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Immigration Rules for Student Visas

Types of visa and how to apply according to the new legal guidelines.

From 31st March 2009, students intending to study in the UK  have to apply for their visa under Tier 4 of the Home Office’s new points-based system. 

Previous to this date, the immigration rules were relatively lax and less stringent. The new rules which are contained under the Tier 4 points bases system, are arguably much tougher to satisfy.

There are various types of student visas as shown in the table below

Types of student visa

Type of student visa 

Who can apply?

Child student 

 

You can apply as a child student if you are between 4 and 17 years old. If you are between 4 and 15 years old, you must be coming to the United Kingdom to be educated at an independent fee-paying school.

Child visitor

You can apply as a child visitor if you are 17 years old or under and you want to come to the United Kingdom to do a course of study for up to six months.

You will not be able to switch and apply for a child student visa while you are in the United Kingdom as a child visitor. If you want to apply for a child student visa, you must apply from the country you live in.

Adult student

You can apply as an adult student if you are coming to the United Kingdom for your post-16 education.

Student visitor

You can apply as a student visitor if you are 18 years old or over, you want to come to the United Kingdom to do a course for up to six months, and you do not want to work while you are here.

You will not be able to switch and apply for an adult student visa while you are in the United Kingdom as a student visitor. If you want to apply for an adult student visa, you must apply from the country you live in.

Prospective student

You can apply as a prospective student if you want to come to the United Kingdom to help you decide which course to study or if you plan to start a course of study within six months.

You will be able to switch and apply for an adult or child student visa while you are in the United Kingdom.

 

What do I need to apply?

You need 40 points to be able to apply for a student visa and must provide the proof needed with your application form.

Points

What you gets points for 

Proof and documents needed

  30 

Doing a course (at an acceptable level) with an approved education provider (also known as sponsorship)

Confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from your approved education provider

 10 

Having enough money to cover your course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance) 

Bank statement or letter confirming that you have enough money available to cover your course fees and monthly living costs for up to one year, at the time you submit your application

 

You must be able to prove that the money you need to apply has been in your account for 28 days before you submit your application.

Approved education provider

Education providers are approved by the Home Office following checks, and are given a Licence to teach international students in the United Kingdom. The educational providers are then added to the Tier 4 register of sponsors.  Once you have chosen an education provider to study with, you can check to see if they are on the register by clicking on UKBA's Register of Education Sponsors.

If the education provider is not on the register, you will not be able to get a student visa.

Course at an acceptable level

You can do courses that lead to an approved qualification and are:

.      approved at level 3 or above on the National Qualifications framework (NQF);approved at the same level in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF);
.      approved at the same level by the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC);
.      approved at the same level by the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland; 
.      are short-term study abroad programmes in the United Kingdom as part of your qualification at an overseas higher education institution, as long as the qualification is confirmed as the same as a United Kingdom degree level by UK NARIC. You can find contact details for UK NARIC on the right side of this page; or
.      an English language course at a level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. If you want to do another English language course after your first course, you will need to show a formal assessment of the English language level you got.

 

Money needed

The money that you need includes course fees and monthly living costs. The monthly living costs needed depends on where you are studying.

Length of course

Where will study 

Money needed

Nine months or less 

In London  

Course fees

and

£800 for each month of the course

Nine months or less 

Outside London 

Course fees

and

£600 for each month of the course

More than nine months  

In London 

First year of fees

and

£7,200 to cover the first year in the United Kingdom

More than nine months 

Outside London

First year of fees

and

£5,400 to cover the first year in the United Kingdom

You can prove you have the money if you have cash in an account in your name (this  includes joint accounts with your name) or a loan in your name; or official financial or government sponsorship. Applicants are required to provide their biometrics (fingerprints and photograph), which are checked against existing records and then stored on the UK Border Agency systems and within the microchip card. This helps keep the UK borders strong, and will provide additional protection against illegal immigration and illegal employment.

 

The card helps to combat illegal working and reduce illegal immigration to the United Kingdom. It is a very secure way to provide evidence of the holder's nationality, identity and status in the United Kingdom. It helps public agencies, employers and educational establishments to more easily understand the migrant's entitlements. It also enables holders to confirm their identity, immigration status, and right to work or study and access public services.

 

By 2015, the Home Office expects 90% of nationals from outside the EEA or Switzerland to have an identity card for foreign nationals.

 

Where an applicant is outside of the UK and applies for entry clearance as a student under the new Tier 4 system, and the Entry Clearance Officer refuses the visa application, the applicant can ask for an “administrative review” which is where an Entry Clearance Manger reviews the case and can decide to give the applicant the visa if he believes the applicant satisfies the criteria and the Entry Clearance Officer was wrong in refusing the visa. The appeals systems (which is where an Immigration Judge in the UK would make a decision on whether the visa refusal was correct or not)  has therefore been abolished and as the Tier 4 system is so new, is it is difficult to quantify how many Administrative Reviews will be successful. The problems lies with how objective and fair the Entry Clearance Manager will be in reversing the decision of an Entry Clearance Officer when both parties work for the same department. In general, it appears only those of a certain financial status can successfully apply under the Tier 4 system and those from less well of backgrounds, will no longer be eligible to apply or indeed will face great difficulty.

 

The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice.

For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors on 020 8884 1166 for a Consultation with a Solicitor.

 

 

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