For those over 16 years old (under 16s can apply for their own type of student immigration status) who have been offered long-term study opportunities from an educational institute in the UK then you will have to apply via the Student route to take up that opportunity.
The course must take place at an educational institute which holds a Home Office sponsorship enabling it to accept international students. Check the list of sponsored education institutes found on the Home Office website before accepting the offer of a place. If it is a registered sponsor, and you have been accepted on a course of study, the educational institute will issue you a Confirmation of Acceptance of Study to support your Student immigration application.
As well as being restricted to studying at sponsored institution, you are also restricted to studying certain types of courses. Students can study either a full-time course leading to a qualification that is below degree level, a full-time degree level course or above, a full-time course equivalent to a UK higher education course as part of a longer overseas course, a part-time course leading to a qualification above degree level, a recognised foundation programme for postgraduate doctors or dentists, or an English course.
You will must have enough money to support yourself in the UK and pay for your chosen course of study. The amount of money you need varies depending on the length of the course, where you’re making the application from, and where you will be staying in the UK. For example, a student might need evidence of funds to pay for part of the course fees and, if staying in London, also have funds for living expenses totalling £12,006. These funds need to have been held by you for a period of time before you apply, so you will need to check the requirements and prepare for your application well in advance.
Finally, unless your chosen course of study is English, you must also demonstrate that you can speak, read, write and understand English to the relevant standards.
How long can I stay in the UK?
The length of the immigration status issued to you will depend on the length and type of your chosen course. For degree level courses or above, you can generally stay in the UK for up to 5 years. For course below degree level, the stay is usually up to 2 years.
Students may extend their status from within the UK if they wish to switch courses or study a new course at the end of their existing studies in order to progress their educational advancement. Individuals holding other types of immigration statuses can apply to switch to a Student status from within the UK. For example, if you have Pre-Settled Status and will not qualify for Settled Status, you are permitted to switch into a Student status if you wish to study in the UK.
What are the conditions?
With this student status, you can study and work, but there are limitations on the amount and times work can occur. You cannot claim public funds, cannot work in certain jobs, cannot be self-employed and cannot study at academies or local authority-funded schools.
Can I switch into another status from within the UK?
Student status holders can switch into some over types of status. For example, a student can switch to a Skilled Worker so long as you can meet the requirements for that route. So, there are opportunities to stay in the UK beyond your studies.
How much does this cost?
There are immigration fees to be paid for this route. If you’re applying from outside the UK, the current fee is £348. Additionally, students will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (you might be refunded this cost if you hold an S1 / EHIC but there are conditions attached). This is a fixed fee you pay for each year of your residence in the UK, the current fee is £470 per year. For example, if you are applying for a 3-year Student status you will be paying £1,410 online when you apply.
Can my family members join me in the UK?
Family members (husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner and children under 18 years old) may be able to accompany you or join you in the UK later, but whether this is possible or not depends on the course being studied. Students on a postgraduate level course, a government student on a course longer than 6 months, or a doctorate extension scheme student can bring or be accompanied by the family members. The family members will need to make their own individual applications (and pay the application and Immigration Health Surcharge) and have evidence of funds to pay for their living expenses.
Is this the right status for me?
Consider this if your main purpose of being in the UK is for long term study. While Student routes permit employment, there are restrictions on the hours and times you can take up employment. If your main purpose for coming to the UK is to take up full-time employment, then you must consider the Skilled Worker or the T5 Temporary Work routes.