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Study in the UK, July 2018

Find out how to apply for a student visa to the UK after the Brexit vote and beyond.


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Study in the UK, July 2018
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Updated July 29, 2018 | United Kingdom

Study in the UK - Tier 4 (General) student visa

Summary

Applicants 16 years or over can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if he or she:

  • Has been offered a place on a course (confirmed unconditional enrolment) by a college or education provider listed in the UK Tier 4 Registry of Sponsors for Students.
  • Can demonstrate the required scores for speaking, reading, writing and understanding English
  • Has enough money to pay for the course and support during the stay in the UK. The amount will depend on the student applicant’s circumstances
  • Is from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • Meets the other eligibility requirements

Effect of Brexit on EU Citizens. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021. EU citizens and family can apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

Course of study

The course a Tier 4 Student would be accepted could be one of the following:

  • full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the Ofqual register
  • part-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 7 on the Ofqual register
  • an overseas course of degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
  • full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, leading to a qualification which is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
  • a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist

Postgraduate doctors and dentists can apply for this visa if  sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme and provide evidence of having

  • finished a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry
  • received that degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor
  • spent the final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK

Confirmation of acceptance for studies

The education provider will send a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once you – the applicant – has been offered a place on a course. This reference number is needed for encoding on your visa application.

When to apply. You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS.

Knowledge of English

Proof of knowledge of and proficiency in the English language is a requirement when applying.

Where you’re studying

What you’re studying

Knowledge of English needed

Level

Higher education institution (HEI)

Degree level or above

Reading, writing, listening and speaking

Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2

Institution that’s not HEI

Degree level or above

SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking

CEFR level B2

Any institution

Below degree

SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking

CEFR level B1

HEIs can choose how to assess a student’s knowledge of English. They must still be at:

  • CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher
  • SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking and CEFR level B1 if you’re not studying at a degree level

If you have to pass a SELT, it must be from an approved provider.

Exceptions

You don’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’ve completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

Evidence of English proficiency or knowledge of English is also not required where the applicant:

  • Is a national of Canada or any of the countries in the list above
  • Has studied in the UK before as a Tier 4 (Child) student
  • Is applying to come to the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the USA

Documents Required to establish eligibility

Tier 4 (General) Student visa applicants must provide the following:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • proof of having the required funds for support and pay for your course
  • proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
  • proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian
  • Tuberculosis test results if applicant is from a country where the test is to be given.
  •  A blank page on both sides of the passport for the visa.

Other documents may be required and instructions given depending on the circumstances or as required due to changed rules or regulations.

These documents are usually returned to the applicant within 14 days.

When to apply outside the UK

  • Online application for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
  • Have fingerprints and photograph (biometrics) taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of the application.
  • Applicants must collect thye biometric residence permit within 10 days of the stated date of arrival in the UK (even if arrival is at a later date).

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.

Decision. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. However, it is recommened that applicants check visa processing times for the country where the Tier 4 visa application is to be submitted and processed.

Fees- It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.  The £348 is a charged to each applicant and any dependants.  A separate fee must be paid for the healthcare surcharge as part of the application.

When to arrive and how long student can stay

Tier 4 visa applicants can arrive in the UK before course starts:

  • up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
  • up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months

The length of stay in the UK can depends on the kind of course being taken and what study have already been completed.

For example – main course of study is 12 months – then the length of stay is 12 months plus 4 months after the end of the course or 6 months if participating in the Tier 4 Pilot.

If the course six (6) months or less than 12 months, then the length of the course plus 2 months after the end of the course.

Limits to period of stay in the UK.

Tier 4 students are allowed to spend no more than 2 years in the UK studying below UK bachelor’s degree level since the age of 18.  UK Home Office cannot approve new leave for applicants to study below UK bachelor’s degree level, if the applicant already has been studying below UK bachelor’s degree level for 2 years.

Five (5) year limit. There is a 5-year limit Tier 4 students taking up a degree level or above degree level unless the student is studying a course or applying for leave to study a course at or above degree level in one of the following subject areas:

  • Architecture;
  • Medicine;
  • Dentistry;
  • Veterinary Medicine & Science;
  • Music at a music college that is a member of Conservatoires UK (CUK); or
  • Law, where you have completed a course at degree level in the UK and are progressing to a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board in England and Wales, a Masters in Law (MLaw) in Northern Ireland, or an accelerated graduate LLB in Scotland; or the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland; or the Bar Professional Training Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland.

The 5-year limit also does not apply

  • if the student is studying or applying for leave to study for a master’s degree at an HEI, following the successful completion of an undergraduate, or a degree where the duration of that degree course was four or five academic years. In this case, the limit will be set at six years instead of five.
  • The student is on the Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • The grant of leave is to follow a course leading to the award of a PhD, postgraduate research qualification or Research Masters Degree (as listed in Annex 4 of the Tier 4 guidance) and the student is sponsored by an HEI.
  • This 5- or 6-year limit to the time spent for studying at or above degree level does not ilncliude any time spent studying as a Tioer 4 (Child) student or as a Tier 4 (General) student agreed 16 or 17.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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