What is a Student visa?
A UK Student visa enables international students to study in the UK. The previous Tier 4 (General) Student visa is now called the Student visa.
The Student visa allows students to live in the UK whilst they study. It lasts for the duration of their course as well as a short time afterwards.
Some recent changes to the Student visa mean you can now apply for a post-study visa route, sometimes called the Graduate visa.
To apply for a Student visa, certain requirements need to be met. These include:
- Having secured a place on a UK-registered course and in receipt of a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
- 70 points on the points-based immigration system
- Passing an English Language Test (SELT)
Scroll down for more information about the requirements for a Student visa.
Who can apply?
You can apply for a UK Student visa if you can meet these requirements:
- You are 16 years of age or over
- You have been offered a place on a course by a registered UK university, school or educational facility
- You can understand, speak, read and write English
- You can support yourself financially whilst in the UK including paying for your course
Student visa requirements
The UK Student visa is a part of the UK points-based immigration system and requires applicants to attain 70 points.
Applicants will score 30 points for having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and a further 10 points for meeting the maintenance requirements.
Before you apply for a Student visa you should ensure you can meet all the requirements. You will need to:
- Have proof of a place on a UK registered course in the form of a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the English language
- Prove that you can financially support yourself and pay for your course
- Show permission from a parent or legal guardian – if under 18
- Provide your Tuberculosis test results – if you are from a country where Tuberculosis is common
Scroll down to find out which documents are required when you apply for a Student visa, or click here: Student visa required documents.
The application process
To apply for a Student visa in the UK, you need to use the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) online application process found on GOV.uk
You must apply for the Student visa outside of the UK. You can only complete your application inside of the UK if you are extending a Student visa you already have.
The earliest you can apply for a Student visa is 3 months before the start date of your course.
You’ll usually get a decision about your Student visa application within 3 weeks.
Student visa costs
When you apply for a Student visa, there are certain costs and fees you will be required to pay, as follows:
- Student visa fee: £348
- English language test: £150 (if required)
- Tuberculosis test: £65-110 (if required)
- Having Biometric Information taken (Photo’s and fingerprints for your Biometric Residence Permit): £19.20
- Immigration Health Surcharge: £300 for every year of your course
Bringing family members
Some students may want to bring family members with them. You can bring family members with you on a Student visa if you are either:
- A government-sponsored student starting a course that lasts 6 months or longer
- Enrolled in a postgraduate course designated as a research programme that lasts 9 months or longer
Eligible postgraduate programmes include PhDs and other doctoral qualifications or masters programmes with a research component, including a requirement to produce original work.
International students who do not fit either one of these categories will not be eligible to bring their dependents with them to the UK.
The UK Student visa allows you to apply to bring married, civil, and unmarried partners; and children under the age of 18 with you to the UK.
To do this you must be able to prove you are financially able to support your dependents whilst in the UK.
For each dependent you will also need to pay:
- £475 for the visa
- The healthcare surcharge
- £19.20 to have their biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken
How long does a Student visa last?
With a Student visa you are eligible to stay in the UK for the duration of your course.
If your course lasts 6 months or less you can arrive 1 week before your start date.
If your course lasts over 6 months then you can arrive up to 1 month before your start date.
The amount of time you can stay in the UK for after your course has ended, depends on the type of course and length of study.
You can apply to extend your Student visa if you wish to study for longer or study a new course. You must be in the UK to do this and apply whilst your current visa is valid.
If you wish to stay in the UK after you have finished studying you will have to choose another immigration category. There is now the option to apply for the Graduate visa.
English language requirements
When you apply for a Student visa, you will need to prove that you have knowledge of the English language. This usually means you will need to pass a test through a secure English language testing (SELT) provider. The test will prove your proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and understanding English.
The level you need to pass depends on where you are studying and what type of course you are on. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can choose how they assess the English proficiency of an international student but they must be at least:
- CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher
- SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking and CEFR level B1 if you’re not studying at a degree level
You don’t need to take the English language test if you are from a majority English speaking country (like the US, Canada or Australia) or if you have a degree that was taught in English.
When you apply for the Student visa, you will need these documents:
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- A valid passport
- A passport-sized photo that meets the UKVI requirements
- Evidence of English language proficiency
- Evidence of qualifications
- Evidence that you meet the financial requirements
- Translations of any non-English documents
- Tuberculosis test results – if you are from a country where tuberculosis is frequent
- Criminal record certificate
- Letter from a parent of legal guardian – if you are under 18 years old
Extending your Student visa
Extending a Student visa is possible in certain circumstances. Currently, it’s also possible for the old Tier 4 (General) Student visa to be extended too.
In order to extend your Student visa, you must:
- Be in the UK on a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) Student visa
- Have an unconditional offer on a course with a licensed student sponsor
- Be able to provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
- Be able to show that the course is at a higher academic level than your current course
To find out more about Student visa extensions and the application process, please call our Manchester immigration lawyers now on 0161 532 9589, we are available in-person or remotely via phone or online.
Graduate visa: post-course options
You now have further options after your course is finished, following a rebranding of the student route in 2020.
The change means there is now a route to UK residency for international students who have graduated from either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
This immigration permission is sometimes referred to as the Graduate visa. It permits graduates to work, look for work and live in the UK for up to two years.
PhD students can remain in the UK under the Graduate visa for up to three years.
This visa will be available from the Summer of 2021 and will be open to international students who have graduated in the UK.
If you need support with your Student visa application, get in touch with our Manchester lawyers, we OISC-certified. We look forward to assisting with your visa requirements.
What services does Manchester Immigration Lawyers offer?
At Manchester Immigration Lawyers, we understand the importance of getting the best education possible.
We are accustomed to assisting prospective international students with successfully obtaining their Student Visas.
Speak to a Manchester lawyer if you need help with applying for a Student visa. Our lawyers are OISC-registered and can talk you through the best Student visa options or other immigration route for you to come and study in the UK.
The visa services we offer include:
- ensuring you have the necessary documents for a successful visa application
- confirming that your prospective university or educational institution fulfils the criteria to act as your UK sponsor
- contacting your Tier 4 Sponsor and liaising with them
- arranging and securing your CAS from your University
- writing a Letter of Representation for submission alongside your application. This letter strengthens your case and makes references to valid UK immigration laws to support your visa application
- corresponding with the Home Office to ensure any delays or issues are resolved
- completing your application form thoroughly and correctly compiling the supporting documents
We can also help you if you are a UK-based student interested in learning how to study abroad or wanting to find out how to prepare for studying abroad. We have emigration lawyers who can assist you with any enquiry you have about moving from the UK to another country.
Last modified on July 26th, 2023 at 6:19 am
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You may be able to extend your Student visa to continue studying on your course for longer or to study on a new course.
You must apply whilst in the UK before your current Student visa expires.
If your Student visa application is refused you may be able to apply for Administrative Review. If the application for Administrative Review is successful then the refusal will be withdrawn.
A Student visa allows you to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week if you’re on a degree level course or 10 hours a week if you course is under degree level.
This includes paid and unpaid work. You can also work full time during vacation periods.