How to Get a UK Study Visa as a Nigerian 2024

Starlyon King
Starlyon King  - Author
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How to Get a UK Study Visa as a Nigerian 2024
How to Get a UK Study Visa as a Nigerian 2024

The UK is renowned for its high-quality education, attracting global students, including a high number of international students. Presently, over 500,000 students are engaged in various educational pursuits in the UK. Opting for a UK university can greatly contribute to your academic and professional development. While obtaining a study visa as an international student may seem challenging, this article aims to ease your concerns by guiding you through the application process and offering important information about getting a UK study visa.

But before we proceed, let’s see why you should choose the UK as your preferred study destination.

Studying in the UK

There are several reasons you should study in the UK, and some of them are:

1. Exceptional Education

The UK boasts a rich tradition of delivering top-tier education, consistently securing high positions in global university rankings, and drawing some of the finest academics worldwide. British universities are renowned for cultivating students’ critical and creative thinking skills, providing them with the expertise and experiences crucial for success in their chosen careers. Moreover, UK universities stand out by offering specialized undergraduate degrees, allowing students to delve into their chosen fields of study without the need to wait until postgraduate levels. This flexibility is ideal for those eager to specialize early in their academic journey.

2. Multi-cultural Experience

Regardless of your origin, the UK welcomes you with a sense of belonging. International students can always explore the captivating history, picturesque landscapes, and diverse nightlife that the country has to offer. Whether it’s pubs, sports venues, markets, concerts, or art galleries, there’s a wealth of experiences beyond your studies.

3. Employer Recognition

A degree earned in the UK carries global recognition and respect, establishing a robust foundation for your career aspirations. Employers worldwide value UK-educated individuals, appreciating not only academic excellence but also proficiency in the English language. Studying in the UK enhances your CV, making you stand out to prospective employers. Across many countries, employers seek individuals with a strong command of English. Choosing a UK university demonstrates to employers that you can effectively live, work, and communicate in the English language.

4. Cost-Effective Education

UK degrees, spanning 3 to 4 years, depending on the location within the UK, offer a cost-effective educational journey. Generally, degrees in England/NI and Wales take 3 years, while those in Scotland take 4 years. Scottish students in Scotland benefit from fee waivers. Postgraduate degrees, completed in just one year, contribute to lower tuition expenses. Additionally, abundant scholarships, grants, and bursaries from institutions and universities further ease financial burdens. Living costs in the UK are notably lower than in many other countries, including the USA. Students also enjoy numerous discounts, enhancing affordability.

5. Work Opportunities

International students in the UK can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during breaks, providing opportunities for valuable work experience, networking, and earning income alongside studies. The Graduate Route scheme, introduced in the summer of 2021, allows graduates to stay and work in the UK for up to two years, offering a transition to the professional world. Many university courses actively encourage internships, with some institutes even incorporating internships as modules. This approach enables students to gain practical experience and enhance their CVs before graduation.

How to Get a UK Study Visa as a Nigerian 2024
How to Get a UK Study Visa as a Nigerian 2024

About UK Study Visa

The UK Study Visa covers various categories like Tier 4 (General) student visa, Child student visa, and Short-term study visa. It enables entry for individuals seeking education in recognized institutions. Our primary focus is on the student visa, which enables the pursuit of undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees in the UK. To qualify, applicants usually need an acceptance offer from a licensed UK educational institution holding a valid Tier 4 sponsor license. While studying, some work may be permitted, depending on the course and term time. The duration of your stay in the country also depends on your course length and past study history in the UK. For those 18 or older pursuing degree-level courses, a stay of up to 5 years is common, while below-degree-level courses usually stay up to 2 years. However, certain restrictions apply:

– No entitlement to claim public funds or pensions.

– Occupations like professional sports or coaching are restricted.

– Self-employment is prohibited under this visa.

– Enrolling in academies or local authority-funded schools is not allowed.

