The UK’s points-based system
As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016, freedom of movement between the country and the 27 remaining EU member states has come to an end. What this means is that while EU citizens already living in the UK can apply for Settled Status, EEA migrants who enter after 1 January 2021 will need to apply for a UK Visa.
The UK’s new points-based system does not only apply to EU citizens, however: all overseas migrants are subject to the same rules.
The new rules for a Student Visa in 2021
The Tier 4 Student Visa has consequently been amended in line with the points-based immigration system. As of 5 October 2020, the visa has been replaced with what is now known as the ‘Student Route’. What this means is that anyone who originates from overseas and who wishes to study in a UK university, college or school will need to apply for a Student Visa and score 70 points to be awarded one.
Fortunately, the 70-point threshold is relatively straight-forward.
You can score points as follows:
- 50 points for receiving a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from your prospective university or college
- 10 points for meeting the Student Visa financial requirements
- 10 points for meeting the English Language requirements
Students outside of the UK can seek this visa up to six months before their course officially starts. Previously, students had only three months to apply under the Tier 4 rules. The UK Government extended the application period to give prospective students plenty of time to apply. That, and UKVI were typically getting swamped with applications in the summer before September when most courses start.
Course requirements for a Student Visa
To be eligible for a Student Visa, you also have to meet specific course requirements.
Full-time courses must be either one of the following:
- A course which will result in a qualification below degree level (RQF Level 3, 4 or 5) with 15 hours per week of study
- A course which will result in a qualification at degree level or above (RQF Level 6, 7 or 8)
Part-time courses must be:
- A course which will lead to a qualification that is above degree level (RQF Level 7 or above)
Other courses can be:
- A recognised foundation programme, for example, for postgraduate doctors or dentists
- An English language course
If you live outside of the UK and you’re applying from your country of origin, you can expect to pay £348 for your Student Visa. If you’re already in the UK but you intend on switching your current UK Visa to the Student Route, it will cost you £475.
It is important to note that these fees do not encompass all the other mandatory immigration and application fees you need to pay. For example, the Immigration Health Surcharge which lets you access the NHS – although this is discounted for students.
You will also need to pay lawyer fees if you hire an immigration lawyer to assist you with your Student Visa application.
There is even a fee to register your biometric information and to sit the English language test if you haven’t already.
Extending the Student Visa
In line with the new post-Brexit immigration rules, the Home Office has created a new Graduate Visa for overseas students who graduate in the UK. This route will allow you to remain in the UK and study for a further 2 years – or 3 years if you wish to complete a PhD.
There is also a new two-year Post-Study Work Visa for international graduates in the UK. This route similarly extends applicants’ right to remain in the country for up to 2 years, during which time you can search for work and enter a career or position in relation to your degree. This visa will only last for two years though, meaning towards the end of its expiry, you will need to switch onto a Skilled Worker Visa or a different immigration route.
How can the IAS help?
Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we assist the future’s ‘best and brightest’ in securing a university place in the UK. Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a wide range of prestigious universities which are highly renowned all over the world. Students from every corner of the globe flock to the UK every year – and we’re on hand to help you become the next rising star in your dream university.
Get in touch with us today to learn all about our expert Student Visa advice sessions.
Our immigration lawyers can even fill out your application for you as part of our unique application service. Your personally assigned immigration solicitor will even send a Letter of Recommendation to accompany your application to the Home Office which highlights the merits of your case and your character.
Call us today on 0333 305 9375 to book an appointment. An immigration lawyer can speak to you no matter where you are in the world, either via phone or via video call. If you prefer, you can also arrange to speak to us in person.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.