Changes to UK Student Visa After Brexit: A Comprehensive Guide for International Students
In the wake of Brexit, the landscape of studying in the UK has undergone significant changes for international students. Previously, students from the EU and EEA enjoyed the privilege of studying in the UK without the need for a visa. However, with the “rebranding” of the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, the introduction of the new “Student Route” has extended visa requirements to EU and EEA nationals as well. This article aims to shed light on the key modifications to the UK Student Visa system and the eligibility criteria for aspiring international students.
The New Student Route: Key Changes
Effective from October 4, 2020, the UK’s new Student Visa, known as the “Student Route,” welcomes not only non-EU/EEA nationals but also EU/EEA students who plan to study in the country after January 1, 2021. One significant advantage of the Student Route is that the British Government has lifted the cap on the number of students eligible to receive a visa, making it more accessible to a broader pool of applicants.
Eligibility and Points-Based System
To apply for the UK Student Visa, both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students must accumulate a total of 70 points under the Points-Based System. The system assesses various aspects to determine eligibility:
- Acceptance into an approved educational institution: Applicants must possess a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by the institution they intend to attend.
- Sufficient financial resources: Alongside course fees, students need to demonstrate they have £1,265 per month for studies in London or £1,015 per month for studies outside London. If applicants have dependents, they must show approximately £800 per month for each dependent.
- English language proficiency: Applicants must pass an English Proficiency Test from an approved provider. B2 level is required for degree-level courses or above, while B1 level suffices for below degree-level courses.
- Meeting course requirements: The Student Visa is available for various courses, including full-time courses below degree level, full-time degree-level courses, part-time degree-level courses, approved postgraduate programs for doctors or dentists, and English language courses (B2 level or above).
Post-Graduation Work Opportunities
Students graduating from a British educational institution after Summer 2021 can rejoice in the post-graduate visa option. This visa permits graduates to work or seek work in the UK for up to two years, providing a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience and explore potential career paths in the country.
Prospective students can apply for the UK Student Visa up to six months before their courses commence. The application process commences online on the UK Government website, followed by submitting biometrics at a Visa Application Center in the applicant’s home country. For Child Student Visa applicants, parental or guardian consent is mandatory.
Switching to a UK Student Visa
For students already in the UK, switching to a Student Visa is possible, provided they are not on certain visa types like visit visas, short-term student visas, or seasonal worker visas. The switch can be made up to three months before the start of the new course, provided the current visa remains valid and the applicant secures admission to an approved institution.
Visa Processing Time and Fees
Applying from outside the UK typically results in a decision within three weeks, while applications from within the UK may take around eight weeks. The fees for a UK Student Visa are £348 for applications from outside the UK and £475 for applications within the UK, with additional charges for family members accompanying the student.
Applicants must provide essential documents, including a valid passport, Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), proof of financial resources, an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (if applicable), criminal record certificate, proof of English language proficiency, and tuberculosis test results. Additionally, students under 18 must furnish parental consent and proof of their relationship to their parent or legal guardian.
The UK Student Visa duration corresponds to the length of the enrolled course. Students pursuing degree-level courses can obtain a visa for up to five years, while those undertaking below degree-level courses can acquire a visa for two years.
The new Student Route ushers in a fresh chapter for international students aspiring to study in the UK. With clearer guidelines, streamlined application processes, and extended opportunities, the UK remains an attractive destination for global learners seeking top-notch education and rewarding experiences. Whether EU/EEA or non-EU/EEA, students can navigate the points-based system and embark on a journey of academic and personal growth in the United Kingdom.
For more the most updated information please visit Gov.uk student visa