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    UK Student Visa: Types, Cost, Requirements, Validity and Rejection Reasons

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    Sugandhi Sood

    Study Abroad Expert


    UK has always been a go-to study destination for Indian students who want to pursue higher education at some of the world's leading universities. Annually, more than 30,000 Indian students go to study in UK after going through a three-four week UK student visa process. Your acceptance of visa application is totally dependent upon your choice of program, maintenance of funding, adherence to UKVI rules and regulations and personal interview session.

    UK Student Visa: Types

    UK Student Visa: Types

    Prospective non-EU applicants are primarily eligible for three types of UK student visa, depending upon their choice of the program:

    Type of Visa Visa Duration Who can Apply Application Fees
    Short-term study visa

    6 months
    11 months

    Applicants over 16 years of age;
    Enrolling in 6-month Short Course  in UK institution;
    Enrolling in 11-month English Language Course

    97 GBP for 6 months;
    186 GBP for 11 months
    Tier 4 student visa (General) Duration of the program + 1 month Applicants over 16 years of age;
    Enrolling in course longer than 6 months
    348 GBP
    Tier 4 student visa (child) Under 16: 6yrs + 4 months;
    16-17yrs: 3 yrs + 4 months
    Applicants aged between 4 and 17 years 348 GBP

    Of all the students applying for higher education in UK universities, 95% of international students tend to pursue full-time courses, and therefore, require a Tier 4 student visa.

    UK Student Visa: Eligibility

    UK Student Visa: Eligibility Requirements

    Tier 4 Student visa is issued to students who are at least 16 years old and want to pursue higher education in the UK. While the eligibility is calculated on the point-based system, you must fulfill the following requirements:

    Course Selection & CAS 

    Before applying for a UK student visa, it is mandatory for candidates to apply for an eligible course. As a Tier 4 (General) visa applicant, you can pursue one of the following courses:

    • A full-time program leading to a qualification equal to or higher than NQF level 6 (graduate diploma or graduate certificate, Bachelors degree or equivalent)
    • A part-time program leading to a qualification equal to or higher than NQF level 7 (postgraduate certificate or PG diploma, Masters degree or equivalent)
    • A full-time, minimum 15 hrs per week day-time study program leading to a qualification equal to or higher than NQF level 3 (higher education diploma, IB diploma or equivalent)
    • A recognized Foundation program, for postgraduate doctor or dentist.
    • An English language program at the Level B2, that is, Independent user leveling up to a proficient user.

    Once you have been admitted to a university approved by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI), you will receive a reference number called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). 

    Note: You must apply for the UK student visa within 6 months of receiving the CAS.

    Knowledge of English

    As a part of their academic assessment, your chosen Tier 4 Sponsor, i.e, UK university will assess your level of English language competence as an integral part of their academic evaluation for the applied course. However, for the Tier 4 student visa, you must prove your knowledge of the English language by passing a SELT (Secure English Language Test) with CEFR Level B1  and B2.

    IELTS and PTE are the common SELTs taken by the prospective applicants, the equivalents of CEFR levels for these exams are tabulated below:

    SELT IELTS  PTE Academic
    Level B1 4.0 43
    Level B2 5.5 59
    Level C1 7.0 76
    Level C2 8.5 85

    Applicants must obtain the above-mentioned scores in each section that is, Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening.

    UK Student: Minimum Funds

    Availability of Funds

    As a Tier 4 UK Student visa applicant, you are required to provide evidence of funding to pay for your tuition fees course and monthly accommodation expenses, up to at least a year. At the time of visa application, you must show that you have

    • at least 12006 GBP (11,97,617 INR) to cover your Year-1 course fees.
      • calculated with an approximation of 1,334 GBP(1,33,068 INR) per month.
    • received official financial sponsorship, and
    • enough funding to cover the remaining course fees and living costs.

    The overall amount of funding you are required to demonstrate depends upon the category you are applying under, the duration of your course, university, and your living arrangements in UK. As evidence of available funds, you must use one of the following:

    • Cash funds in saving or current bank.
    • A loan letter
    • Official financial sponsorship letter 

    Other accounts such as bonds, shares, overdrafts, etc cannot be used as evidence of funding.

    Immigration Health Service Charge

    All UK student visa applicants have to pay a health surcharge of 300 GBP per year to gain access to the UK’s National Health Service. The students have to pay it at the time of submitting their visa application online.

    UK Student Visa: Application Process

    UK Student Visa: Application Process

    International students seeking Tier 4 student visa are required to apply at least three months before the commencement of the program. The overall UK student visa process is mentioned below.

    Documents Required

    1. Details of passport
    2. Tuberculosis test results
    3. Criminal record certificate
    4. Proof of financial sufficiency that you have enough funds for your entire period of stay in the UK.
    5. Parents’ or legal guardian letters if you are under 18.
    6. Recent passport size photograph

    How to Apply?

