What Is the Term Time for Student Visa?

When you come to the UK on a Student visa, you need to know exactly what your rights and responsibilities are in the country to ensure you don’t break any of the rules, as this may cause you to have your visa revoked.

One issue many people face is what they can and can’t do outside of term time. Term time refers to the official vacation periods on a course, but this differs from one educational institute to another, so foreign students studying in the UK should make sure they have their exact term dates before starting working alongside studying or planning to travel.

We’ll look into student visas in more detail in this blog, so foreign students know as much as possible and don’t get caught out.

Applying for a Student Visa

Applying for a Student Visa

Applying for a Student visa in the UK is a lengthy process as you need to first get an offer of a place on a course at an educational institution that is eligible to sponsor you to come to the UK to study. Once you have an offer of a place, you then need to collect documents to demonstrate you have sufficient finances to cover the costs of your course as well as your accommodation and living costs. Sometimes students receive scholarships or sponsorships to study in the UK which cover course fees and sometimes also living costs, so you should provide this documentation when you apply for your visa.

If you are paying for your course and living expenses yourself or have got a loan, you can provide bank statements or letters from the loan company with details of the amount you will receive. There is a 28-day rule in place for UK visas, so any money that you will use for your stay in the UK must be in your account for at least 28 days before you apply for your visa.

Living costs in the UK are currently considered to be:

  • £1,334 per month for courses in London
  • £1,023 per month for courses outside London

While course costs for university students generally range between £10,000 and £25,000 annually, depending on the level of study, and can greatly exceed this.

So studying in the UK is no small expense, but can be worth it for the excellent education you’ll receive. On top of the money you’ll need to show in your account, however, you’ll also have to pay the Student visa application fee of £490 and the IHS (immigration health surcharge) which is calculated according to how long you will be studying in the UK.

New Student Visa Rules

If you bring your immediate family members to the UK with you, they will also have to pay the application fee and the IHS charge. However, you should bear in mind that there are new rules for student visa holders regarding who can bring their family members with them to the UK.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Student Visa?

If you apply for a Student visa from outside the UK, you’ll normally hear back from the Home Office within 3 weeks. This may be longer if you are missing documents, fill out your application incorrectly, or are asked to attend an interview.

When applying from inside the UK to change your visa to a Student visa, you will normally hear back within 8 weeks.

The Home Office reserves the right to refuse your student visa, although they will always send you a letter explaining their decision and informing you of your right to appeal. Normally, they will refuse a student visa if the documentary evidence is insufficient, your English comprehension is insufficient, or you have a previous criminal conviction indicating you may pose a threat to British society.

Working on a Student Visa

Working on a Student Visa

While studying, international students are allowed to work to support themselves while they are in the UK. However, there are restrictions on what jobs they may take on, how many hours they may work, and when they are allowed to work.

Generally, students may not:

  • Be self-employed
  • Own a business
  • Work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • Work as an entertainer unless they are studying a relevant degree and are on a work placement
  • Work as a doctor or dentist in training

Students must also work in fixed-term contracts with an end date to their position.

During term time:

  • Students studying full-time below degree level can work up to 10 hours per week
  • Students studying full-time at degree level and above can work up to 20 hours per week
  • Students can have work placements if they are an essential, assessed part of the course

Outside of term time:

  • Students studying full-time may work full-time

For students over 18, full-time work can be up to 48 hours a week, while those under 18 may not work more than 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day when working full-time.

If you work in positions that are prohibited, or more hours than you should, you are breaching the terms of your visa and may have it revoked and be asked to leave the country.

What Is Term Time for Students?

What Is Term Time for Students?

Term time refers to a student’s specific course dates. A university year is generally from September until June, however, each educational institution has its own specific term dates, some beginning and ending earlier or later. To avoid any confusion with your official term dates, make sure you have an official letter from your educational facility with your exact term dates before you start your course.

During your course, you will also usually have a summer and winter break, with these dates specified by your institution before you start your course. Although you may have no classes to attend for a week or two in autumn and spring, known as ‘reading week’, this time off from classes is for you to concentrate on your coursework, so this is still within term time and you may not start working full-time during those weeks.

When you finish your course or graduate, you’ll usually have at least one month free before your Student visa expires. This is also outside of term time and you may work full-time or travel as you desire.

Travelling on a Student Visa

You can also travel while a student visa holder in the UK, however, your visa doesn’t open up visa-free travel for you; you can only travel to countries that you are permitted entry in with your passport. For example, EU citizens can enter Ireland without visa restrictions, but an international student with a Chinese passport will have to apply for a visa as normal.

However, international students should also be aware that they can only travel outside of term time. If you are trying to enter the country with a UK Student visa, you should have a letter from your educational institution with official term dates to avoid problems at the border. If you need to travel during term time, for example for a family emergency, you should also carry documentary evidence for the reason for your travel to avoid getting held up at the UK border.

Switching from a Student Visa to a Work Visa

Switching from a Student Visa to a Work Visa

Once you have finished your course, you may switch from your Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa, previously known as the Tier 2 visa. However, to get a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • Have a job offer for a position on the list of eligible occupations
  • Have a job offer from an approved UK employer (sponsor)
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer detailing your proposed role
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements

Finding a job that is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa as well as an employer who is happy to sponsor you for your visa can be difficult, so if you intend to apply for this visa, you should begin your job search as early as possible. However, you can apply for a Graduate visa once you have completed your course to give you a further 12-24 months in the UK.

Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions for Visa Help!

If you need help with the UK visa application process, contact the immigration experts at Synergy Immigration Solutions today!

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