PR & Visa

Guide to UK Student Visa: Eligibility, Requirements, Application Process

Guide to UK Student Visa: Eligibility, Requirements, Application Process

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Planning to apply for UK student visa. GyanDhan brings a complete guide on UK Student visa types, process, eligibility and UK student visa requirements for indian students.

Rohit Gidwani
Updated on:  12 Sep 2023  | Reviewed By: 
| 13K | 9  min read

The United Kingdom is highly sought-after by international students as a premier study destination, renowned for its prestigious universities offering diverse experiences and opportunities. However, obtaining a student visa is necessary for pursuing higher education in the UK. Recent data reveals that India has become the leading country in sending students to the UK, with nearly 140,000 student visas issued in 2022. This represents a remarkable 73% growth compared to 2021 and is four times the number of visas issued in 2019.


The primary factor driving this change is likely the Graduate Route post-study work scheme, also known as GIR, which is particularly appealing to Indian students. It is crucial to understand the entire visa application process and complete it carefully to ensure a smooth experience and avoid any delays. With a wait time of approximately three weeks for a UK student visa, being well-informed about the process will help you navigate it successfully. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the whole process and related aspects, enabling you to submit a successful visa application on your first attempt.

As per the new policy called the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) introduced by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in Sept 2019, Indian students can stay for 2 years/24 months after completing their studies to find employment in the country. 

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Types of UK student visa

There are majorly four types of study visas that the UK government offers to international students coming to the country to study. They are listed in the table below:

  • list items Short-term study visa - The Short-term study visa in the UK is specifically intended for individuals seeking to pursue English language courses for a duration of up to 11 months.
  • list items Child student visa - The visa is designed for children aged 4 to 17 who desire to study at an independent school in the UK. Previously known as the Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa, it caters to their educational needs and facilitates their enrollment in suitable institutions.
  • list items Student visa - The current visa for students, including the Graduate Route, is designed for individuals aged 18 and above. Its duration can range from 2 to 5 years, depending on the circumstances. It was formerly termed as a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, popularly called a Tier 4 Student Visa. 

Latest update: In an MoU signed on July 21, 2022, India and the United Kingdom agreed to recognize each other's higher educational degrees

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Overview of UK student visa

Below is an overview table for the UK student visa that was formerly known as the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. 

Particular  Description

Processing time

3 weeks


GBP 363 or INR 37,000 approx 


2 years to 5 years

Work-hour allowance

Maximum of 20 hours per week

Immigration Healthcare Surcharge

GBP 624 per year

Visa extension cost

GBP 490


Now, let's discuss the different aspects of a UK student visa in a more detailed manner so that you are able to complete the visa process in an effective manner. 

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Eligibility and requirements for UK student visa

There are some eligibility criteria and requirements that you as an international student have to fulfill in order to ensure that you can apply for a UK student visa. These are:

  • list items Age - The candidate has to be a minimum of 16 years. 
  • list items Health tests - There is a requirement for some health-related tests like tuberculosis tests and maybe more that needs to be done before visa application. 
  • list items Offer letter - The applicant must have an offer letter from a reputed UK-based university/college before the application for a visa. 
  • list items English proficiency test scores - The English language proficiency score test should meet minimum criteria. 


Note: It is possible to obtain a UK study visa without the requirement of an IELTS test. In such cases, you can provide the immigration authorities with a certificate from the university where you have been accepted, stating that you are eligible for a study visa without IELTS. Alternatively, you may opt to take a different English proficiency test like TOEFL. In some instances, demonstrating that your previous education was conducted in English may also suffice. 

  • list items Financial proof - There is a requirement to showcase the financial proof to self-sustain yourself during your stay in the UK.


Note: The required amount of funds for your study will vary depending on the location of your educational institution. For courses in London, you will need a minimum of GBP 1,334 per month for a duration of up to 9 months. For courses outside London, the minimum required amount is GBP 1,023 per month for the same duration.

