If you’re looking to study in the UK as an international student, you’ll need to apply for a UK Student Visa. Since Brexit, there are new visa rules for students coming to the UK, so it’s important to understand what you need to do. Applying for a Student Visa to study in the UK can feel a little daunting at first, but our guide is here to help you. From eligibility to deadlines and filling out the application form, here’s everything you need to know about getting a UK Student Visa.

What are the new rules for a UK Student Visa?

Since 2021, EU citizens will now have to apply for a UK Student Visa if they are planning to stay longer than 6 months. If you started studying in the UK before 2021, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows people to live in the UK permanently.

What is the Tier 4 Student Visa?

The Tier 4 Student Visa was for students outside the EEA studying full-time at a UK university. You now follow the Student route to obtain the general UK Student Visa, which has replaced the Tier 4.

How long does a UK Student Visa last?

For those over 18 studying at degree level, the UK Student Visa often lasts for up to 5 years. Most degree programmes last for three years, although some are longer.

Who can apply for a UK Student Visa? 

UK Student visa application

Anyone can apply for a UK Student Visa, providing they are over 16 (if you are younger than 18 you will also need parental consent). You will also need to have an unconditional offer by a licensed student sponsor, and have sufficient funds to support yourself. Furthermore, you will also need a minimum knowledge of the English language (see more below).

What is the 28-day rule for a UK Student Visa?

The 28-day rule concerns the financial documents you need to provide to support your application. When applying for a UK Student Visa, you may need to show you have funds to support yourself. This can be through a student loan, personal savings or another source. The 28-day rule refers to the amount of time you need to demonstrate you’ve had control of the funds. So, if you are submitting a bank statement as evidence, it will need to show you have had the funds for 28 days. The statement, or supporting document, must also be from 31 days before you submit the application.

Who needs to show financial evidence to study in the UK?

Not everyone will need to have financial documents as proof of funds to study in the UK. Many nationalities from the EU and elsewhere do not need to do so, which you can check on the government’s list of exempt nationalities.

If you’re studying to be a doctor or dentist, you won’t need to show any proof of funds. You also won’t need any financial evidence if you’re applying to be a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.

Why do UK Student Visas get rejected?

The most common reason why a UK Student Visa application is refused or rejected is due to insufficient funds or evidence. Other reasons include missing documents, submitting photocopies instead of originals, and failing the credibility interview. However, these are much rarer.

Do I need to know English to get a UK Student Visa?

Yes, you need to prove your English language knowledge when applying for a UK Student Visa. This can be done by passing a SELT (Secure English Language Test). Or if you have an English qualification through studying at a UK school – such as GSCEs, A levels, etc.

The level of English is also important. You will need to show you have the equivalent of a B2 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages scale) to study at degree level. Some nationalities or countries that a student may have studied in previously are exempt from having to prove their English. This can be found on the government page for knowledge of English.

What documents do I need to apply for a UK Student Visa?

passport for applying for a student visa uk

You will need your passport or equivalent, and a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the university. You may also need an ATAS certificate, tuberculosis test results, proof of funds, and written consent from a financial sponsor if you have one.

When do I need to apply for a UK Student Visa? 

If you’re applying from outside the UK, you need to apply for your Student Visa within 6 months before your course starts. If you’re currently on a visa and living in the UK, you need to apply before your current visa expires.

When will I get a decision?

Usually, the decision on your UK Student Visa is 3 weeks but can be up to 8 weeks.

How much is a UK Student Visa?

The cost of a UK Student Visa is £363 for those applying outside of the UK. If you are extending or switching to a Student Visa from within the UK, the fee is £490. You will also need to pay a health surcharge, which is calculated according to your visa length. You can find out more here.

Will I need to have an interview?

Interviews for student visa uk

You may be asked to have an online interview to assess your suitability for a UK Student Visa. It just involves some questions to determine if you are a genuine student. Common questions include asking about why you want to come to the UK or particular uni to study, how you’ll finance it and where you’ll live.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful, as it answers some of the common concerns about UK Student Visas. Once you’ve applied, you can find out more about what to expect when studying in the UK as an international student.