- Wednesday, June 03, 2015
The United Kingdom offers some of the best education institutes and universities in the world. That is why many international students opt for UK as their preferred study destination. In order to study in the UK, the students need to get the right visa for their stay.
Overseas students who come from countries that are a part of the European Union do not need any visa for studying in UK. However, other international students need to apply for and get a student visa before they can pursue higher education in the United Kingdom.
Types of Student Visa in the UK
International students can apply for either of the two kinds of student visas in the UK.
- Student Visitor Visa: This visa is enough if the student wishes to pursue academic course of a short duration and the majority of English courses.
- Tier 4 Student Visa: This visa is meant for longer academic programmes.
In order to study at universities and colleges for graduate or postgraduate programmes, international students will require the Tier 4 Student Visa of the general category.
Overview of Tier 4 Student Visa
International students can apply for this visa if they meet certain criteria as mentioned below.
- The students must be at least 16 years of age.
- They should have been given an offer to join a recognised course.
- The international students should be able to understand, speak, write and read English.
- They should have sufficient money to meet their living expenses and the course costs.
- The native country of the students should not be Switzerland or a part of the European Economic Area.
- They should be able to meet any other eligibility requirements as applicable.
Students can apply for the visa three months before the starting date of the course. A decision will be made and given to the student by a maximum of 3 weeks. The fees associated with the visa must be paid in order to get it. You also need to pay a health surcharge during the application process.
Features of the Visa
This particular visa can enable the student to enjoy certain benefits but can impose certain limitations as well. The visa will allow the student to perform the following activities.
- Students can use the visa to study at the appropriate educational institute.
- They can get work as a sabbatical officer for a student union.
- The application for the visa can be made from inside the UK or outside.
- Applications can be submitted for an extension of the stay.
- Students can use the visa to work. The permitted work will be dependent on the level of the programme being pursued by the student and the type of sponsor.
Eligibility Criteria for the Visa
International students need to be eligible for the visa in order to get it. They need an unconditional offer of a place in a programme by an authorised Tier 4 sponsor. The students also need to provide proof that they can support themselves during the duration of their stay and pay for their course fees.
The choice of course can affect the eligibility of the student for the visa. Appropriate courses are mentioned below.
- Fulltime courses that provide a qualification, which is a minimum of level 6 on the National Qualifications Framework.
- Any international degree level study programme that is equivalent to an UK higher education programme. The programme should be offered by an international institution of higher learning.
- Fulltime courses that provide a qualification of minimum NQF level 3 and lower than a degree level. The course must have organised daytime studies that last 15 hours per week.
- Recognised foundation courses for postgraduate dentists or doctors.