So you're excited to start your studies in the United Kingdom. You've picked a university. You've picked a programme. You've applied for a place. You got plane tickets. You're all ready and set to go, right?
Well, wait a sec there. You still need to get a UK student visa before you can proceed. Don't worry. It isn't too complicated. Just follow these tips and you'll do just fine:
1. Check if you meet the requirements
You'll need to apply for something called a "Tier 4" student visa. Go through the following the questions... if your answer is "Yes" to all of them, pat yourself on your back and move onto point number 2. Bear in mind, you have to provide supporting documents to the visa application center to back up your assertions.
- Have you been offered a place on a course in the UK?
- Can you speak, read, write, and understand English? (We hope so! If not, how are you reading this??)
- Do you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your study? (The amount will depend on your circumstances)
- Do you come from a country that's not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland?
The cheapest places in the UK to be a student https://t.co/7ZDrdLub9e
— The Independent (@Independent) July 29, 2016
2. Apply early and check for processing times
The early bird gets the worm. The early bird also avoids disaster. To ensure your visa application isn't derailed or delayed by unforeseen circumstances, apply the earliest you can. You don't want to cancel an expensive flight because your visa application is held up.
You can start applying from 3 months before the start of your course. We strongly recommend that you do it then.
Also, check visa processing times for your country. A decision on your visa usually comes within 3 weeks, but that may differ from country to country.
3. Get some funds ready to pay for fees
Well, the best things in life aren't free. If you're applying from outside the UK (which is the most likely situation), it'll cost you £328, and a further £328 for each dependant (ie. a family member joining you).
Also be prepared to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. You can check how much you need to pay here.
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) July 29, 2016
4. Understand the rules
Quite a few rules apply to the visa. If you break them, you may find yourself on the next flight back to your home country. So pay attention and don't tempt the authorities.
When you can arrive
If your course duration is 6 months or less, you can arrive up to a week before. If the duration is more than 6 months, you can arrive up to a month before. Pretty simple.
How long you can stay
Depends on the course you're enrolled in and what study you've already finished.
You are ALLOWED to study and work in most jobs. The latter depends on your course level and the type of sponsor you have.
— UK in Brunei (@UKinBrunei) July 27, 2016
You are NOT ALLOWED to get public funds or work in certain jobs, like professional athlete.
Enjoy studying in the UK!
There are a couple of other things you may need to confirm (refer to the UK government website), but that's the gist of it. It's a pretty clear-cut process and the UK government commendably keeps things easy to understand. We hope you enjoy your study in the UK!
Image via Pixabay