UK Student Visa: Types, Eligibility, and Application 2023
6 min

UK Student Visa: Types, Eligibility, and Application 2023

6 min
Uploaded on
Nov 24, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Uploaded on
Nov 24, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Passport on wooden surface
One ticket to the finest education!

Royalty, cups of tea and diversity are some things that make going to UK appealing. But the United Kingdom is a lot more than just some tourist destination. With most of the top 10 universities in the world located here, studying in the UK is no doubt the dream of many who wish to study abroad. Those who wish to study here will require a UK Student visa before arriving in this country. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know before you apply. 

Types of UK Student Visa

Student Visa (General)

Previously known as Tier 4 visa, this type of UK student visa is for students aged 16 or over who want to study at the post-secondary level. 

Child Student Visa 

Previously known as the Tier 4 child visa, students between the ages of 4 and 17 who study at secondary level and below can apply for this type of UK student visa. 

Short-term Student Visa

This type of UK student visa is for students who want to enroll in short courses that last up to six months or English language programmes that last up to eleven months.

Who can apply for a UK student visa (General)?

In order to be able to get a student visa, you must satisfy the immigration rules for Student route points-based system. This requires that you score assessment ‘points’ against three sets of objective criteria to achieve an overall pass of 70 points. 

Try asking yourself the following questions to determine if you are eligible:
1. Have you been granted admission to a recognised institution?

The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), issued by the institution, serves as proof. 
2. Do you have the financial means to pay for your stay?

You need enough money to cover your living expenses for the duration of your stay in the UK in addition to the money needed to pay for the course. 
3. Are you proficient in English?
You must complete an English Proficiency Test from an authorised vendor, such as CEFR or IELTS, while applying for the visa. Students seeking for a degree-level programme would need to have a CEFR B2 level or an overall IELTS score of 5.5. 
4. Are the prerequisites for your course being met?

Your course of choice must meet a few requirements. Let’s take a look at them. 

UK Student Visa Course Requirements

Full-time courses

  • leading to a graduate degree/diploma or bachelorette degree.
  • with a minimum of 15 hours per week leading to a higher diploma/ IB diploma or equivalent.

Part-time courses

  • leading to a postgraduate degree/postgraduate diploma/master's degree.

Other courses

  • A recognised foundation program for PG doctorate/ dentist.
  • An English language program at level B2 or above such as TOEFL and PTE

If you haven’t appeared for IELTS, you can still apply for the visa.
Your chosen to apply for the UK student visa (general) then, a UK university, will examine your level of English language ability as part of their academic evaluation for the applied course. However, for the General UK Student Visa, you must pass a SELT (Secure English Language Test) with CEFR Level B1 and B2 to demonstrate your English language proficiency.

When can I apply for a UK student visa?

If you live outside of the UK, you can apply up to six months before your courses start. Before going to a Visa Application Center in your country to submit your biometrics, you must begin the online application on the UK government's website. 
Your education provider will provide you a reference number called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies once they have extended you a spot on the programme. When registering online, you must input this number. Depending on your country of residency, you will receive instructions on how to proceed after submitting an online application. Parents or legal guardians must give their permission for applicants for child student visas.

How can I apply for a UK student visa?

Step 1: Apply to your chosen university and receive an unconditional offer. 
Step 2:
Get a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) once you accept the offer. 
Step 3:
Begin the UK student visa application process. 
Step 4:
Pay an Immigration Health Surcharge fee as part of your application. 
Step 5:
Prove your knowledge of the English language. 
Step 6:
Complete your application and get it accepted. 

UK student visa processing time

It will take about 3 weeks to hear back about your UK student visa application if you submit it from outside the UK. It will take about 8 weeks to decide on your application if you submit it from within the UK (switch to a student visa). 

UK student visa fees and costs

The UK student visa fee is £363 if you apply from outside the country and £490 if you do so from within the country. Each additional member of your family who joins you must pay their own charge. You must also demonstrate that you have the financial resources to support your stay in addition to paying the visa fee.

UK Student Visa Checklist

In order to get your UK student visa you should make sure that you have the following documents: 

  • A valid passport
  • Academic certificates and transcripts
  • Tuberculosis screening certificate (applicable for some countries)
  • Financial proof (for funding your studies)
  • Receipt of immigration health surcharge payments form
  • English language proficiency test (IELTS) mentioned in the CAS form
  • Two photographs (passport-size)
  • Original birth certificate (with translation for non-English document)

Students under 18 also need the following documents:

  • Proof of parental consent 
  • Proof of your parent or legal guardian's relationship with you

How long is a UK Student Visa valid?

According to your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), the length of your visa depends on how long your study lasts. Based on the length of the course, the following table displays the additional post-study time that is awarded at the end of a UK student visa. 

Can I extend my UK student visa?

To stay longer and pursue a different programme of study, you can extend your visa. This applies even if you have a general student visa right now. Your UK study visa renewal will also incur additional costs, including a 475 GBP extension fee and a 300 GBP annual immigration health surcharge. Verification with biometrics costs 19.20 GBP
To extend your visa you must:

  • Possess a (General) UK student visa
  • Possess a confirmation of acceptance for studies, which proves that you have an unconditional offer of a spot in a course from a licenced student sponsor. 
  • Demonstrate that your studies are at a higher academic level than your current course (academic progress requirements).

Can I stay after my UK Student Visa expires?

The UK’s Graduate Route welcomes international students to apply to work during their stay in the UK, or look for work, upon graduation. International students with an undergraduate or master’s degree from the UK can apply to stay in the UK for up to two years after their studies. PhD graduates can apply to stay for up to three years. 

Can I work with a UK student visa?

Student visa holders can work either full-time or 20 hours per week during the academic year. Holders of Child Visa Routes who are 16 years of age or older are permitted to work full-time during the summer and 10 hours of part-time during the school year. Students with short-term study visas cannot work. 

Although the process of applying for a UK student visa is not that difficult as long as you have all the required documents, it is extremely important to note that the entire application process can be quite time-consuming and lengthy, so make sure to start the process as soon as you can. Ready to set off on your journey to study in the UK and explore its top universities? You know what you need to do next. Just like your applying for your visa, make sure to also book your student accommodation early

Frequently Asked Questions