Moving to the UK: An ultimate guide for Nigerian students

nigerian students
As student visa applications are getting delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's best to apply for your student visa ahead of time. Source: Charly Triballeau/AFP

Are you a Nigerian student who is planning on studying in the UK?

According to reports, the number of Nigerians wanting to study in the UK increased from 1,620 in 2021 t0 2,380, recording a 47% increase year-on-year and 68.9% from 2018. It’s been an upward trend since 2018.

Back in January, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) resumed study visa processing for Nigerian students. They temporarily suspended the UK study visa application as well as its flexi appointment or walk-in service, causing delays to Nigerian students’ applications. 

It only resumed its Priority Visa (PV) applications from Jan. 24, 2022 onwards, after the impact of the COVID-19 on courier routes improved. 

TLS, however, notes that UKVI is currently prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme applications in response to Russia-Ukraine war. They note that applications for visit, transit, study, work and family visas may take longer to process.

TLS added that from March 12, 2022, UKVI is temporarily suspending Priority and Super Priority visa services for new study, work and family visa applications, to prioritise Ukraine Family Scheme applications.

Having said that, not all hope is lost. Although applying for a student visa takes time, with proper time management and planning, you can get your application approved ahead of schedule and be on your way to the UK. 

Here’s what you’ll need to take note of throughout your application process: 

Nigerian students: Securing admissions, a student visa

Secure admission to your desired university

Got your eyes set on a programme at your dream university? Make sure you meet the programme’s qualifications before applying for it. Once you have obtained a conditional offer, here are the supporting documents you’ll need: 

  • A transcript of your academic qualifications 
  • A CV or resume (postgraduate study)
  • A copy of your passport 
  • A reference/recommendation letter 
  • A personal statement 
  • An English language qualification such as IELTS, SSEC or WAEC C6 or above or TOEFL
nigerian students

Although applying for a UK student visa takes time, with proper time management and planning, you can get your visa application approved ahead of schedule. Source: Loic Venance/AFP

Obtain your CAS number 

Once everything is streamlined, you will receive an unconditional offer from your university. You will then be required to make a deposit. The amount varies depending on your programme and university. 

At the University of Sussex, for instance, self-funded international students starting a master’s may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit of 2,000 pounds.

The University of Westminster notes: “All overseas applicants must pay a minimum deposit of £4000 before the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) can be issued.”

The next step is to ensure the university provides you with a CAS number. A CAS number proves that you have received an unconditional offer from your university and is required for your student visa application.  

If your university doesn’t get back to you with your CAS number, reach out to them. 

Complete a Tuberculosis (TB) test 

Every student going to the UK for more than six months will need to take a TB test and submit the results to UKVI during the visa application. 

You’ll have to visit the Migration Health Assessment Centre at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to do your TB screening, as it’s the only centre recognised by UKVI. It costs about 57,800 nairas, and you’ll get your test results on the same day. 

There are currently two centres in Nigeria: one in Abuja and another in Lagos. Click here for details

Begin your UK student visa application

Here’s everything you’ll need for your student visa application

  • A bank statement 
  • Proof of funds (to show that you’re financially capable of paying your tuition fees and living expenses) 
  • Sponsorship letter (written by your parent or guardian who is sponsoring you) 
  • Birth certificate or equivalent (to prove your relationship with your sponsor)
  • CAS letter from your university 
  • TB test results 
  • Offer letter from your university 
  • All your previous documents used for your university admission, including a copy of your passport, transcripts, etc. 

You can also refer to Gov.UK’s checklist for more information.

Once you have all of the necessary documents, it’s time to proceed with your student visa application, which you’ll have to apply online

Don’t worry if you can’t complete your visa application form in one sitting. The website lets you save your draft and complete it later. 

After submitting the necessary documents, you’ll be brought to a TLS webpage to make two payments: a health surcharge (approximately US$900) and a visa application fee (about US$478). 

Once you’ve made your payments, you’ll have to schedule an appointment on the same website to visit a UK Visa Application Centre to provide your biometric information (fingerprint and photograph). 

Nigerian student Chidinma Amanze claims that it can be challenging to make an appointment. Students can opt for a walk-in visa application, which will cost an additional 42,000 Naira (approximately). 

There are three UK Visa Application Centres in Nigeria: Abuja, Lagos Ikeja and Lagos Victoria Island (an additional fee applies at this location). 

Once you submit your biometric information, it will take about 15 working days to process a standard student visa and five working days for a PV student visa. 

It also pays to check relevant government websites for the latest travel details. Goodluck!