Studying in the UK
There are many UK visa types. To help you understand various UK immigration routes, I’ve divided these visa types into six main categories.
There are visas for:
- Visiting the UK
- Studying in the UK
- Working in the UK
- Joining your family in the UK
- EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
- Protecting citizens
This article is a part of the ‘UK Immigration and All UK Visa Types in 2021’ article series. Below, I’ll explain the second category – visa types suitable for those who would like to come to the UK to study.
Please note that the UK immigration routes, which I explain below, are suitable for those who would like to study in the UK for more than 6 months.
If you would like to study in the UK for less than 6 months or you just want to improve your English language skills, it is likely that you’ll need to apply as a visitor.
Studying in the UK
If you would like to study in the UK for more than 6 months, generally you can apply for two types of visas:
- Student visa
- Child student visa
Both UK Immigration routes are parts of the UK’s New Points Based System. The main difference between the above two visa types is the applicant’s age.
This route is for those who are 16 or over and who want to study in the UK. The course provider will be the sponsor in this application. They’ll need to hold a special license from the Home Office for you to qualify.
You can enroll on a great variety of courses. It can be a course of further or higher education, a pre-sessional English course or a recognised foundation programme. You’ll also need to apply for this type of visa if you would like to take an elected post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
If you are aged 16 or 17, you have a choice. You can apply for a student or a child student visa. To qualify, you’ll also need to show that your sponsor is an Independent School on a course at Regulated Qualifications Framework 3. If you intend to study in Scotland, then the course has to be at the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework 6 level.
In certain circumstances, students can bring a dependent partner and dependent children to the UK. They’ll need to enrol on one of the following courses:
- a full-time student on a postgraduate level course (RQF level 7 or above) that lasts 9 months or longer
- a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
- a Doctorate Extension Scheme
It is important to understand that irrespective of how long you remain in the UK as a student, you’ll not be able to settle here if you follow this route.
If you want to eventually apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you’ll need to switch to another route, which does lead to settlement. For example, after graduating, you may want to apply for a 2-year graduate visa first. Then you may want to switch to a work-related UK immigration route. As those usually allow applicants to settle after 5 years.
Child Student Visa
This route is for children aged between 4 and 17. To qualify, they’ll need to study at an independent school in the UK. This school will need to have a student sponsor status. In other words, the Home Office has to provide with a special license and put the school on their list of recognised sponsors.
As with Student visas, if you are aged 16 or 17, you can either apply to study in the UK as a child student or as a student. Your course has to be at or above Regulated Qualifications Framework level 3 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6.
Do You Need to Apply for this Visa?
Even if your country is not on a visa national country list, you still need to apply. That is unless you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. In this case, you may be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Although the deadline for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme was on 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:
- you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020; alternatively, if
- you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021. For example, this may be relevant you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse.
And finally, if you would like to understand the UK visa rules, you may find it useful to attend one of these online courses:
- ‘Three Secrets of a Successful UK Visitor Visa Application’
’10 Ways to Avoid the Refusal of Your British Citizenship Application.’
3.‘How to Meet the Financial Requirement of Your British Spouse Visa Application when Applying from Outside the UK’
4. ‘How to Avoid the Refusal of Your Adult Dependent Relative UK Visa Application.’
For more online courses, check THIS PAGE.
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