Over the past year, there has been a rising trend in the number of students immigrating into the UK for higher education. The political instability and racial tensions prevalent in the USA have caused students to look elsewhere to complete their study abroad dreams, and the UK has become a prime destination for the same. While there are going to be upcoming changes, out of which some have already been brought into regulation to the Tier 4 (General) student visa process which has now been renamed to the Student visa, the basic requirements will remain the same.
The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires you to fulfil certain eligibility criteria for you to be able to apply for a Student visa. To be eligible to apply for a student visa you must-
- Have a course offer for a course that is provided by a licensed student sponsor
- Have necessary financial arrangements to support yourself and pay for course-related charges over the duration of the course
- Be proficient in English to a level where you can speak, read, write and understand the language
- Acquire consent from a parent or legal guardian, if you are aged 16 or 17, for which evidence will also be asked for.
Applications for the UK student visa can be submitted 6 months before the official start date of the course you have received an offer for. This means that students get enough time to contemplate their possible options, and appropriately decide where they want to study, and what they want to study. The duration of the stay will largely depend on the length of your course, and the level of study that you are enrolled in. Visa extensions are possible as well.
There are certain documents that are mandatory for application for a UK student visa, these are –
- Your current passport
- A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which will be provided by the institute you have accepted an offer from.
Other documents that may need to be provided include –
- Proof of financial backing
- Valid ATAS Certificate
- Proof of consent from and relationship to parent or guardian, if you are under 18
- Results of a tuberculosis test done from an approved hospital
- Written consent from a sponsor, if you are being sponsored.
Application for the student visa takes place online, via a form. However, you may need to either submit additional documents and biometric proof at the nearest visa application centre. More details are furnished once the student completes their application. Decisions are obtained within 3 weeks; however, earlier decisions can be obtained at a fee. It is rare, but in complex cases, an interview may be required.