Looking for studying in the UK but worried about the visa application procedures? Need info about the UK student visa procedure? The United Kingdom is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. Yes! It is not surprising that students from India choose to study in the UK with its excellent universities and excellent academic and professional environment. Thousands of foreign students fill the country every year.
However, you must have a valid UK student visa to study in this country. On the other hand, getting a student visa to study in the UK can be difficult and time-consuming. The United Kingdom attracts 600,000 international students thanks to some of the best universities in the world. This represents the extent of the competition for a UK student visa. The length of your UK student visa is determined by the length of the program you are offered, as set out in your Confirmation of Admission to Study (CAS). But how long does it take to process a UK student visa in India? What is the procedure for obtaining a UK student visa in India?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about applying for a UK student visa.
What all is covered in this post?
To make it easier for you, we have created a quick guide to everything you need to know about the UK student visa procedure.
UK student visa new rules after the pandemic
- In a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 21 July 2022, India and the United Kingdom agreed to recognize each other’s higher education degrees.
- The application rate for 18-year-olds from disadvantaged areas of the UK has risen from 27% in 2021 to more than 29% in 2022, according to UCAS. In addition, there was an all-time high overall application rate of 44.1%. By 30 June 2022, over 683,650 students had submitted 3,049,000 applications through UCAS.
- According to the Times Higher Education (THE), the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and the University of Birmingham are collaborating to provide joint degree programs. Two-year master’s degrees in energy systems, data science, and biomedical engineering will be available.
- During the 2022/23 academic year, more than 38,000 students will benefit from a UK exchange program called the Turing Scheme.
- The QS Top Student Cities Rankings 2023, published on June 29, named London the best city for students. London scored an overall score of 100, with good scores in areas such as Student Overview, Student Mix, and Ratings, but low on Value.
- The United Kingdom government has offered 75 fully funded scholarships for Indian students to study in the United Kingdom. The scholarships were announced to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
When to apply for a UK student visa?
The first and most important question is when to apply for a UK student visa. A UK student visa can usually be obtained in 15-21 days, but it can take longer during peak periods, so apply early.
- You can apply for a visa up to six months before the start of your studies. However, it is always advisable to apply for a visa 2-3 months before only, since the University won’t release CAS so early. Applying too early can also be questioned.
- You must apply for your visa at least two weeks before the start of your course (or if you have the option to start your course online, at least 2 weeks before you plan to travel to the UK).
- Allow sufficient time for visa processing before the start of the course or trip.
- It may take several weeks for your visa application to be processed. However, due to competition, the average processing time for a UK student visa in India varies from country to country.
How to apply for a UK student visa?
There are several steps to apply for a UK student visa. UK study visa applications are processed within three weeks of submitting a completed application.
Step 1 – The first step is to check if you are eligible for a student visa
You must show that you have:
- A confirmed place at the school, university, or college where you intend to study. This is called a ‘Confirmation of Admission to Study (CAS).
- Sufficient money (also known as ‘maintenance or funds’) to cover course fees and living costs in the UK.
Step 2 – Prepare the documents
Step 3 – Apply online
- You will need to register and create an account on the official Visa UK website.
- When you complete the online application form, you will need to print and sign the completed form. You must use the online appointment calendar to book an appointment at the visa center. When you complete the online application, you will receive an email with your application number. Post completing the online form, a “Checklist” will appear. Please download the same and carry a printed copy of it to the Visa Appointment Center at the time of giving Biometrics. You can book the Biometric Appointment Venue and Date post uploading your documents.
Step 4 – Pay the fee. There are 4 ways to pay the visa fee
- Payment at Standard Chartered Bank – You can pay commission at some branches of Standard Chartered Bank. The bank will issue a draft in favor of the “British High Commission”.
- Demand draft from a nationalized or foreign bank – You can pay the fee by getting a demand draft issued by a nationalized or foreign bank. Bank charges for this service will vary. The demand draft should be in favor of the “British High Commission”.
- Payment at the visa center – You can pay the visa fee at the visa center when you apply for a visa.
- Online Payment – You can pay your visa application fee online using a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card.
Note: While making the payments via cards, International Transactions are to be activated with the said limit for making a successful fee payment to the UK Visa website.
Step 5 – Visit the visa center on the appointed date
You must make an appointment at the visa center to submit your application, face photo and fingerprints.
UK student visa requirements for Indian students
If you meet the following conditions, you can apply for a UK student visa from India:
- The candidate must be at least 16 years old.
- The candidate must be able to pay the cost of the course. They must also be self-sufficient during their stay.
- An offer from a recognized educational institution is required from the candidate.
- The candidate’s English test scores must be at a certain level.
Documents required for student visa in the UK
Here is the list of documents that are required:
- A certificate from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is required (If needed)
- A recent passport-sized picture
- Acceptance for Studies Confirmation (CAS)
- Compensation for the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)
- Financial evidence/proof of funds
- Financial sponsor’s written agreement (in case of sponsorship)
- Form for requesting a visa
- The passport must be valid.