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UK Study Visa Requirements

1. Meet the Required Points

Under the UK points-based system, Nigerians need 70 points for a short-term study visa. To reach this, you require 50 points for your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), 10 points for meeting financial requirements, and 10 points for demonstrating English language proficiency at the B2 level, which indicates fluent and effortless communication.

2. Financial Ability

Meeting the UK government’s financial requirements depends on your course location. For living outside London, £1,023 per month for up to 9 months or £2,046 per month for the Doctoral Extension Scheme is needed. In London, the requirement is £1,334 per month for up to 9 months and £2,668 per month for the Doctoral Extension Scheme. Additionally, studying in the UK involves course fees, starting at £11,400 per year for undergraduates. These fees can vary significantly based on the institution. However, if your sponsor provides written consent to support you, these financial requirements may be waived. Generally, you must prove that you are able to support yourself financially throughout your stay in the country. You can use the following documents as proof of your finances:

– Personal bank statements or building society statements

– Bank letters

– Official loan letters

– Official financial sponsorship letters

3. Course Requirements

You can apply for a UK Student Visa if you have been accepted into:

– A full-time, below-degree-level course (more than 15 hours per week of study) at RQF level 3, 4, or 5. This includes A levels, apprenticeships, or the first two years of a Bachelor’s degree.

– A full-time course leading to a degree level or above degree-level qualification at RQF levels 6, 7, and 8. This encompasses Bachelor, Postgraduate, Masters, or Doctorate degrees.

– A part-time course at a degree level above RQF 7, such as a Postgraduate, Masters, or Doctorate degree.

– An approved program for postgraduate doctors or dentists.

– An English language course (level B2 or above) following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

4. Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)

The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is an electronic document sent by the university via email. It is crucial for your Student Visa application. Since the CAS is electronic, you only need to include the CAS reference number in your visa application form; there is no need to provide a paper copy.

5. English Language Proficiency

To obtain a student visa, you may need to prove your English proficiency through a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider. This involves demonstrating your ability to read, write, speak, and understand English at a specific level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. For degree-level studies, you must exhibit proficiency at CEFR level B2, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 5.5 or above. For studies below degree level, a proficiency level of CEFR B1 is required. Popular among Nigerians, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a widely accepted language provider for meeting these language requirements.

6. Intention to Study

Proving your genuine intent to study in the UK involves showing the government that your focus is on education, not using the student visa for work or settling. This can be done through clear documentation like acceptance letters, a personal statement, and evidence of financial support. By emphasizing your commitment to your chosen course, you assure authorities that your aim is solely educational.

7. Valid Passport

You need a passport with a validity of at least three months beyond your planned stay in the UK. Ensure there is an empty page for visa stamps. If your passport is near expiry, it’s essential to renew it promptly.

8. Intention to Leave

Demonstrate your strong connections to your home country or country of residence and your intention to depart the UK after your authorized stay.

9. Tuberculosis Test

To qualify for a student visa, you must undergo a tuberculosis test and submit the results. This requirement is applicable to Nigerian students and others planning to study in the UK for over six months. The test should be conducted at a clinic approved by the UK Home Office. Upon completion, the approved clinic will issue a certificate, which you include in your visa application as proof of fulfilling this condition.

10. ATAS Certificate

International students planning to study certain courses in the United Kingdom may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate. This security clearance is mandated by the UK government for studies involving sensitive subjects or advanced technologies. The ATAS certificate aims to prevent the misuse of education in fields like science, engineering, and technology for purposes that could pose security risks, such as the development of weapons of mass destruction. If your chosen course falls within these specified subject areas, obtaining an ATAS certificate is a prerequisite before applying for a student visa to study in the UK.

Noteworthy, If you are under 18, provide proof of parental or legal guardian consent along with evidence of your relationship with your parent or guardian. Additionally, include written consent from your financial sponsor if you have received sponsorship for your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months.

