After you find out about your acceptance offer, there is one more thing you need to apply for to get a concrete decision before booking your flight- getting a UK student visa to be able to stay there legally for the time period of your course. Applying for UK visa can seem a little daunting in the beginning but we have made this task easier for you by compiling this comprehensive step-by-step guide for applying for a UK student visa from Pakistan. Let’s take a look at the requirements for a Pakistani student to obtain a UK study visa so you can collect all the documents and financial support in time.
Why study in the UK?
Studying in the UK education system is a dream for a lot of Pakistani students who are passionate about their subject of study and want to explore a new place while pursuing their passions. The UK offers an education degree that is recognised and respected worldwide so it will be a huge boost for your careers as employers are seeking graduates who have studied in reputable universities. If you are a Pakistani student who wants to have an innovative learning experience, the UK is the perfect destination for your dream to study abroad. Apart from this, UK universities are also investing in cutting edge research that is at the forefront of global scientific research. Students with new ideas and a fresh approach towards learning would definitely love studying in the UK.
UK student visa requirements for Pakistani students
Most Pakistani students are not aware of the exact requirements for the visa process and this can cause blunders that result in an unsuccessful visa application. Pakistani education agents for UK study visa applications can prove helpful in this scenario. Our mentors are extremely helpful and efficient in this process- book a session with them now to discuss your visa application. Here’s a summary of all kinds of requirements, timelines and tips for successfully applying for a UK study visa from Pakistan.
Deadlines and Timelines for Applying for a Study Visa for the UK from Pakistan
The earliest you can apply for a UK student visa is six months prior to the starting date of your degree or course. Usually, people apply three months before the start date of the course. You can get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You have to apply for this visa online on the UK government website. If this process is done through an education agent, you won’t have to worry about missing the deadlines. Remember that your visa application date is the day you pay for the visa processing fee. The visa processing fee for each type of UK student visa is as follows:
- Tier 4 (General) Study visa: £363
- Short term study visa: £186
- Student visitor visa: £100
English language proficiency requirements for Pakistani students
For Pakistani students applying for a UK student visa, there are some English language requirements that they need to fulfill depending on the type of study program they have applied for. You are only exempt from this requirement if you are a citizen of Canada or you proved your English language skills in a previous UK visa. The standards for these levels of English are defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale and according to this scale, this is what you require for different types of study programs:
- Degree level or above: CEFR level B2 or equivalent
- Below degree level: CEFR level B1
You have to take an English proficiency test from a recognised test provider or by having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5.
Supporting documents required for a UK study visa application
The documents needed for a Pakistani student to apply for a UK study visa are as follows:
- A valid passport
- A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the education institute where you got accepted
- Financial documents to prove that you can support your tuition fee and living expenses while you are living in the UK
- You can provide proof of funds through financial sponsorship, government sponsorship, grant, student loan documents or your own money
- For living in London, you will be required to show enough funds to survive for 9 months (each month’s expenses being £1,334) and for living outside UK, you will be required to show 9 months funds with each month’s expenses being £1,023
- If you are under 18, you will require written permission from both parents or guardian as well as a proof of your relationship to them
- ATAS certificate is also required if you are studying a sensitive scientific subject (this is for master’s degrees and above)
- You will also be needing a tuberculosis test result if you have been to certain countries recently
- Written consent from your financial sponsor if they supported your education and living costs in the last 12 months
The Importance of a Strong Personal Statement in Applying for a Study Visa for the UK
Your Statement of Purpose (SOP) or the personal statement you have written for your university application will be important to the admissions committee as it shows your authenticity about your commitment to study. In order to receive the visa, you need a strong yes from the university. Your personal statement is the way you will be showing your communication skills and talking to the admissions committee about your intention to study so it has to be really strong to impress them.
The Role of Letters of Recommendation in Applying for a Study Visa for the UK
Your letters of recommendation are another way of showing your dedication to your education and career to the admissions committee. The approval of the admission committee is important to get a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) which is improving for the UK student visa approval.
Health insurance and other requirements for Pakistani students in the UK
You will also be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge in order to access the services of the NHS (National Health Service) which is the world class, safe and modern public healthcare system in the UK. When you have this, you will not need any private healthcare for your medical needs during the course of your studies. It costs £470 per year so you have to prepare these expenses too if you are planning to apply for the visa.
Besides health insurance, you should also consider getting travel insurance to secure your belongings and be ready in case of airline failure. This way you can save money if there is any disruption in your flight schedule.
Common challenges faced by Pakistani students during the UK visa application process
Most of the UK student visa refusals happen due to the following reasons. Make sure you do not do any of these things so that your visa documentation is complete:
- Submission of photocopies of documents instead of the original documents
- Missing some of the documents from the requirements list (most students also forget the ATAS certificate because it is not a requirement for every course)
- Unsuccessful visa interview
- When showing proof of funds, it is important to keep the funds in the bank account for 28 days in the statement. The documents also need to be in the correct format so that you can fulfil the financial requirements for Pakistani students applying for a UK study visa
- Bank letter or statement should be issued within 31 days prior to the visa application date
- Not having sufficient funds in your bank account (below the minimum requirement)
- Failure to respond to the Home Office’s calls and emails
- Instead of a parental statement, some students show the financial documents of their relative
Preparing for departure: What Pakistani students need to know before leaving for the UK
Before leaving for the UK, you need to book an accommodation for yourself that is affordable. Choosing the right student accommodation in the UK as a Pakistani student requires some research as you can choose between an on-campus accommodation or a separate apartment that could be shared as well. Another important thing to do is to set up a basic bank account because it will be required to pay your utility bills. You should double check whether you have the following documents packed with you on your flight:
- Your passport
- Your ID photos
- Academic CV and letters of recommendation
- CAS letter (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)
- University admission documents
- Proof of funds in the form of bank statements
- Details of your bank account
- Contract of your accommodation
When you arrive, you will need to get your BRP (biometric residence permit) if you don’t have a digital immigration status). If you are planning to work part time, you will be needing a National Insurance Number. You can work up to 20 hours per week with your UK student visa. Living expenses vary from city to city but you should chalk out a budget for a month at least so that you are not baffled when you land.