An ultimate guide on the UK student visa process in 2024

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Prodigy Finance - May, 20 2024

9 min read

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At Prodigy Finance, we're committed to helping international talent to achieve their education dreams. We offer international student loans to qualified individuals attending top master's programmes in the US.

The United Kingdom is renowned for its comprehensive education and prestigious universities. The country attracts students from all across the world for its wide range of globally recognized courses and degrees. If you are an aspiring student seeking to pursue a course in any university in the UK, then you must pass the entrance prerequisites.

Apart from that, the UK Student visa is also a mandatory document required for relocation to study in the UK. The visa follows a process and has its own set of eligibility standards, which you must know when taking a step further to your dream university. Keep reading to learn everything about the student visa in the UK.

Types of visa for the UK

A UK visa becomes necessary when you want to enter to stay in the UK for various purposes. The types of visa for the UK is categorized based on the purpose of travel. Thus the types of UK visas include work visas, student visas, transit visas, family visas, etc. Under student UK visas, there are three types. They are:

Student route visa/ tier 4 general student visa

  • Child student visa
  • Short-term study visa

Student visa pre-requisite

The UK student visa process requires the candidate to meet certain eligibility requirements. Students aged above 16 only are eligible for any one type of student visa mentioned. Here are the conditions to qualify for the Student visa:

  • You have been given a course spot by an authorized student sponsor.
  • You have the necessary funds to support yourself and spend on your education; the amount will depend on your situation.
  • You can read, write, speak, and comprehend English.
  • If you are 16 or 17, you must have your parents' permission. In this case, you must provide proof of this once you apply.

UK student visa eligibility

Here is a list of things to do to become procedure for a UK student visa:

  • You must have an offer from a recognized institute/university in the UK.
  • After receiving an offer, you will get a CAS number, which is a unique reference number. This number is mandatory while applying for a student visa.
  • You must submit bank statement documents or other financial proof to showcase that you can fund your studies.
  • An English language certificate like SELT to demonstrate your English proficiency.

UK student visa required documents

For the UK student visa procedure to go smoothly, you need a list of documents to submit for the application.

  • Travel documents like passports, etc.
  • The CAS document from your institution
  • An ATAS certificate
  • Parental concern certificate/Guardian consent
  • Tuberculosis test reports
  • Financial documents

UK student visa Cost

The cost of a UK Student Visa (Tier 4 visa) varies depending on various factors, such as the course duration, whether you're applying from inside or outside the UK, and your nationality. The student visa cost depends on whether you’re from the UK or are outside the country.

1. Outside the UK:

Student Visa application fee: £348
Immigration Health Surcharge: £470 per year

2. Inside the UK (Switching from a different visa category):

Student Visa application fee: £475
Immigration Health Surcharge: £470 per year

UK student visa process

You can apply for the UK student online. The visa procedure takes place in several steps. Have a look:

Step 1- Choose the course/university you want to study at

Once you’ve planned on doing your grads/undergrads in the UK, the first step would be to find the ideal course of study and the university so that you have time to check their eligibility criteria and requirements before you proceed to go for a visa application.

Step 2- Check the admission requirements

The very first requirement for processing a student visa is confirmation from the university/institute where you plan to pursue your education. So, check the requirements at your university and get confirmation.

Step 3- Get the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS):

After the institute confirms your application, they will provide you with the CAS certificate and a CAS number which is required for the student visa application.

Step 4- Prepare supporting documents:

Once you have your CAS number, it is high time you prepare all other documents required for the application process. This includes the passport, bank statements, etc.

Step 5- Fill out the online application:

To apply for a UK student visa, you must check out the official UK gov website. On this website, you will find an online application for a UK student visa. Fill it with your credentials and submit it.

Step 6- Pay the application fee:

Once you complete the online application, checkout to pay the application fee. The fee amount depends on your location and the type of visa you are applying for. After submitting your application online, book an appointment for biometric confirmations.

Step 7- Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and Submit:

Apart from the application fee, you also need to pay the IHS, which is the Immigration Health Surcharge. Once you pay the IHS, you get access to all health services in the UK. Now, click on submit to submit your UK student visa application.

Step 8- Wait for a response:

The processing of visa applications can highly vary. However, the average expected processing time is 3 weeks.

Where to apply for your UK student visa

You can apply for a UK student visa only on the official UK govt website. On this page, you can navigate through the student visa segment and start filling in the details.

The page will ask you to enter your country of residence. After selecting your country, the website will direct you to the UK Student Visa application page. It will state if you may apply online or if a Visa Application Centre must receive your application. You can submit your application electronically using the official UK website if online applications are accepted in your nation. Alternatively, the website will offer details on the location, business hours, and any extra requirements if you require to apply at a Visa Processing Centre.

