International Students must successfully apply for a Student visa before they can commence their studies in the UK. This short article provides an overview about the requirements for Student visas for foreign students intending to study in the UK.
The relevant Immigration Rules that cover Student Visa applications are primarily contained in Appendix Student. A few additional rules that relate to the English Language Requirement and the Financial Requirement are included at Appendix B: English Language and Appendix Finance of the Immigration Rules.
Persons aged 16 or over may apply for a Student Visa. It is however important to state that persons aged 16 – 17 years of age may still apply for Child Student Visas.
Students intending to attend short courses for 6 months or less with an accredited provider may apply for a Visitor Visa.
Students applying to study English Language courses for 11 months or less with an accredited provider may apply for a visa under Appendix Short – Term Student.
The Student Route therefore does not lead to Settlement. The Home Office expects that Students will return home after their studies, although they may be able to switch into other Immigration categories at the completion of their studies.
Student Visa Application Requirements
- Applications must be submitting using the designated webpages on the gov.uk website.
- Applicants are required to provide adequate ID documents, including national passports or other relevant travel documents.
- Applicants must pay the Home Office Application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge.
- Applicants must supply their biometrics as required.
- Applicants must provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number that must have been issued no earlier than 6 months before the application is submitted.
- Where Students have been sponsored by a government or International scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs in the last 12 months prior to the submission of their application, they must provide written consent from the government or international scholastic agency that sponsored them.
Suitability Requirements for a Student
- Applicants must not fall for refusal under the grounds for refusal.
- Applicants must not be in breach of the Immigration Rules or on Immigration bail.
- Students must obtain Entry Clearance (a visa) before arriving in the UK for a course of study.
- Students who come from a country listed under paragraph A39 of Appendix T must provide a certificate confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary Tuberculosis that confirms that the ailment is not present in them.
- Students must submit their visa applications no earlier than 6 months before their course is due to commence.
Genuine Student Requirement
An Applicant must be a genuine student.
The Home Office must have no reason to believe that an Applicant will not follow the course of study for which they have sort a Student visa or that the Applicant will be involved in any activity suggesting a contrary intention inconsistent with being a bona fide student.
Points requirement for a Student
An Applicant must score at least 70 points to satisfy the Points requirement as set out below:
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies requirement
Approved qualification requirement 50 points
Level of study requirement
Place of study requirement
Financial 10 points
English Language 10 points
Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)
- This must be issued by the Student Sponsor (educational institution e.g. independent school or university).
- The CAS must not have been used in a previous application, whether granted or refused.
- The Student Sponsor must not have withdrawn the offer after the date that the CAS was issued.
- The CAS must contain the necessary information, including the Course requirement, the Approved qualification requirement, Level of study requirement and Place of study requirement.
- The CAS must state the cost of any accommodation provided by the sponsor and fees (and any payment already made).
- The CAS must confirm how the English Language requirement was met.
- The application must be for a single course of study, unless it is a combined pre – session course as set out under paragraph ST 15.1. to 15.3 of Appendix Student or for a full – time, salaried executive position as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, where the Applicant is either part – way through their studies or will fill the position in the academic year immediately following their graduation.
- The Application must be for a full – time course at degree level or above, that leads to an approved qualification or one below degree level requiring a minimum of 15 hours per week of classroom – based daytime study between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, that leads to an approved qualification.
- The course of study may be any other course which satisfies the rules as set out under the Course Requirement for a Student at paragraphs ST 8.2 (c) – (e) of Appendix Student.
- There are also specific requirements for students intending to take the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) related courses and the rules at paragraph ST 8.3 should be consulted.
- Applicants must obtain a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate, if their course is one that requires this approval and this must be submitted with Student Visa application. Appendix ATAS of the Immigration Rules should be consulted, where necessary.
Approved qualification requirement for a Student
The course of study, unless it is a pre – sessional course, must lead to an approved qualification which is validated by Royal Charter, a recognised UK body or covered by a legal agreement between a UK recognised body and another education provider or awarding body, as specified at paragraph ST9.1 of Appendix Student.
For other courses which satisfy the requirement of the Immigration Rules, paragraph ST 9.1 (d) – (g) of Appendix Student should be consulted.
Level of Study requirement for a Student
Satisfying the Level of Study requirement will depend on whether a CAS has been assigned by a Probationary sponsor or a Student sponsor as well as the other factors mentioned below:
- Where the course will be studied in the UK, i.e. in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
- Whether the Applicant is aged 18 or over.
- The Regulated Qualifications Framework Level.
Applicants should consult paragraphs ST 10.1 and 10.2 of Appendix Student to determine the Level of Study requirements for their specific courses.
Place of Study
All study that forms part of the course of study must take place on the premises of the educational institution or a partner institution providing tuition.
Exceptions to the above, may apply where an Applicant has to undertake course related work placement, study outside the UK or a pre – sessional course.
Financial Requirement for a Student
Where an Applicant is applying to undertake a course of study that is not at an Independent School, for example at a university, the Applicant will need to have sufficient funds to pay any outstanding course fees, as stated on the CAS and demonstrate that he has enough money to maintain himself.
Appendix Student provides that Students must be able to show that they have funds for at least 9 months. The level of funds required by Students will depend on whether their university or educational institution is located in or outside London. The level of funds required by Students in London is £1,334 per month and £1,023 if outside London. In total Students in London will need to show they have at least £12,006 at their disposal, while those studying outside London will need to show they have at least £9,207 available to them.
The funds required for Independent schools will be the sufficient funds to pay any outstanding fees (course and boarding fees) for one academic year.
Monies being relied to cover outstanding fees and maintenance must be held for a minimum of 28 consecutive days, unless the Applicant is relying on a Student loan or on financial sponsorship, such as an award from a government or international scholarship agency.
The most recent piece of financial evidence, for example bank statements, must be dated no earlier than 31 days before the Student Visa application is submitted.
Monies must be held in the name of the Applicant or in their partner’s name but there are limited exceptions to this, as set out at FIN 5.1 of Appendix Finance.
English Language Requirement
Students are required to demonstrate English language proficiency in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in reading, writing, speaking and listening. The level of proficiency required will depend on the level of the study being embarked upon by the Student.
Students who intend to study courses at UK Bachelor degree level or above, must take an English Language Test under CEFR at level B2.
Students intending to study a pre-sessional course or a course below UK bachelor’s degree level are required to take an English Language Test under CEFR at level B1.
Other related matters
For other all other matters relating to the Student Visas, paragraphs ST14.1 – ST 27.7 of Appendix Student should be consulted.
This short article summarises the basic requirements for UK Student Visa applications, however as with all other Immigration applications, Applicants are advised to seek legal advice from a UK Immigration Solicitor or Advisor before submitting a Student Visa application.
Immigration Rules – Appendix Student
Immigration Rules – Appendix English Language
Immigration Rules – Appendix Finance
Home Office Guidance – Student and Child Student (version 3.0)