UK Student Visa: A Complete Guide



Updated On 10 January 2024


Read Time 10 minutes

Whether you are embarking on a trip to the UK to reunite with a family member or to study over there, the first step is to secure a visa.  The nature of the visa you seek is contingent upon the purpose of your visit.


Have you secured a spot at a UK university? Now, onto the student visa process. Your age and stay duration determine your visa type. Notably, the UK student visa has an impressive 98% acceptance rate for Indian students.


Here in this blog, we will cover everything, from UK visa types to eligibility, finances, and the application process, offering a complete guide. So, let’s get started! 


Types of UK Student Visas

Before gaining detailed information on UK Visa, you should start understanding the types of UK study visa. So, let us head on to them one by one.


UK Student Visa

The UK Student visa is for those above 16 years, which requires a course offer from a licensed sponsor and adequate funds. In that case, English proficiency is a must. Parental consent is highly needed if you’re 16 or 17, and a Child Student visa for independent school study may apply.


You should start applying for a UK Student Visa 6 months before your course begins. The duration of stay varies based on the course level. You are required to pay £500 plus a healthcare surcharge.


Child Student visa

For those aged 4 to 17 who want to study at a UK independent school, you are required to apply for a Child Student Visa. The requirements you need are course offers, finances, and parental consent. You need to apply for this visa 6 months before your school starts.


Stay duration depends on age and course length. You are permitted to come one month before your course. Extending or switching your visa from another one is relatively easy in this visa. You have to pay £490 plus a healthcare surcharge.


Students of age 16 or 17 can work during term and vacations but there are restrictions on specific professions.


Short-term Study Visa

The Short-term Study visa is ideal for those pursuing English language courses in the UK, lasting from 6 to 11 months. It permits staying for the course duration plus an extra 30 days, not exceeding 11 months.


The visa fee is £200, with an additional healthcare surcharge of £470 for access to the National Health Service. Before applying, check the precise amount required for the healthcare surcharge.


Standard Visitor Visa

The Standard Visitor visa allows travel to the UK for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months), and other approved activities for a maximum stay of 6 months, with potential extensions for medical treatment.


Eligibility requires compliance with exit plans, self-sufficiency, and the ability to fund travel. Activities like work, claiming public funds and extended stays are restricted. The online application fee is £115, available for submission 3 months before travel.


Eligibility Criteria for UK Visa

Now that you have complete knowledge of the type of UK study visa, it is highly significant to understand whether you are eligible. So, let’s start exploring.


Academic Acceptance

Firstly, you need to secure an unconditional offer from a licenced student sponsor and get a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) before applying for a UK Student Visa.


The CAS is a reference number issued by your education provider and is mandatory for your UK student visa application. Full-time programs at or above the degree level, equivalent abroad courses, part-time courses at or above the degree level, recognised foundation programs, and English language courses (B2 or above) are all eligible.


If you are elected as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, you can also apply for a UK Study Visa. If you want to pursue a master’s in the medical field or dentistry, you can apply for a recognised foundation program with sponsorship. After getting the CAS, you have six months to apply.


English Language Proficiency

  • English language fluency is necessary for the application for a UK Student Visa.

  • Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) or having specialised English certifications is acceptable proof.

  • CEFR B2 proficiency levels are required for degree-level programs, and CEFR B1 for studies below the degree level.

  • Higher education providers may assess English competency for degree-level studies, although it must still be equivalent to CEFR B2.

  • There are exemptions like participation in study abroad programs as part of a US university degree program, as well as proving English proficiency in a previous visa application, so you don’t need to show the command of your English. 


Financial Capacity

  • The UK Student Visa requires funds for the course fee and living expenses. The course fee is specified in the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

  • Living expenses: £1,334/month (London), £1,023/month (outside London) for up to 9 months.

  • Proof is required unless you have a valid UK visa for the previous 12 months.

  • Additional funds are required for each accompanying family member.

  • Funds must be held for 28 consecutive days within 31 days of visa application.

  • Exemptions for student union sabbatical officers and postgraduate doctors/dentists on recognised foundation programs. 


Application Process

Now that you have understood the eligibility criteria, let’s look at how you apply for a UK Student Visa.

  1. Online Application: Start your Student visa application on the official UK government website, providing detailed information about your degree as well as personal information.

  2. Biometrics Appointment: You must undergo a biometrics process at a visa application centre. Along with that, fingerprinting and a picture are also required. In addition, for identity document scanning, utilise the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app. You will be given detailed instructions during your application process.

