The United Kingdom is home to several of the world’s finest and most prestigious educational institutions. Combined with a fascinating heritage and a diverse modern culture, it is easy to understand why the United Kingdom is a popular destination for Hongkongers studying abroad, leading many citizens of the region to wonder how to get a UK Student visa from Hong Kong.
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The Student Route visa is available to Hongkongers wishing to pursue higher and further education in the UK. The Student Route visa replaces the old Tier 4 General visa and provides a more flexible points-based system and fewer financial checks. It also provides opportunities to work concurrently to and after your chosen course. Therefore it is not unusual for graduates to switch to a graduate visa and find employment in some of the biggest and most innovative companies in the UK.
The following article will help you determine if you are eligible and outline the procedure for a successful student visa application.
Requirements for Getting a UK Student Visa From Hong Kong
- You must be over the age of 16; if not, please consider the Child Student visa.
- You have received an unconditional offer from an educational institution that has been deemed a licensed student sponsor and issued a reference number called a CAS (confirmation of acceptance to study). You will need your CAS number when making an application, and you should make your application within six months of receiving the CAS number or else it will no longer be valid.
- You can show proof of funds to support yourself for the duration of the course – this will vary depending on the course and your circumstances.
- You must read, write, speak and understand English.
- If you happen to be 16 or 17, you must first have permission from your parents and demonstrate this.
Course Requirements for Getting a UK Student Visa from Hong Kong
Which courses will qualify you to obtain a UK Student visa from Hong Kong?
- RQF Level 3,4, or 5 courses are below degree level but involve at least 15 hours per week of organised study.
- RQF levels 6,7, or 8, which are degree levels, either studied in their entirety in the UK or as part of a longer course which will be completed overseas.
- Part-time RQF level 7 courses or above.
- Recognised foundation programmes for postgraduate doctors and dentists.
- English language courses at B2 level or above in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
- A full-time elected position as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
Certain courses are considered ‘sensitive research topics’ and will require an ATAS certificate.
When Should You Apply, and How Much Will It Cost to Process Your Application?
For applications from outside the UK, then you can start your application up to 6 months before the date your course starts, and you should have an answer within 3 weeks. At this present moment, according to the UK Home Office, it will cost £363 to apply from outside the UK (this fee is subject to change and does not include a solicitors fee, so please do contact our immigration lawyers London for the most up-to-date info on fees). You can then enter the UK up to 1 week before the course start date if your course is six months or less, and up to 1 month if the course is longer than six months.
If you are thinking of trying to make an application from inside the UK, in which case you are extending or switching your visa, then your application fee will be £490 (this fee is subject to change, so please do contact us for the latest info on fees).
Can You Work During Your Stay on a Student Visa?
Your visa is solely for study purposes. However, it is understandable that you may need to find some work to complement your life as a student. This should be completely ancillary to your studies, and how much you are allowed to work will be calculated on an ad hoc basis, depending on the nature of your studies.
How Long Can You Stay on a Student Visa, And Is It Possible to Extend Your Stay After the Course?
How long you can stay in the UK on this visa depends on the course you have chosen. However, a general rule is that you can have five years to study a degree-level course and two years for courses below degree level. It is possible to extend the Student visa if you are progressing with your studies and you find a more advanced course. In this scenario, you can apply up to 3 months before the new course starts.
Another prospect for extending your stay in the UK comes by switching to a Graduate visa, which will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 2 years after successfully completing your course and three years if the said course is a PhD. With the Graduate visa, you will be able to work most jobs, look for work, be self-employed and travel in and out of the UK.
Can You Bring Dependants With You on a Student Visa?
If you would like to bring your partner or dependent children with you to the UK, then you should intend to study a postgraduate course RQF level 7 and above. The course should be for nine months or longer. You must be able to prove your partnership and a birth certificate for children who should be under the age of 18. You will also have to show evidence of how your family will support themselves financially.
Knowledge of The English Language
You will have to prove efficiency in the English language, which you can do by either:
- Taking a Secure English language test by an approved test provider. Or,
- Holding an English GCSE or A Level which you studied in an English school before the age of 18.
How Can Our Immigration Lawyers Help?
At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, an experienced and efficient immigration lawyer can consult you on your chances of getting a Student visa, advise you on what you need to apply and eventually complete your application for you in order to ensure you have the greatest chance of receiving the visa and starting your adventure in the United Kingdom.
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.