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Student Visa Rules


When you are ready to apply for a student visa, your student advisor at will guide you through the visa application process. In the meantime, this section provides some basic information to help you plan your studies and understand the visa rules that apply to you.

Financial Requirements

To get a student visa, you will have to prove you can pay both your tuition fees and expenses without having to work. You will be asked to provide evidence, such as bank statements or a financial guarantee from a government sponsor. Bank statements must be in your name (or your parent's name) and the minimum amount must be maintained in the account for at least 28 days before you submit your visa application.

English Language Requirements

For most pathway courses, you will have to pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) approved by the UK Visas & Immigration service (UKVI). Only a few test are approved by UKVI and you will not be able to apply for a student visa without one, even if you have another test certificate. This is a requirement of the UK Home Office, so where required the universities have no discretion. At busy times it can take 6 - 8 weeks to get a test date, so make sure you book early.

Bringing Family With You

You can only bring family members as dependants if you are studying a Level 7 postgraduate course lasting more than 9 months. If you are studying an undergraduate course (or some pre-master's courses), your visa will not allow you to sponsor family members. They will have to apply for visas in their own right.

Working & Studying

There are strict rules about working while you study. Your student visa may not allow you to work at all. If you are allowed to work, there are restrictions on the type of work you can do and the number of hours you can work. But remember, to get a student visa you must prove you can fund your studies without needing to work!

Post Study Work

From Summer 2021, the Graduate Immigration Route will allow international students to remain in the UK after graduation in order to work or look for work. Graduates who meet the conditions will be able to switch from a Student Visa to a Post Study Work Visa and remain in the UK for up to 2 years. If you find a skilled job during this period, you can switch to a Tier 2 visa, which is valid for 5 years and provides a route to permanent settlement in the UK.

The Visa Application Process

Most university pathway courses require a Student Visa. The rules for getting a Student Visa are very strict and failure to meet all the requirements will result in automatic refusal under the Points Based System.

Once you submit your visa application, it will take 3 - 4 weeks to get a decision. In some countries, you can pay extra for a Priority Service, which reduces the time to 1 week.

You are likely to be interviewed as part of the visa application process. The visa interview is detailed and rigorous and the interviewer has the power to refuse your visa, even if you meet all the other requirements. So make sure you prepare thoroughly in advance.

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Further Information

You can find more detailed information about UK student visas in our Guide to Student Visas, or you can always ask your student advisor for advice.

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