The UK government will implement a points-based immigration system from 2021 onwards for students applying for a the UK student visa, as announced by the Home Office in September. This new Student route replaces the Tier 4 (General) student visa on Oct 5, 2020.

Here’s the questions and answers for you to advise your prospective students;

How do I qualify for a UK student visa?

International applicants must obtain the 70 points necessary to obtain a visa to study at a university in the UK. They will get those points if they can demonstrate action below:


  • Been offered a place on a course
  • Capable of speaking, reading, writing and comprehending English
  • Sufficient funds to support themselves and their course fee

How do I score 70 points in my visa application?

  1. 1) 50 points will be awarded for the CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance Studies)
  2. 2) 10 points for meeting the financial requirements
  3. 3) 10 points for meeting the English language requirements

When should I apply for a UK student visa?

The earliest you can apply for a student visa is six months before you start your course when applying from outside the UK – up from the three-month window previously under Tier 4. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within three weeks.

If you’re applying from within the UK, the earliest you can apply is three months before your course starts. Do note that you must apply before your current visa expires. Gov.uk notes that your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring; you can expect to get a decision within eight weeks.

When can I travel to the UK?

You can arrive in the UK up to one week before your course starts, if it lasts six months or less; and up to one month before, if your course lasts more than six months.

The financial requirement for living cost change;

  • £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London
  • £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London

How long can I stay in the UK?

How long you can stay depends on the length of your course and how much of it you’ve already completed. “If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to five years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to two years,” according to Gov.uk.

Can I extend my student visa?

You may be able to extend your visa if needed or if you’re eligible, such as if you want to continue your studies in the UK.

How much does the student visa cost?

International students can expect to fork out 348 pounds if you’re applying for a student visa from outside the UK, and 475 pounds to extend or switch to a student visa from within the UK.

Can I still work with this new student visa?

International students can study and work as a student union sabbatical officer, but Gov.uk adds that, “You may be able to work, but how much depends on what you’re studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.” They add, “If your application is successful, you’ll be told what you can and cannot do on a student visa.”

You can apply for Tier 4 visa six months ahead

Under the latest UKVI guidelines, students can apply for a study visa as soon as they gain admission into the university and confirm their UK travel. This is a welcome change to international students at this time of travel uncertainty. Previously, students could only apply for this visa closer to their course commencement.

As part of the measure, UKVI will issue visa vignettes for 90 days instead of the usual 30 days for the rest of 2020. This way, students benefit from more time and flexibility in the longer travel window.

You can start studies remotely without a visa

Next on the latest UK visa updates: those who are unable to travel to the UK due to restrictions can start their studies remotely without applying for a Tier 4 visa. You need only apply for a student visa when you are ready to travel to your university.

New highly-skilled visa route introduced

The Global Talent Scheme will welcome the most highly-skilled workers to come to the UK without a job offer. Top scientists, researchers, and mathematicians will be given fast-tracked entry into the UK via this route, which is expected to roll out in late 2021. It replaces the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and will see endorsements from the scientific and research community for the first time.

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