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Student Visa in the UK: From Eligibility Criteria to How Long You Can Stay & More

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Launching your educational journey in the United Kingdom is a dream for many students worldwide. To make this dream a reality, understanding the intricacies of the UK Student visa process is essential. This detailed guide will help you navigate through the application process, eligibility criteria, and other crucial information to ensure a smooth transition into your studies in the UK.


UK student visa eligibility criteria

Students who apply for a student visa in the UK must meet specific requirements, starting with being older than 16 years old, and having evidenced parental consent if the student is younger than 18.


Applicants must have an offer or admission letter from a university, official papers to prove that they’re accepted to a course, or a licensed student sponsor. Additionally,  students have sufficient funds to support themselves and pay their tuition fees, and the exact amount varies based on individual circumstances. 


To study in English in an English-speaking country, students must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English.


Bear in mind that the student visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa. If you previously held a Tier 4 visa, you will now need to apply under the new student visa category.


How long can you stay in the UK?

Your length of stay in the UK is determined by the duration of your course and any previous studies you’ve completed there. For those 18 or older enrolled in a degree-level course, the typical stay is up to 5 years. For courses below degree level, the usual duration is up to 2 years.


You can extend your stay to continue your studies if eligible. Qualifying applies to individuals holding a Tier 4 (General) student visa as well. To proceed with the visa extension, you need to be currently residing in the UK under either a student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Additionally, you must have received an unconditional offer from a licensed student sponsor for a course, as evidenced by your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). 


It's essential to demonstrate that the academic level of your intended studies exceeds that of your current course, although there are exceptions to this requirement. If your UK visa has been valid for less than 12 months, you'll also need to provide proof of adequate financial resources to support yourself during your stay in the UK.


If you want to stay in the UK and work post-graduation, you can switch to a graduate visa, allowing at least a 2-year stay after completing your course.


When can you go to the UK?

You can travel to the UK before your course begins. If your course is 6 months or shorter, you can arrive up to one week early. If your course is longer than 6 months, you can arrive up to one month early. However, you can not enter the UK before the start date specified on your visa, regardless of your course's start date.


The cost to apply for a student visa from outside the UK is £490, and it is the same fee to extend or switch to a student visa from within the UK. Additionally, you must pay the visa fee for each accompanying person.


You will also need to pay the healthcare fees as part of your application. The amount you pay depends on the duration of your visa, so check the cost before applying. You may be able to bring your partner and children as dependents.


On a student visa, you can study and work as a student union sabbatical officer. You may also be able to work, but the amount depends on your course and whether it's term time or vacation. You cannot claim public funds or pensions, work in certain jobs such as a professional sportsperson or sports coach, be self-employed, or study at an academy or a local authority-funded school. If your application is successful, you will be informed of the specific permissions and restrictions of your student visa.


By understanding these guidelines and requirements, you can effectively plan and prepare for your studies in the UK, ensuring a smooth and successful application process.


When you're prepared, a wide range of educational prospects awaits you throughout the UK. Boasting over 200 universities and more than 49,000 programs spanning various disciplines and academic levels, there's undoubtedly an ideal match for your scholarly interests and ambitions.


Our seasoned team of educational advisors is here to assist you at every juncture. Whether you're initiating your journey or require aid with specific aspects of the application process, our advisors are ready to offer tailored guidance and support.


Starting your journey is straightforward – simply sign up to Educatly to kickstart your educational pursuit. Personalize your profile for a personal browsing experience and explore the diverse array of programs on offer. 


Should you prefer individualized assistance, you can complete a form to schedule a meeting with one of our educational counselors, and they’ll help you throughout the whole process for free. 

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