5 tips for your British study visa application

Whatever your reasons for applying to study in the UK and whatever you're studying, all international students must carry out the same task: applying for a Tier 4 student visa.

Here are some tips from Aminul Haque, an international student at Keele University.

The visa gives you the right to study in the UK. At first glance it can seem a daunting prospect with forms to fill out and facts to check, but for genuine students, applying to study in the UK is relatively straightforward.

As I continue my Computer Science degree at Keele University, I will soon go through the visa application process for the third time now when I return from my summer holidays.

With that in mind, below are the five tips I would give to any student looking to apply for a British study visa:

1. Check the institution

Make sure that the institution you're applying to is genuine before you pay any advance tuition or any other fees to secure a place or to get a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).

Whilst there has been a crackdown in the UK on bogus institutions in recent years, make sure you don't get caught out by checking the full list of approved institutions online here.

2. Apply early

Apply as soon as you get your CAS and have all 40 points required under Britain’s points based system (30 for a valid CAS and 10 for maintenance). The application process can sometimes take longer than the time stated on the UKBA website so don't leave anything to the last minute. 

3. Check for extra requirements

Confirm with the UKBA if there are any other requirements for them to process your application: citizens of certain countries will require a tuberculosis (TB) screening certificate, for example. And remember to get all of the documents you need before you book a visa appointment, checking as well that your bank is not on the UKBA's list of financial institutions that do not verify financial statements to a sufficient standard.

4. Include all documents

Send all the documents you used to obtain your CAS along with your application, if you are required to, with your visa application. If you don't have any documents, tell them this when you submit your application – and don't let anyone tempt you into submitting false information, even minor errors could result in a lengthy ban from the UK.

5. Follow the rules!

After you get your visa, be aware of the rules and conditions that come with it. Register with the police if your visa says to. If you find a part-time job, do not work more hours than you're allowed to. Turn up to all your classes and make sure to inform the relevant people right away if you are ill or cannot attend for any reason.

The visa process is relatively easy if you know what to do and are a genuine student. Yes, there are rules to follow, but they are simply designed to keep bogus students out – genuine students are very welcome in the UK so don't regard the visa rules as a hindrance to your educational aspirations. Almost all the information you need relating to visas is on the UKBA website, but you can also seek help from your institution, pathway/foundation provider or recruitment agent.

The trick is to do your research in advance so that you can organise your application properly. Communication is essential: make sure all information on the application form is true and if anything changes, let them know. Do all this and you'll have no trouble securing a visa for one of the world’s best study destinations.

Aminul Haque is a computer science student at Keele University who prepared for UK study at the Study Group ISC on Keele’s campus.