Thu | Apr 9, 2020

Immigration Corner | Applying for a student visa

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2020 | 12:11 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I understand that there are several types of student visa that can be applied for to enter the United Kingdom for continuing education. Please explain when an application should be made for a Tier 4 (general) student visa.

– KF


Dear KF,

Persons can apply for a Tier 4 (general) student visa to study in the United Kingdom if the applicants are 16 years or over and they:

- Have offered a place on a course;

- Can speak, read, write and understand English;

- Have enough money to support themselves and pay for their course – the amount will vary depending on their circumstances;

- Are from a country that is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;

- Meet the other eligibility requirements.

There will be no change to the rights and status of European Union (EU) citizens currently living in the United Kingdom until June 30, 2021, or June 31, 2020, if the United Kingdom leaves the EU without a deal. Persons and their families can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the United Kingdom.

The earliest persons can apply for a visa is three months before they start the course. They will usually get a decision on their visa within three weeks. Applicants can enquire about paying for a faster decision. It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the United Kingdom and £348 per person for any dependents.

Applicants will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application. Persons should check how much they will have to pay before applying.

They can arrive in the United Kingdom before their course starts up to one week before, if the course lasts six months or less, and up to one month before, if the course lasts more than six months. How long persons can stay depends on the kind of course applied for and what study previously had been completed.

If the applicant is successful, he/she can:

- Study;

- Work as a student union sabbatical officer;

- Apply from inside or outside the United Kingdom;

- Apply to extend their stay;

- Work in most jobs – depending on what level the course is and what kind of sponsor he/she has;

Applicants cannot:

- Get public funds;

- Work in certain jobs; for example, professional sportsperson or sports coach;

- Study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school).

Applicants should note that they may be able to take family members (dependents) with them.

Good luck.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: