The basics
THE UK: Visa Guides

Pakistani students applying for a UK student visa

Practical advice for Pakistani students travelling to the UK


Thousands of Pakistani students study abroad every year and a higher educaiton in the UK is a dream for many of these students. Before you can begin your studies in the UK, here are some essential things you need to know about getting your visa.


In order for a Pakistani national to study in the UK they will first need to obtain a student visa. While it is always possible to apply for a visa with a pen and paper, the process is far more efficient when done online. If you are interested in applying for a student visa online, you will need to visit Before you apply, please make sure that the education institute that you are using is genuine and legitimate, and that you tell the truth throughout your application process.


What kind of visas can you apply for?


There are two main types of visas that a Pakistani student can apply for if they want to undertake education in the United Kingdom. If you want to study in the UK for sixth months or less, then you can apply for a short term student visa. It is possible to extend this visa to up to 11 months, but only if you intend to join an English language course.


When people choose to study in the UK they tend to pick a longer term visa which allows you to study for a period longer than sixth months. This is known as a Tier 4 visa. 


Are you eligible for a student visa?


You may only apply for a Tier 4 visa if you are over the age of 16, have been offered a place on a course, have passed an English language test, and have made sure that you have enough money to support your life abroad.


When you apply for a course, ensure that it is full-time and leads to a qualification that is at least level 6 on the National Qualifications Framework (NFQ Level 6 and above include university, masters and PhD courses). It is unlikely you will be permitted a Tier 4 visa if you are applying for a foundation degree or lower unless you are also doing 15 hours of organised daytime study a week on top of your full-time education.


If you are a postgraduate student who wants to do a sponsored foundation programme in the UK, you must have either: already completed a medicine or dentistry degree in the UK, received a Tier 4 sponsored degree from study in the UK, or spent one of your years of study in the UK prior to applying.


If you are eligible for a Tier 4 visa, your education provider will send you a reference code - otherwise referred to as a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) - which must be entered onto your visa application.     




If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa then you must make sure that you are financially secure. The cost of travel, accommodation and university fees can be extremely high; as always ensure that you have enough money to support yourself. It is likely that you will also be required to pay an additional £150 per month in order to use the NHS when you are in the UK. On top of this you will have to pay for a visa application fee which can cost up to £330.


When should I apply?


It is extremely important to apply well before you intend to begin your course. In a lot of cases, students will apply for a visa too close to the start of term and do not successfully complete their application in time. Applying for a student visa will require you to attend interviews, take English tests and produce documents that provide evidence of sufficient finances or qualifications.


It can take up to three weeks for UK immigration to make a decision on your visa, but it is generally advised that you should submit your application up to three months before you intend to start your course.




Once you have ensured that you will be eligible for a Tier 4 student visa it is time to begin your online application formHowever, to complete the process you must book and attend an appointment at one of the visa application centres in Karachi, Lahore, Mirpur or Islamabad. Please note that walk in applicants are no longer accepted at the visa application centres; you are always required to book an appointment prior to submission.


Once you have sent off your application and are waiting for your appointment it is important to remember that it cannot be altered. What you have sent off is what will be considered for review.


When you arrive at the application centre there are a few things that you need to remember. Make sure you have your passport, a second form of identification and the appointment letter; if you do not have all of these items on you, you will be turned away. If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa then you may be required to attend a short interview to submit your biometric information. The interview will be fairly straightforward and you can expect to be asked questions like: What are your reasons for coming for the UK? What do you intend to study? Where to you intend to study? Your interview will be considered by a clearance officer and with the aid of your application and supporting documents, they will decide whether your application has been successful.


Finally, you will need to provide both a digital finger scan and a digital photograph. Biometric information such as this is vitally important and your application cannot be completed without it. However, it all goes well, you will eventually be able to collect your documents in person from the application centre. 


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About Author

Armani is a final year English Literature and Creative Writing student at Newcastle University with a passion for writing. A few of Armani's main interests include politics, reading, football and Chelsea FC.


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