Now, African Students can Apply for an Extended UK Visa

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On Saturday 16th March 2019, the UK government announced that it
will be extending the period of post-study leave for international student visas, improving visa processes and supporting employment for international students.

The UK Department for Education said ‘post-study leave period will be extended to six months for undergraduate and master’s students, and a year for doctoral students. This means that international students, after completing their courses in the UK universities, will now be given visa extension for up to a year to look for work.

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Currently, students must find a job with a salary of at least £20,800 with an employer with a Tier-2 sponsor licence within four months of completing their course, which most Masters students find difficult to obtain. However, Undergraduate and Masters students will be now given six-month post-study work visa to look for jobs, while PhD students’ post-study visa of one year remains unchanged.

UK currently hosts around 460,000 international higher education students, 30% of whom are African students. This move by the UK government, will raise the number of non-UK students at British universities from 460,000 to 600,000 by 2030.

This is a part of government measures to increase the number of overseas students after Brexit. Brexit, a referendum which was passed by the UK to leave EU in June 2016, is due March 29.

There are still calls for the UK government to go further and extend this opportunity to at least two years. In the meantime, here’s how to get a UK visa.

How to Apply and Study in the UK

Types of UK Student Visa:

  • Short-term study visa: If you’re studying a short course and are over 18 years old, you may apply for the short-term study visa. The Short-term study visa is valid up to six months for most short courses and can be extended to 11 months for English language courses.
  • Tier 4 Visa: If you’re studying a longer course, then, you’ll need a Tier 4 (General) student visa for those aged 16 and over.

What you can and cannot do with the UK Student Visa

You can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • apply from inside or outside the UK
  • apply to extend your stay
  • work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have

You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).

You cannot:

  • get public funds
  • work in certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

How To apply: For most thesis-based programs, you must submit your application before 15 January (18:00 UK time) if possible, (or 15 October 18:00 UK time the year before for Oxford, Cambridge or most medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses).

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. However check the average visa processing times for your country here.

UK student visas are awarded on a points-based system and You need 40 points to apply for a student visa. In order to meet all the UK student visa requirements, you’ll need to provide: 

  • Details of your passport
  • A recent photograph: taken last six months, in color, in the format of 45mm high x 35mm wide.
  • An unconditional offer of a place on a course offered by a licensed Tier 4 Sponsor, evidenced by a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) form from your course provider (worth 30 points)
  • Proof of adequate English language skills, demonstrated by passing one of the secure English language tests (SELT). You will not need to provide this if you’re from an English-speaking country such as the United States or have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in an English-speaking country.
  • If you’re a studying a sensitive subject, you may also need an ATAS certificate
  • Proof you have financial support throughout your stay in the UK (worth 10 points): Tuition fees are on average £12,000 per year but can range from £8,000 to £36,000. You will also need to show that you have £1,265 for each month of your studies (up to a maximum of nine months) to pay for living costs Therefore, if you will be studying for a course lasting nine months or more, the maximum amount that you will need is £11,385. Proof of financial support can take the form of bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor, showing you can cover your tuition fees, accommodation and living costs. You must prove that you have £1,015 (~US$1,300) per month for living costs if studying in the UK outside of London, and £1,265 (~US$1,600) a month for living costs if studying in London.
  • You may also be required to produce documents showing your academic qualifications, and to attend an interview or biometric test, which includes a digital scan of your fingerprints. Depending on your country of origin, you may also be required to have certain medical vaccinations or undertake a tuberculosis test.
  • If you’re 16 or 17 years old and applying for the Tier 4 (General) student visa, you must have written consent from your parents/guardians that you can live and travel independently.

Brexit: what does it mean for you?

If you’re an international student who’s applied/applying to study in the UK, you may be concerned about the recent referendum result, and what it means for you.  Simply take a look at what universities are saying about Brexit – you can find this on all UK university websites.

See more

View Scholarships in the UK for African Students


  • Ifeoma Chuks is a naturally-skilled writer. She has written and contributed to more than 6000 articles all over the internet that have formed solid experiences for particularly aspiring, young people around the globe.

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