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Visa

If you’re an international student planning to study in the UK for an extended period, you’ll likely need a study visa to pursue your academic ambitions. The UK offers different types of study visas depending on the length and nature of your course. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you understand the various visa options, their requirements, costs, and the application process.

Student Visa for Longer Courses

If you wish to study English in the UK for more than 11 months or any other subject for longer than six months, you’ll need a Student Visa. 

Students between the ages of 16 and above are eligible to apply.

For information about the Student Visa for longer courses, including eligibility criteria and application process, visit GOV.UK – Student visa.

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Short-Term Study Visa

For English language courses lasting between six and eleven months, a Short-term Study Visa is applicable. 

Visitors planning to study any subject in the UK for less than six months can do so without a specific student visa.

To learn more about the Short-Term Study Visa for English language courses lasting between six and eleven months or studying any subject in the UK for less than six months, visit GOV.UK – Short-term study visa.

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Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a Student Visa, the student must have an unconditional course offer from an institution with a Student Sponsor Licence. The course should consist of at least 15 hours of study per week. 

The UK government website (GOV.UK) provides a list of Student Sponsor institutions. Student Sponsor institutions.

To check the list of institutions with a Student Sponsor Licence and find out more about eligibility requirements for the Student Visa, visit GOV.UK – Register of licensed sponsors: students.

English Language Requirements

All students applying for a Student Visa must prove their intermediate level of English language proficiency through a government-approved language test. 

The required level is CEFR B1 for courses below degree level and CEFR B2 for degree-level courses or higher. Several approved test providers offer tests that assess reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities.

 For more information, visit Secure English Language Tests at GOV.UK.

For detailed information on English language requirements for the Student Visa, including approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) providers and required levels, visit GOV.UK – Secure English Language Tests (SELT): approved test centres.

Visa Length and Extensions

The length of the visa depends on the course duration and level of study. 

Students pursuing courses below degree level can usually stay in the UK for up to two years, while degree-level courses allow a stay of up to five years. Students can apply foThe length of the visa depends on the course duration and level of study. Students pursuing courses below degree level can usually stay in the UK for up to two years, while degree-level courses allow a stay of up to five years. Students can apply for 

visa extensions without leaving the UK if they wish to take a longer course or study at a higher level.

For information about the visa length and extensions, including the duration of stay based on the course and level of study, visit GOV.UK – Extend your Student visa.

Visa Application Costs

The application fee for a Student Visa is GBP363. Additionally, students applying for a visa longer than six months must pay the Immigration Health
Surcharge (IHS), which provides access to UK’s national health services. The IHS cost is GBP470 for visas valid between six and 12 months,
with increasing fees for longer visas. For more details, check the UK government’s immigration health surcharge calculator.

UK government’s immigration health surcharge calculator

 

Visa Application Procedures

After submitting the application form and required documents, students usually need to visit their nearest UK visa application centre to provide biometric data (photo and fingerprints). EEA nationals with a biometric chip in their passport can scan it through an app instead of visiting the application centre. During the process, some students may be required to attend an interview, and response times typically take up to three weeks

Work Rights

Students with a Student Visa pursuing English language courses may be allowed to work part-time, up to 10 hours per week during term time.

Visit UKCISA.org.uk for information about work rights for students studying English language courses with a Student Visa.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

The IHS payment is mandatory for visas longer than six months and grants access to free doctor appointments and hospital services in the UK.

To understand more about the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and its cost, use the UK government’s immigration health surcharge calculator.

English Language Requirements (Additional Information)

To meet the language requirements for a Student Visa application, students must take an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved test provider. The test must assess all four language skills and be at the appropriate level (B1 or B2) based on the intended course level. Some students may be exempt from providing English language evidence if they fulfill certain criteria.

For detailed information about English language requirements and approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) providers, visit GOV.UK – Secure English Language Tests.

Certified Translations and Tuberculosis Screening

Students should provide certified translations for any documents not in English. Additionally, students from certain countries may need to show evidence of a valid tuberculosis screening.

Remember to begin the visa application process well in advance, preferably up to six months before your intended travel date, and be aware of the latest updates on local visa application centres’ status in case of COVID-19 restrictions.

Find out about the need for certified translations and evidence of valid tuberculosis screening for students from certain countries by checking the guide to supporting documents on GOV.UK.