How to Apply for a UK Student Visa

Do you want to apply for a UK student visa as an international student? Are you applying from overseas, and are you interested in applying for a student visa to study in the UK? If you have answered yes to the previous questions, you have come to the right place to find out how to apply for a UK student visa.

Therefore, if you need information about this, don’t look elsewhere; stay here, and you’ll find everything you need.

Firstly, it is essential for us to establish from the onset that there are different types of student visas in the UK; depending on your age and academic intentions will determine which one to choose.ff

What are the types of student visas in the UK?

Currently, three types of UK student visas may be issued to overseas students:
1. Child Student Visa
2. Study English in the UK (Short-term study visa)
3. Student Visa

You can apply for a Child Student visa if you are between the ages of 4-17 and want to study at a private school (i.e., an independent school) in the UK. You will need to have the written consent of your parent or guardian before you are sponsored on this visa.

The Child Student Visa category replaced the Tier 4 (Child) student visa. It costs £348 to apply for a Child Student visa.

For the Study English in the UK visa category, you can apply for a short-term study visa to study the English language in the UK. This visa category is for English language courses lasting at least six months and not more than 11 months. It costs £186 to Study English in the UK (a short-term study visa).

The final category – Student Visa – is the main subject of this article. The Student Visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa. You must be at least 16 years old to be eligible to apply for this visa.

How to pay for UK Student Visa

The fee for the Student Visa is £348/$489. The fee must be paid online using either an ATM card, debit or credit card. Depending on your circumstance, the price may be slightly different, but you can find the exact cost you are expected to pay here.

If you are in Nigeria, the Visa Application Centres (VACs) may charge add-on fees by offering a range of other optional services such as flexible appointments, courier services to deliver your passport and priority service. The VACs centres are in Abuja, Victoria Island Lagos and Ikeja Lagos.

How much do I need maintenance funds when applying for a UK student visa?

How much money you need for maintenance will depend on where you will study in the UK. You’ll need either:
£1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for a programme in London
£1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for a programme outside London

You will need to show you have this money to support yourself while you apply for a UK student visa – unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application. You must have this money for at least 28 consecutive days.

The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.

The amount you need to pay will be on your Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) document issued to you by your university or college.

Can I work while on a UK student visa?

You are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week on the Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 General) if you are enrolled in a degree programme at a UK college or university that appears both on the official UKVI Sponsor list and the list of recognised institutions with degree-awarding powers in the UK.

In any given week, you can work for up to 20 hours, either paid or unpaid, for one or more organisations. Averaging more than 20 hours is not permitted. The Home Office defines a ‘week’ as a period of seven days starting on a Monday. Unpaid and paid work are included in this definition.

As outlined above, the University imposes greater restrictions on working hours, which must be followed. If you hold a student visa issued for full-time studies at the degree level, you may work full-time during the official vacation.

Study levels differ in terms of term and vacation dates, so checking these before undertaking full-time employment is important. When applying for a UK student visa, it is worth noting that the term ‘internship’ or ‘placement’ includes full-time work unless it is part of your course.

If your course incorporates a placement year or internship, it does not affect your student visa.

Postgraduate students do not have the same vacation and term dates as undergraduates. Please consult your faculty or department for more information regarding official vacation periods.

For postgraduate research students (e.g., PhD students), the academic year is continuous from 1 October to 30 September. Thus, a postgraduate research student cannot work full-time on a student visa.

Can I relocate with my family to the UK if I am on a student visa?

Yes, you can. A dependent visa is available to the spouse and children of the main applicant for the same duration as stated on your student visa (or biometric resident permit). However, undergraduate students cannot bring dependants to the UK.

If you are applying with your family dependents (spouse and children), you would be required to pay £475 per person for any dependent visa. Each dependant will apply separately but as your dependant. Separate applications and fees are required for each of your dependants.

You should also note while you apply for a UK student visa that, aside from your maintenance funds, you must provide £845 (within London) and £680 (outside London) for each dependent for each month you apply for, up to a maximum of 9 months.

