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On 5 October 2020, the new student route replaced Tier 4 of the points-based system.

EEA and Swiss nationals who plan to enter the UK from 1 January 2021 to study on a programme over 6 months, will be required to apply for this visa, if they are not eligible to apply under the EU settlement scheme.

Some notable changes

  • Low risk applicants - nationals from the EU, EEA and Switzerland have been added to the list of ‘low risk’ nationals. Students from these countries are not required to submit evidence to show that they meet the financial requirements or provide their academic qualifications used to obtain an offer of study. The Home Office however retain the right to request sight of these documents.

  • Application timeline - students applying outside the UK, now have up to 6 months to do so prior to the start of their course rather than 3 months.  Applications made in the UK can still only be submitted up to three months before the start date of the course.

  • Switching in-country – greater opportunity for students to switch from another visa category to a student visa from within the UK.  It still does not allow for switching from a visitor or short-term student visa.

  • English language -new ways of satisfying the English language requirement including if the requirement was met in a previous application.  The ‘majority English speaking list’ has been updated to include Malta and Ireland. 

  • Finance - students applying in-country who have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or more on the date of application will satisfy the financial requirements and therefore do not need to submit any financial evidence with their application.

  • Time limit - there is no longer a time limit on study at postgraduate degree level and above.

  • ATAS certificates - Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, join nationals from the UK, EU, EEA and Switzerland who are exempt from obtaining ATAS clearance for postgraduate study in relevant subjects.

  • Definition of a ‘partner’ - has been expanded and now includes a fiancé, or proposed civil partner. The two-year period of cohabitation prior to application will also apply. 

More information about the new student route can be found on GOV.UK


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