UK Student Visas: Everything You Need to Know

For courses longer than six months in the UK, you will need to apply for a student visa. Applying for UK student visas is not difficult. The basic requirements are simple, and you can do almost everything online. You can find more specific information about UK student visas below.

Basic Requirements for UK Student Visas

UK student visas requirements are straightforward and consist of the following:

1. Age

You must be 16 or over. 

2. Acceptance

You must be accepted to study a course with a licensed student sponsor.

3. English Ability

Unless you come from an English-speaking country or are studying English, you must prove your English ability to get a student visa. Passing the SELT is one of the easiest ways to prove your English ability. 

4. Finances

 You must have enough money for your studies and living expenses. 

How to Apply for a UK Student Visa

You should provide all of the following to apply for a student visa in the UK:

1. Application

Fill out an application online. 

2. Valid passport 

Your passport should have a blank page for fingerprints and a photograph. 

3. Proof of Identity

You’ll need to prove your identity in one of these ways:

  • Fingerprints and Photograph: You must go to a visa application centre outside the UK for your fingerprints and photograph to receive a biometric residence permit.
  • UK Immigration: ID Check App: Create or sign in to your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. Then use the app to scan your identity document. 

4. Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Your school will give you a CAS reference number to prove you have been accepted. You must apply for your visa no later than six months after you receive your CAS. 

5. Global Web Form (GWF) number or Unique Application Number (UAN)

You can find your GWF or UAN on emails and letters from the Home Office about your visa application.

6. Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate

You only need an ATAS if your nationality and course require one.

7. Tuberculosis Test Certificate

You must have a clear chest x-ray from your doctor to get this certificate. It is valid for six months.

8. Proof of Finances

You must provide proof of finances from one of these sources:

  • Official or government sponsor or grant
  • Student loan
  • Personal money
  • Your parents’ money (along with a letter)
  • Your spouse or partner’s money (if they will be in the UK with you)

The following amount of money should be in your bank account for 28 consecutive days within 31 days of the date of the visa application:

  • Course Costs: You should have enough money for at least one academic year (up to nine months) as listed on your CAS. 
  • Living Expenses: The amount you need to prove depends on where you live:
    • On-campus: If you board on campus, you will need to prove you have the amount for boarding listed on your CAS. 
    • Off-campus: If you live off-campus, you will need proof of having £1334 per month if you’re studying in London or its boroughs or £1023 per month if you study outside London. 

If you have received financial sponsorship during the last 12 months, you will also need a letter from your financial sponsors consenting to your new visa application. 

10. Payments

You should expect to pay £348 to apply for the visa + healthcare surcharge +£19.20 for biometrics.

Additional Documents for Applicants Under Age 18

If you are under 18, it is necessary to prove that your parents or legal guardian consent to your studies in the UK with the following items:

1. Consent from Parents

If you’re under 18, you must have written consent to study from both parents (or one if they have sole custody) or a legal guardian. 

They must consent to the following for you:

  • Your application for a student visa
  • Your living and care accommodations in the UK
  • Your travel to the UK

2. Proof of Relationship to Parents or Guardian

You must provide proof of your relationship to your parent or guardian with a birth certificate or other government-issued document that shows the names of both parents or legal guardians.

How to Apply for a UK Student Visa Dependent

With a successful visa application, your dependent can stay in the UK the same amount of time that you can.  

1. Application

Apply online for your partner or child.

2. Proof of Relationship

You will need a certificate of marriage, certificate of civil partnership, or a birth certificate.

3. Documents for Children Age 16 or 17

If your child is 16 or 17, you must prove that they’re not living independently from you and that they’re not married or in a civil partnership. 

Two of the following documents are necessary to prove their address if your child lives with you:

  • Bank statement
  • Credit card bills
  • Divers license
  • NHS registration document
  • Letter from their college or university

If your child doesn’t live with you, you must explain why and provide proof of your financial support with documents such as rental payment receipts. 

4. Proof of Ability to Pay Living Expenses for Dependents

You must have had the following amount in your account for the last 28 consecutive days within 31 days of the date of the visa application: 

  • If Studying in London: £845 a month
  • If Studying Outside London: £680 a month

5. Fingerprints and Photograph

Dependents must get fingerprinted and photographed at a visa application centre to receive a biometric residence permit.

Changing to a UK Student Visa

If you are already inside the UK with a valid visa, you may be able to switch to a student visa. You can apply up to three months before classes start and within 28 days before your current visa expires. You must apply to switch to a student visa within six months of getting a CAS for your course. It usually takes eight weeks to get a decision.

The process for applying for a visa inside the UK is similar to applying outside the UK except:

  • Payment: £475 to change the visa + healthcare surcharge +£19.20 for biometrics
  • Financial Documents: You do not need to provide financial documents if you have been in the UK for more than 12 months. The same is true for dependents who have been living in the UK.

Some Final Notes on UK Student Visas 

Now that you know how to get a UK student visa, we can help you book your SELT for your English requirements. The most common reason for not getting a student visa is not showing sufficient or current financial documents. The process is not complicated, but it’s always a good idea to check the UK student visa website to make sure there are no new requirements. 

Which test would you like to book?