Why study in the UK?
UK universities provide internationally recognized qualifications of the highest standard. They also offer more opportunities than ever before: there are currently over 55,000 postgraduate taught courses and research opportunities to choose from on the Prospects database alone.
Delivering academic excellence and a high quality and standard of UK qualifications is guaranteed through the work of various official bodies, such as the The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) .
Research standards are examined by the Research Assessment Exercise , which publishes its findings every five years. The results of all these assessments are freely available on the internet. Information on quality assurance and assessments is also available from the Higher Education Funding Councils.
In 2008/9 there were 139,095 students from outside the EEA studying postgraduate courses at UK institutions. The quality of UK degrees is one reason why so many people come to the UK to study. Another is value for money. Unlike equivalent programs in the United States or Australia, most UK Masters programs can be completed in one year.
The language of business
A major advantage of studying in the UK is the opportunity to perfect your knowledge of the English language – one of the most important skills in the international business world. If you are from outside the EU, especially if you are studying a commercial subject, you may well appreciate the opportunity to observe at first hand the operation of the European market.
A warm welcome
In the UK, the level of professional support given to students is just as important as the academic quality. Britain offers more support to international students than any other country, whether it is help with your study skills or assistance with your visa application.
Tier 4 (General) student visa
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
- have been offered a place on a course
- can speak, read, write and understand English
- have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
- are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA)or Switzerland
- meet the other eligibility requirements
There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.
When to apply?
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check visa processing times for your country.
It costs £328 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
You must pay £328 per person for any dependants.
How long you can stay?
You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:
- up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
- up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months
How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.
What you can and can’t do?
- work as a student union sabbatical officer
- apply from inside or outside the UK
- apply to extend your stay
- work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
- get public funds
- work in certain jobs, eg professional sportsperson or sports coach
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).
You must have:
- an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
- enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
You can do a course that’s one of the following:
- full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the Ofqual register
- an overseas course of degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
- full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, leading to a qualification which is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
- a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
Confirmation of acceptance for studies
Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application.
You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS.
Further study in the UK
You can only get a CAS for a new course if you’ve studied in the UK before and you’re:
- re-sitting exams or repeating modules
- applying for the first time to a new institution to complete a course you started at an institution that’s lost its Tier 4 sponsorship
- applying to complete a PhD or other doctorate that you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
- studying for a new qualification at a higher academic level
- studying for a new qualification at the same level and related to your previous course or career aspirations – it must be degree level or above at a Higher Education Institution (HEI)
- applying after working as a student union sabbatical officer to complete a qualification you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
Knowledge of English
You must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.
This usually means passing a secure English language test (SELT).
Where you’re studying
What you’re studying
Knowledge of English needed
Higher education institution (HEI)
Degree level or above
Reading, writing, listening and speaking
Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2
Institution that’s not HEI
Degree level or above
SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking
CEFR level B2
SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking
CEFR level B1
HEIs can choose how to assess a student’s knowledge of English. They must still be at:
- CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher
- SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking and CEFR level B1 if you’re not studying at a degree level
Your test needs to be from an approved provider.
Documents you must provide
When you apply for the visa you must provide:
- a current passport or other valid travel documentation
- proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
- proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
- your tuberculosis test resultsif you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.
You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.
Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.
You should read the full guidance before you apply.
Apply outside the UK
You must apply online for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.
You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).
You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.
Your family members (dependants) might be able to apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)or Switzerland.
A dependant is either:
- your husband, wife or civil partner
- your unmarried or same-sex partner
- your child under 18 years old – including if they were born in the UK during your stay
You can apply to bring a dependant to the UK if you’re:
- sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at level 7 on the Ofqual registeror above that lasts 1 year or more
- a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
- a Doctorate Extension Scheme student
You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.
Each dependant must have a certain amount of money available to them – this is in addition to the money you must have to support yourself.
The amount of money you need depends on:
- the length of your course
- where you’re studying in the UK
- whether you’ve finished a UK course or are currently studying
You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 28 days before you or they apply.
Read the detailed guidance for dependants for how much money you’ll need and the full list of documents you need to provide.
Dependants applying outside the UK
Your family members must apply online.
They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of their application.
They’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK.
They may be able to get their visa faster or other services depending on what country they’re in – check with the visa application centre.
Information taken from: https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/overview