- Proof of payment of the visa fee/visa application fee
- Tuberculosis medical test results
If you are under 18, you may need to provide additional documents. They are as follows:
- Proof of permission from parents or legal guardians
- Evidence of parent or legal guardian relationship
- A copy of the birth certificate or other official document containing the parents’ names
UK student visa requirements for Indian students without IELTS
Yes, it is possible to study in the UK without IELTS. To do this, you must meet the English language requirements, such as having more than 70% English proficiency in high school or passing an online interview conducted at the university, or proof of English as a medium of instruction at your school. Proficiency in English is one of the requirements for Tier 4, the UK’s most common student visa. However, if your university rejects your IELTS test scores, you can ask them to issue a document that you are eligible for a UK student visa.
UK student visa financial requirements
Proof of financial support can be bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor showing that you can cover tuition, room, and board costs. Following are the UK student visa financial requirements:
- Tuition fees – 1st-year fee or full course fee if your course is less than 1 year
- Living expenses – £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London and £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London.
- Dependents – If you have dependents in the UK, you will also need to show a minimum of £680 per month (maximum 9 months) for each dependent. You will usually need proof that you have £6,120 for each dependent for courses over nine months.
UK student visa fees
The current cost of a UK student visa application fee for a Tier 4 (General) student visa is £490 from outside the UK with an additional £680 per person per month for any dependents.
Let’s take a look at the cost of a UK student visa for the different visa types available:
|Visa type||Visa fee|
|General student visa (Tier 4)||£363 or 29,395 INR as the application fee + £680 per person for any dependants|
|Short-term study visa||£200 or 16,195 INR for an 11-month visa and £470 surcharge|
|Tier 4 (Child) student visa||£363 or 29,395 INR as an application fee for a Tier 4 (child) student visa + healthcare surcharge|
As an international student wishing to study in the UK, you will also need to pay an additional healthcare fee of £470 per year to access the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay.
UK student visa fees in Indian rupees
Below are the UK student visa fees in Indian Rupees:
Short-term study visa
|Visa type||Applicable fee (INR)|
|Short-term study (Above 6 months to 11 months)||Rs. 19261|
|Visa type||Applicable fee (INR)|
|Short-term (single/multiple entries for up to 6 months)||Rs. 9631|
|Long-term (valid for up to 2 years)||Rs. 36212|
|Long-term (valid for up to 5 years)||Rs. 64526|
|Long-term (valid for up to 10 years)||Rs. 80609|
Point-based system – Tier 4 – Isle of Man
|Visa type||Applicable fee (INR)|
|Tier 4 student visa (main applicant and dependents)||Rs. 34960|
UK student visa embassy fee
UK Embassy fee for India student visa is also same as above. The UK student visa fee can be paid by MasterCard or Visa or by Demand Draft. You can also pay in cash at the visa center.
UK student visa processing time
What is the UK student visa processing time from India? The normal processing time for a UK student visa is three weeks (15 days) after submitting a completed application. To inquire about any delays, students can contact the British High Commission, or VFS, which runs the UK Border Agency’s visa centers in India.
Applicants can also check the status of their visa application by signing up to the VFS SMS alert service or using their online tracking system. If the time to apply for a UK student visa is delayed due to complexity, for example, because:
- Your supporting documentation must be validated.
- You must attend an interview due to personal circumstances (e.g., if you are on trial)
Bonus point: How to write SOP for a UK student visa?
Writing a sample UK SOP for UK universities is not rocket science. Although it is definitely difficult. To make things easier, here’s how you can draft one of the best standard procedures for UK universities and the format for it:
UK SOP Format:
A statement of purpose for any UK university follows the rules set by UCAS as discussed above. Let’s dive right into the format and what to include and how:
- Main paragraphs
How to write SOP for a UK student visa?
The SOP for a UK student visa is more or less similar to the UK university SOP. However, let’s take a look at its basic structure.
- First, introduce yourself by telling a story about your interests, abilities, future goals, your hard skills, etc. This will help the visa officer understand your personality.
- Mention your past academic experience, skills, projects you have worked on, extracurricular, leadership activities, etc. This helps the visa officer understand whether the student is capable of understanding the UK curriculum.
- In the conclusion, state why you want to choose this particular country, university, and course. What will be your contribution to the UK community and university?
Note: Visa SOP is not required for the UK, only an admission essay or SOP is needed.
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Yes, IELTS is widely accepted by UK universities as proof of English. English language requirements may vary by course and university. To study in the UK, you need a Tier 4 Visa, which can be obtained if you demonstrate a level of English proficiency as required by your college.
You will need £1334 per month (up to 9 months) for courses in London. £1023 per month (up to 9 months) for courses outside London.
The UK student visa interview usually lasts for one round. In some cases, students may be offered a second interview if the officer is not satisfied with the answers received or the documents submitted. If students are asked to appear for a re-interview, they must appear.
You can extend your student visa to stay longer and continue your education or study a new course. This includes if you currently hold a Tier 4 (General) student visa. To extend your visa, you must: Be in the UK on a student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
Anushree has 5 years of experience in the career counseling industry as a Senior Content Writer. She has also worked as a Social Media Marketing Expert for a startup and Content Quality Analyst for the Publishing and E-learning Industry. She has done her Master’s in Commerce and PGDM in Finance & Trade and Marketing & HR, but she is currently following her passion for writing.