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UK Study Visa Requirements in 2021 & New Rules

The UK is one of the most popular destinations for international students. However, getting a student visa to study in the UK can be quite challenging and time-consuming.

To make it easier for Indian students who wish to pursue higher education in the UK, there are new provisions that will come into effect from 2021. These include faster processing times and streamlined application processes as well as an increased number of routes available for Indian students wanting to study in Britain.

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This article explores all the new UK Study Visa requirements in 2021 that you must know about, to receive a UK Student Visa. Read on.

Top 7 UK Study Visa Requirements in 2021

Top-7-UK-Study-Visa-Requirements-in-2021

To study in the UK and a foriegn national you must be above 16 years of age. You are also required to have an offer from a reputed institution or a licenced student sponsor. Having a strong financial plan or sponsor to  fund your education and living expenses is also important. 

The United Kingdom is one of the leading countries attracting students from all across the globe. Despite the pandemic, there has been a good rate of visa approval in the UK, especially for Indian students. 

These are the main UK visa requirements for a UK student visa applications in 2021:

UK Student Route Visa Requirements

General requirements

  • a valid passport (original)
  • a passport-sized photograph meeting UKVI requirements
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

English Language proficiency for visa

(University requirements could be higher)

UG course: you must be proficient to at least CEFR level B2 (IELTS 5.5)

PG course: at least CEFR level B1 (IELTS 4.0)

Below degree level: one of the Secure English Language Tests (SELT) certificates

Financial requirements

You must prove funds for one of the following:


  • First year tuition fees; OR
  • Complete tuition fee for courses less than one year; OR
  • Fee for next academic year, or outstanding fees (if you are extending your visa for further studies)

For living costs: Have at least £1,023 per month to up to 9 months

Evidence of qualifications

Current certificates or official transcripts with


Your name, the name of the institution, the course title, and the date awarded.

English Translations

All documents should be officially translated to English.


A fully certified translation includes:


  • Original documents
  • Confirmation of accuracy in translation
  • Date of translation
  • Full name and signature of the translator 
  • The translator or translation company’s contact details

 

1. Offer from an Educational Institution

Offer-from-an-Educational-Institution

You must have an offer from a licensed student sponsor. As proof, the educational institution will give you the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

You must have the CAS before you apply for a UK Student Visa. Moreover, you have to apply for the student visa within six months of receiving the CAS.

There are various courses that you can select from : 

  • A part-time course that will qualify you above degree level (RQF level 7 or higher). In this case, you might need the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate
  • A full-time course that will qualify you for a degree level or higher (RQF level 6.7 or 8)
  • A full-time course that will qualify you for a degree level or more (RQF level 6.7 or 8)
  • A full-time course that will qualify you for a below degree level (RQF level 3.4 or 5)
  • An English language course at level B2 or more in the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) scale
  • An approved foundation programme that is sponsored for dentists and postgraduate doctors 

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What is a CEFR ?

CEFR is also known as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment. Its main aim is to provide a structural method of learning, teaching, and assessing that applies to Europe's languages. 

Here is the CEFR table for English Qualifications:

table for english qualification

2. Proficiency in the English Language

You must prove that you are fluent in the English language. The level is measured on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) scale.

As proof, you must pass the Secure English Language Test (SELT).

Level of study

English skill level (CEFR)

Below degree level

B1

Degree level or above

B2

Note: If you have applied for a course of degree level or more, then:

  • The provider can evaluate your English language skills.
  • You might have to take a different test. But, still, the test results have to be equivalent to the B2 level.

3. Eligibility criteria

Eligibility-criteria

The eligibility criteria for the UK student visa requirements are:

  • The applicant must be of 16 years of age or more
  • The candidate must have enough funds to pay the course fee. They must also be able to support themselves during their stay
  • The applicant must have an offer from an approved educational institution
  • The candidate must be at a certain level in the English language test results

4. Documents Needed

The documents needed for the student visa are:

    • Valid passport
    • Visa application form
    • Passport-sized recent photograph
    • Proof that you have paid the visa fee/ visa application fee
    • Proof of funds/financial evidence
    • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) 
    • Valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (If needed)
    • Medical test results for tuberculosis
    • Payment of the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)
    • Written agreement from financial sponsor (in case of sponsorship)
    • Police clearance certificate

However, if you are under 18 years of age, some additional documents are needed. These are:

  • Proof of consent from parents or legal guardian
  • Evidence of relationship with parents or legal guardian
  • Copy of birth certificate or any government document that displays the names of parents

 

Note: The offer letter for your study programme will mention whether the programme requires an ATAS certificate.

5. Tuberculosis Test Results

Tuberculosis-Test-Results

The main medical examination that you need to undergo is for tuberculosis. It is required if you intend to stay in the UK for more than six months. The test is a must for visa applicants from the specified list of countries.

For this examination, you have to take the chest x-ray test. But, if the results are uncertain, then you have to provide a sputum sample.

Only approved clinicians can perform the tests.

If the results are negative for tuberculosis, you will get a certificate. The certificate will have validity for six months from the date of the test.

6. Proof of funds

The sufficient funds required is £1,265.00 to support your living expenses and pay the UK's tuition fees.

In the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), the funds required are: 

  • £1,015 per month as living costs if your course is outside London
  • £1,265 per month if your course is in London
  • £2,530 for the course in London (if you are on the Doctorate Extension Scheme)
  • £2,030 for the course outside London (if you are on the Doctorate Extension Scheme)

Note: Proof of funds are not required if:

  • You had a valid visa previously for the UK
  • The visa must have been for a minimum of 12 months
  • Your country is listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’
  •  Your application states you as a student union sabbatical officer

7. Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)

You must pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS). It is mainly for those who want to stay in the UK for more than six months. The amount of money that you have to pay depends. It is dependent on the amount of time you live in the UK.

