The new Student Route
According to new UK Government rules, the Tier 4 route for international students has been replaced with a new 'Student Route' based on a points-based immigration system from the 5 October 2020. The new Student Route applies to non-EEA nationals with immediate effect and will also be applicable to EEA nationals from 1 January 2021.
Any student currently with Tier 4 leave remains in the UK legally and their visa will not change.
Main changes to the Student Route
Many things about the new route will be the same as Tier 4, but there are a few key changes:
- You will now be able to apply up to 6 months before the course start date
If you are applying from outside the UK, you can now apply up to 6 months before the start of your course, rather than 3 months under Tier 4
- No time limits for postgraduate courses
For postgraduate level study, the time limit for study has been removed (undergraduate study time limits still apply)
- Financial requirements
If you or your dependant have been living in the UK for 12 months or more at the time of your visa extension application in the UK, you will satisfy the Student Route financial requirements. This means that you will not need to submit any financial evidence with your application
- Increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge
For students this has increased from £300 per year to £470 per year
- Increase in living cost requirement from 1 December 2020
You will need to show £1,334 per month up to a maximum of 9 months (£12,006) to cover your living costs for your visa application.
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