  3. Document Submission: You have to send every necessary supporting document with your application. You need to provide all necessary documentation, such as the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), financial statements, and identification.

  4. Visa Processing Times: You should expect a decision within 3 weeks. However, in complex cases, UK student visa processing time may be extended due to the requirement for document verification, interviews, or a review of personal circumstances.

  5. Visa Fees: As part of the online application process, you must pay the specified visa fee. The cost amount will be determined by your circumstances and the type of visa you apply for. UK student visa fee include an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), an application fee (embassy fee), and a biometric fee.


If you need to make any changes or request a withdrawal and a fee return, you can do it before UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) begins processing.


Financial Requirements

Now that you are well aware of your visa application, you have to learn about financial requirements in detail. Besides your embassy or application fees, there’s some amount you have to show in your bank account.

  • Tuition Fee: You must demonstrate tuition fees for the course you have selected to study in the UK, and you must have paid 50% of your first-year tuition fees at the time of your application, so you just need to show the remaining 50% of your first-year tuition fees.

  • Living Expenses Estimate: You must also be required to show living expenditures, which depend on when you want to study in London; you may require 12,006 GBP or 9,207 GBP outside of London.

  • Proof of Financial Capacity: You can show your funds through a savings account, fixed deposits, or loans, which encompasses both your tuition fees and living expenses.     


You must maintain the total funds to be shown for 28 consecutive days. You are not obliged to present a sponsorship letter if you keep the complete amount in your (student's) account. If the whole amount is in your parent's account, you must present a sponsorship letter as well as your birth certificate.


Work Opportunities on UK Student Visa

Now that you are aware of financial requirements, you have to understand the UK student visa rules regarding work opportunities. Let’s dive deeper into work prospects on your UK student visa application.


Part-time Work During Studies

When you apply for UK student visa, they allow you to work part-time during your higher education. Yet, you can work up to 20 hours per week during your term time. So this will give you an opportunity to gain practical experience, supplement your income, and enhance your skills.


Full-time Work During Vacations

You can also engage in full-time work during your scheduled breaks or vacations, which allows you to take on more extensive employment options, gaining valuable experience and further contributing to your financial support.


Post-study Work Options

When you apply for UK student visa, you may have post-study-work opportunities after you complete your studies. The specific options may differ, but the UK government frequently offers opportunities for graduates to work in the UK for a set period of time through schemes such as the Graduate Route. 



To conclude, getting a UK Student Visa involves a thorough understanding of UK visa types, including the UK student visa fee, processing time, and application requirements.


When you apply for UK student visa, you must adhere to specific rules and eligibility criteria. This blog aims to simplify the complex process, providing key insights for a successful journey to the UK.


Whether you're preparing to apply or exploring post-study work options, staying informed is essential for a seamless UK study experience. We hope you enjoyed reading about UK study visa and gained crucial insights regarding the same. If you’d like to know more about a UK study visa or are looking forward to study in UK, contact our expert country counsellors at any branch of Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC), who’ll help you in every step of your study abroad journey. Visit our website for free online counselling, or contact us at or 1800-1230-00011 for personalised support. 



Q: How much does a UK student visa cost?

A: A student visa to the United Kingdom costs £490. In addition, you must pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to gain access to the National Health Service (NHS), which varies depending on the length of the visa.


Q: How many years of visa does the UK give for students?

A: The length of a UK student visa is determined by the length of the study. In general, students aged 18 and above can be granted a visa for up to 5 years for degree-level courses and up to 2 years for courses below the degree level.


Q: How much bank balance is required for a UK visa?

A: Having adequate finances to cover the course tuition and living expenses is one of the financial conditions for a UK student visa. Living expenses in London are around £12,006 per month or £9,207 per month outside of London. 


Q: Is IELTS required for a UK student visa?

A: Yes, English language proficiency is a vital need for a UK student visa. Applicants can demonstrate their English competence by completing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider or by meeting additional criteria. The needed level is CEFR B2 for degree-level courses and CEFR B1 for courses below the degree level.


Q: How can I get a UK student visa?

A: You need to get unconditional acceptance from a licenced student sponsor, demonstrate English proficiency, provide proof of financial capacity, apply online, attend a biometrics appointment, submit necessary documents, including the CAS, pay the visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge, and wait approximately 3 weeks for a decision.

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