A scholarship can cover your dependents’ maintenance if you already have one. The scholarship letter must clarify that the funds will also be used for dependents’ maintenance.

Documents required to apply for a UK student visa

You will need several documents compared to a visit visa to apply for a UK student visa. You will need the mandatory documents and supporting financial and academic records.

Ensure you refer to the visa application checklist below before going to the VACs for the visa interview.

You should have the following documents available when you apply for a UK student visa:

  • A completed online student visa application form can be found on the UKVI website.
  • A letter of acceptance on the course – You will receive an official and unconditional offer of a place on a course of study from your approved university or college in the form of an acceptance letter (CAS). It is necessary to receive the visa letter no later than six months before applying. Application with a visa letter older than six months will be denied.
  • Visa letters do not guarantee success in an application. The applicant must also meet any other requirements of the immigration rules.
  • You need to prove that you have enough money to pay your course fees for your first year and to cover your living costs (maintenance fees) for up to nine months. Your funds must have been held for at least 28 days. The end of those 28 days must not be more than one month before the date of your application.

Attend the interview to apply for a UK student visa

You would then be required to attend the appointment physically after submitting applications online. You will need to come along with the documents mentioned above. On the day of the appointment, you must provide a passport photograph, biometric facial photograph and supporting documents as listed above.

You would have your fingerprint scanned and your photograph taken at the VAC. You may be required to attend an interview with a UKVI caseworker. The interview generally checks whether you genuinely want to study in the UK, not for other purposes. You may be asked the following questions

  • Why have you chosen to study in the UK
  • Whether you applied to any other UK university
  • The courses and university or college you selected
  • Reasons for choosing a particular UK University and not any other one
  • Maintenance such as travel, living expenses, healthcare, etc. 

You must be honest in your application. You could be barred from the UK for many years if your application was denied due to false statements and/or forged documents.

Checklist: UK student visa application

Apply for a UK student visa

This checklist is needed when you apply for a UK student visa in Nigeria. It will help you to prepare for a UK student visa interview at the VACs. You would be required to adhere to the following items on the checklists and provide the following additional documents below.

  • Tuberculosis Test Certificate. Nigeria is listed as one of the countries where a tuberculosis test certificate is needed, issued by an accredited tuberculosis test centre.
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) – Your education provider will send you a reference number stated on your CAS document once they have offered you a place on a programme. You will need to enter this number on your visa application.
  • Applicants must prove they have enough funds to cover their programme fees and monthly maintenance expenses for nine months. If the funds are held under your parent’s name, you must provide proof of the relationship and a letter from your parent confirming financial assistance.
  • Health Surcharge Reference Number – You are required to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
  • A current international passport or other valid travel documents.
  • Proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you are under 18
  • Proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian if you are under 18
  • You need a blank page in your passport for your visa.
  • You may also need additional documents, such as a marriage certificate, etc., to apply for a UK student visa in Nigeria, depending on your circumstances.

How to Apply for a UK student visa

You must take several steps when applying for a UK student visa in Nigeria. The visa is usually processed within three weeks.

Step 1 – Firstly, check if you are qualified for the student visa or not. Before you commence the application process, you need to show that you have:

  • A confirmed offer at the university or college and you have accepted the offer and acknowledged it. That acknowledgement is called a ‘confirmation of acceptance for studies’ (CAS).
  • Sufficient money (also known as ‘maintenance funds’) to cover your course fees and living expenses in the UK.

Step 2 – Get your supporting documents ready.

Step 3 – Apply online through the UKVI website. You will need to register an account on the official UKVI website. After completing your online application form, print and sign your completed form.

You must use the online booking calendar to secure an appointment at your preferred VAC. When you have completed your online application on the UKVI website, you will receive an email confirmation containing your visa application number.

Step 4 – Pay your visa application fee. Payment is usually by credit card or debit card. Your bank ATM card should work.

Step 5 – Visit the VAC on the appointed date. You must book and attend an appointment at the VAC to submit your application, facial photograph, passport photographs and fingerprints.

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