The student visa allows foreign students to study in the UK. To be eligible for a student visa, you must have received a confirmation of acceptance for studies and have at least 70 points on the points-based immigration system.
UK Student Visa Application
If you want to study in the UK, you will need to apply for a student visa. In the post-Brexit environment, both EEA and non-EEA citizens will need to receive an unconditional offer from an authorized sponsor to be eligible for a visa.
Those who graduate from an approved course in the UK will be able to stay in the country on the new Graduate Visa route for up to two years to live, work and look for work. Doctoral students will be able to do this for a maximum of three years.
On this page we set out everything you need to know about the new student journey in the UK.
UK Student Visa Eligibility
If you are looking to apply for a UK student visa, there are some requirements you need to meet.
The student visa requirements are as follows:
- You must have received an unconditional offer of study from an approved sponsoring institution
- You must have received confirmation of acceptance for studies from your sponsoring institution
- You must score at least 70 points on the points-based system
- You must have the necessary academic qualifications to undertake the course and truly intend to study in the UK
- You can financially support yourself in the UK (and any family members/dependants who join you)
- Meet the 70-point requirement as a student
While the points-based immigration system may seem daunting, it is actually relatively simple to reach the 70-point threshold. Ultimately, if you meet the main eligibility criteria, you will reach the 70-point threshold.
The points work as follows:
- 50 points: Receive a Confirmation of Acceptance to Studies
- 10 points: Meet the financial requirements
- 10 points: able to demonstrate that your knowledge of the English language is at level B2 as established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
What are the course requirements?
If you want to study in the UK you must comply with the Student Visa rules. Eligible courses include:
- Full-time course leading to a sub-degree level qualification (RQF level 3, 4 or 5). There must be at least 15 hours of organized daytime study per week
- The full-time course leading to a qualification at undergraduate level or above (RQF level 6, 7 or 8)
- Full-time course at degree level or above (RQF level 6, 7 or 8) which is equivalent to a higher education course in the UK and will be delivered as part of an overseas course
- Part-time course leading to a qualification above degree level (RQF level 7 or above)
- A recognized foundation program for postgraduate doctors or dentists
- A B2-level English language course established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
What are the financial requirements?
To be eligible to study in the UK, you will need to provide evidence of your financial means. You must demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself in the UK.
The financial requirements are as follows:
- £1,334 per month for up to 9 months for London-based courses
- £1,023 per month for up to 9 months for courses based outside London
- £2,668 per month for Doctoral Extension Program if based in London
- £2,046 per month for courses outside London if based outside London
You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have this money for 28 consecutive days and the end date of this period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for the visa.
What is the English language requirement?
If you want to study in the UK, you need to be able to demonstrate a certain level of English language proficiency. Those studying below degree level must demonstrate a B1 level, while those studying at degree level or above must have a B2 level.
The most common way to demonstrate your English proficiency is to take a SELT English language test. The four approved SELT test providers are Trinity College London, IELTS SELT Consortium, LanguageCert, and Pearson Education Ltd.
You can take a test at test centers around the world. A list of approved test centers can be found here.
Exemptions from the English language requirement
International students are exempt from the English language requirement if:
- You have already attended an English course at undergraduate or postgraduate level at an approved educational institution
- You have already demonstrated the required level of English in another visa application
- You are applying to come to the UK for a study abroad program as part of an undergraduate degree in the US
Additionally, those from predominantly English-speaking countries will not need to meet English language requirements.
Citizens of the following countries are exempt:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zeland
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States of America
Documents required for student visa
As part of the student visa application process, you will need to submit certain information and documents. Without providing the necessary information and documentation, your request will not be accepted.
Some of the information and documents required for the UK student visa are as follows:
- Current passport or other valid travel document (required)
- A confirmation of acceptance for studies from the course provider (required)
- Proof that you have the necessary financial means, such as bank statements (if applicable)
- A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate if the course requires it
- Tuberculosis test results (if applicable)
- Written consent from your sponsor if they have agreed to financially support you for course fees and living expenses
- If you are under 18, you will need to provide further information, including written consent from your parents/legal guardians showing that they consent to your visa application, your living and care arrangements in the UK and your travel to the UK .
