Updated November 2023
The United Kingdom has consistently been a favored choice among global students searching for excellent education and a diverse cultural milieu. Indian students, in particular, find pursuing their academic goals in the UK to be highly advantageous, offering numerous opportunities. The UK student visa plays a vital role in this endeavor, as it grants Indian students the ability to study at prestigious universities, engage in a dynamic educational setting, and broaden their horizons.
Keep reading to find out more about the UK student visa for Indians.
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UK student visa for Indians 2023 news
The government of the United Kingdom announced a visa fee hike across all categories, effective from 04 October 2023. This policy will impact the student visa from India, with an updated fee of £490 (INR 49,560), reflecting an increase of £127 (INR 12,845) from the previous charge of £363 (INR 36,715).
The UK Home Office data reveals a substantial increase in the number of sponsored study visas granted to Indians by the United Kingdom. A staggering 142,848 visas were issued, marking a 54% increase, which amounts to 49,883 more visas issued by the UK compared to the year ending June 2022.
According to the latest announcement by the UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, starting on 01 January 2024, only postgraduate research students can bring their family members as dependents to the UK. However, until 01 January 2024, any eligible student holding a student visa can bring dependents if their course starts before the mentioned date and lasts at least six months.
Apart from that, the new law has also removed the ability for international students to switch to work visas before finishing their courses. Students can apply for a work visa before course completion only if their employment start date is after course completion. This law has come into effect immediately. However, Students in postgraduate research programs can apply for a work visa after studying in the UK for a minimum of 24 months.
UK student visa for Indians 2023
The UK student visa allows students of 16 years and above to study in the UK. The student visa also allows applicants to work depending on what they are studying and whether they are working in or out of term-time in the UK
Please note that the UK student visa cannot be used to:
- claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
- work in certain jobs, for example, as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
- be self-employed
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
The length of stay on a UK student visa depends on the length of the applicant’s course and what study they have already completed in the UK. Applicants who are 18 or over and have a course at degree level can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. However, if it is below degree level, they can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.
However, in case applicants want to stay longer in the UK, you can consider one of the following options:
- applicants may be able to extend their visa if they are eligible, for example, to continue their studies in the UK
- applicants may switch to a student visa from another visa if they’re already in the UK
- applicants may switch to a graduate visa to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing their course
You can apply for a student visa to study in the UK only if you meet the following requirements:
- you are 16 years old or over.
- you have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor.
- you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course. The amount will vary depending on your circumstances
- you can speak, read, write and understand English
- you have consent from your parents if you’re 16 or 17. Please note that you will require evidence to prove your age when you apply
Please note that if you are 16 or 17 and wish to study at an independent school in the UK, you may be eligible for a Child student visa instead.
For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.
The following are some of the documents required by Indians to apply for a UK student visa:
- a current Indian passport or other valid travel documentation. Please note that you need a blank page in your passport for your visa in case you need to give your biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph) at a visa application centre. You will be informed regarding this while app
- a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your course provider.
- proof you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course. Please note that this will vary depending on your circumstances.
- a valid ATAS Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate (if required).
- proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18. If you are under 18 years of age, you will need written consent from both parents or legal guardians (or one parent if they have sole responsibility). This must include their consent for:
- your visa application
- your living and care arrangements in the UK
- your travel to the UK
- you will also require a copy of your birth certificate or another government-issued document that shows the names of your parents.
- proof of your relationship to your parent or guardian if you’re under 18
- your tuberculosis test results
- written consent for your application from your financial sponsor if you’ve received sponsorship for your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months
Please note that you may be required to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances. You can find out a complete guide on the full list of documents required here.
UK student visa for Indians application process
Please note that as a part of your application, applicants from India will need to prove their identity by providing their fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at the nearest VFS Global visa application centre.
To apply for a UK student visa from India, follow the steps given below:
Step 1: Apply for the UK student visa online
As a starting process, you need to visit the GOV.UK website to apply for a UK student visa online.
Make sure to complete the application form and fill in all the required details accurately.
Step 2: Pay for the visa application
After completing your visa application form, you will be required to pay for your visa application and for the healthcare surcharge, if applicable.
Once you have paid the fees, you will be given a reference number that starts with GWF. Please make a note of this, as it will be helpful in case you need to make any amendments to your visa application or appointment.
Step 3: Book an appointment
After paying for your visa application on GOV.UK website, you will be directed to the VFS Global website to book an appointment at the nearest visa application centre, so your biometric data (fingerprints and photograph) can be captured.
You can find out your nearest VFS Global visa application centre here.
Step 4: Upload your supporting documents
Once your biometrics have been collected, you can upload the documents required to apply for a UK student visa.
For uploading the supporting documents you can either take the help of the VFS Global visa application centre, for a charge or self-upload them depending on the list of documents provided to you after applying on the GOV.UK website.
Step 5: Visit the visa application centre
You will be required to visit the visa application centre on the day of your appointment for the visa application. Please make sure to follow the rules given below on the date of your appointment:
- arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time.
- you must attend the appointment for your visa application. You cannot send someone in your place.
- please bring your valid passport or travel document with at least one page that is blank on both sides.
- at the visa application centre, you will need to submit your fingerprints and photograph. This is known as biometric information. A digital finger scanner collects images of all 10 fingerprints, and you will have a digital photo taken. The digital fingerprint scanner uses no inks, liquids or chemicals and will not mark your skin.
- your digital photograph must be taken with a full face and without sunglasses or tinted spectacles, or head covering unless it is worn for religious or medical reasons.
- your face should be clearly visible, with no hair across the eyes.
- ensure your fingertips are free from any forms of decoration, cuts, abrasions or other markings, as these may affect your ability to provide acceptable finger scans.
- without biometric information, your visa application will not be processed.
- you can upload your documents yourself after booking your appointment, or bring your supporting documents and use our Document Scanning Assistance service at the Visa Application Centre (fee applies).
- if you have purchased, or plan to use our Document Scanning Assistance service, bring the originals or good-quality copies of your supporting documents to the visa application centre.
Step 6: Check the status of your visa application
You will receive an email update when your decision has been returned to the visa application centre. In case you cannot access email easily or would like more detailed tracking information, you may also be able to get updates by SMS sent directly to your phone. Please make sure to check whether this service is available at the visa application centre. you are visiting.
Alternatively, you can also track your visa application status online by using the Reference Number present on the invoice/receipt issued by the visa application centre along with your last name to access this service.
Step 8: Make sure to collect your passport
After a visa application decision has been made, you will be contacted by the visa application centre to collect your documents/ passport from the centre or have your documents returned to you by courier for an additional fee.
Make sure to bring the receipt issued by the visa application centre and a form of Government identification while collecting your documents in person.
Please check with the visa application centre at the time of appointment for the options available to collect your documents.
UK student visa for Indians processing time
Indians can apply for a UK student visa from India at least 6 months before they start their course. Please note that it usually takes 3 weeks to get a decision regarding the approval of the visa
UK student visa fee for Indians
The price of a UK student visa is GBP 515 (INR 54,483). Note that you might also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
The immigration health surcharge is expected to increase from GBP 624 to GBP 1,035 per person. This change is expected to be brought into effect from January 16, 2024, or 21 days after relevant legislation passes, whichever is later.