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Several revised provisions are set to take effect from 2022, making higher education more accessible for Indian students in the UK. While the pandemic has been affecting Indian students in the UK, visa approval rates remain relatively high.
A common misconception among students is that visa application processes are challenging, with deadlines and supporting documents to be submitted. Getting the right guidance makes applying for a UK student visa easy.
The student can apply for a UK visa for minimum three months and maximum six months before starting the course in the UK. The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will be sent to you after you apply to a university. This document will entitle you to seek a visa as a UK student admitted to the country. In addition, UK law permits part-time employment while studying. You can work up to 20 hours per week while attending an official course for six months or more.
Here’s a quick guide to what you will need to do to apply for a student visa in the UK to help you with your application.
Higher education is provided by universities in the UK. Upon completing two years at sixth form or college, students may apply to study at university for a bachelor’s degree. University and College differ primarily because College is usually a pre-university institution in the UK.
You decide to take a higher education course based on your interests, qualifications, and study style. Do research before choosing subjects or courses that will help you advance your career.
To qualify for a Tier 4 student visa, the student must meet the following requirements:
You are required to write a personal statement — SOP explaining why you want to choose the particular course and what it will benefit you. For instance, you have selected a Psychology course. Thus, you need to explain in detail why you have chosen the Psychology course — mentioned how the course relates to your current academic or work and how it will benefit you in the future.
Create a good opening paragraph by giving details about yourself — academics and/or work. A first impression is formed quickly when the UK Visa officer reads your headline. When the first paragraph is dull, irrelevant, eccentric, or pompous, it will create a negative impression.
In addition to the top tier UK universities that can only be accessed via the UCAS (University and College Admission Service) portal, students can also apply to the UK Universities through their website or email for major universities. Most UK universities allow free applications, only universities that must be routed through UCAS charge GBP 25.
Your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) form will be sent to you by UCAS if you have applied through a portal once a university accepts you. The non-UCAS portal universities will send a confirmation letter through email. This form is required when you apply for a visa.
– Financial requirements — tuition fees
Depending on whether it is a one-year or shorter course, tuition fees are charged for the first year or for the entire course duration.
– Other Financial Requirements — living expenses
Students must have at least 9500 to 12500 GBP to support their living expenses in the UK and must pay one-year academic tuition fees for undergraduate or course that is more than one year (full tuition fees are mandatory for the short-term course duration).
All documentation must be brought to the UK VFS — the visa officers will scan the documentation and return it to students. Only passports will be sent to the British High Commission for UK Visa stickers.
– General requirements — Passport and Acceptance Letter
Students need to carry their passports (old passports if applicable) and the CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) letter.
– A copy of your work experience certificate, if applicable
Detailed information on the employment status, key responsibilities, learnings, and performance evaluation is contained in an experience letter. In addition, a timesheet provides a supervisor or employer with a record of the length of an employee’s employment. In most cases, a letter of experience is required when you apply for a student visa.
– It is possible that some students will need additional documents, including:
– English Language proficiency for visa
It is mandatory for non-native English speakers to take English language proficiency tests. Although a wide variety of cultural and geographical backgrounds are represented on UK campuses, English is the predominant language. The University requires IELTS for UKVI, TOEFL, or PTE Academic examinations since English is the second language in India.
– Medical test results for tuberculosis (TB)
TB must be screened for active infection in the lungs of students from countries where it is common, including India.
The patient will have a chest x-ray to determine if they have TB. If your x-ray results are unclear, a sputum sample may be requested.
TB certificates are valid for six months from the date of your x-ray. When applying for a visa to the UK, be sure to include this certificate. In the absence of a TB certificate, applicants’ entry clearance applications will likely be denied.
– Payment of the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)
As part of your UK immigration application, you may be required to pay an IHS —I mmigration Health Surcharge. Paying IHS entitles you to access the country’s health services, including registering with a doctor and getting prescriptions. As a result, you do not need to purchase additional medical insurance. The surcharge can vary from GBP 275 to GBP 470 as per your program duration.
Student visas can only be applied for on Gov.uk, and no other website accepts student visa applications. The student must pay the visa fees online when the form is filled out. For short-term students studying English for longer than six months but less than 11 months, the visa fee is GBP 363 (the revised fee from 6 April 2022). Click here to view the fee listing.
During the online application process, you can specify where to pick up your biometric residence permit (BRP). As soon as you arrive in the UK, you will obtain your BRP card, endorsed with your full student visa.
It is highly recommended to reach the visa application center on time (at least 15 mins before your scheduled appointment). Be sure to bring your original passport and old passport (if applicable) and all of your supporting documents for the student visa application.
The documentation and biometric information (fingerprints and live photo) will be submitted at a visa application center after you submit your online application. The Visa officer will scan all the documents and return to the applicant. Only passports will be submitted.
Credibility interviews may also be conducted — a five-minute interview via video link with UKVI staff in the UK. In order to verify that you are a legitimate student, you will be asked questions about your course, why you plan to study in the UK, and why you chose the university you have listed in your UK Visa application.
It takes at least three working weeks for the Visa officers to process and decide on your visa.
Post the UK Visa Approval
The UK Visa officer will add a sticker to a blank page of your passport once your visa application has been processed. In addition to confirming your acceptance, it will also include the duration of your visa and your BRP collection location.
The UK Visa sticker can be used as a visa document during the validity of your visa, provided it does not exceed six months. You will need a BRP card if your student visa is longer than this.
The decision letter will include an explanation of the reasons if your visa has been denied. You might need to contact the UK visa immigration team and include a copy of the decision letter. New CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) can only be issued three working days before the start of a course (five working days for professional English courses).
BRP — biometric residence permit — must be collected within ten days of arrival unless your visa is valid for less than six months. To collect the BRP, you must show your passport with a valid UK visa stamp and the decision letter.
The visa decision letter will have a specification where you can pick up your BRP card. If it has not been sent to the University, you might have to pick up the BRP at a post office near your campus or study location.
The BRP is a critical immigration document as it contains your visa details. It is recommended that you don’t carry it around all the time and store it safely. You might need to carry a copy of the BRP.
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, regardless of any visa application difficulties you may encounter. Student visas are most often denied because financial documents are not sufficient or documentation is incomplete.
The visa requirements and restrictions in the UK are subject to frequent change, so it’s important to keep up with them. However, keeping track of all the requirements can seem overwhelming when you are new to the UK student visa process. Obtaining a UK student visa is made easier with Global Collision’s complete study abroad solution.
Visit us at www.globalcolliance.com and get answers to all your study abroad-related queries.
ACCA certified Professional from The UK, Mr Brijesh Shah brings more than 15 years of Overseas Education Experience to the table.
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