International students are drawn to the United Kingdom for its prestigious educational institutions, diverse population, low cost of living, and abundant employment opportunities. Students from Ireland do not need a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Get an overview of the UK student visa process and different UK student visa categories (short-term, student, or child visa) that those of a different nationality need to apply to study in the UK.
The United Kingdom offers three distinct categories of study visas, each distinguished by factors such as the applicant’s age, the duration of the chosen course of study, and the type of program selected.
Overview: It is a prerequisite for individuals aged 18 or above, who have been accepted into courses lasting 6 months or more, or who have enrolled in English language programs with a term of 11 months or longer. A student visa is required for full-time undergraduate or postgraduate programs in the UK. This visa allows an applicant to stay during the length of the program and work while attending school.
Duration of Stay: Under this category, if you are pursuing a course at the degree level, you are typically permitted to remain in the United Kingdom for a maximum duration of 5 years. Those whose academic program is not degree-level are usually only allowed to stay in the UK for a maximum of two years. After completing the program, individuals can extend their stay in the UK by applying for a visa extension, and meeting eligibility criteria. This may involve further studies, transitioning to a Student visa, or a Graduate visa, which allows a minimum stay of 2 years after course completion.
Employment opportunities: The UK student visa designated for full-time degree-level programs permits students to engage in employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during “term time,” which is the duration specified by the student sponsor for academic pursuits. This employment may involve both paid and non-paid positions with single or multiple organizations. However, eligibility is contingent upon various factors including age, term time, the track record and other credentials of the sponsor, and internships and work placements required by the program, among others.
Overview: It is a mandatory requirement for individuals aged 16 or above who have been accepted into English language courses with a program duration of less than 11 months. To pursue your English language course within the United Kingdom, it is essential to enroll in an accredited institution either within the UK or an authorized overseas education provider, given you meet the eligibility criteria for studying in the UK as part of your program. This visa category does not allow for visa extensions.
Duration of Stay: As long as your stay in the UK does not exceed 11 months, you are permitted to stay in the country for the duration of your course plus in addition to an extra 30 days.
Employment opportunities: You are not permitted to engage in any employment activity under this visa category, including paid or unpaid positions, apprenticeships, or work experience.
Overview: It is a requirement for students aged 4 to 17 who have secured admission to a UK-based educational institution and have a valid Tier 4 sponsor. You must have received an unconditional offer of admission to an independent school program. Furthermore, you must be able to demonstrate that you have enough means to finance your stay and studies in the UK, as well as the agreement of your parent or guardian to study in the UK.
Duration of Stay: The child visa category provides for a program term of up to 6 years for students under the age of 16, and up to 3 years for those aged 16 or 17, with a 4-month extension after the program expires. The duration of stay is determined by the applicant’s age, application date, and program length.
Employment opportunities: You cannot work full-time or be self-employed under this visa type. If you are 16 or older, you may work up to 10 hours per week part-time during term, full-time during holidays, or on a work placement as mandated by your program.
To secure admission into your preferred program in the United Kingdom, it is imperative to have the following:
Student Visa/Child Visa: The fee for a student/child UK visa application is £363 for individuals residing outside of the United Kingdom, while those seeking to extend or transition to a Child Student visa are required to pay £490. The health surcharge fee is a necessary component of the visa application process, with a variable amount that is dependent upon the validity of the visa.
Short-term Visa: Short-term student visa application in the UK costs £200, with a £470 healthcare surcharge for National Health Service access.
Student Visa/Child Visa: The application process for a Student Visa/Child Visa outside of the United Kingdom allows individuals to submit their applications up to six months before the commencement of their intended study. Following the submission, applicants are likely to get a decision within three weeks. Applicants from the United Kingdom can submit their applications for the program up to three months before the designated start date. Typically, they can expect to receive a decision regarding their application within a period of eight weeks. It is necessary to submit your application before the expiration of your current visa.
Short-term Visa: To obtain a short-term visa in the UK, you must submit your online UK visa application for the UK at least three months before your intended arrival date. To establish your identification and supply documentation, you must schedule an appointment at a visa application center. The officials at the center may retain your passport and accompanying documents. Typically, an outcome is released within three weeks of the application, with the provision of expedited decision-making for an additional fee.
-Tuition fee payment receipt for the first academic year or full course fees if the course is less than 1 year (usually reflected on CAS Letter)
-Living expenses: if living in Inner London, an amount of £1,334 per month/if living anywhere else in the UK, an amount of £1,023 per month
-Additional living expenses of any eligible family members, at a rate of £680 per person per month
Supporting Documents (Financial Proof)
-Bank letter, Payslips, Bank account statement (applicant/parents)
-Financial sponsorship from a UKVI-approved international organization or Government Scholarship (if applicable)
-Student loan Letter from an authorized bank (if applicable)
To demonstrate proof of maintenance, it is necessary to provide evidence that the funds have been retained for a duration of at least 28 consecutive days. The end of that 28-day window cannot be earlier than one month before the date of your UK visa application.
Ultimately, a successful visa application requires systematic steps taken at the right time. Although we outlined the essentials – eligibility, visa categories, needed paperwork, and visa procedure – do not hesitate to seek specialized guidance from our UK education specialists at Manya-The Princeton Review while navigating the UK student visa process for Indian students.Book your Free Counselling Session now!