UK Student Visa Updates: What International Students Should Know - 05 November 2020

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UK Student Visa Updates: What International Students Should Know

05 November 2020

The Home Office has recently closed the Tier 4 visa route and replaced it with ‘Student’ and ‘Child Student’ routes. They have also created a new 'Graduate Route', which will come into effect Summer 2021.

As an accredited UCAS centre, SI-UK North America works to help students apply to UK Universities, including helping students with Visa applications. We have created an overview of the changes and how they apply to intenational students.

For more infomation or support in your application or Visa process, please email

Points criteria
Applicants must meet the minimum points criteria in order to be awarded Student/Student Child status:

  • 70 points must be awarded in total under the points-based system:
  • Sponsorship: 50 Points
  • Financial requirement: 10 points
  • English language requirement: 10 points

Documentary requirements
There is a change to the documentation that students are required to provide in support of their student visa applications:

  • Students are only required to provide the necessary English language documentation once.

Students are required to demonstrate maintenance funds if they have met the maintenance rules for their current visa and have been supporting themselves in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months.

  • Students applying for leave as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or studying a recognised Foundation programme are not required to demonstrate maintenance funds given that they will be earning an income during their visa validity.
  • Students are now be able to rely on electronic bank statements allowing more flexibility and no longer requiring students to obtain their physical bank statement.
  • A wider range of acceptable accounts for maintenance purposes have been implemented, providing students with more options to meet the maintenance requirements.

Academic qualifications and Study Limits
Changes have been made for acedmeic qualifications and post-graduate study time.

  • Students of Higher Education Providers with a track record of compliance are no longer routinely required to provide academic qualifications used to obtain their offer with the sponsoring institution.
  • The eight-year study limit for post-graduate students has been removed, meaning there is no time limit on the length of time post-graduate students can spend on a Student visa in the UK

Graduate Route:
The new Graduate Route beginning summer 2021 will allow international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree to benefit from two years’ work experience in the UK upon graduation. Students with their PhD will be able to stay for three years.

  • The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have a valid student visa at the time of application and have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
  • Successful applicants on this route will be able to remain in the UK and work or look for work at any skill level for a maximum period of two-three years (depending on degree) 
  • Graduates will be able to switch into a skilled work visa (Tier 2) once they have found a suitable job.
  • Any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route. This includes students who have already started their courses. 
  • The Graduate Route will require a new visa application.
  • It will include the payment of a visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. 
  • Those who graduate and whose leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible
  • Students who began their studies online due to Covid-19 in the 2020-21 academic year will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, provided they arrive in the UK by 6 April 2021.

 For more information or assistance in your application or visa, contact

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International Business Economics at City University

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