UK Student Visas and What Happens Next

May 20, 2022
Would you like to study in the UK?

Students from outside the UK who wish to study at UK universities and colleges will need to apply for a Student Visa. The visa includes students from the  EU coming to the UK to study after the 31 December 2020. If you or your family are from the EU and started living in the UK before 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme if you have ‘reasonable grounds’.  Click here for more information.

What are the requirements and how can you apply?
  • Students will need to be aged 16 years and over (however, please note that if you are 16 or 17, you must have parental consent)
  • You must have received an offer to join a university or college course from a licensed student sponsor*
  • Have the right level of English; degree level or above: equivalent to CEFR level B2, below degree level: CEFR level B1
  • You have enough money to pay for your course and support yourself

*Your visa application will need to be sponsored by a university that has accepted you to study for a degree. To sponsor a visa your institution must be a licensed student sponsor. Click here for the list of institutions.

When can you apply?

Applying from outside the UK – 6 months before you start your course


Applying from inside the UK – 3 months before your course starts

How much does it cost to apply?


* £363 to apply for a Student visa from outside the UK

* £490 to extend or switch to a Student visa from inside the UK

As part of your application, you will also need to pay a healthcare surcharge. The amount of the fee depends on how long your visa is valid (usually £624 per year for an adult). Click here for more information.

Can you bring family members on a Student visa?

Some students are eligible to bring their partner and children to the UK on a dependant visa, if they are a full-time student and on a postgraduate level course at RQF level 7 or above or a new government sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months or a Doctorate Extension Scheme student. Click here for more information.

Already in the UK?

Switching to a Graduate visa 

The graduate route was introduced in summer 2021 to allow students to remain in the UK for two years to gain work experience. The graduate visa allows you to work in most jobs, look for work, be self-employed, do voluntary work and travel abroad and return to the UK. However, you cannot apply for most public funds or work as a professional sportsperson.

The application is made online and costs £715, plus the healthcare surcharge fee.

Click here for more information on Graduate visa.

Switching to a Skilled Worker Visa

After the 2 years, you cannot extend your graduate visa, but you may consider switching to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker Visa. This visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • Work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the Role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • Be paid a minimum salary – how much depends on the type of work you do
  • Be able to speak, read, write and understand English

You must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa.

The application fee – standard fee ranges from £625 to £1,423 depending on your circumstances. You must also pay the healthcare surcharge.

You and your family will pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list.

The fee for each person applying is:

* £479 if you’re staying for up to 3 years

* £943 if you’re staying for more than 3 years

Click here for more information on Skilled Worker visa.

Spouse visa application

Perhaps you have met someone and are married (or about to be married). If so, you may want to consider applying for a Spouse visa if your partner has any of the following:

  • A British or Irish citizen
  • Indefinite leave to remain
  • Turkish Businessperson Visa or Turkish Worker Visa
  • Refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status – they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
What are the requirements for a Spouse Visa?
  • Evidence the couple have met
  • Evidence of a valid marriage, such as a marriage certificate
  • Evidence the relationship is genuine and subsisting
  • Evidence that the financial requirement of an annual gross income of £18,600 can be satisfied. If you are also sponsoring children as dependents, then the financial requirement will increase. Nevertheless, the rules differ if you are receiving disability benefits
  • Evidence there is adequate accommodation. This can be owned, rented, or living with family
  • English language proficiency at level A1 (if you have UK degree taught in English – you do not need to take the English test)
  • Tuberculosis test (if you are applying from certain countries)

Spouse Visa UK Fees:

Out of country application: £1,538 / in country application: £1,048

The Immigration Health Surcharge costs £624 per year for each applicant. This means that for a standard Spouse Visa, the applicant would have to pay £1,872 to cover the cost of three years in the UK.

Once your Spouse visa is granted, you can apply to settle in the UK (called ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’) after you have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously on Spouse Visa. Click here for more information.

Please note that you may also be able to apply for other visas not included in this list. Please contact Liberty Legal for a free consultation to discuss your matter.


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Please note that the law referred to in this legal guide is as it stood at the date of publication. The law may have changed since then and accordingly you are advised to take up to date legal advice. Liberty Legal cannot accept responsibility for any reliance placed on the legal information contained in this guide. This legal guide is designed to give general information only.

 Author: Gamze Erdogan, Managing Director at Liberty Legal Ltd.

Alignthebar cannot accept responsibility for any reliance placed in the legal information contained in this guide.





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