After receiving several requests from Latin American students to study English in England, we have decided to write a small guideline to show you how the study visa landscape looks like today. And it is that only during the previous year two major changes were made in the conditions of these educational visas, so it is normal that there is some confusion.
Well, here we go.
First, let’s meet the protagonists of the movie. The Immigration Office (UK Border Agency) establishes three types of visas applicable to the study:
- Student Visitor Visa (SVV)
- Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV)
- General Student Visa, or also Tier 4 (GSV)
A few strokes on each type of visa
The Student Visitor Visa (SVV) is the ideal study visa for those students who wish to attend short courses in the United Kingdom and do not want to work. This visa allows us to study up to a maximum of 6 months, and is the cheapest of the three, with a cost of £ 76. If you are interested in getting a spouse visa you can get it on VISA COACH.
One of the drawbacks it has is that, once we are under this visa, we cannot change it to Tier 4 from the same country, nor extend it. To do so, we must leave the United Kingdom and apply again from our country of residence.
The Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV) is exactly the same as the previous one, with the only difference being the study period (11 months vs. 6 months) and the cost, of £ 140.
The General Student Visa (GSV), with a cost of £ 255, allows us to study up to a maximum of 12 months, and until very recently it had a big difference with respect to the SVV and ESVV, and that allowed them to work up to 10 hours at the week to students of English as a foreign language. As of the last legislative change, students of English as a foreign language in an English school in the United Kingdom can not work.
Many English schools have opposed this change, as this decision detracts a lot of interest from non-European students to come to learn English to England, as many of them could afford part of their studies with these works.
Which Latin American countries need to apply for a study visa before leaving the country?
Citizens of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela must apply for the Student Visitor Visa (SVV) before leaving the country.
Citizens of other Latin American countries may not require a previous visa if they are going to study for a period of less than 6 months, but it may be convenient to take it out to save time when it comes to the United Kingdom.
Citizens of all Latin American countries must apply for a visa if they want to study for a period longer than 6 months in England. In this case, they would apply for the Extended Student Visa (ESVV) or Tier 4 (GSV).
Documentation and procedure
Student Visitor Visa (SVV) and Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV)
Whether you apply for a visa before going to the United Kingdom or if you travel without it (and you are not a citizen of the European Union), you must provide certain documents to enter the United Kingdom.
Although in the case of the Student Visitor Visa (SVV) and Extended Visitor Visa (ESVV) a list of mandatory documents is not specified, in the United Kingdom Immigration Office they advise to provide information about you, your finances and employment, accommodation in the United Kingdom , travel data and reasons why you visit the country, and advise a list of possible documents ( Page 1-2 (Information about you; Finances and Employment), Page 4-5 (Student Visitor) ). Do not contribute all, do not worry. Only as many as you can.
If you have hired your English course with us, we will send you the original letters of the school where you want to study, confirming your course, payment details and accommodation in England. This document is very important to obtain the study visa.
Once we have everything, we must send the visa application online , although we can see an example of what they will ask us in the VAF1D form . We can find a help file in document VAF1A-1K .
Then, no later than 60 days after submitting the application, we must witness an official visa center to take our biometric data (fingerprints and face photo), unless we are exempt.
General Student Visa (GSV, Tier 4)
If we are interested in applying for the General Student Visa (GSV), you will first have to send us a document proving that you have at least a level of B1 CEFR English or equivalent . We (or the language agency you hire) will send this document to the school, which will provide us with the CAS number (Certificate of Acceptance of Studies), necessary to obtain 30 of the 40 points necessary to grant us the Tier Four.
The remaining 10 points will come from the hand of the financial report, which must prove that we have enough money to keep us during our stay in England. The Immigration Office estimates “enough” £ 600 / month for study of English in cities other than London, and £ 800 / month for study of English in London. This money must be in the bank account for at least 28 days.
Once we have the CAS number, we must apply online, although we can see an example of the data that will be requested in the VAF9 and VAF Appendix 8.1 form , with a help document for the VAF9 .
One of the differences between Tier 4 (GSV) and the Student Visitor Visa (SVV) is that the holder of Tier 4 must register with the police once they arrive in the United Kingdom, according to paragraph 326 of the Immigration Laws.
We also remind you that since the last modification of Tier 4 on July 4, 2011, students taking an English as a second language course CAN NOT work. We will see if the appeals by the English schools come to fruition and, again, allow these students to work, making England again a very interesting English study destination for Latin American citizens and other countries outside of the European Union.