Planning to pursue your academic dreams in the United Kingdom as an international student? It Is an exciting venture, but before you embark on your educational journey, there are important documents required for UK student visa application to ensure a smooth transition.
The relevant UK authorities make a decision on your visa application, mainly based on the required documents for a UK visa. For every UK visa, there are specific required documents.
Here are the 2 types of visas for which you might need to apply to become a UK student:
- Short-Term Study Visa (available for 6 or 11 months) – for students who plan to study a short language course or take up a short period of research as part of a degree program.
- Tier 4 (General) Student Visa – for students who enroll in an academic degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D.). The Tier 4 Student Visa doesn’t have a fixed period of availability; the length of your studies determines the length of the visa.
10 Documents Required for UK Students Visa Application
Here are Ten Important Documents Required for Students Visa Application in the United Kingdom:
1. Your Valid Passport:
Your passport serves as your primary identification document, and it must be valid for at least six months beyond the intended duration of your stay in the United Kingdom. If you hold a travel document other than a passport, ensure it meets the UK’s visa requirements.
Your passport must be valid when you make your visa application. If your passport expires soon after you arrive in the UK, you may find it easier and less stressful to renew your passport before you make your visa application and before you travel to the United Kingdom.
2. Visa Application Form:
You must submit the correct online Student visa application form. Please note that the form is different for students applying from overseas and those applying in the UK. Make sure to submit the form which is correct for your circumstances.
You will need to complete the online visa application form, which can be found on the official UK government website. This is the starting point for your application journey and sets the stage for providing supporting documents that verify the information you enter.
The CAS is the golden key to your visa application. It’s a document issued by your sponsoring UK institution, serving as proof of your acceptance into a recognized educational program. Your CAS will include essential information about your course, institution, and visa sponsorship details.
A new CAS must be provided with each visa application. If you are continuing your course at the University or you have completed your course and are applying to study a new course, you must apply for a new CAS. Similarly, if your previous visa application was refused, you must obtain a new CAS before applying again.
4. Proof of Finances:
This may be your bank statements for the last six months, or pay slips for the same period. There are specific Home Office maintenance requirements for financial evidence. You must submit evidence that meets these requirements normally showing money has been held for 28 consecutive days and the evidence dated no more than 31 days old.
If you are relying on your parent(s)’ funds you will also need to include the following:
- Letter of consent from your parent(s)
- Your birth certificate
5. Biometric Information:
An individual’s biometric information which is relevant for the visa application is a facial photograph and up to 10 fingerprints, which can either be captured digitally in the form of a digital photograph of their face and a scan of their fingerprints or using wet-ink prints and a paper photograph.
If you are applying for a visa that lets you stay in the UK for more than 6 months, you will need to submit your biometric information. This includes giving your fingerprints and a digital photograph taken at the appropriate application center.
6. English Language Evidence:
To demonstrate your ability to effectively communicate and participate in your studies, you’ll need to provide proof of English language proficiency. This typically involves submitting an English language test score from an approved test center, such as IELTS or TOEFL.
If you are applying to study a course at a degree level or above (undergraduate degree, Master’s degree, or PhD), the University can use its own way of assessing your English language skills.
Where the University has made its own assessment, this will be confirmed on your CAS as “Higher Education Institution (HEI) has made assessment” and this is also the option you need to select on your visa application form with regards to how you met the English language requirement. In such a case, no further evidence is required.
7. Tuberculosis (TB) Test certificate:
You will need to take a TB test and submit your TB test certificate with your visa application if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and you have been living in one of the countries specified by the Home Office for at least 6 months. It is about where you have been resident and not what nationality you hold. The test must be taken at an approved TB test clinic.
If your test shows that you do not have TB, you’ll be given a certificate that is valid for 6 months from the date of your x-ray. Include this certificate with your UK visa application.
8. UK cover letter (If applicable):
A personalized letter that accompanies the visa application, providing a detailed explanation of the purpose of the visit and the applicant’s background. It serves as an essential supporting document to convey the applicant’s genuine intentions and enhance their chances of obtaining the desired visa.
9. Academic Qualifications:
Where you are studying at a degree level or above, you do not need to provide evidence of your previous qualifications with your visa application since your CAS will include details of your qualifications. However, you are advised to provide these documents if you are 16 or 17 years old and not a national.
If you are studying at a below degree level, you must provide any documents listed on your CAS with your visa application, unless you are a national.
Acceptable evidence includes:
- certificate or certificates of qualification
- transcript of results
- print out of qualification or transcript results from the awarding body’s online checking service
10. Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate:
You may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for certain science and technology courses studied at PhD-level or Master’s level.
The ATAS certificate is issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for permission to study the course. Your offer letter and your CAS will tell you if you need an ATAS certificate.
You must be issued with an ATAS Certificate before you make a Student Visa application. Apply for ATAS as soon as you can bearing in mind that they are valid for 6 months. If applying in the UK you are recommended to apply 4 months before your current visa expires, if applying outside the UK apply one month before you will need the ATAS.
Applications are processed in order of receipt and there is no option to ‘fast track’ an ATAS application. Please note, it can take 30 or more working days to be issued an ATAS certificate
Tips about the UK student visa application:
- To view the latest up-to-date information about the UK student visa, always visit the official UK Government website.
- Do not postpone your visa application until the last moment. Usually, it takes about 3 weeks to receive the Tier 4 Student Visa. But depending on the place from where you are applying, you should start the visa application process 3 months in advance.
- Make sure you have the certificate of acceptance for studies (CAS) from your university before applying for the student visa.
- Make sure you get all the information before you start the application process.
- Make sure the institution you are applying to is licensed.
- Universities usually have trained visa advisors who are able to answer your questions about the Tier 4 student visa and guide you through the application process.