As a genuine international student, you will normally have no problem applying for a student visa, provided you can satisfy the following criteria:
- You must have been accepted to study at a UK insitution with the right to act as a student visa sponsor and granted confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
- Your course must be a full-time or part-time PhD (or other postgraduate programme) at Ofqual level 7 or above
- You must possess the necessary English language skills for your course
- You must have sufficient money or PhD funding to pay your fees and cover living costs whilst you are in the UK
Further information about these requirements is given below.
Student visas are available for qualifications at all levels of the UK higher education system, including Bachelors, Masters and PhD programmes.
However, student visas for part-time study are only available to postgraduates. Undergraduate students must study full-time.
In order to study at a UK university you must be able to speak, read, write and understand English at a level sufficient for a higher education degree.
Your university will normally request a score from an academic language test as part of your PhD application. It will then certify this as part of your CAS.
However, if you've already studied a degree-level qualification in an English-language country, you won't usually need to prove your English proficiency using a test.
Money for course fees
You must be able to show that you have enough money to pay for at least the first year of your PhD. This amount will be based on fees stated by your university (as part of your CAS).
Money for living costs
You must be able to show that you have sufficient money for living costs. The minimum requirements are:
- £1,023 per month if your PhD is based outside London
- £1,334 per month if your PhD is based in London
You will need to show that you have sufficient costs to cover you for at least nine months of your PhD. So, if you are studying outside London, you will need access to £9,207. If you’re studying in London, you’ll need £11,385.
The UK Governemnt is currently reviweing the maintenance requirements for students. We will keep this page up-to-date with any new information. You can also sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates straight to your inbox.
Proof that you have sufficient money for your living costs can include:
- Funds in a bank account held by you (or by your parents / legal guardian)
- A student loan granted to you by a government or other state sponsor
- Financial sponsorship or scholarships awarded by your government, the UK Government, your university or a similar body
Other forms of finance, such as personal loan or credit agreements are not normally acceptable. Neither is money you plan to earn from part-time work.
However, if you're from an exempt country, you won't need to prove you meet the financial requirements.