Would you like to Study Abroad in United Kingdom or learn English in the cradle of the language? This nation, the most populous of the United Kingdom, offers thousands of study options for foreigners.
We invite you to read this complete and detailed guide to learn more about the subject. We will tell you what it is like to study and live in the UK. The requirements to be accepted in an institution, the procedures you must carry out to travel, the types of visa, and much more.
|Visa Name||Student visa||Standard Visitor Visa||Visa to Study English|
|Validity:||2 to 5 years||6 month||6 month|
|Duration Of The Procedure:||3 weeks||3 weeks||3 weeks|
|Conditions||Valid for people over 16 who wish to study in England for more than 6 months, who have been accepted onto a Government-approved course, and who speak English.|
You can work, but the weekly hours allowed depend on the type of program, the institution where you study, and other factors
|Valid for people whose nationalities require it, who wish to visit England for a maximum period of 6 months. The visa allows visitors to do tourism, short courses or other activities, but it is not possible to work in any paid employment, as a freelancer or as a volunteer.||Valid for people over 16 years of age who wish to study English in England for a period of 6 to 11 months. The visa only allows you to study the language. It does not give you the right to work or participate in any paid activity, nor to study other subjects.|
How to Study Abroad in United Kingdom as a foreigner? What do you need?
The land of Robin Hood, William Shakespeare, and The Beatles has an undeniable history. From medieval castles to towering modern buildings, England seems to have everything an international student would expect to find in a first-world country.
According to the OECD’s Better Living Index, the UK outperforms the organization’s average on environmental quality, safety, satisfaction, jobs and pay, sense of community, and education.
According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the average English student scores 500 points in reading, mathematics, and science, higher than the OECD average (486).
For this reason, it is not surprising that more than 81% of adults in the UK have an upper secondary education degree.
England also boasts several of the world’s most prestigious and renowned universities, including the long-standing University of Oxford, ranked 4th in the 2020 QS World University Rankings, the University of Cambridge (7th), and University College London ( position 8).
As you can see, we are talking about a European nation that offers excellent academic training.
In several of its educational centers, many professionals who have contributed the most to the progress of humanity and society have been trained.
In short, studying in England is one of the best decisions you can make. However, before living this unforgettable experience, you must consider several aspects. One of them, and perhaps the most important, are the types of visas that exist for this purpose.
You should also know that the UK Immigration System was revamped in October 2020. All the information we will provide you in this guide is up to date and shows the most recent process to study in England as a foreigner.
The visas that you can process as an international student in England are:
Aimed at people aged 16 or over who have been accepted into an academic course lasting more than 6 months. The applicant must be able to write, read and speak English.
Standard Visitor Visa.
Aimed at people who wish to study short courses in England for a maximum of 6 months. Not all nationalities need this visa.
Short-Term Student Route.
Aimed at people who want to study English for 6 to 11 months.
As you can see, the type of visa you will need depends mainly on the duration of the course. A student visa is required for higher education studies lasting more than 6 months. On the other hand, the standard visitor visa is only a requirement for some nationalities, such as Ecuador.
England has a wide range of educational institutions offering courses for international students. The best known are:
They are autonomous institutions that confer degrees in a particular branch of study. Most of its courses are modular. That is, the student can choose which study units they are interested in learning. Bachelor’s degrees are typically 3 years.
They are institutes that, in most cases, are associated with a university. Some are independent, while others only offer student services. Although they offer different levels of study, not all can issue degrees.
If you are looking to perfect your English or learn the language from scratch, many attractive possibilities are also waiting for you. More than half a million people travel to the UK to learn English, so… you won’t be alone!
What better way to learn the universal language than in your home country? To fulfill your dream, you must enroll in any accredited English center in England and process your short-term student visa.
Cost of Studying in United Kingdom
Every trip requires planning and even more so for an extended stay. To live and study in England without financial worries, it is best to have a rough idea of the cost of living in the country.
We cannot tell you exactly how much money you will need, but we can guide you and give you approximate figures. You should have at least $2,956 to comfortably live and study in England.
Of course, this amount can be higher or lower depending on many factors, such as your lifestyle, the enrollment at the university where you are going to study, the city where you will live, the salary you will earn at your job, etc.
England isn’t the cheapest nation to live in, ranking 27th on CeoWorld magazine’s list of the world’s most expensive countries. Still, it is also one of the countries that exceed the average annual income of the OECD, with a figure of $43,732 per person per year.
