UK student visa for Indian students: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

With fantastic universities and a great collegiate and professional atmosphere, it is no wonder students from India are eager to study in the United Kingdom. But one of the hurdles to getting there, can be managing the UK Student visa process. Read on to learn more about the UK Student Visa application, and recent changes for international students wanting to study in the UK.

📝 Table of contents

Keep in mind that each student’s on visa process can be different. While this article can provide some key information, it is not to be taken as advice or in replacement of the UK Government rules or a professional opinion.

✅ UK student visa application

As a prospective student in India, you first need to meet all the following criteria to apply for a UK student visa:

  1. You have already been accepted into a program or course by a valid and licensed sponsor in the UK and have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  2. You are above the age of 16, or if below have the consent of your parents
  3. You have access to enough money to pay your course fees for a year and your stay
  4. You can speak, read, write and understand English clearly

Next, you’ll have to figure out when to apply for a UK student visa. If you are outside the UK when you are applying, you can apply up to 6 months before your course starts. If you are applying inside the UK, you can only apply 3 months before your course starts.

Depending on where you are from and your type of passport, you may be required to also submit biometric information, such as fingerprints and a photograph, as part of your application.

The length of the validity of your student visa is going to be directly tied to the length of your program and the decision by the UK immigration authorities¹:

  • If you are over 18 and you have been accepted into a degree level program, you could possibly stay for up to 5 years.
  • If your program is not a degree level program, you could possibly stay for up to 2 years.

Do’s/ Don’ts of a UK Student Visa

✔ Do’s❌ Don’ts
StudyClaim public funds or benefits or a pension
Work as a Student Union Sabbatical OfficerBe self-employed
Work only in specific cases depending on what you are studyingWork in certain jobs like a sports coach or sportsperson
Work in certain cases during term or off-termStudy at an academy or local authority-funded school

There has been a 2020 update to the UK Study visas system, which removed the Tier 4 visa route, and streamlined to 4 main types of visas to eligible students²:

Type of Study VisasDescription
Student VisaThe previous Tier 4 visa, this visa is for students above the age of 18, and it’s validity can range from 2-5 years.
Child Student VisaFor students between 4-17 years old with an offer from a UK independent school
Standard Visitor VisaAwarded similarly to those who travel to the UK, the standard visitor visa can also be used for short study courses.
Study English in the UK (short term stay)If you are interested in studying English in the UK for more than 6 months, this visa lets you stay in the UK with your program from 6-11 months.

If everything checks out and you’ve received your acceptance of study, the next step is to actually apply for your UK Student Visa.

You can apply online through the UK Government website.

📑 UK student visa process

Here is a quick step by step guide on the usual UK student visa process:

  1. Identify the right UK study visa for you and your program
  2. Gather all your documents, including the CAS, and financial statements together, as well as your passport.
  3. Check to see if you are required to provide biometric information at a visa application centre or can provide identity documents through the UK Immigration: ID Check app.
  4. Only if necessary, make sure to take the necessary steps to prove your English language skills, and see if you require a TB test.
  5. Head to the UK government website to apply for your UK study visa
  6. Prove your identity as part of your application and pay the fee
  7. Wait for a response within 3 weeks for most cases if you are applying from outside the UK.

If there are extenuating circumstances or application specific issues, your visa process may be different and require additional time or paperwork.

📌 UK student visa requirements for Indian students

UK student visa financial requirements

As part of the approval process for a UK student visa, you will need to show you meet the financial requirements on two points:

Course Fees, including boarding

Your course fees will be listed in the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, and you should show evidence in your visa application that you can pay at least 1 year of your course fees.

Money to support your stay

The financial requirement for supporting your stay is based on the total cost of living of where you intend to stay in the UK. It is calculated as:

  • £1,334/ ₹1,38,605.81 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London the city and its 32 boroughs
  • £1,023/ ₹1,06,292.16 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London

*At the mid-market exchange rate of £1 = ₹103.90 as of April 19, 2021. Check the latest rate with this currency converter.

If you have dependent family members coming with you, you will need to show the ability to support them as well.

If you are already in the UK with a valid existing visa for over 12 months, you will not need to show evidence of financial support for course fees or stay. ³

You can show evidence of meeting the necessary financial requirements by showing⁴:

  • Your own bank or investment statements
  • Your parents’ bank or investment statements
  • Your partner’s bank or investment statements if they reside in the UK
  • The official student loan from an approved government or regulated loan scheme, grant or sponsorship agreement

In the bank statements you provide, you will also need to show that the funds have been available in the account for the last 1 month or 28 days.

📢 You do not need to show evidence of ample funds for your visa if you are applying from the UK government’s list of exempt countries, but note that India is not on that list.

📂 Documents required for UK student visa

When you are applying for a UK Student visa, you must submit the following:

  • The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the school or institute you are planning of attending
  • A current passport or documentation for travel
  • A blank page in your passport for your visa if you need biometric information

In addition to these documents, you may also be asked to submit:

  • Evidence of financial resources to pay for your course and to support yourself during your stay or letter showing consent from a financial sponsor
  • A valid ATAS certificate, if required
  • Proof of parental consent and your relationship to said parent if you are below 18 years old
  • A Tuberculosis test result

You may be asked for additional documents depending on your circumstances so take a look at the extended list of documentsthat you may be asked for.⁵

⌛ UK student visa processing time

Once you have submitted your completed application, you can expect a decision within 3 weeks. ⁶

💷 UK student visa fees

A UK student visa fee is how much it costs to submit an application for a UK student visa. It is required to complete the payment to submit your application and ensure a decision can be made.

Let’s take a look at what it would cost if you are submitting your application from India.

UK student visa fees in Indian Rupees

If you are submitting an application for a UK student visa while residing in India, you will have to pay the visa fee designated for those outside the UK. Here is what it looks like in GBP but also Indian rupee with today’s exchange rate:

Student Visa Fee for Applications outside the UK£348₹36,158.04

At the mid-market exchange rate of £1 = ₹103.90 as of April 19, 2021

This fee is per person, so any additional family members that are joining you in the UK on your student visa will need to be added to your final payment.⁷

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⛔ UK student visa new rules for Indian students 2021

With Brexit, there have been changes from previous rules on allowing international students into the UK.

With the UK exiting the European Union in 2020, there have been changes to the immigration system. As of the March 20, 2021 update, student visa applications are currently only open to citizens of the European Union (EU), Switzerland and European Economic Area (EEA). However, there are expectations that student visas to non-EU,EEA and Swiss citizens will open soon.

If you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you can apply for a student visa only if you meet the basic eligibility of being accepted into a program, have enough money to support yourself and your fees, and can speak, read, write and understand English.

The UK has made it known that international students who finish a degree in the UK by summer 2021 can stay in the country and:

  • Can work for up to 2 years
  • Look for work for up to 2 years

If you are a PhD graduate, you get an additional year to look for work and be employed, with the timeframe bumped up to 3 years. ⁸


  1. UK Student Visas
  2. Types of Visas
  3. Financial Requirements
  4. Financial Documents
  5. Documents needed
  6. Processing times
  7. Fees
  8. International students in the UK 2021

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