Which Visa is right for me?

There are 3 main visas a student will need to come to the UK to study.

Student Route Visa

If you are 16 and over and want to study a higher education level (level 3-6) in the UK lasting longer than 6 months, it is most likely that you will need to apply for a student visa through the student route (formerly known as Tier 4).

Where you can study English for more than 11 months and also bring dependants with you.

The Student Route has replaced the Tier 4 in the new UK’s Points-Based Immigration System. This was introduced in October 2020, it will also apply to EU students from 1 January 2021.

See our flyer here

For more information, see the section below.

Short-Term Study Visa

Where you can study English for up to 11 months or another course for 6 months.

Short-term study Documents Required

  • ID Documents a current passport (with a blank page for your visa) or other valid travel document
  • Application Form
  • Evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, for example bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
  • Details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans – you should not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa
  • Evidence that you’ve paid your course fees or have enough money to pay them

Standard Visitor Visa

You can come to visit family, friends or as a tourist on a visit visa and also study English or any other course for up to 6 months.

Student Visitor Visa Documents Required

Apply for a Standard visitor visa for short term Study:

If you need a visa, you must apply online before you travel to the UK. You can access the online form at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply

Once you’ve started your application you can save your form and complete it later.

Proving your identity and providing supporting documents

  • As part of your online application, you need to book an appointment at a https://www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre
  • You’ll have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at your appointment.
  • Allow time to attend your appointment, as the visa application centre could be in another country. The visa application centre may keep your passport and documents while processing your application.
  • Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents/guide-to-supporting-documents-visiting-the-uk

New Points-Based System for Immigration

The Home Office has released a statement of changes to be laid before Parliament which outlines the intent to close the Tier 4 visa route and replace it with Student Route.

The statement of changes sets out the aim to simplify the student route with the incorporation of European Economic Area students, and specific changes to the entry requirements for this route.

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals

EU (alongside EEA and Swiss) citizens who arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and relevant family members, will be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under that scheme.

EU citizens who do not qualify under EU Settlement Scheme (or other routes protected by the Withdrawal Agreement) arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens.

EU citizens will therefore need to get a visa for all activities other than short-term visits and all EU citizens coming to the UK for more than six months will be able to prove other rights and entitlements via online services.

Most EU citizens will not need to attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to enrol their biometrics and will instead provide facial images using a smartphone self-enrollment application form.

EU students will need to apply for the new Student route if they arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020. The Home Office has published a useful introductory guide on the new PBS Immigration System specifically tailored to EU students.

Student Route

The new Points-Based System Student route visa will replace the current Tier 4 visa. The Student route comes into effect at 9:00 am (British Time) on 5 October 2020.

It will affect Student and Student dependent applications made on or after then, regardless of the date on which a CAS was assigned. Applicants who have a valid CAS issued before 5 October at 9:00 under the Tier 4 route will be able to use it for an application under the Student route.

EU nationals can apply for entry clearance applications from 5 October 2020, for entry to the UK from 1 January 2021. Unlike other applicants, they will be granted a ‘secure digital status’ only, not a vignette or BRP. As part of their visa application, they will not be required to submit evidence to show that they meet the financial requirements or provide their academic qualifications used to obtain an offer of study. The Home Office however retains the right to request sight of these documents.

It is hoped that the Student Route will be more streamlined for the sponsor and for the student. Students will require a total of 70 (non-tradeable) points to be granted leave. Points will be awarded for meeting the requirements of the route, which comprise of the sponsorship requirements, English language requirements and maintenance/finance requirements.

Full Privileges

We have access to the full privileges of Student Route HEP with a proven track record is one whose Student Route students may be granted conditions of leave which may, depending on the level and length of the course that is being undertaken, include:

    • Permission to work for a certain number of hours per week.
    • The ability to be granted further Student Route leave from within the UK.
    • The ability to bring dependants to the UK.
    • Students will be able to apply for permission to come to the UK six months before the start of their course
    • Students will no longer be required to demonstrate maintenance funds if they have already met the maintenance rules for their current visa and have been supporting themselves in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months


    The conditions of leave you will gain will be based on the level and length of the course being studied, to remain consistent with how these conditions are offered at present. For example, students will be entitled to work for 20 hours per week only if they are studying at degree level or above, the student route visa has more information.


Guidance on how to apply for your Student Route visa

The earliest you can apply for a Student Route visa is six months before the start date of the course.

1) Complete online Student Route application form:

Application Form
2) Pay Immigration Heath Surcharged (IHS) https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/how-much-pay and https://visa-fees.homeoffice.gov.uk/
3) Book your appointment at a visa application center (to get a biometric residence permit and to have your fingerprints scanned) as part of your application
4) Attend biometrics appointment (scan and upload your documents before the appointment)
5) If asked Attend Creditability Interview

For further information and guidance please visit:

Student Route Visa Information

During your interview a UKVI member of staff may ask you to attend a credibility interview. The credibility interview is to assess two things:

    • To check that you are a genuine student whose main purpose in coming to the UK is to study the course at South & City College Birmingham
    • To check if your English Language is at the right level to study in the UK.

