The ‘Japa’ season is upon us. Nigerians who intend to study abroad, especially in the UK, are getting their bags ready with lots of delight to relocate. In recent years, the UK has become popular as the preferred destination for higher education for many Nigerians and Africans.
If you’re getting ready to travel, then you definitely need to know what it takes to acquire a key document, the UK student visa. As you continue to read this article, you will learn about the following
- Who can apply?
- When can one apply?
- What are the fees?
- When can you arrive?
- How long can you stay?
Who can apply?
Being an accepted student isn’t the only thing that matters. You must also:
- Have a course sponsored by a licenced student sponsor, which is your university or scholarship institution
- Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances. You must have enough money to pay for your course for one academic year (up to nine months).
You’ll also need to show you have enough money to support yourself—unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application.
How much money you need depends on where you will be studying. You’ll need either:
- £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London.
- For courses outside London, £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months).
- Master English. Basically, you must be able to speak, read, write, and understand the English language.
- Have consent from your parents if you’re 16 or 17—you’ll need evidence of this when you apply
When can you apply?
This depends on whether you are living in or outside the UK. For Nigerians in the UK, the earliest application is 3 months before your course starts. It must also be applied for 28 days before your current visa expires. You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.
For Nigerians outside the UK, you need to start your application process earlier, as you’d need 6 months. You’d also get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
What are the fees?
UK student visas cost £363 (N356,000) for students outside the UK and £490 (N480,000) for students who wish to extend their studies or switch to a student visa inside the UK.
There is also a healthcare surcharge, which you can find out more about here.
When can you arrive?
You can arrive a month before your course starts (if your course is longer than 6 months) or a week before (if your course is shorter than 6 months).
But no matter when your course starts, you MUST NOT travel to the UK before the start date given on the visa. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
How long can you stay?
A pertinent question for students who just finished their studies is, “How long can we stay here?”
Do not worry; you won’t be kicked out (or at least not right away). Everything depends on the length of your course and what studies you’ve already completed in the UK.
If you’re 18 or over and your course is at degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years. If it’s below degree level, you can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.If you want to stay longer than five years, read more about the requirements here.