If you are planning to go to UK for your studies, you must first work towards obtaining a UK study visa which is classified by UK government into three broad categories. The first one is UK student visitor visa and the other two categories are Tier 4 (General) student visa and Tier 4 (child) student visa.
The UK student visitor visa is issued generally to candidates who are doing a short course of study in the UK like an English language course or a training course and it will not be given for more than 11 months maximum. A Tier 4 (child) student visa can be applied for if you’re aged between 4 and 17 and you want to study in the UK and have an offer and consent of your parent or guardian and also have enough money to cover your course fees and living costs
The important visa for students who are looking for higher education is the Tier 4 (General) student visa. You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 years of age or over and you have been offered a place on a course, you can speak, read, write and understand English and have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course.
All Tier 4 (General) applicants will need to complete the VAF9 and Appendix 8 forms. This form has to be filled out by the student and submitted to the embassy, along with the visa application fee and the required documents as mentioned below.
UK Visa fee for Tier 4 (general) students:
UK visa application fee is now set at £310 which you need to pay for booking an appointment with the UK visa issuing authority.
Immigration Rules for Students:
· You must intend to study at a publicly funded university or college, a bonafide private institution or a fee-paying independent school.
· You must be able to and intend to follow a full-time degree course, or a weekday full-time course at a single institution involving at least 15 hours of organized, daytime study per week.
· You must be able to pay for your course and the living expenses of your spouse and children (if they are with you) without working in the UK or claiming public funds.
· You must not intend to work in the UK unless you are accepted for a course lasting longer than six months, when you may work part-time or during vacations.
· You must intend to leave the UK at the end of your studies.
Requirements for UK student visa
Students looking to apply for a UK student visa will need to secure 40 points. These points can be achieved by following:
· You must have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the university or college which is also known as a fully licensed Tier 4 sponsor and it is weighed as 30 points. The university/college should have been given the highly trusted status (HTS), or have applied for it on the UKBA Tier 4 sponsor list.
· You must have enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance or funds) and it is measured by 10 points.
What is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies?
The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is not an actual certificate or paper document but is a virtual document similar to a database record. Each CAS has a unique reference number and contains information about the course of study for which it has been issued and the student’s personal details. You must have a CAS before making an application as a Tier 4 (General) student. A CAS is an electronic document issued to you by the institution (college, school or university) that you have chosen to study at. Your CAS will be valid for use in a Tier 4 application for six months from the date that it was generated by your institution.
Your institution will send you the unique reference number that corresponds to your CAS. You must write this reference number in the appropriate field on your Tier 4 application form. The UK Home Office official processing your application will check this electronic document to confirm that you have an unconditional offer from the institution for the course that you intend to study.
Your institution should also send you the information that they have used to generate your CAS. This is often referred to as a 'CAS statement' and it is normally sent to you by email. The CAS statement itself is not required for your Tier 4 application, but it gives you all of the information about your course and sponsor, and some of the information about money, that you need to complete your Tier 4 application form. If there are any discrepancies between the information used by the institution to generate the CAS and the information on your application form, then your application may be refused.
The CAS statement should tell you:
· The 14 digit reference number for the CAS, containing a mixture of letters and numbers
· The Sponsor Licence Number (SLN) of the institution where you intend to study
· The start and end dates of the course that you intend to study
· The title of the course that you intend to study
· The tuition fees for first year of the course, or the entire course if it will last one year or less. If your CAS has been issued for further study on a course that you are already partway through, the "first year of study" means the first year of this new period of study.
· Any tuition fees that you have already paid to the institution, if a separate receipt has not been issued
· Any accommodation fees that you have already paid to the institution, if a separate receipt has not been issued
· Any qualifications that the institution has used to make you an offer to study the course
· An assessment of your English language ability, including any formal qualifications considered
· If you have previously been granted immigration permission to study in the UK, either under Tier 4 or under the student rules that were in place before Tier 4 was introduced on 31 March 2009, it will confirm that the new course demonstrates academic progress from your previous study
Having a valid CAS does not guarantee that your application will be successful. You must meet all of the requirements of the category and any other requirements of the Immigration Rules. Your CAS can be withdrawn or cancelled at any time by either us or by your Tier 4 sponsor. Where your CAS has been withdrawn or cancelled, the same procedures apply as where a CAS becomes invalid.
Who are Tier 4 Sponsors?
While Tier 4 Sponsors is a technical term which might be confusing, you just need to know that it is just the college or university you are applying. There are 1,681 organizations in the UK licensed to sponsor migrants under the Tier-4 of the Points Based System (PSB). If you are worried whether the institute you are applying falls in the category or not, you can go to UK Home Office’s register of Tier 4 sponsors which is listed online and verify the status.
Other documents required for a student visa
When you apply for the visa you must provide:
· A current passport or other valid travel documentation
· 2 passport sized-colour photographs with your name written on the reverse side
· Proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
· Proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
· Tuberculosis test Results.
· All documents you send with the application must be original versions (not copies). This includes your passport.
· Your qualifications
· Assessment of your English language ability
· Consent of current or previous official financial sponsor, if they are a government or an international scholarship agency
· Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) in case of certain PG courses or research.
English language test:
TOEFL from ETS is now no l longer accepted by UK visa authorities. Updated Secure English Language Testing (SELT) coverage following expiry of ETS licence is announced as Cambridge and City & Guilds for Indian students.
The Cambridge English exams are approved by the UK Home Office for students applying to stay in the UK to study academic courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF)/Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) levels 6 or above – degree level courses. In effect, you need IELTS exams and you must have achieved Band Score 5.5 or above in all skills.
Although the immigration rules do not require unaccompanied students to show that accommodation has been arranged, your place of study may have given you information about its availability, and you should bring this to the attention of the ECO. If your family is coming with you to the UK, you will need to show that there will be adequate accommodation for them. If your place of study cannot confirm that family accommodation will be available, you may have to consider traveling to the UK alone and making arrangements for your family to join you when you have found somewhere to live.
The interview is a part of your visa application process. It gives you an opportunity to clarify for the ECO certain parts of your application. The Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will be aiming to be convinced that your study plans are genuine and workable. Although the interview is a normal part of the process, you may feel a bit nervous or uncomfortable while attending it. ECOs are trained professionals who will try to make the process as comfortable as possible, but the questions are necessarily very direct and personal. You should carefully prepare for such an interview.
In particular, you need to be familiar with all your study plans; why you chose the particular institution and course; how the course will help your future career. Also you need to be clear about the cost of living in the UK and the course fees and the arrangements you have made to meet these expenses.
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