Students looking to pursue their education have long flocked to the United Kingdom. Even though over 270k international students are granted permits to study in the country each year, roughly 13% of visa applications are declined. A successful visa application for the UK results from diligent planning and dedication, not luck. So, here's a rundown of the several types of UK student visas, along with the requirements and application process.
UK student visa types
Applicants over the age of 16 who are enrolled in a 6-month short course in a UK institute or an 11 months English lay course are eligible for a short-term visa.
Tier 4 student visa [General]
Applicants must be at least 16 years old and enrolled in a 6-month program.
Tier 4 [Child]
The Student (Child) visa is for children between 4 and 17 who want to study full-time at a UK educational institution.
a) A full-time course leading to a graduate degree/ diploma or bachelorette degree.
b) A part-time course leads to a postgraduate degree/postgraduate diploma/master's degree.
c) A full-time course with a minimum of 15 hours per week leading to a higher diploma/ IB diploma or equivalent.
d) A recognised foundation program for PG doctorate/ dentist.
e) An English language program at the level B2 or above.
f) If you haven’t appeared for IELTS, you can still apply for the visa.
Your chosen Tier 4 Sponsor, i.e., a UK university, will examine your level of English language ability as part of their academic evaluation for the applied course. However, for the Tier 4 student visa, you must pass a SELT (Secure English Language Test) with CEFR Level B1 and B2 to demonstrate your English language proficiency.
How to apply
Step 1: To receive a Biometric Residence Permit, enrol in Biometrics at a visa application facility.
Step 2: Fill out an online application.
Step 3: Submit a Tuberculosis Certificate that is "negative."
Step 4: Pay the 348 GBP visa processing charge.
Step 5: Attend an interview
UK student visa processing time and priority
Your application begins to be processed when you submit your biometrics. It concludes when you pick up your passport. The complete process takes around three weeks, with one week equaling five working days. If you need a Tier 4 student visa determination quickly, you can contact the visa application centre. Two services provide priority visa collection:
800 GBP + 348 GBP for collection within 24 hours
500 GBP + 348 GBP for collection within 5 days.
Note that these priority services for UK visas are only accessible in a few countries.
A tier 4 student visa is generally valid for the duration of your course plus an additional four months to wrap up your studies. The UKVI also offers a provision for students to extend their Tier 4 visas.
To request an extension, students must submit an online application before their existing visa expires but at least three months before studying on CAS. You will also have to pay additional fees for extending your UK study visa, including an Immigration health surcharge of 300 GBP each year and 475 GBP for an extension. Biometric verification costs 19.20 GBP.
With the above guide, we’ve tried to give insights on how to get your application approved smoothly with answers to some commonly asked questions below.
Q1). How much will it cost to get my visa approved?
To get your visa approved, the standard charges go up to 500 GBP + 348 GBP, which will get your visa approved within five working days. If needed urgently, it will need 800 GBP + 348 GBP to get your visa done in 24 hours.
Q2). What could be the reasons for my visa refusal?
Your visa could be rejected if you have some missing documents, incorrect format, inadequate funds, or an issue with your student interview. That is when your visa could have been denied.
Q3). How can I apply for a PSW visa?
The PSW visa allows international students who have finished an undergraduate or master's degree at a qualifying institution to stay in the UK for two years after completing their studies to work or look for work.
Q4). How can I get permanent residency [PR]?
To be eligible for a PR in the UK, one has to have either five years of tier 1/ tier 2 work permit or should be an investor or business owner for five or more years.
Q5). Can I work with a student visa?
A student visa for full-time degree studies allows you to work for 20 hours per week during term time. This is no more than 20 hours a week, including paid and unpaid work for one or more organisations.