Evaluating the average salary of the population and the cost of living in England, we could say it is worth enrolling in one of their courses. Similarly, it is best to draw accounts and have a clear budget before getting on the plane.
Can you study in England for free?
For many, studying in England is making their way through a world of advantages and opportunities, and they are not wrong.
In addition to closely observing a new culture and meeting people from different parts of the planet, it is a highly enriching experience at an academic and professional level.
All this sounds wonderful, but you must keep your feet on the ground, which leads us to question: How much does it cost to study in England? Is it possible to access free educational programs?
Tuition fees in England are estimated to be between $15,000 and $55,000, with laboratory and medical degrees being the most expensive.
However, to help mitigate some of the expenses, the Government of the United Kingdom offers all kinds of scholarships, financing, and economic support to international students.
Some institutions have their scholarship program, although most apply only for postgraduate studies. In short, studying in England is not free, but at least many programs can help you pay tuition and cover expenses related to your education.
Study at the University in England
There are universities in England with more than 700 years of history, such as the University of Oxford. There is no doubt that this is a country where education, research, and critical thinking play a fundamental role.
Several UK colleges have produced notable and well-known graduates, such as Stephen Hawking, JRR Tolkien, Emma Watson, Oscar Wilde, Isaac Newton, Sacha Baron Cohen, Arianna Huffington, and many more.
The UK has more than 162 higher education institutions, all subject to strict regulations guaranteeing the best teaching, guidance, and resource management.
All universities in England are equipped to offer an environment that promotes independent thinking, self-motivation, and real-world problem-solving.
In addition, a large part of the teaching staff has extensive experience and are specialists in their field.
What are the universities going to ask you?
Although each University is different, and perhaps the difficulty of being admitted is not the same, they generally share a similar admission process.
Here we tell you what the requirements that may be asked of you in an English university are:
- Know English. One of the first factors you must consider to study for a degree in England is knowing English. One of the requirements to process the Student Visa for university programs is to certify your level of English by passing the SELT by an authorized provider.
- Have good marks. The University of your interest will likely ask you for the qualifications of your previous level of studies to verify that you have the necessary aptitudes to perform correctly in the course which you are choosing.
- A written personal statement. To study in England as a foreigner, the University may ask you for a personal statement. In this letter, you must include all the reasons why you want to study in this country and why you consider that you will be successful in the career of your choice. Demonstrating your interest, motivation, and commitment will be crucial points.
- Submit an admission exam. You may have to take an entrance exam for some specific careers, such as medicine or veterinary medicine.
- A valid passport and other documents. As obvious as it may seem, some people forget that to process any visa, they must have a valid passport. In addition to your passport, universities in England will likely ask you to send them other documents, such as your bachelor’s degree or criminal record.
What are they going to ask you in a College?
As we explained earlier, English Colleges are usually associated with a University, but a good number of them are independent.
In the UK, “college” is used for various institutions, from private schools to university colleges.
The most famous are those in Cambridge and Oxford, often called “Oxbridge,” which offer students accommodation, food, library and sports, and social activities.
If the school belongs to a university, it may share the requirements we mentioned before.
Now, if they are independent colleges (such as those that make up the University of London), there may be some specific requirements. For all this, it is best to report directly to the institution that offers the program you are interested in.
What is the process to be accepted?
Starting the process of studying in England and becoming an international student is easier than it seems. There is a non-profit organization called UCAS, which has a platform that manages millions of applications to enter a university program in the UK.
Here we detail step by step what you should do:
- Register on the UCAS portal. Enter the UCAS website, create a username and a password and choose your security questions. It is essential to keep in mind that only 1 request can be registered per cycle.
- Log in and enter the rest of your data. After completing the previous step, you must verify your account by email. You’ll also need to enter additional information, such as any unique medical conditions, criminal history, or disabilities.
- Choose the course that interests you. The UCAS platform allows you to apply for up to 5 different courses. For dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, or veterinary science studies, you can select a maximum of 4 courses. For Oxford or Cambridge university programs, you can only apply to 1 course of either.
- Attach your grade history. As an international student, you must attach your qualifications to your country of residence. Then a series of categories will appear. If your grades do not correspond to any of the sections shown on the web, select the “Others” option. You may need to send some transcripts to the university or college of your interest.
- Work experience. If you have previously worked in paid employment, you will need to enter details about it. You can add up to 5 jobs. Include company names, period of employment, job description, and address.
- Write your statement. If you want an opportunity to explain why you want to study in England, what motivates you and what your aspirations are, this is it. Try to expose your skills, qualities, and virtues. If you are having trouble writing your statement, go here.
