Getting a Tier 4 Student Visa: Your Roadmap to Study in the UK

— Winner Adebayo

Congratulations on getting admitted to your chosen UK University! This article provides a quick run through the process of applying for a UK study visa.

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Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

If you are a newly admitted student coming to the UK from outside the EU/EEA, then this article was created especially to guide you through the application process for your General Student Visa. Applying for a study visa or any visa for that matter can be daunting and time-consuming. This article provides a quick run through the process.

To apply for the UK general student visa, you have to meet the eligibility requirement outlined by the UK government. Application for the visa can be made online on the UK government portal at least 3 months before the start of your programme.

Required documents for the UK General Student Visa

While the required document for the UK general student visa application vary according to individual circumstances, here is a list of the generally requested documents;

  • A duly filled Visa Application form

  • Current International passport

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

  • Bank statement

  • Proof of English Language Skills

  • Tuberculosis test certificate (if you are from any of these listed countries)

  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate

    (If you are going to study or research on certain sensitive subjects in the UK, you need the ATAS certificate except you are a national of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or USA.

  • Letter from a financial sponsor/ Letter of Sponsorship (if it applies)

  • Written Parental consent if an applicant is below the age of 18 years

Additional documents such as a police clearance certificate may be requested depending on your country of origin. When you have all the required documents gathered, you are all set to begin your application!


Application Fees & Immigration Health Surcharge

As part of your application, you are required to pay the visa application fee of £348 if you are applying abroad and £475 for those already residing in the UK. To get a faster decision on your visa application, an applicant has the choice to opt for the priority or super-priority service. In addition to the visa fees, an applicant is also expected to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge of £470 per year of study which grants you access to the free NHS healthcare services in the UK.

Financial Requirement

Let’s talk about the financial requirement for a UK student visa. Studying in the UK requires a substantial amount of financial commitment. To receive the CAS, most schools require the payment of the deposit of the course fee. If you have not been resident in the UK for up to 12 months before your application, you will need to prove that you have enough money to sustain yourself for each month of your study for up to 9 months. The amount of money you would need to show depends on your location of studies.

If you are studying in London, you would need £1,334 per month while other locations require £1,023. You must have held his amount in your account for at least 28 consecutive days.

Applicants exempted from proving their finances are those applying as student union sabbatical officer, postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised foundation programme and students from these countries.

Acceptable sources of Maintenance fund

At the time of application, you are required to provide a bank statement proving you hold the required maintenance funds. If you are not self-funded, proof of fund from the listed sources below are equally acceptable:

  • Your Parents
  • Your Partner (who is residing in the UK or applying with you)
  • Official financial or government sponsorship
  • Student loan

Proof of English Language Skills

To prove your ability to communicate in English, you will need to attach proof of your knowledge of English except you are from an exempted country. English language test result from one of these test providers is the only acceptable document. In most cases, if you are applying to study at a degree level, the university will assess your English skills themselves.

Length of the Study Visa

The student visa covers the length of your studies. The visa also comes with the benefit of a 2-year post-study work visa (aka Graduate visa) granted to UK graduates to find work in the UK.

What can you do with this visa?

With the general student visa, you can bring along dependents provided they are your immediate family members, and you have proof of ample funds to cover their living expenses in the UK.

Secondly, the General Student Visa normally permit the student to work up to 20hrs per week. Your entry clearance letter will specify what you can and cannot do.

Visa Interview

After submitting a student visa application, an applicant may be invited for a follow-up visa interview. This is usually a measure by the visa officer to ascertain the genuineness of the visa applicant and the information they have provided. Some of the questions that can be expected border around the following:

  • Your selected university
  • Your choice of the study programme
  • Why did you choose to study in the UK
  • Your plan to finance your education/living expenses
  • Your future plans after study
  • Sponsor’s information

Now while the UK student visa approval rate is high, visa refusals are not rare. Not to fret, we have got you covered in a subsequent post on how to handle such visa refusal and manage a turnaround.

We hope you find this article helpful on your journey to moving to the UK. The U.K government portal details the full process for the General Student visa.

Once you have your visa vignette firmly secured between the pages of your passport, Maze is here to help you through your pre-arrival planning to settle into your new life in the U.K.

For more information on our services, check out our website.

Maze provides an end-to-end platform that disrupts the traditional relocation model.

We connect people relocating with service providers, reduce cost and enable the personalization of customer journeys to the UK.

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