The UK General Student Visa is granted to foreign students who are at least 16 years old and want to enroll in studies in the UK. It is part of the UK Immigration Points Based System.
With this visa, you can enter the UK one month before the start of studies that last for more than 6 months. In courses that last less than 6 months, you can enter at most one week before the course begins.
With a UK General Student Visa, you can enjoy benefits such as:
- Enroll in post-16 studies in the UK.
- Get a job as a sabbatical officer in the students’ association.
- Get a job as a part of studies (not more than 1/3 of the course time).
- Get a job in Tier 2 General list of jobs.
- Get a voluntary job.
- Bring family members to the UK.
Yet, there are several things, which you cannot do with a UK General Student Visa. Most importantly, you cannot take public funds of any kind. In addition, you cannot study at a maintained school or work in a job that a Tier 2 General visa holder has no permission to.
Who Needs a Tier 4 Visa?
To be eligible to apply for a UK General Student Visa you must fulfill the following conditions:
- Be a non-EEA and non-Swiss national.
- Be older than 16 years of age.
- Demonstrate English Language knowledge in an interview (as explained below). The sponsor must not give the CAS before ensuring that the candidate has the needed English Language understanding:
- For studies held in the English language at the NQF level below 6– knowledge of English should be at least B1.
- For studies held in the English language at the NQF level 6 and higher – knowledge of English should be at least B2.
- Secure a place in the course in an institution listed as a licensed sponsor of Tier 4 candidates.
How to Apply for Tier 4 General Student?
You will have to complete your application process for a UK Tier 4 student visa from your home country.
First, you will need to submit your application online through the official website of the UK government. There you will be asked about basic information, on you and your purpose of traveling to the UK.
Secondly, if this is your first time traveling to the UK, you will need to schedule an appointment at the nearest application center, UK embassy or consulate in your home country. There you will need to submit biometrics and a photograph of yours.
You will also need to gather several documents as a part of your application process.
Tier 4 Student Visa Requirements
The applicant must fulfill the following conditions to be allowed to apply for a Tier 4 visa
- Be older than 16 years old;
- Earn a total of 40 points.
- 30 Points minimum for having a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a Tier 4 Sponsor;
- 10 points for maintenance maintenance.
- Demonstrate English Language knowledge in an interview (as shown in CAS). The sponsor must not give the CAS before ensuring that the candidate has the needed English Language understanding
- For studies held in English language at the NQF level below 6– knowledge of English should be at least B1;
- For studies held in English language at the NQF level 6 and higher – knowledge of English should be at least B2
- Secure a place in the course in an institution listed as a licensed sponsor of Tier 4 candidates;
Document requirements for a UK Tier 4 Student visa
To apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa you must provide the following documents:
- Valid Passport.
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), explained below.
- Tuberculosis test results, if you are a national of a country where tuberculosis is frequent.
- Criminal record certificate.
- Parents’ or legal guardian letters, if you are under 18 years old.
- Maintenance funds for your entire period of stay in the UK, explained below.
- Proof of English Language proficiency.
- Unconditional written consent of the sponsor to the visa application.
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme Clearance Certificate, if applicable.
UK General Student Visa Fees
To apply for a UK Visa you will need to pay a certain fee. The fee for a UK General Student Visa is £348. If you plan to bring family members with you, you must pay an additional £348 for each.
UK General Student Visa Validity
This visa is usually valid for the period of the course. However, there are cases when there is an exception:
- If studies last for 1 year, the visa is valid for four extra months after the end of studies.
- If the course is a postgraduate doctor or dentist course, the visa is valid for one extra month after the end of studies.
- If the course is less than 6 months long and is a preparatory course visa is valid for one extra month after the end of the course.
- If the course lasts for less than 6 months and is not a preparatory course the visa is valid for an additional seven 7 days after the course.
UK General Student Visa Extension
If you want or need to remain in the UK for a longer period, than the validity of your visa, you can apply for a visa extension. You can apply to have your visa extended for any of the following periods:
- For the period of studies.
- Five extra months after the end of studies – for studies lasting for 1 year or more.
- Three extra months – for studies lasting for 6 months.
