The UK is home to around 430,000 international students from 180 countries each year, of which 125,000 are from outside of the European Union (EU). These students will be required to fulfill visa requirements before being allowed entry in to the UK and being given the green light to commence their higher education course. Because of this, the process of choosing the right course at the right university and then getting a visa can be a very complicated procedure; here are some helpful tips to help you understand further what you will be required to do.
The first step is to decide upon the course you wish study and at which university, come up with a shortlist of choices in the order that you’d like to attend them and then visit the UCAS website. UCAS is the “Universities and Colleges Admissions Service”, which is responsible for all admissions to higher education in the UK and will be the middle men for your applications with the different universities. Search for the courses you want to do on the UCAS website, write down the responding reference number and then fill in an application with them. Remember to note each individual university’s entry requirements and application deadline dates as well as the UCAS deadlines as they may differ.
Provided you fulfill all of the entry requirements to the course, you have achieved the grades, and you have the required tuition payments, then you can move on to sorting out your visa. To study in the UK you will require a tier 4 student visa. The vast majority of people will want either a ‘general visa’ or a ‘student visitor visa’. The general visitor visa allows an adult to enter the UK for a post-16 education. In order to apply for this visa you will need 40 points from the points-based visa system. 30 of those points will come by providing confirmation of acceptance on to your university course. For more information on where the rest of the points come from, get in touch with an immigration specialist who can offer advice such as the IAS Immigration Advisory Service, which has offices all over the UK, from London to Manchester and Birmingham.
The difference between the student visitor visa and the general visa is the length of stay. With a general visa, you can stay to the completion of your course whether that is 3, 4 or even 5 years. However, with a student visitor visa you can only apply for 6 month short-term courses. Once you have sorted out the correct visa for your requirements, you have everything in place to move to the UK, commence your studies and have the time of your life.
This article was submitted by guest author Stephen McCance.