The Basics of a Student Visa, Written by a Student...
OTB Legal have provided me with an excellent work experience programme. I am a first year law student at the University of Nottingham, a domestic student residing in the UK. Working in an immigration law firm has highlighted the hurdles that international students must overcome in order to study in the UK. The University of Nottingham is renowned for its international study opportunities as well as the large percentages of international students studying at the Nottingham campus. Speaking from my own experience, many of my friends and peers studying law have come from across Europe namely Romania, Latvia and Ukraine. This blog will discuss how to obtain a student visa, the costs imposed and restrictions such a visa enforces. It is with thanks to OTB legal for allowing me access to work on alike cases, developing my knowledge in this area.
What is a Student visa?
The guidelines can be found in Immigration Rules: Appendix Student. The visa is available to anyone over the age of 16 for the purposes of studying in the UK and must be endorsed by a sponsor such as a University. The visa is segmented into three categories validity requirements, suitability requirements and eligibility requirements. For a successful application, the applicant must fulfil all three criteria, such criteria are clearly set out in the immigration rules.
What financial requirements and fees are there?
(Up to date as of the 4th August 2022): The fee for the application is £363 to apply and £490 for an application to extend the visa. The application if for the duration of the degree/ study placement and the extension is in regard to undertaking further studies such as a masters. There is also a graduate visa that extends the stay in the UK for up to two years after the qualification is completed.
On top of the initial fees there is an immigration health surcharge and the cost of this is dependant on the length of the visa.
Additional to the fees for the application, there are also financial requirements for the applicant. There must be proof of funds amounting to £1,023 per month to fund life in the UK, as well as satisfactory funds for the course itself. For the LLB Law degree at the University of Nottingham these fees were £20,000 in 2021/2022 academic year. For comparison the fees for the LLB Law degree at Nottingham Trent University 2021/2022 academic year were £15,600. It must also be noted that there is no student funding provided by the UK for international students so their entire study must be self-funded (There are also scholarships as well as University ran funding opportunities that may be available, but these are highly competitive and a limited source of funding).Also to note, if the applicant is looking to utilise the services of a law firm such as OTB legal, this will bring about additional costs to those listed above. For more information on this we would recommend booking a free consultation with a member of our business immigration team to discuss this.
Restrictions borne by the application
Eligibility to work in the UK is restricted dependant on the course of study and whether employment is in term time or not. The general rule is that only 20 hours or work per week is permitted.
There are also many barriers to overcome in regard to proving the eligibility requirement for the student visa in itself: this includes proof of confirmation of a University acceptance, course requirements, approved qualification requirement, level of study requirement, place of study requirement, financial requirement and English language requirement. All of which must be satisfied for a successful application.
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The visa application is evidently a difficult process therefore it is understandable why this may be a challenging time for student applicants. Student visas are incredibly important to ensure the UK has a wealth of intellectual and educated young people to diversify the UK’s. International students bring many skills and opportunities to UK Universities and thus it is essential that the student visas are understandable and accessible. OTB Legal’s business immigration team can answer any question posed via booking a 30 minute free consultation with a member of the team.