- Take a final look at your application. Review all the information you have placed to make corrections or edits if necessary. Upon completion, you accept the terms and conditions to give UCAS permission to send all the information to the university or college you have chosen.
- Get a referral. A reference is a written document where a professor or advisor certifies that they know you academically or professionally. It is like a recommendation, which helps the college or university get to know you better.
- Pay the fee. The fee you must pay to start this process on the UCAS platform is $27 if you apply for a single course or $35 for several courses or requests made after June 30. If the application is made through a school or educational center, they will let you know if you must pay the fee or not and what the amount is. In independent requests, payment is made online by debit/credit card.
- Submit your request. Did you make the payment successfully? Cool! Now you have to send the request and wait for a response.
Important. Although each university and college can decide at different times, there are deadlines to receive a response based on the day you applied:
- Requests were made before January 15. Deadline: May 20.
- Requests made before June 30. Deadline: July 13.
In general, the deadline for a higher education institution to make a decision is in October. The request will be automatically rejected if you do not receive a response after the deadline.
How to Study in UK?
If you want to study in England, keep reading because below, we will discuss the types of visas, their requirements, and the process you must carry out to achieve them.
The Student Visa is a document you must have if you want to study in England for more than 6 months at any higher education institution. Following renovations to the UK Immigration System, the previous Tier 4 student visa has been renamed simply Student Visa.
Do you want to study part-time or full-time in this European country? Then pay attention to the steps you must follow to have your visa within 3 weeks.
What I need?
- Have been accepted in a program or course at a University or University College validated by the Government.
- Demonstrate that you have the necessary financial resources to pay the tuition for the program and support yourself during your stay in England. The amount will depend on the course you are going to study.
- Show that you can read, write and speak English. The equivalent of B2 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) scale is required in degree-level courses or higher. In courses below the Degree, you must achieve the equivalent of B1. Several government-approved institutions conduct tests to test your English proficiency, such as IELTS. For more information about it, we recommend you open this link.
- A Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from the institution where you will study.
- The results of your tuberculosis test (mandatory only for some countries, such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Peru, Panama, and Guatemala). If you are not sure if your nationality requires the tuberculosis test or not, enter here.
- Current passport or other valid travel documentation.
- $471 to pay the filing fee.
If you are under 18:
- Submit proof of consent from your parents or legal guardians to travel and study in England. This proof must specify that they approve your visa application, residence, and maintenance during your stay in England.
- Proof of your relationship to your parent or legal guardian (birth certificate).
- Check that the Student Visa is the one indicated for your trip. Before starting the entire process, the most prudent thing is to ensure that the Student Visa is the one indicated for your situation. Remember that this visa is aimed at young people over 16 years of age who have been accepted into a higher education program in the United Kingdom.
- Gather all the documents you will need. At this point, you should already have verified the list of documents that you must present, such as your passport, CAS, economic solvency test, ATAS, tuberculosis test, etc. To learn more about it, click here.
- Check what you can take with you to England. It would be a pity that after having all the preparations ready, you discover that there is something that you cannot take with you. For this reason, we recommend that you verify what you can carry in your hand luggage, how much cash you can have, and how is the process of taking your pet, among other details. You can open this link to get more information.
- Check what you need to show the English authorities on arrival. On the United Kingdom Immigration System website, there is information about the process and the specific documents you will be asked for when you arrive in English territory by air or by land. Take a moment to review them, so you don’t get in trouble with the English authorities.
- Start the process on the UK Immigration System website. Very well. Now that you have verified that you have everything you will need, you can start with the process. First, enter the portal www.gov.uk and enter your country of residence. Then, specify the type of visa you are applying for (student) and the country where you will do your biometric registration (facial photos and fingerprints). Later, you must enter your email, create a password, pay the fee, and add information about your studies in England, among other data. The platform will tell you to step by step what you should do, so there is no room for confusion.
- Wait for the reply. You should receive a response from the UK Immigration System within 3 weeks. If you need to speed up the process, you can ask if the visa center in your country offers faster responses by paying an additional fee. Remember that the earliest you can apply for this visa is 6 months before the start of the course. Remember that depending on your profile (for example, if you have a criminal record) or decide to change any information in your application, the response time can be extended by more than 3 weeks.
- Approved visa? Pack your things! If your application for a Student Visa has been approved, you are already very close to reaching your goal. You will have a sticker in your passport specifying what type of visa you have been granted, its validity period (issue and expiration date), conditions, etc. To learn more, go to this link.
