The Top Six Things You Need To Know About Obtaining A UK Student Visa
By Hans Sok Appadu of OTS Solicitors
The standard of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the UK is one of the highest in the world, especially when you consider the size of the country in terms of population. In the 2014/2015 list of the top 10 Universities in the world, the United Kingdom claimed four places. Steeped in tradition and history, Oxford and Cambridge University are the second and fifth oldest in the world respectively.
If you have a dream of studying at a University or other institution of learning in the UK, then this blog is designed to inform you of the top six things you need to have sorted before you unpack your bags at your new student digs.
1. The Financial Requirements Have Become a Lot Tougher
If you are applying for a student visa on or after 12th November 2015, you will have to provide proof that you can support yourself and any dependents you may have during your study. If you are studying for nine months or more, then you will be required to provide evidence of at least £11,385 if you are studying in London and £9,135 if you are studying elsewhere in the UK. For shorter courses, the amount you need to show is £1,265 a month if studying at a London-based institution and £1,015 a month for institutions outside London. This is on top of your tuition fees.
These funds must be in cash as an overdraft facility will not be accepted.
From 12th November 2015, there is no longer an ‘established presence’ provision; ALL students must show they have the financial capacity to support themselves through their study.
If you have dependents, you will need to show funds of £845 per month if in London and £680 per month elsewhere in the UK for up to a maximum of nine months.
2. You Need to Have a Good Knowledge of English
If you choose to study in the UK, you must have a good knowledge of English that is in line with the level of degree or qualification you are pursuing. For example, if you are taking an undergraduate degree at a Higher Education Institution (HEI), then you must be able to read, speak, write and listen in English to a level Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2. However, if you choose to study at an institution that is not an HEI, a CEFR at B1level is all that will be required.
In some cases, sitting an approved English language test is not needed. If you have recently completed an equivalent of a UK degree from one of the countries listed below, you are not required to sit the test:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
3. You Need to Apply for Your student visa Well in Advance
Most students underestimate how long the application for a student visa process will take. You can apply three months before your course begins, but it is prudent to ensure that you have the documentation required prepared well in advance, so you do not forget to include a vital piece of information due to a last minute panic.
Remember, you may have to sit an English language test, submit financial documents as well as attend an interview and enrol your biometric information. All this will take more time than you think, so make sure you prepare and do your research.
4. Yes, You Can Bring Your Family With You...But Only In Some Cases
If you are from the EEA and plan to study in the UK, then you can bring dependents with you.
A dependent is defined as:
- A spouse or civil partner
- an unmarried or same-sex partner
- a child under the age of 18 years old - including if they were born in the UK during your stay
- sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at NQF level 7 or above (NQF level
means master's, doctorates and other postgraduate courses – see here for details) that lasts
one year or more
- a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts six months or longer
- a Doctorate Extension Scheme student
Any dependents must pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application.
From Autumn 2015, family members of those on a Tier 4 student visa will only be able to undertake in ‘skilled’ work as opposed to ‘low-skilled’ work.
5. The Amount of Time you can Remain in the UK has Recently Been Curtailed
From 12th November, non-EEA nationals studying in the UK will no longer be able to extend their Tier 4 visa in the UK (for example if they wish to start a degree course after their college course), nor will they be able to switch to Tier 2 or Tier 5 in the UK. In addition, students studying below degree level can now only stay in the UK for two years as opposed to three.
6. Non-EEA students will not be Allowed to Work During their Study
If you are a non-EU national and have entered the UK on a Tier 4 student visa, new rules state that you can no longer work part-time during your course of study if you are enrolled in a public FE college. In a further blow to students hoping to begin their working life in the UK after graduating, as of 12th November 2015, further education students will not be permitted to apply for a work visa at the conclusion of their studies unless they first leave the country.
Let Us Assist You With Your student visa Application
As you can see from this article, there have been some significant changes over the last few weeks with regards to Student Visas. OTS Solicitors are regarded as one of the best Immigration solicitors in London. We can assist you with your visa application and ensure it is processed quickly and correctly, so you can start your course on time and free from the stress of Immigration concerns.
To find out how we can help you, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960 to make an appointment to see one of our Immigration specialists.