A Guide to Student Visas

Our studies are not solely about the books that we read, or the facts that we learn. More so, the environment within which we conduct our studies, and the people with whom we engage during our formative years can have a profound impact on our own personal development.

It is no surprise therefore that many look to study abroad, and a great number of these students choose the UK in which to base themselves. But before they can open a book, or attend a lecture, they may need to obtain a Student Visa (see here for essential information and resources: http://www.immigration.uk/visas/skilled-migrants-and-students), and so here we have produced an easy guide in how to do just that. If you are looking to study in the UK, read on…

The EU

To add to a long list of intangibles, the Brexit vote has meant that there is little certainty in the future rights of EU students to study in the UK. For now, at least however, they do not require a study Visa. That may change.

Elsewhere

Study Visas are known as Tier 4. You can apply for such a Visa if you are 16+ and:

  • Have been offered a place on a “valid” course
  • Can pass an English understanding test
  • Can support yourself financially during your studies
  • Can pay for your course

The main crux of the financial criteria is that you will not become a burden on the UK government at any point during your studies.

When

You can apply up to 3 months before the beginning of your course, and should get a decision within 3 weeks – but practically, this timescale is very tight and proper planning should be put in place before you think of applying.

Fee

There is a fee (when is there not) which is currently £335 per person.

Duration

If your course is less than 6 months you come up to one week before it starts. For longer courses, that period is one month. How long you can stay depends on your chosen course.

Can and Cannot

You can:

  • Study
  • Work in certain jobs
  • Apply to extend your stay

You cannot:

  • Get public funds
  • Undertake certain types of work

Eligibility

You need an unconditional offer from a licenced sponsor (education provider) and demonstrate that you can pay for the course and support yourself during it. Only certain courses qualify, and this should be checked with the sponsor.

Often, you have to prove a knowledge of English and provide all of the requisite documentation, include travel documents, biometric evidence (photos and fingerprints), sponsor and financial documents and sometimes a health certificate.

The application process is done online as is the application to extend any stay.

You may be able to bring dependents but that too is subject to you satisfying the relevant financial criteria.

Our years studying are normally those in the formative stages of our lives, and as such at a time when we are most open to experiences and learning from our surroundings and environment as much as we are to print etc. The opportunity to study abroad simply compliments and adds to our own personal development. Though obtaining a student visa may appear burdensome, in the long run, it will be a great investment in yourself. One definitely worth making.

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