Studying in the UK: the UK student visa
The UK has many great study opportunities for people of all ages, and these are not just limited to British citizens. If you or your child is a non-European Economic Area citizen and are looking to come to the UK to study, you will have to apply for a UK student visa. There are a range of UK student visa categories that suit the needs of a variety of people who want to come to the UK to expand their knowledge and learning, with each category having its own requirements.
UK student visas can be applied for directly to the Home Office, but you can also seek the help and advice of UK-based immigration solicitors to compile and/or check visa applications so that your or your child’s path to studying in the UK is as stress-free as possible.
Getting a visa for studying in the UK
If you are applying for a student visa to study at a UK university or equivalent higher education institution, you will need to have been accepted onto a course. You will also have to be able to pass an English language test.
Sometimes, people need to get an answer about their own or their child’s study visa application quickly. This may be due to a course or job beginning imminently. If you urgently need your child’s or your own student visa accepted due to a course starting, it is possible to fast-track your application. You can apply and pay for this service yourself, or you can opt to have an immigration solicitor do it on your behalf.
UK student visa categories
As mentioned before, there are a range of visa types that can help you get on your way to studying in the UK. What type you should apply for depends on your age, level of study and length of time you will be staying in the UK. The visa types are:
The Tier 4 student visa
The Tier 4 student visa is the general UK study visa. For this visa category you need to meet the following requirements:
- Be over eighteen
- Have enough funds to cover and onward or return journey from the UK
- You can secure a registered UK sponsor, i.e. a higher education institution such as a university
- Have £450 per month for nine months to cover maintenance costs for outside London courses, or £600 per month for inner London
You also must not:
- Be intending to study at a state school
- Be intending to study in the UK for extended periods by making numerous trips as a short-term student
- Be intending to take up permanent work or self-employment
- Be intending to try to access public funds
The short-term study visas
The short term study visa is intended for people who want to study for a short course of study in the UK. This may be for a period of training or an English language programme. This visa type can also be applied for by those who are completing part of their degree abroad in the UK. With this visa, you will be eligible to stay in the UK for up to 6 months for a short course or period of research if you’re over 16, or 11 months for an English language course if you’re over 16. Your visa cannot be extended.
The basic requirements for the short-term study visa are as follows:
- You can prove you have been offered a place on a short-term course in the UK
- You can prove that you have enough money to support your trip
- You can prove that you can afford to pay for your onward journey
The Doctorate Extension Scheme
The Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme is in place to give PhD students a bridge to Tier 1 and 2 UK visas. It is aimed at those who have almost completed their UK PhD and gives them an extra 12 months of residence to look for work in the UK.
Studying in the UK: children
If your child is between 4 and 17 and will be studying in the UK for more than six months, you should submit their application for a Tier 4 student visa. Children under the age of 15 will only be eligible for this visa category if they will be attending an independent, fee-paying school.
Children who are under 18 and will be studying in the UK for six months or less can be granted child visitor visas in order to attend school in the UK. For this, your child must have:
- Enough funds to support themselves in the UK
- Suitable accommodation in the UK
- Enough funds to pay for a return or onward journey