    • Step I: Enroll for Biometrics at a visa application center to obtain a Biometric Residence Permit.
    • Step II: Complete an Online Application Form
    • Step III: Submit Tuberculosis Certificate with “negative” result.
    • Step IV: Pay the visa processing fee of 348 GBP.
    • Step IV: Undertake an interview

    Generally, the UK student visa outcomes are notified within the 3 weeks of application. 

    UK Student Visa: Processing Time

    UK Student Visa: Processing Time & Priority Service

    Your application starts processing once you submit the biometrics and ends after the collection of your passport. As mentioned, the entire process takes about 3 weeks, wherein, 1 week is 5 working days. However, if you want to get the Tier 4 student visa decision on priority, you can contact the visa application center for the same. There are two priority visa collection services available:

    • Collection within 24 hours: 800 GBP + 348 GBP
    • Collection within 5 days: 500 GBP + 348 GBP

    Note: Currently, these priority services for UK visa are available in limited countries. Fortunately, India is one of them.

    UK Student Visa: Validity & Extension

    UK Student Visa: Validity & Extention

    Your Tier 4 student visa is generally valid for the duration of the program with an additional four months to wind up your studies. The UKVI also offers students a provision to extend their Tier 4 visa, in case you need extra time to complete your course or start a new one. To be eligible for extention of UK student visa, students must

    • Be present in UK at the time of application
    • Fulfill the eligibility requirements of Tier 4 visa
    • Have a sponsor to fund full or partial studies. It can be
      • a Tier 4 Sponsor UK University
      • an overseas provider
      • an independent school

    To apply for an extension, students need to complete an online application before their current visa expires, but a minimum before 3 months of course commencement on CAS. Furthermore, you need to pay additional charges for UK study visa extension, which will include

    • 475 GBP for extension
    • Immigration health surcharge of 300 GBP per year
    • 19.20 GBP for Biometric verification
    UK Student Visa: Rejection reasons

    UK Student Visa: Rejection Reasons & How to Avoid Them

    A successful visa application for UK is not luck, but a result of good preparation. You must be well prepared in advance and do your best so that the application does not get rejected. Some of the major reasons why your Tier 4 student visa may get rejected are:

    Missing documents:

    • The students must go through the visa policy guidance and must be prepared with all the documents in advance.
    • Every document provided has to be original.
    • In case you are unable to provide any original document, then you must provide an explanation letter along.

    Failure to meet financial requirements:

    • Every student has to show up to 1,334 GBP per month to stay in UK to cover the study and living expenses.
    • The students have to show this amount for their entire course duration.  

    Incorrect document format:

    • The students must provide the documents in the given format.
    • Every translated document shall contain the date, name, signature, and contact details of the translator.

    Genuine student interview:

    • In the interview, the applicants are asked a number of questions about their choice of course and future plans.
    • The students are required to be very clear about their thoughts and must be able to convince the interviewers about their choice of studying in the UK.

    When you arrive in the UK with a Tier 4 student visa, somebody from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will meet you. Your passport details will be cross-checked by them. If everything goes smoothly, then the UKBA officer will let you enter the UK, to begin with, your study abroad adventure!  

    UK Students Visa: FAQs

    FAQs

    Ques. What is the cost of applying for UK student visa?

    Ans. Presently, the application charges for Tier 4 UK student visa is 348 GBP (approx 31,323 INR). If the students are traveling with dependents, they have to pay an additional 348 EUR per person.

    Ques. Which documents are required for UK student visa?

    Ans. During the application process for UK student visa, you will be asked to present the following documents:

    • Details of passport
    • Tuberculosis test results
    • Criminal record certificate
    • Proof of financial sufficiency that you have enough funds for your entire period of stay in the UK.
    • Parents’ or legal guardian letters if you are under 18.
    • Recent passport size photograph

    Ques. How much bank balance is required to obtain UK student visa?

    Ans. Before applying for their student visa to study in UK, Indian students must ensure that they have a minimum 12 to 15 lakhs. This is keeping in mind that they need to show available funding for Year-1 course fees and accommodation charges.

    Ques. Will gap year affect my chances of obtaining a Tier 4 student visa to study in UK?

    Ans. As long as you have a valid reason for the gap in your education, it won’t affect your UK student visa application.

    Ques. Can I work in UK with a student visa?

    Ans. Yes, students with Tier 4 UK student visa can work part-time. However, students can work up to 20 hours per week. Working for more than 20 hours in a week is a violation of visa regulations and may result in the cancellation of your study permit.

    Ques. What are the main reasons for UK student visa rejection?

    Ans. There are numerous reasons as to why the immigration office may reject your UK student visa application:

    • Missing documents
    • inaccurate information
    • poor academic records
    • insufficient funding
    • Poor performance in interview session