What are the Student route improvements from Tier 4 route?

  • Allowing greater ability to apply for further leave as a Student in the UK, including study at any student sponsor type and at any level
  • Giving prospective students overseas the option to apply up to six months in advance of their course start date
  • Removing study time limits for all students on postgraduate courses
  • Removing the maintenance requirements for students who have already been in the UK for 12 months with valid leave, for those on recognised foundation programmes as doctors and dentists, and for students applying as student union sabbatical officers
  • Expanding ‘light touch’ documentary evidence requirements to EEA nationals
  • Giving higher education providers with a track record of compliance, the ability to confirm students' academic ability without the need for previous qualifications to be submitted alongside an application
  • Bringing in a new ‘academic engagement’ policy to replace attendance monitoring for students at degree level and above
  • From July 2021, the new Graduate route for UK graudates will allow them to work or look for work for up to 2 years (3 years for PhD graduates) after their studies.

What is changing for Child Students?

  • Child Students will benefit from new, simplified rules. They won't need to demonstrate funds if they have already been in the UK for 12 months when they apply to continue as a Child Student or Student.
  • There will also be an explicit safeguarding requirement introduced for all sponsors of international students aged under 18, giving UKVI additional tools to take swift action if there are any concerns about child safeguarding at a particular sponsor.

What about UK/EEA and Swiss nationals already studying?

  • UK/EEA and Swiss students who are already studying in the UK, or plan to come to the UK to study by 31st December 2020 should apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30th June 2021.
  • UK/EEA and Swiss students starting courses through distance learning must apply under the Student route if they are coming to the UK from 1 January 2021.

What will the application process be for UK/EEA and Swiss nationals?

  • UK/EEA and Swiss nationals will be able to use the new ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app which will use a chip in their passport to verify an applicant’s identity. If the chip is broken, or someone is unable to use the app then they will be directed to a Visa Application Centre to register biometrics instead.
  • Those able to use the UK Immigration ID check app when applying will receive electronic notification of UKVI’s decision. This will set out the full conditions of their immigration status.
  • They will also be able to check their immigration status and its conditions at any time using the ‘view and prove’ service on GOV.UK. This online service will provide a secure record of someone’s immigration status which is held digitally by the Home Office and is available to them at all times.
  • The ‘view and prove’ service can also be used to share and evidence of someone’s rights in the UK such as the right to work or study by giving organisations or people, such as employers or universities access to the relevant information about their immigration status.

Will UK/EEA and Swiss citizens need to apply for a visa for short term study?

  • UK/EEA and Swiss students can continue to visit the UK for up to 6 months, without applying for a visa and may participate in short-term study. All non-recreational study must be undertaken at an accredited institution. Recreational courses undertaken for leisure, that last no longer than 30 days and which do not lead to any formal qualifications, will not need to be undertaken at an accredited institution.
  • The 6-11 month short term study route is distinct from the main Student route and requires applicants of all nationalities to obtain a visa before travelling to the UK. This route is specifically for people taking English language courses. It neither requires sponsorship nor permits the applicant to work.
  • State boarding schools do not qualify for the short-term study route.

Are there exemptions to the English Language requirement?

  • Students who demonstrated that they had the required level of English language ability in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission are exempt from the English Language requirement.
  • Students who have a GCSE, A-level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher, in English (language or literature), that was awarded by a regulated awarding body or following education in a UK school undertaken while they were aged under 18 are exempt from the English language requirement.

Immigration documentation

  • UK/EEA nationals applying under the Student or Child Student routes may be given digital status, which will confirm the validity of the student’s permission without a biometric residence permit.
  • All other international students will receive a BRP

Financial evidence

  • Some schools insist that when applying for visa that you use a visa specialist.  Academic Families can help you if this is a requirement.

Student visa switching within the UK

A student can switch to a Child Student or Student visa from within the UK unless they were last granted permission:

Will UK/EEA students continue to be eligible for home fee status and student support?

  • UK/EEA and Swiss nationals not in scope of the citizens’ rights protections will not be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. This change will also apply to Further Education funding for those aged 19+, and funding for apprenticeships. It will not affect students starting courses in academic year 2020/21. This will not apply to students from Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

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