When to apply for your UK student visa

You can apply for your UK Student Visa after you confirm your application to a recognized UK educational institution. Candidates are now allowed to apply for the student visa 6 months to 1 year before the start of the course duration. It is to be noted that it will take anywhere around 3 to 8 weeks to get your visa approved from the date of application.

UK student visa processing time

The UK visa processing time varies based on one factor. That is, whether you’re applying for the visa from inside the UK or outside the UK. With that said, candidates applying for the visa from outside the UK will experience a visa processing time of 3 weeks. On the other hand, the candidates applying for the student visa from inside the UK will have to wait for 8 weeks.

What can you study in the UK as an international student?

As an international student, you have access to a variety of courses and programs to study in the UK. Universities in the UK are known for their top-notch instruction and research, as shown by international rankings like the ones released by QS World University Rankings and THE Global Rankings. The best employees are hired, campuses are improved, and the greatest amenities are made available to sustain this high quality.

You can choose a graduate, undergraduate, or doctoral degree based on your preferences. The undergraduate programs are 3 years in duration, whereas the master’s program (grads) is 1 year in duration. Here is a list of programs that are commonly opted for by international students in the UK:

  • Business studies
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Undergraduate law
  • Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Politics
  • Art & Design
  • Biological Sciences
  • Electrical Engineering

Types of courses valid under a UK student visa

Under the UK student visa, you have a myriad range of courses valid to study. Here is a list of options you have under the student visa:

  • A full-time program (RQF level 3, 4, or 5) leading to a credential below the degree level that requires a minimum of 15 hours per week of scheduled daytime study.

  • A full-time program leading to a degree-level or higher certification (RQF level 6, 7, or 8).

  • A degree-level or higher full-time course (RQF levels 6, 7, or 8) that is being taught as a part of a longer program abroad and is comparable to a UK college or university course.

  • A part-time program that results in a qualification at or above the level of a degree (RQF level 7 or higher).

  • An approved foundation course for postgraduate dentists or doctors.

Also, If you're being sponsored to complete an approved foundation course and you have completed a legitimate medical or dental degree in the UK and acquired it from an officially recognized sponsor, spending the last year of school and at least one other year of your studies culminating to that level in the UK.

How to finance your education in the UK as an international student

If you are a non-EU student, it is unlikely for you to get a scholarship or financial aid for your studies. However, several colleges/schools have a personal financial aid program for students who are financially poor but are talented. But this is subject to the individual school/college.

Student loans are another option if you still need to get a scholarship. In the UK, there are various kinds of student loans available, such as loans for upkeep and tuition. After you finish your course or programme, all of these loans are expected to be paid back to the institution you applied to. Some universities might provide you with a partial loan to help with some of your educational expenses, while others might give you an entire sum to cover the cost of your university studies. Your living expenses in the UK are covered by a maintenance student loan.

External educational loans from financial institutes are another profitable option if you do not have access to government scholarships. Most external loans fund international students and cover all types of expenses. Study loans can be helpful in crucial times when you want to pay off your university fee but are running out of funds at the moment.

UK student-dependent visa

If you are applying for a student visa, it implies that only you can enter and live in the UK for your education. However, if you want to take your parents with you to the UK, you can apply for a UK student-dependent visa. In this case, if your student visa is approved, any of your dependents are eligible for the student dependent visa application.

You may be eligible to bring dependents to the UK on a student dependent visa if:

  • You're enrolled in a postgraduate course full-time that lasts at least nine months.
  • You've been enrolled full-time for at least six months and are a government-sponsored student.

In either of these cases, the UK government or another foreign government may provide official financial sponsorship.

If you don't match the aforementioned conditions but are currently enrolled as a student in the UK and meet the criteria listed below, your dependents may be qualified for this dependent visa.

  • You're enrolled in a longer than six-month course.
  • You possess a current Tier 4 student immigration authorization, or if it has expired, it did so no more than three months before the visa application.
  • Your family members have dependent immigration authorization, or they had authorization that lapsed within the previous three months before the visa renewal application.

It is to be noted that when you apply for a student visa, your family members also apply for a dependent visa.


How to check the status of my UK student visa application?
You can check your student visa status online by using your payment reference number/ unique application number/ passport number or case identification number.

Are there any scholarships to study in the UK?
Yes. The UK government offers several scholarship schemes for students from different countries who pursue their education in the UK.

Financial requirements for a UK student visa?
Your financial statement must showcase that you can afford your course fee and living costs each month for up to 9 months. This statement must be submitted for processing your student visa.

Can you work part-time as an international student in the UK?
Yes. To meet your educational expenses, you can work part-time or freelance in the UK during non-study hours.

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