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Moving from South Africa to study in the UK

If you are a South African Citizen wishing to study in the UK then you will need to apply for a UK Student Visa. Our immigration attorneys will guide you through the application process.

For more information call 0333 305 3612 to speak with one of our attorneys today.


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    What is the UK Student Route?

    The UK Student Route is the new immigration route for students, it recently replaced the Tier 4 Student Visa. This new route is for students from South Africa and other countries including those in the European Economic Area (EEA), who want to move to the UK to study.

    If your application for a Student Visa is accepted by the Home Office, you will be able to move from South Africa to the UK to become a student and can remain there for the duration of your studies. Once you have finished you will need to go back to South Africa. However, if you wish to remain in the UK then you could either apply to extend your student visa if you plan to continue studying or you could choose a different immigration route if you have finished your studies, such as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa or a Skilled Worker Visa.

    As well as living and studying, you are also able to work in the UK on a Student Visa, but this is capped at a maximum of 20 hours per week or 10 hours per week if your course is undergraduate. It’s also important to note that this includes unpaid as well as paid work.

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    Requirements for a UK Student Visa for South Africans?

    To successfully apply for a UK Student Visa as a South African citizen, you must meet several requirements. Some of these requirements include:

    • Having an offer to study on a course from a registered UK educational facility
    • Proving that you are able to financially support yourself and any dependents whilst in the UK
    • Passing an English language test from an approved provider (you may not have to do this if you have a degree that was taught in English)
    • Have consent from your parents if you’re under 18

    To meet these requirements, you will need to submit documents alongside your application to act as evidence. Our immigration attorneys can help you gather anything you may need for your UK visa application and fully explain each of the requirements to you.

    How do I apply for a Student Visa from South Africa?

    If you are applying for a UK Student Visa from South Africa then the earliest you can apply is 6 months before your course starts. If you have left South Africa and are already in the UK then the earliest you can apply is 3 months before the start of your course.

    You must apply online for the Student Visa using the form on the website. As well as submitting the online form you will need to give your biometric information, this is your fingerprints and photograph, to a visa application center in South Africa. This is to prove your identity. There are five centres in South Africa, located in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth. If you cannot make it to any of these centres then you will need to travel to a centre in another country.

    When applying to study in the UK there are several documents you will need, these include:

    • A current passport or other valid travel documentation
    • A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your course provider
    • A copy of your Tuberculosis test results

    Depending on your circumstances, you could also be asked to provide additional documents to these to support you UK study visa application.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration attorneys to learn how to apply for a UK Student Visa. Contact us

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      How much does it cost for a South African citizen to study in the UK?

      The fee for a UK Student Visa as of February 2023 is £363. It’s also important to take into consideration your tuition fees, as you will have to prove that you have the financial means to pay your tuition and support yourself in the UK. Tuition fees for South African students in the UK start at £9,250 but are often higher than this, you should check with your chosen University about the fees you will be required to pay.

      When applying for a UK student visa there are also additional costs that you should take into account, such as the cost of sitting an English language test and Immigration Health Surcharge.

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      How can IAS help?

      Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we’ve helped thousands of students from all around the globe to come to the UK to study. Our attorneys are trained in all aspects of immigration law, which means that they have the knowledge necessary to give your application the best chance of success. The UK Visas and Immigration system can be complex, but we will be there to guide you through your visa application.

      If you choose one of our attorneys to assist you with your Student Visa application, then they will be with you every step of the way. There are just some of the ways that our IAS attorneys can assist you with your application:

      • Helping you to prepare any documents that you will need to submit alongside your application as supporting evidence
      • Assisting you with filling in your application, ensuring it’s completed to a high standard and submitting it to the Home Office on your behalf.
      • Professionally checking your application and any documents you’ve submitted, making sure that they are all accurate
      • Translating and documents you need to submit that aren’t in English
      • Monitoring your application and communication with the UK Home Office on your behalf until you receive a decision from them
      • Offering reliable legal advice about your student visa application as well as being there to answer any questions you may have.

      As well as these services, our attorneys will be able to assist you with any other issues you may have concerning your student visa application. If you’re in the UK then you can meet with one of our attorneys in person to discuss your application, if you can’t make it to one of our offices or if you are applying from within South Africa then you can schedule appointments with our attorneys over the phone or via Skype call.

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        With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

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            By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                You may be able to bring family members with you to the UK when you come to study, this includes your partner or any dependent children, it does not include other family members.

                To be eligible, you must be either:

                • A government-sponsored student starting a course that lasts 6 months or longer
                • Enrolled in a postgraduate course designated as a research programme that lasts 9 months or longer

                Eligible postgraduate programmes include PhDs and other doctoral qualifications or masters programmes with a research component, including a requirement to produce original work.

                International students who do not fit either one of these categories will not be eligible to bring their dependents with them to the UK.

                This restriction will apply for all international students starting courses from 1 January 2024.

                To be able to bring your partner and children you must also pay the same visa fees for them as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge. As well as this you will need to prove that you or your dependents have a certain amount of money available to support them whilst in the UK.

                The amount of money required depends on the area of the UK you will be studying in. As of February 2023, they will need to have £845 a month for up to 9 months available to them if you will be studying in London and £680 a month if you will be studying outside of London.

                To find out more about bringing your family with you, speak to our attorneys on 0333 305 3612.

                You can apply for a Student Visa from South Africa up to 6 months before the beginning of your course, once you have submitted your application you should receive a decision within 3 weeks.

                If you’re applying from inside of the UK, you can apply up to 3 months before your course starts and you should receive a decision within 8 weeks.

                The time it takes for the Home Office to get back to you varies, it may take longer if you’re asked to submit more documents. Our attorneys will communicate regularly with the Home Office to get you your decision as promptly as possible.

                If you have any questions about your application for a student visa UK, contact our team on 0333 305 9375.

                Yes, with a Student visa you’re able to work. However, there are restrictions to the number of hours you’re allowed to work for.

                If the course you’re on is degree level or above then you ‘re allowed to work for a maximum or 20 hours a week. If your course is below degree level, then you’re only able to work for a up to 10 hours a week. These hours include both paid and unpaid work.

                With the Student Visa you’re also allowed to work for the university you attend as a student union sabbatical officer.