Please note that any documents that are not in English or Welsh must be translated by an accredited translator. You will need to provide both the original and translated versions in your evidence portfolio.
How to apply for a student visa
The student visa application is made online and you can apply from both inside and outside the UK. Most applicants choose to complete their visa application from their home country.
The first step is to fill out the online application form. Once completed, you will need to pay the application fee.
The current UK student visa fees are as follows:
- £363 for applications made outside the UK
- £490 for applying in the UK
- £490 for student visa extensions (more below)
If you complete your application outside the UK, you can expect to receive a decision within three weeks. Applications made in the UK usually have a processing time of around eight weeks.
Here at the Immigration Consultancy Service, we can help you formulate your student visa application to the highest standards. Our highly experienced immigration lawyers have helped international students from all over the world start a new and exciting adventure in the UK. Whether you are applying to study in the UK from your home country or within the UK, we are here for you.
Can I extend my student visa?
Student visa extensions are possible for students under certain circumstances. It is also currently possible to extend the old Tier 4 (General) student visa.
To extend the visa it is necessary that:
- Must be in the UK on a student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
- Must have an unconditional offer on a course with an approved student sponsor
- Must be able to provide confirmation of acceptance for studies
- Must be able to demonstrate that the course is at a higher academic level than the current course
How can I appeal my student visa refusal?
To appeal your student visa refusal, we recommend following the steps below:
- Identify the reasons why your visa was rejected (this will be stated in the rejection letter)
- Consider whether you want to request an administrative review or reapply based on the information in your denial letter
- If you wish to request a review, you should check the submission deadline (typically 14 days for an in-country application or 28 days if applying from outside the UK)
- Alternatively, you can make the changes described in the rejection letter and reapply for the visa
- If you request an administrative review, you will be asked to state the reasons for the refusal and to indicate why you believe an error was made in the decision-making process
- Submit the form to the Home Office as required (e.g. by post, email or in person)
- Wait for a decision on administrative review to be issued
- We strongly recommend that you speak to an experienced immigration attorney if your student visa has been denied. This will help reduce the possibility of further waste and could save you time and further costs.
What is the points-based immigration system?
The points-based immigration system is used by UK Immigration to determine whether a visa applicant is eligible for an immigration visa/permit.
International students must score at least 70 points in the system to be eligible for a UK study visa.
Can I work in the UK on a student visa?
Yes, it is possible to work in the UK on a student visa. International students can work a maximum of 20 hours per week. You can also volunteer without any restrictions.
The following operations cannot be performed:
- Engage in commercial activities
- Take a permanent full-time job
- Be employed as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach, paid or unpaid
- Be employed as an entertainer, paid or unpaid
- Work as a doctor or dentist in training (unless it is a core programmed)
How do I qualify to travel to the UK as a student?
You must be able to show that you have been accepted on a course of study at:
- a publicly funded institution of further or higher education (e.g. a university)
- a private-education institution
- an independent fee paying school
And that you are going to follow:
- a recognised full-time degree course
- a weekday full-time course involving at least 15 hours organised daytime study per week
- a full-time course of study at an independent fee paying school
You must also:
- be able to pay for your course and support an accommodate yourself and any dependants without working or help from public funds
- plan to leave the UK when you complete your studies
There are two type of student visas. You can apply for a six month visa as a “prospective” student, where you have not yet decided either on the course or the institution. Under the rules you can now switch over as a student whilst in the UK. Previously, because Pakistan was a visa national one had to return to Pakistan for a student visa. That is not now the case
Students are allowed to work part-time but no more than 20 hours per week.
Cheap accommodation is usually plenty but first year students are advised to ask their institution to provide the same on campus.
Most student applications are straight forward however, it is advisable that proper advise is sought on the type and level of course of study, fees etc before making such an application. There is a right of appeal against refusal of student visas.