Entry to the UK as a Student:
Overseas nationals wishing to study in the UK must obtain entry clearance as a student before travelling to the UK.
In order to be granted a visa to enter the UK as a student, the applicant must have been accepted onto a course of study by an organisation which is included on the Register of Education and Training Providers and meets the Border and Immigration Agency's criteria regarding enrolment and attendance. Their course of study must also fall into one of the following categories:
- a recognised full-time degree at a publicly funded institution of further or higher education
- a weekday full-time course which involves attendance at a single, bona fide private education institution for a minimum of 15 hours daytime study per week
- a full-time course at an independent fee paying school, outside the maintained sector
- if under 16, the applicant has been enrolled at an independent fee-paying school on a full-time basis which meets the requirements of the Education Act 1944
- if the student has been accepted to study externally for a degree at a private education institution, they must also be registered as an external student with the UK degree awarding body.
If the student intends to undertake postgraduate studies leading to a Doctorate or Masters degree via research or a taught Masters degree (in line with the designated subjects listed in the Immigration Rules), they must hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate.
Applicants for student visas must also be able to provide evidence that they are able to meet the cost of the course and accommodation in the UK without recourse to public funds.
Students will be granted entry clearance for varying lengths, depending upon their course of study. Usually leave is granted for a single academic year - thereafter the student must apply for an extension to their visa.
Extension applications will only be considered where students have attained a reasonable level of academic achievement and can evidence satisfactory attendance levels throughout the course of study.
Visas for short term courses will be considered provided the applicant does spend more than two years' on courses which are of sub-degree level.
Students are able to apply for their dependants to come to the UK with them. Dependants are normally considered to be:
- spouse or civil partner
- unmarried children under the age of 18.
Employment may be permitted in cases where the student has been granted leave of 12 months or more.