Can you study and work?
Yes, but some conditions apply. The number of hours per week you can work depends on what you are studying and whether you do it during the study term or outside it. You can work as a student union sabbatical officer, but not in some specific jobs (such as sports coach).
Also, when your visa to study in England is approved, the authorities will explain in more detail what you can and cannot do.
Standard Visitor Visa
Do you want to study a short course in the UK for less than 6 months? Then you have found the visa that corresponds to you.
The Standard Visitor Visa is a document that allows you to stay in England for a maximum of 6 months, participate in different activities, or visit the country as a tourist.
An important point to know about this visa is that it is not a requirement for all nationalities. In other words, if your country is exempt, you would not have to apply for a visa to study a short course in England.
For example, citizens of Ecuador and Bolivia must process the Standard Visitor Visa if they want to enter the United Kingdom for a period that does not exceed 6 months.
To find out whether or not you require this document, click here.
What I need?
- Valid passport or travel document, with at least one blank page, valid throughout your stay in England.
- Documents certifying that you do not plan to stay in England for more than 6 months, the date of arrival, and where you will stay.
- Your address and how long you have lived there.
- If you have a family member in the UK, their name, address, and passport number.
- The approximate budget of the expenses for your trip.
- Your parents’ name and date of birth (if you know them).
- Document showing how much you earn per year (if you work). You may also be asked for your employer’s address and phone number if you have a job.
- Provide information about any criminal, civil, or immigration offenses you have committed in the past.
- $125 to pay for the visa.
Likely, you will also be asked for specific documents depending on the reason for your visit to England.
If you want to know more, open the following link and see the complete guide from the UK Immigration System.
- Enter the UK Immigration System platform to apply as a foreigner. The first step is to process your Standard Visitor Visa. If your nationality requires it, enter the following platform: www.gov.uk. Once there, you must enter your country of residence, enter your email, create a password and start attaching all the documents mentioned above. In the end, you must pay the processing fee ($125) and review the additional measures shown on the portal.
- Wait for the decision. You will receive a response in a maximum of 3 weeks by means of a letter or email. In some countries, it is possible to pay an additional fee to speed up this process.
- Travel to England! Was your Standard Visitor Visa approved? Magnificent! Now you can buy your plane ticket and prepare everything to visit this historic European country.
Can you work?
No, it is impossible to be self-employed or in paid employment on a Standard Visitor Visa in England. Remember that if you breach the conditions of your visa, you may be banned from entering the UK permanently.
In which universities can I study in England?
Throughout the article, we have emphasized how well-known many of the universities in England are. Every year, at least 15 UK higher education institutions make it into the top 100 of the world’s best universities.
Some of the most iconic are:
- Oxford University
- University of Cambridge
- Imperial College London
- University College of London
- University of Manchester
- King’s College London
- University of Bristol
- University of Warwick
- University of Durham
- University of Sheffield
The most sought after public universities in England
- London School of Economics
- King’s College London
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- University College London
- University of Exeter
- University of Leicester
- Royal Holloway University of London
- Queen Mary University of London
- Loughborough University
- University of Warwick
- University of Southampton
- University of Newcastle
- University of Manchester
- University of Reading
- University of Leeds
- University of Durham
- University of Sussex
- Imperial College London
- University of Lancaster
- University of Cardiff
- University of Bristol
- University of Birmingham
- University of York
- Private universities with the best international agreements
- University of Bath
- University of Sheffield
- University of Nottingham
- University of Liverpool
Visa to Study English (Short-term student route)
Unlike other countries, England has a visa to study its language. If you want to learn English to be bilingual and master two of the most widely spoken languages in the world, England opens its doors for you.
The short-term student route or “short-term study visa” is a procedure that all foreigners over 16 years of age must complete if they want to take an English course in the United Kingdom for more than 6 months and less than 11 months.
Are we describing your situation? Then pay attention to the requirements and application process.
What I need?
- Valid passport or other travel documents with at least one blank page for the visa sticker.
- Check that you have been accepted to a government-approved English course, which lasts less than 11 months and does not include the study of other subjects.
- Documents prove that you can support yourself financially during your stay in England (bank account statements from the last 6 months, for example).
- Information about your trip, such as where you plan to stay and your plans in general. Not paying for hotels or booking flights is recommended until you have the Visa.
- Documents certify that you have paid the tuition for the course you will study or that you have enough money to do so.
- A certified translator to help you convert your documents from Spanish to English.