If you are granted leave for less than six months, you need to pay half the annual amount. If you are granted leave for more than six months, you need to pay the full yearly amount.

You can use the NHS (National Health Service) after you have paid the IHS. But, you will still have to pay for dental treatments, prescriptions, assisted conception, eye tests, and so on.

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Types of Student Visas in 2021

Study Visa Type

Who is eligible?

When to apply?

When to arrive in the UK?

Student Visa

It replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa

For students aged 16 or above who are offered a course at a UK University or college

Allows you to stay as per your course length

Processing time: 3 weeks

3 months before the course starts

1 week before if your course lasts 6 months or fewer

Up to 1 month before if your course lasts more than 6 months

Child Student Visa

It replaced the Tier 4 (Child) student visa

Students between 4 and 17

Processing time: 3 weeks

3 months before the start of your course

Up to 1 week before if your course lasts 6 months or fewer

Up to 1 month before if your course lasts more than 6 months

Short-term Study Visa

Students  in a short-term course (for 6 to 11 months)

Processing time: 3 weeks

3 months 

Depends on  travel dates

New immigration rules regarding the UK student visa

To make things easier for international students, the UK government has made some changes. The new rules are:

From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and be replaced with the UK’s new points-based immigration system

5 October 2020, brought the 'new points-based system' Student route into force. There would be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK under the route.

Priority will be given to highly skilled individuals, such as those with scientific, academic and technology-related qualifications. 

There are changes in the new post-study work (PSW) visa. The changes are:

  • It will enable the students to work and live in the UK for 3 years after completing a Ph.D. 
  • They can stay and work for 2 years after completion of the Master's degree.
  • The government can extend the PSW limit for the Master's degree holders from 2 years to 4 years.

The new rules are aimed at increasing the total number of international students choosing to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 by 2030.

British Council highlighted that the change would have a positive impact on the number of Indian students choosing the UK as a higher education destination.

All migrants looking to enter the UK to work or study will need to apply for permission in advance.

Indian students starting a UK course in autumn will be eligible to apply even if they need to start their UK course online due to COVID-19.

Other FAQs

Do students from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Norway need a student visa?

For the students from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Norway:

  • You don't require a visa if you enter the UK on December 31, 2020.
  • From January 1, 2021, you will need a visa if you enter the UK.
  • You have to apply for the EU Settlement; if you are settled in the UK before December 31, 2020, and want to continue your stay. You must apply before June 30, 2021.

What safety measures should I have to take once I arrive in the UK?

Because of this pandemic, the Australian government is following these rules for International Students:

  • It would be best if you filled up a contact tracing for at the airport before you can proceed to customs
  • 14 days of self-isolation
  • You must apply for a BRP within one month of your arrival if your education course duration is more than 6 months. 

Within how many days I have to enter the UK after the visa issue?

After the visa issue, you can enter the UK within 30 days. However, the Australian government has extended the limit to 90 days because of the pandemic, providing flexibility for international students.

Am I eligible for Graduate Immigration Rule  and Post Study Work  benefits?

The UK government has decided that students who enter the UK before 6th April 2021 and have started their course are eligible to apply for Graduate Immigration Route and Post Study Work Benefit for 2 years.

Is the Covid-19 test mandatory before applying for a UK student visa?

The government has made it compulsory for students to get a tuberculosis test and submit its report and passport while applying for a UK student visa. On reaching the UK, students are required to go through 14 days of self-isolation.

What to do if I can’t reach the UK before the course start date?

A student is required to reach the UK 14-17 days before their course commences. However, because of COVID-19, the government allows Indian students and others to take online classes until they can join the UK university.

What is CAS? 

CAS is also known as Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, is an electronic document issued by the university to which you have taken admission. It is valid for six months from its date of issuance for a tier 4 visa applicant.

The university will provide the student with a unique reference number for CAS. This reference number should be mentioned by the applicant when he/she is applying for a Tier 4 visa application. 

What does a CAS document include?

  • 14 digit reference number for the CAS
  • Sponsor License Number (SLN) of the university 
  • Beginning date and end date of your course
  • Course Title
  • Tuition fees          
  • Paid tuition fees details if you have already paid to the university
  • Paid fees for accommodation if you have already paid
  • English Language proficiency score

Do students require a Biometric Residence Permit Card? 

International students and others on a dependent visa, visitor visa, student visitor visa, or short-term study visas and others need a Biometric Residence Permit Card if they are staying more than 6 months in the UK. Students must collect their BRP cards within 10 days of their arrival in Australia.

Conclusion

We hope that this blog helped you with what you were looking for.

Let’s take a quick look at the main UK study Visa Requirements in 2021:

  • A valid passport (original)
  • A passport-sized photograph meeting requirements
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Offer from an Educational Institution
  • Proficiency in the English Language
  • Proof of Financial ability
  • Evidence of Qualifications
  • Tuberculosis Test Results
  • Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)

With the UK's new point-based immigration in place, there is a lot of confusion among applicants who wish to study in the UK but aren't familiar with the new process yet.

Our study visa experts at Kansas Overseas can help you with this. 

Book a free consultation

Topics: Study, UK

Anusha
Anusha

Anusha stands out for in-depth knowledge of Canada, UK and Australia visa process. With 7+years of experience, she adds a lot of worth to the team.

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