- Two extra months – for preparatory course lasting less than 6 months.
- Two extra months – for postgraduate studies for doctor or dentist.
- Two extra weeks – for a course that is not a preparatory course.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
CAS is a virtual document or a database record, with a unique referring number. It contains details of the candidate, the course, and other information. The responsibility is on the sponsor to offer the CAS reference number to the candidate.
The main element about the CAS:
- It contains passport information and other personal information about the candidate.
- It is valid for a period of six months from the date of issuance.
- Visa application with CAS should be within a maximum of 3 months before studies start.
- The sponsor must not cancel it once issued.
- You can use it for only for one visa application.
- The authority issuing CAS must be an educational institution licensed as a Tier 4 sponsor.
- Level B2 – higher of the CEFR in the subject of English language.
Maintenance Funds in Tier 4 General Student
Maintenance Funds in Tier 4 General Student
When applying for a Tier 4 General Student visa you should submit the following evidence as proof of financial subsistence:
- Study costs of the first year of studies – for studies shorter than 1 year.
- Study costs of the existing academic year and the next one – if applying to extend the visa from within the UK.
- The entire Tier 4 sponsor costs – for studies abroad the UK shorter than 1 year.
- All of the Tier 4 sponsor costs – if applying to extend the visa from within the UK for continuing part-time studies.
- Study costs of the next year – if applying to extend the visa from within the UK for continuing studies in the beginning of the following year. If you are a holder of a scholarship or other ways of support, you will not need to pay any money to the sponsor for studies. Any money paid to the sponsor before the visa application will be reduced from the total of the required payment, if such payment can be evidenced properly.
Living and accommodation costs:
- £1,265 (if studying in London) or £1,015 (if studying out of London) for each month if studies last for a maximum of 2 months – if applying for a LR in a Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist program or as a Student’s Association Sabbatical Officer.
- £2,530 (if studying in London) or £2,030 (if studying out of London) for two months of studies – if applying for a LR under the DES.
- £1,265 (if studying in London) or £1,015 (if studying out of London) for each month if studies last for maximum of 9 months – if applying for a study program that lasts less than 1 year.
Demonstration of the English language proficiency in an interview
The sponsor must not give the CAS before ensuring that the candidate has the desired English Language understanding, as follows:
- For a course under the Level 6 of the National Qualification Framework (NQF) and English language and preparatory courses as well as foundation degree courses – minimum Level B1of CEFR is needed.
- For a course of the Level 6 or higher – B2 Level and higher.
- A gifted student – is exempt from proving their English language knowledge.
The sponsor at times has to evaluate candidate’s English knowledge by using a Secure English Language Test (SELT) that is offered in an approved English language test provider.
If the candidate passes the SELT, the sponsor puts the unique SELT reference number in candidate’s CAS. The candidate uses the same number on their visa application to confirm that they have passed the test.
The candidate might have to confirm their knowledge of English also in an interview for a visa in the home country, or when in the UK (at the airport).
Academic Technology Approval Scheme Clearance Certificate Requirement
The Foreign and the Commonwealth Office, the Department of the Counter-Proliferation Department is responsible for issuing this certificate. You should submit it when applying for a visa if you want to enroll in:
- Studies in an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Level for a Masters or a PhD degree by research in any of these fields: Subjects allied to Medicine, Biological Sciences, Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects, Physical Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Engineering, Technologies, as well as these courses: JACs codes beginning: Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Others in Computer Science;
- Studies in an undergraduate or postgraduate level for a Taught Masters with courses as Materials Science, Physics (including Nuclear Physics), Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Materials Technology/Materials Science not otherwise specified, Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering;
- Studies or research in a Foreign HEI for more than 6 months in any of the following subjects, leading to a Foreign Postgraduate Qualification
Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)
Students who have an EC or LR in Tier 4 General student and are about to finish studies, which lead to a PhD Degree at a UK HEI, are allowed to apply for an extension of their visa for staying more in the UK to study under Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES).
To study under DES, the Tier 4 General Student can be extended for 1 extra year to finish the studies.
Under DES, a visa holder can job-seek, work in the field of studies, and can plan to open a business in the UK.