In order to study on a full time course in the UK international students need to obtain an international student visa. We have detailed below some of the main steps that you will need to take to obtain a visa.
Due to recent changes by the Immigration & Borders Agency both in the UK & overseas, we would remind students that they need to allow sufficient time to apply for a student visa in order to ensure their application is successful. Visa applications should be submitted a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the start date of the course to ensure medical checks, biometrics, and interviews can be completed.
Preparing for Entry to the UK
- You will need to meet British Immigration requirements and you may have to apply for entry clearance.
- Students from within the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) are free to travel and work in the UK without restrictions. You will need a passport.
- For a list of EEA and EU countries and for visa national countries see www.fco.gov.uk
- People who are not British or from within the EEA will need a visa or entry clearance. This should be obtained by applying to a British Embassy or High Commission before travelling. If you intend to travel outside the UK during your stay, you will require a multiple-entry visa. You will have to pay the visa fee in local currency. More information is available from the UK Border Agency website.
Entry Clearance as a student (Student Visa)
If you plan to stay in the UK to study for more than six months you must apply for entry clearance as a student before travelling to the UK.
A recent change in Immigration Rules means that this applies to students from all countries. It will no longer be possible to change from a visitor's visa to a student visa in any circumstances.
From 31st March 2009 the UK government introduced a new Points Based System of immigration for all entrants to the UK from outside the European Union. Students applying for entry clearance will be required to score 40 points to be awarded a student visa. In order to be granted a visa or entry clearance after 31st March 2009 you will need to:
- have sufficient funds to pay for one years tuition fees and living costs in the UK (10 points)
- hold an unconditional offer of a place on a course at an institution holding a sponsor license (30 points)
- provide original and/or certified supporting documents, for example Degree or IELTS certificates.
- hold a valid passport
Southampton City College holds an a Highly Trusted Sponsor License which allows us to sponsor students coming to study with us under the new visa rules. Students on courses of 9 months or less will be required to evidence sufficient funds to pay the full cost of their course fees, plus £800 (outside London) per month. Students on courses of more than 9 months will be required to evidence sufficient funds to pay the first year of fees only, plus £7,200 (outside London) to cover the typical academic year in the UK.
The College will support you through the visa application process by giving you the latest information and issuing you with a Certificate of Acceptance (CAS) and supporting documents. We recommend that you do not buy your travel ticket until you have all the required documents for entry.
The UK visas website will help to answer some of your initial questions and you can also find information and advice on entry clearance and visas on the UKCISA website and the UKBA website. Students from China can also find information and advice on visas on the British Embassy website. General advice is also available via the UKCISA website.
The British Council have also produced a detailed guide which is a useful starting point for international students and will outline how you can apply for entry clearance, more commonly known as a visa, to the United Kingdom. It also summarises the immigration rules & procedures.
British Council Guide
Should you require further guidance regarding international student visas, please contact the International Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call + 44 (0)2380 577314.