UK Study Visa Application Guide

1. Verify Eligibility

Make sure you fulfill all the criteria for a Tier 4 student visa. This involves securing an unconditional offer of admission from a UK educational institution, proving that you have sufficient funds to cover your course fees and living expenses, and meeting the English language proficiency requirements.

2. Choose a Course and Institution

Pick a course of study and a licensed Tier 4 sponsor educational institution in the UK. The UK government’s official website provides a list of licensed institutions. Research different universities to find the one that aligns with your goals. Explore course details, tuition fees, qualifications, faculty, and other relevant aspects on university websites. Upon acceptance of your unconditional offer, your university will provide a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). Note that there is a fee of £25 associated with obtaining the CAS document.

3. Apply Online

Create an account on the UK government’s Visa and Immigration website and initiate the Tier 4 student visa application. Complete the online application form, providing details about your course, educational institution, personal information, and other relevant details. Apply truthfully and gather the necessary supporting documents listed earlier.

4. Pay the Application Fee and other fees

Complete the payment of the visa application fee online using your debit card. The UK student visa fee is approximately £490,  but it’s advisable to have extra funds to account for potential additional charges.

If your stay in the UK for studying exceeds six months, part of your application involves paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The surcharge for a student visa amounts to £470 per year for each full year in the UK. For periods of 1-6 months, the charge is £235, and for 6-12 months, it is £470. For instance, a 12-month master’s course would incur a charge of £705, covering the total visa duration of 16-17 months. The exact amount depends on the granted leave, and you can use the fee calculator on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website to determine the expected payment.

5. Biometric Appointment

Schedule a biometric appointment at the nearest visa application center to provide your fingerprints and photographs. For visas exceeding six months, you will need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) upon arriving in the UK, serving as your official visa during your stay.

6. Wait for a Decision

Following submission, patiently wait for a decision. Visa processing times vary by country, with the UK student visa generally taking about three weeks to process, though this can depend on specific factors.

7. Receive Visa Decision

Once your visa application is processed, you will be notified of the decision. If approved, a visa sticker will be placed on your passport, granting entry to the UK.

UK Student Visa Validity Period

The duration of the UK Student Visa corresponds to the length of the course you’ve enrolled in. For adults taking a degree-level course, the visa can be granted for up to five years. If pursuing a below-degree-level course, the visa duration is generally two years.

UK Student Visa Processing Time

If you apply from outside the UK, you can expect a decision on your Student Visa application in about 3 weeks as earlier mentioned. If you apply from inside the UK (switching to a Student Visa), it takes approximately 8 weeks to get a decision on your application.

Working with a UK Student Visa

International students in the UK can work under specific conditions. For instance, you can take on roles like a student union sabbatical officer, but you won’t be eligible for public benefits and pensions. The type of work allowed on a Student Visa depends on your course of study and whether it’s during term-time or breaks. However, certain jobs are restricted, such as professional sports roles or being self-employed.

Bringing Dependents with a UK Student Visa

As of January 1, 2024, the UK government has limited the visas for dependent family members of students, except for those in postgraduate and research programs like PhD. This aims to manage students’ relatives’ stay and streamline visa processes.

Students in postgraduate research programs can bring family if the course is over 9 months and they have a state scholarship. Existing families in the UK before January 1, 2024, can stay until their visa expires. However, new restrictions apply to courses starting in January 2024 or later.

After graduation, students can work in the UK, and families can stay as dependents. If a work visa isn’t obtained, the family may need to return home. For courses starting in September 2023, family members have until January 1, 2024, to apply. Bear in mind that adhering to deadlines is important to maintain the option of staying with family during the study period.

Conclusion

Studying in the UK is a great choice with its world-class education system. Contrary to popular opinion, applying is easier than you might think. It is advisable to follow the steps in this article for a smooth application process, making the UK an ideal place for your further studies.

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By Starlyon King Author
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I'm Kingsley Neji, popularly known as Starlyon King, CEO of UnicrossBlog and SportPremi. Join me on a journey of knowledge and excellence in education and career.
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