UK visas: Guide for Indian students | Top Universities

UK visas: Guide for Indian students

By Keshala Jayawickrama

Updated Updated

Are you an Indian student preparing to study in the UK? Get your student visa questions answered here. 

The UK is home to some of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the world, and it, therefore, is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in the world. 

More than 120,000 Indian students come to the UK to study each year. Want to join them? Here’s what you need to know about getting a visa. 

What type of visa do I need? 

To study in the UK as an adult student, you'll need to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. However, if your course lasts less than six months, you'll require a standard visitor visa. Specifically for English language courses exceeding six months and lasting up to a maximum duration of 11 months, you'll need to apply for a short-term study visa

How much does it cost? 

Applying for a Tier 4 visa from India will cost you £490 (INR 51,346). Additionally, applicants must pay a health surcharge fee, which varies based on the length of stay. 

How long does it take to process? 

UK student visa applications are processed within three weeks (15 working days) of the completed application being lodged. Students can contact VFS, who manage visa application centres for the UK Border Agency in India, on (040) 66305600 (Monday-Friday between 8am to 5pm) to enquire about any delays. 

Applicants can also track their visa application by subscribing to the VFS SMS alert service or utilising their online tracking system. 

Can I work while I study? 

Holders of Tier 4 visas are permitted to work 20 hours a week during term time, and full-time during holidays and semester breaks (Note: For students aged 16 or 17, the maximum is 10 hours per week during term time). Relevant internships or work placements are also permitted, as long as they are marked as part of a degree/course. 

Students on UK student visas have limitations on employment, including a ban on full-time work and claiming public funds. Restrictions also apply to activities like professional sports coaching and self-employment. To work, students need a National Insurance Number and evidence of the right to work in the UK. 

Can I bring my family along? 

Under the new rules which came into effect in 2024, only government-sponsored students starting a course that lasts longer than six months or full-time postgraduate students in programmes lasting nine months or more, such as a PhD or other doctorate, will be allowed to bring their children or partners to the UK. 

If you have a child while in the UK, you must apply for your child’s dependant visa if you wish to travel in and out of the UK with them. For each dependant application, a fee of £490 will be charged along with respective health surcharge fees.  

Can I work after completing my degree? 

Upon successfully completing a degree in the UK, students can apply for a graduate visa, commonly known as a post-study work visa, which allows individuals to remain in the UK for a period of either two years or three years, depending on the programme completed. For example, those completing a PhD, or other doctoral qualifications are eligible for the three-year visa. For further details on working full-time after graduation, you can refer to this article

Any alternative visa options to live and work in the UK? 

Another category of visa that Indian students can consider applying for includes the “India Young Professionals Scheme” visa which allows Indian citizens between 18 and 30 years old to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. 

To apply for this visa, you must enter the India Young Professionals Scheme ballot by declaring your eligibility. Key requirements include being an Indian citizen aged 18 to 30 with the necessary qualifications and £2530 in savings. 

Useful contacts 

British High Commission 
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi-110021 
Telephone: +91 (0) 11 2419 2100 

VFS Office, Delhi 
VFS Global Services Pvt. Ltd. Shivaji Stadium Metro Station,  
Mezzanine Level,  
Baba Kharak Singh Marg,  
Connaught Place New Delhi-110001 

VFS Office, Chandigarh 
VFS Global Services Pvt. Ltd. C-313,  
B-3rd Floor, Elante, Industrial Area Phase 1,  
Chandigarh, India – 160002 

VFS Office, Mumbai 
VFS Global Services Pvt. Ltd. 4th floor,  
Urmi Axis Building, Behind Famous Studio,  
Opp. E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi (West),  
Mumbai – 400 011 

VFS Office, Chennai 
VFS Global Services Pvt. Ltd. 5th Floor,  
Fagun Mansion, Ethiraj Salai,  
Egmore, Chennai - 600008 

VFS Office, Kolkata 
VFS Global Services Pvt. Ltd. 4th Floor,  
Rene Tower, Plot No. AA-I, 1842,  
Rajdanga Main Road, Kasba,  
Landmark: Near Geetanjali Stadium Kolkata, 700107 

This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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