Multiple entry UK Student Visa
The UK Student Visa is a multiple entry visa allowing holders to travel to and from the UK for the duration of their visa without restriction.
The Home Office’s guidance on Student and Child Student Visas has confirmed that students are able to “travel outside of, and re-enter, the UK whilst they hold valid permission as a Student, including in the period after they have completed their course and still hold permission under the route.”
A multiple entry visa allows the holder to travel to and from the UK multiple times, while a single entry visa allows the holder to enter just once.
If the holder of a single-entry visa wishes to return, they must re-apply for their visa to enter the UK.
You should always ensure that you adhere to immigration rules based on your personal circumstances and immigration status.
If you are leaving the UK to travel to a country in Europe, you may be required to apply for a Schengen visa.
If you intend to travel out of the UK after the end of your course, you should still be allowed to travel and re-enter during the post-study period.
However, you should be aware that when you arrive at the border, you may be questioned about your intentions in the UK and you should be able to give a valid reason.
How long can you stay in the UK on a Student Visa?
If you are over 18 years old and studying at degree level, you will usually be granted permission to stay for up to five years.
If your course is below degree level, you can stay for up to two years in most cases.
When you come to the UK on this visa, you will be given information on the conditions and length of your stay.
There are limits on how long you are permitted to stay in the UK on a Student Visa.
Your visa sponsor (usually the educational institute) must ensure that your proposed course of studies will not result in you exceeding these limits.
The time you can stay is calculated based on the entire duration of your visa. If you leave the UK and return during your course, this time will not be deducted from your visa.
The exact length of time you can remain in the UK depends on the length of your course and whether you have completed other programmes of study.
90-day entry requirements
If your application for this visa is successful and you are granted permission to enter the UK, you may be issued with a sticker (vignette) for your passport or travel document.
You must enter the UK within 90 days of receiving this sticker or your visa may be invalid.
Once you enter the UK within the 90-day timeframe, you should then ensure that you collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) within ten days.
You will be given information on how to collect your permit once you arrive in the UK.
It is recommended not to travel outside the UK during this period before you have collected your BRP as you may be refused re-entry.
If you are a resident of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, or the USA, the rules are slightly different.
In this case, you will not receive an entry stamp in your passport and you will therefore be required to provide evidence of your date of entry to the UK.
You should not enter the UK before the start of the 90-day travel vignette.
Short-term student visa entry requirements
Students on short-term visas and those on longer courses must adhere to different visa requirements.
Some of the differences between the two visas are outlined below.
Short-term student visa
A short-term visa can be issued to a student where they intend to take up an eligible short course.
The short-term student visa comes under the standard visitor visa umbrella, and is also known as the Student Visitor Visa.
This visa is usually granted for six months and if your country is included on the list of visa nationals, you must apply for the visa before travelling to the UK.
There are a limited number of courses that you can apply for and they must meet the eligibility criteria.
It will specify on your visa whether your short-term student visa is single entry or multiple entry.
This will tell you whether you can travel to and from the UK during the length of your stay.
One of the differences between the short-term student visa and the long-term student visa is that the latter allows for multiple entry in most circumstances.
General requirements for Student Visas
As well as adhering to the time limits outlined on your visa, you should ensure that you follow all other conditions of your visa. Some of these conditions are outlined below.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
It is important that you hold a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) before making your Student Visa application.
This is issued by your sponsor organisation. This document outlines all the information about the nature of your course, the length of your course, and your conditions of stay.
The majority of student applications are required to show that they can meet the minimum financial requirements to support themselves during the course of their studies.
Within this, there is a requirement to pay course fees and living costs. Your CAS may outline the fees that you have already paid to your institution.
English language requirement
For many students, there is also a requirement to show minimum levels of English language abilities.
Whether you are required to show proof of language skills depends on your nationality, a previous degree you may have studied, or other circumstances.
Extending or switching to the Student Visa
Extending your visa
You may be eligible to extend your Student Visa if you meet eligibility requirements. To apply for an extension, you should meet the following circumstances:
- Hold an existing Student Visa or a (now defunct) Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
- Have an unconditional offer on an eligible course with a valid sponsor (as identified on your CAS)
- Demonstrate that your course of study is at a higher academic level than your current course (with some exceptions), and that you intend to make academic progress
- Provide evidence that you have adequate finances to support yourself in the UK (unless you have been in the UK with a valid visa for less than 12 months)
Switching to the Student Visa
There are many UK visas that allow you to switch to the Student Visa. You are not eligible to switch if you hold one of the following visas:
A Visitor Visa, a Short-Term Student Visa, a Parent of a Child Student Visa, a Seasonal Worker Visa, a Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa, or leave to enter/ remain outside the immigration rules
As well as holding an eligible immigration permission, you must also demonstrate that you meet the eligibility requirements of the Student Visa.
How can IAS help?
We understand the importance of getting a quality education. Applying for a Student Visa is not always easy and making timely applications is very important.
We have helped numerous international students successfully apply for their Student Visa and we look forward to assisting you with your application.
Depending on your circumstances, our immigration advisers will give you the information you need to make a decision on the best route to achieve your objectives.
As part of the service we offer, you can expect us to complete the following on your behalf:
- Assess your eligibility for the visa you have chosen and advise on potential alternatives where appropriate
- Confirm that your prospective sponsor is a valid UK sponsor
- Request the CAS from your UK sponsor and ensure that the information present is accurate
- Prepare a letter of representation to submit with your application and outline why you fulfil the requirements of the visa
- Advise you on obtaining your biometric residence permit on your arrival in the UK (where relevant)
- Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf while your application is pending
- Complete the application form to the highest standard and submit it to the Home Office
As well as assisting with your Student Visa, we can also assist with Child Student Visas, Dependent Child Visas, and applications for Post-Study Worker Visas for graduates who wish to remain in the UK.
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