UK Student Visa

Published On: 03 Oct 2008

 | Last Updated On: 27 Mar 2013

Visa applications have to be made on an IM2A form, available free of cost at any of the British embassies. 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.  

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.

 Basic requirements for student visa

Students looking to apply for a student visa will need to secure 40 points. These points can be achieved by the following:

  • CAS: Student must receive a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from a university/college and it must be approved by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
  • HTS: The university/college should have been given the highly trusted status (HTS), or have applied for it on the UKBA Tier 4 sponsor list (for 30 points).
  • Funding: Students must provide necessary information regarding funding to pay for tuition and living expenses during the course of study (for 10 points).

Visit the UK Border Agency website to check the full eligibility criteria for a UK study visa. You can also read further guidance on the UKCISA website.

Documents required for a student visa

  • A letter of acceptance from your institution confirming that a place has been offered to you for the course your applied for and that the course is full-time as defined by the immigration law. The letter should state how long the course will last. If your course is more advanced and specialized, the letter should also state what level of English is needed for the course (giving minimum test marks, if appropriate) and confirm that you satisfy this requirement.

 

  • Evidence that you can pay the course fees and support yourself and, if applicable, your family. Depending on your circumstances, this could include evidence of government sponsorship, a letter from a sponsor in the UK confirming their intention to support you and evidence of their ability to do so, and/or your own bank statements. You should also provide a letter from your place of study stating the full cost of the course, what arrangements are acceptable for payment and whether you have already paid fees or a deposit.

 Accommodation

 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

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 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…

  • Be familiar with all your study plans; why you chose the particular institution and course; how the course will help your future career;
  • Be clear about the cost of living in the UK and the course fees and the arrangements you have made to meet these expenses;
  • Do you have enough money to complete the course? Can you prove it?
  • What are you going to do on your return? Be as clear as you can about your likely future career in your country.

Conclusion:

Although making applications and receiving offer letters from universities may be the most important part of the process of seeking admissions, students should pay keen attention to the process of procuring a UK visa. Though the process has been explained in detail above, students should keep an eye out for any changes in policies or, to help ease the pressure, get in touch with agencies that specialize in visa application. Candidates should also make sure they have all necessary documents that need to be submitted for the UK visa.

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