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Last Update: 20th April 2011

Student Visas Student Visas in the United Kingdom are classified under tier 4 visa category of the points system focuses on overseas students who wish to gain entry clearance to study in the United Kingdom and this tier replaces the United Kingdom student visa service and places more emphasis upon the responsibility of the educational body in question for the applicants they permit to study. The aim of this tier is to provide a more user friendly and transparent route to studying in the United Kingdom.

Students applying to the United Kingdom will be granted leave to enter the UK for the purposes of completing their course at a specified institution. The grant will also take into account the time needed to conclude affairs and attend graduation. Changing from one course to another at the same establishment will not require a new visa application; however, changing a sponsor or obtaining a UK tier visa extension will require a further application to be lodged.

The new system is not designed as a route to settled status in Britain and does not provide the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or permanent residency. The student visas are a temporary immigration service designed with a specific purpose in mind and will not lead to British naturalization as a UK citizen.

There are requirements which need to be satisfied under tier 4. Firstly, students studying in the UK will need to engage in more than 15 hours of study per week and work is permitted for 20 hours each week rising to full time hours during holidays and dependants are permitted to join students in this category.

Secondly, students in full time study at an independent school up to the age of 18. Working hours are the same as the general student category but dependents are not permitted.

Thirdly, under student visas, a student can gain experience or placements where working hours will be the same as the other two categories and dependents will be permitted in instances where the principal applicant will be in the country in excess of 12 months.

And, lastly, educational institutions offering study places to overseas students will need to attain the status of approved sponsors by demonstrating that they are bona fide establishments, rather than non-accredited or purely commercial operations. Certificates of sponsorship act as verification from a college or university that students making UK visa applications will abide by the rules and requirements of their course. Educational institutions will also be obliged to report non-enrolment and non-attendance.

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© Smita Nagi Ciasa

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