Do I need a visa?
As a study abroad student, you will require either a Student visa or a Visitor visa. This depends on the length of your course and whether you will be taking an internship. Students studying for one semester and not working at an internship organised by London Met will not receive a student route visa.
A Visitor visa allows you to enter the UK for up to six months either for tourism or for study. Prior entry clearance (an application made online in advance) will be required for students with a nationality on the visa national list.
For non visa nationals there will not be a charge to enter the UK on a Visitor visa, and you can get this visa at the border with no paperwork requirement, although you should be prepared to show evidence that you can support yourself financially for the length of your stay (£1,334 per month in London, less any accommodation already paid for).
The charge for visa nationals who must apply in advance of travel will be £95 and you will have to attend a visa centre. Full details of this process can be seen on the UKVI website.
On a Visitor visa no work is allowed, there is no recourse to public funds and you may not use the National Health Service (NHS) except in an emergency. You should, therefore, ensure that you have adequate health insurance.
A Student visa is required if you are:
- studying for a whole academic year
- participating in an internship if staying for one semester (arranged by London Met only)
Visa application fees are £348 and there will be a health surcharge of £470 for the year. You may apply for your visa up to six months before the start of your course and you may enter the UK, once granted the visa, up to three months before the start of your course.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you apply in good time for a visa.
Although non visa nationals will not have to show financial evidence, it is recommended that you have the correct amount of money to show in case you are asked. Visa nationals will have to provide evidence of funds held and this is detailed below.
You may work up to 20 hours per week (Monday to Sunday) during term time and you may use the National Health Service (NHS).
Our role as your sponsor
Under the points-based system, students who come to the UK to study for more than six months must be sponsored by a specific educational institution. This means that the university you are studying at must monitor your attendance and progress, and report students who fail to attend classes to the Home Office. Under the points-based system, universities are known as Student sponsors.
Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) numbers
The University will issue a CAS to:
- all students who hold an unconditional offer for a full year programme
- all students who hold an unconditional offer for one semester and who will participate in an internship
Applying for a Student visa
The points-based system requires you to score 70 points in order to be successful in getting a visa to study in the UK.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) - 50 points
Financial requirements, such as course fees and maintenance costs (£1,334 in London) - 10 points
English language requirements, such as B2 when studying a course at degree level - 10 points
The maintenance requirement is evidence that you have sufficient funds to live in the UK (in addition to the cost of your tuition fees if applicable). This level is set at £1,334 per month in inner London (which includes Holloway and Aldgate campuses) for up to a maximum of nine months. Please check the UKVI website for the most up-to-date information.
The total amount of money that you need to show for the maintenance requirement must remain in your bank account for 28 days before you make your visa application and must not go below the required amount at any time during the 28 days.
Please note: If you cannot show the funds in your own bank account, the only other relatives you can use as a sponsor are your parents (unless you have an official financial sponsor, e.g. a government or international organisation). If you want to use your parents' account you will need additional documents.
Information on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
Those who need immigration permission to travel to or stay in the UK for longer than six months will be charged an additional sum as part of their immigration application. This will entitle them to receive free health services under the National Health Service.
The Student visa online application form will automatically calculate how much of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) you have to pay and you'll be able to make the IHS payment as part of your visa application. Please note, once you have entered the IHS portal you will have 30 minutes to complete the payment and return to the visa application. If you fail to complete the payment within 30 minutes, you will have to restart the visa application and make a new IHS payment.
The IHS for students staying for an academic year is £470. If this period of leave is six months or less then there is no charge.
Further details of the Immigration Health Surcharge can be found on the UKVI website.
English language requirements
The Home Office requires proof of English language ability for students applying for a Student visa who are not from a majority English speaking country.
We are unable to issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) until an approved test has been taken by incoming students and a copy of the results sent to us (the original certificate must be kept for your visa application). The test must be run by one of the providers on our approved list so contact us before taking a test to check if we will accept it. You can also see further information about English language requirements.
Rather than merely meeting a certain overall level, there are minimum requirements in the different components – speaking, reading, writing and listening – that must be met.
Further information about approved testers and minimum requirements can be found on the UKVI website.
If taking an IELTS exam, you must achieve a minimum of 6.0 overall and at least 5.5 in each of the four components. If taking a Trinity College ISE II test, you must achieve a B2 level in each component.
Please note that if you do not achieve the required level in all of the components, the test will not be valid for use in your visa application. Test results are valid for two years.
Further information and how to apply
More information can be found on the following web pages:
- the Home Office website
- the UK Council for International Student Affairs website (which also gives advice on other subjects concerning international students in the UK)
If you have any questions, please email the advice team. Please note, we do our best to ensure the information provided here is accurate, but please check the Home Office website for the most up-to-date information and regulations.