8. How far in advance can I arrive before the start of my program?
If you’re studying in the UK for less than six months, you can arrive up to one week before the start of your program. If you’re studying for longer than six months, you can arrive up to one month beforehand.
9. What if my documents I need to submit for my visa application aren’t in English?
All documents submitted for consideration for a student visa must be in either English or Welsh. In the case that they are written in a different language, a full translation into English or Welsh must be included. The translation must be accompanied by proof from the translator or translation company that it’s an accurate translation; the date of the translation; the full name and signature of the translator; and the contact details of the translator or company.
10. Can I work with a student visa?
If you hold a Tier 4 Student Visa, you may be able to work up to 20 hours a week, provided that your host institution is on the official UKBA Sponsor list and the list of “recognized bodies.” In addition, the identity card issued to you must NOT contain a sticker saying “no work” or “work prohibited.”
If you meet both of these stipulations, as well as any specific ones put forth by your host institution, you should be able to work part-time during the academic term and even full-time during term holidays.
So, hopefully this article has answered your major concerns for applying for a student visa in the UK. For complete and up-to-date information on all the requirements, visit the UK Government’s official website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/student-visas