Questions UKVI may ask are:

      • Motivation for studying the course?
      • Reasons for wanting to the study in the UK?
      • Reasons for choosing the college?
      • How do your study plans fit into your career?
      • What information do you know about your course
      • Arrangements for living expenses?

6)The Home Office will contact you with a decision within 3 weeks and depending on the type of service used but visa processing times vary by country)

7) In case of visa refusal, please contact the International team (and attached your visa refusal letter.)


8) How to prepare for an interview: As part of your application, you may be interviewed face-to-face or online.


Tips on preparing for your interview

  • Always be honest
  • Be calm and don’t panic
  • Explain your reasons for choosing the course if asked
  • Give your reasons why you chose South and City College Birmingham
  • What are your course modules
  • How will this course help you in the future
  • What knowledge you will gain from taking this course
  • Research on the intitute, the location, travel time from home to college
  • How big is the college, campus and facilities
  • What are the other courses you had a look at
  • Did you consider any other institutes
  • Accomodation costs, work out a budget, such as living expenses and bills

Required Student Route Documents

If you have applied for a visa or entered the UK as a visitor on or after 9am on 1 December 2020, you are able to study for up to six months at an accredited institution (not at a state funded school or academy). You will need to prove that you have enough money to cover all reasonable costs.

Once you have arrived in the UK, collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) within 10 days of your arrival and book your police registration within 7 days of UK arrival.

The following Student Route Documents are required:

      • Conditional Offer

    Must hold an unconditional offer from a licensed UKVI sponsor. SCCB is a licensed sponsor with a proven track record.

      • Application Form
  • International Application form
      • Age
  • Must be Minimum 16 Years of age
      • Financial Documents
  • You must meet the financial requirements of £1023 per month for 9 months.
      • Qualifications
  • Qualifications must meet course requirements
      • Personal Statements
  • Mention future goals, aspirations, why you chose the course, college, how course will help you
      • Tuberculosis Certificate
  • You must hold a valid TB Certificate (Applies to certain countries www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa)
      • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
  • All applicants must pay a HIS charge prior to their visa application, this is to enable them to use the UK National Health Service. www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa


  • English Language Requirements

Approved test providers and approved tests

    • IELTS SELT Consortium (UK or overseas)

Please note that if you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only take them at a UKVI approved IELTS test centre.

Additionally you can also take a SELT with the following new providers:

  • Language Cert (UK or overseas)

Trinity College London (UK only) Pearson (UK and overseas) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prove-your-english-language-abilities-with-a-secure-english-language-test-selt

  • ID Documents
  • Clear copy of your passport cover and personal details page

If you are outside of the UK

You can only take a SELT with one of the following providers:

  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd – Skills for English (UKVI)
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • Language Cert
  • Pearson

If you're under 18

If you’re under 18 you’ll need written consent from both parents or legal guardians (or one parent if they have sole responsibility).

This must include their consent for:

  • your visa application
  • your living and care arrangements in the UK
  • your travel to the UK

You’ll also need to provide a copy of your birth certificate (or another government issued document) that shows the names of your parents.

Click link to see further https://www.gov.uk/student-visa

Student Route Key Points

Length of visa

Your visa will be valid for the duration of your course plus a short amount of time afterwards depending on length of study.

  • If study is more than 12 months your visa will be valid for an extra 4 months
  • If study period is 6-12 months your visa will be valid for an extra 2 months.
  • If study period is less Than 6 Months your visa will be valid for an extra 2 months

Working on your visa

You can work while you are on in the UK, but with some restrictions and certain working hours

Bringing Dependants

You can also bring dependants on your visa. This applies to English Language Courses only for on a full scholarship from their country of origin.

When to apply

When you can apply depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.

Applying from outside the UK – The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.

Applying from inside the UK – The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.


  • £348 to apply from outside the UK
  • £475 to extend from inside the UK

You must also pay the visa fee for each person that joins you.

Immigration Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay a healthcare charge https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/pay as part of your application.

How much you pay depends on how long your visa lasts. https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/how-much-pay

You will need a CAS

In order to be eligible for a Student visa, you must satisfy the immigration rules for Student Route Points Based System

You must meet the 70 Points required for the visa.

50 points

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies

That shows you have met the

  • course requirement
  • approved qualification requirement
  • level of study requirement
  • and place of study requirement

10 points

Financial requirement

  • 10 points are awarded for finances. Unless you are from a country that doesn’t exempt you.
  • you must be able to show that you have the required money to cover the costs of your tuition, accommodation and maintenance (living costs)

10 Point

English Language proficiency

  • Students who are not coming from a majority English speaking country and who are entering college to do a degree level study need to provide evidence that they are proficient in English to the level of CEFR B2 and for Pre Sessional Level of English needs to minimum CEFR B1.