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Documents required for UK student visa

The following documents are required for a student visa:

  • list items A valid passport.
  • list items Acceptance for Studies Confirmation (CAS)
  • list items Certificate of police clearance
  • list items Compensation for the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)
  • list items Financial evidence/proof of funds
  • list items Financial sponsor's written agreement (in case of sponsorship or education loan)
  • list items Proof of payment of the visa fee/visa application fee.
  • list items Recent passport-size photo
  • list items Requesting visa form
  • list items Tuberculosis medical test results

If you are below the age of 18, additional documentation may be required, which includes:

  • list items Permission proof of parents or legal guardian
  • list items Proof of parental or legal guardian connection
  • list items Copy of the birth certificate or any official document containing the names of the parents.

How to apply for UK student visa?

It is easy to apply for a UK student visa. All you need to do is follow the given steps below - 

  1. list items Choose a visa depending on the length and type of the course you are enrolled. 
  2. list items To initiate your application process, you need to prepare your application. The visa application can be completed online, and it requires payment of the mandatory visa fee and healthcare surcharge. Both payments are necessary to proceed with the application.
  3. list items As part of the process, you will need to arrange a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) letter with a unique CAS number. The CAS number is a requirement set by UK immigration, which mandates the university to sponsor the student's student visa application. This number serves as a confirmation of the student's acceptance of the unconditional offer provided by the university. 
  4. list items Ensure that you carefully complete the entire application form. For assistance, you can refer to the provided guidance/sample for the online visa application form. Additionally, select a preferred date for your visa slot appointment to provide your biometric information.
  5. list items Attend an appointment at a visa application center to provide your biometric information such as your fingerprints and a photograph. You will have to submit documents proving your eligibility along with a Tuberculosis test. 
  6. list items After submitting your application, you can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks through an acceptance letter. The acceptance letter will resemble a sample provided. Upon approval, you will be issued a vignette sticker that is placed on your passport. If your applied course duration exceeds 6 months, you will also need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). It is important to note that the vignette sticker is valid for 30 days.

What is a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)? 

A Biometric Residence Permit is issued to applicants who have applied to come to the UK for longer than 6 months. It is needed to confirm the applicant’s identity, the applicant’s right to work or study in the UK, and the right to any public service or benefits that they are entitled to. A BRP can also be used to open a bank account in the UK. There is no separate application for a BPR. It is automatically issued when the immigration application is approved. Most importantly, it needs to be collected before the vignette sticker expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. A BRP Includes - 

  • list items Applicant’s name, date, and place of birth
  • list items Fingerprints and photograph
  • list items Immigration status and the conditions of the stay
  • list items Whether they can access public funds, such as benefits and health services



UK Point-based Visa System

It is important for students to be aware that the UK Visa operates on a point-based system. To successfully obtain the visa, applicants must fulfill all the requirements outlined in the Immigration Rules and accumulate a total of 40 points.

Factors Points

Students are required to have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from a fully licensed student sponsor, and their course must be full-time (minimum 15 hours of classroom study every week)

30 points

Students should have enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance or funds)

10 points


Armed with all the necessary information about the UK student visa, you are now well-equipped to prepare yourself for the entire process. It is recommended to initiate the visa process early, as it can be time-consuming. To ensure a smooth experience and avoid rejection, consider availing visa counseling services through GyanDhan. Our expert visa counselors will assist you with your application, interview preparation, and slot booking, and offer valuable tips. Remember, securing visa approval on your first attempt is crucial, as each rejection adds to your visa application history.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the validity of a UK student visa?

UK student visa is valid for two to five years depending on the course. The UK student visa can be extended further by paying GBP 490. 

What Happens If Your Visa Application is Rejected? 

If your visa application is rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the refusal. The refusal letter will also explain if you have the right to either an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal.

At the latest when one can apply for a study visa?

One can apply for 6 months before the start of the course. Also, candidates usually get a decision on their visa within 3 weeks.

Where is the visa number on the UK student visa?

On your visa, the numbers in red in the top right-hand corner are the Visa Reference Numbers.

What are some things that need to be taken care of while applying for UK student visa?

A few things that need to be taken care of while applying for a UK student visa are - 

  • list items Carefully complete your application form, and make sure you do not miss anything. 
  • list items Make sure you have financial proofs to show. 
  • list items Get your paperwork in place before applying for a UK student visa. 
  • list items Have a proper justification for your gap years. 
  • list items Appear for an English language proficiency test to ensure a smooth process.

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