- The results of your tuberculosis test, in case you belong to one of the countries that require it.
- $250 to pay for the procedure.
- Access the UK Immigration System portal. If you don’t know it, you can click here. You will see that the first step is to select the type of Visa you need. Select the option that says “Short-term student visa.”
- Select your country of residence for Biometric registration. Put the country where you are to find the visa centers available to register a photograph of your face and your fingerprints.
- Start the registration on the platform. Once you have read the conditions of the Visa, what it allows you to do, and to whom it is directed, it is time to enter your information on the platform. The first thing is the email and a password, followed by the relevant documents and the fee payment ($250).
- Wait for the response from the authorities. This process usually takes about 3 weeks. If you need a quick response because the course of your interest is about to start, you can request an advance by paying an additional fee.
- Learn English in your home country! If your visa application has been approved, you are ready to pack your bags and learn English in England. Congratulations!
Can you work?
No, the Visa to study English in England does not allow you to work. You may not engage in any work activity, from paid employment to independent business or internship, without pay.
Where can I study English in England?
Ultimately, studying English in England is the best way to learn the language. There are many reasons why some 500,000 foreigners travel to the UK each year to study the English language in their homeland.
When traveling to the island of Great Britain, you will have at your disposal more than 500 language schools. Is there a way to simplify the UK’s search for an English course? Yes! And it’s called English UK.
English UK is an online platform where you can find the perfect course for you. You can select the type of course, region, study modality, duration, and age range of the participants, among other factors. If it has caught your attention, click here and find your English course.
Although all the language centers and academies in English UK are members of Accreditation UK, some institutions do not appear on this website. Some of the most popular are:
- Express English College
- British Study Center
- Nacel English School
- Twin School
What are language institutes or academies going to ask you?
Each language institute or academy in England has its policy for admitting international students. Generally, the requirements are:
- Take a test or exam to find out your level of English and thus determine which course is right for you.
- Pay the tuition for the course. The prices for studying English in England depend on several aspects, such as the duration of the course, the institution, the location, the type of program, if it includes accommodation and meals, etc. An intensive course that includes meals and lodging can cost as little as $990.
- Process the corresponding visa (short-term study visa).
What is the process to be accepted?
The admission process, in this case, also depends on several factors. One of the points you must take into account is the type you are opting for, as there are many options depending on the reason you have to learn English.
A junior summer English course may have a different admission process than an intensive or business and executive course. Generally, after making your application through the English UK portal or the official page of the academy, you will receive an answer by email within a few weeks.
You should also consider the number of people applying for the same course as you since most of these programs admit between 15 and 39 students.
Scholarships and Grants to Study in UK
Aspiring for a better future should not be an impossible dream for people with economic difficulties. In the UK, education, and opportunity are not socially or racially biased.
This nation offers numerous scholarships, grants, financing, and loan programs for international students, with different academic and professional objectives.
Among the most famous we have:
- Chevening Scholarships. Global scholarship program of the British Government aimed at outstanding students who want to study for a postgraduate degree in the United Kingdom.
- Rowan Williams Cambridge Studentship. Program established by the Cambridge Trust to support the most vulnerable people who wish to study at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship covers all tuition and maintenance of the student.
- GatesCambridge. The Gates Cambridge Scholarships were created in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Aimed at outstanding students from anywhere in the world who want to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge.
- Denys Holland Scholarship. Program that offers scholarships to undergraduate students from any country who, without this support, would not be able to study at University College London due to lack of resources. The scholarship offers about $12,000 a year.
Click here for more information on scholarships, financing, and subsidies to study in England.
Study and Work in UK
Have you been accepted to a course in UK? Did you process your visa, and has the application been approved? In that case, nothing is stopping you from working in this multicultural country.
Of course, you have to comply with the Student Visa conditions and the British Government’s regulations.
As you can see a few paragraphs ago, the only visa that allows you to study and work in England is the Student Visa, but it does not end there. You must also consider the University’s restrictions, if applicable.
One of the factors that most influences the type of job you can get and the hours you are allowed to work are the type of academic program you are going to study in England.
Generally, when your Student Visa is approved, the printed label specifies how many hours a week you can work. The periods can range from 10 to 20 hours per week during the academic period.
Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in England?
Suppose you are considering staying in England to work again. In that case, the European country offers you many options to gain work experience in a job, start your own business or carry out academic research.
Whatever the case, you will probably need to apply for an additional visa to work in England. The good news is that from the summer of 2021, international students who have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s program will be able to enjoy 2 years of UK work experience.