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Study in UK

Would you like to study in the UK or learn English in the cradle of the language? This nation, the most populous in the United Kingdom, offers thousands of study options for foreigners. To learn more about the subject, we invite you to read this complete and detailed guide where we tell you what it is like to study and live in the UK, the requirements to be accepted in an institution, the procedures you must carry out to travel, the types of visa and much more. further.

How to study in the UK as a foreigner? What do you need?

The land of Robin Hood, William Shakespeare and The Beatles has an indisputable history. From medieval castles to imposing modern buildings, the UK seems to have everything a foreign student would expect to find in a first world country. According to the OECD’s Better Life Index , the UK outperforms the organization in terms of environmental quality, safety, satisfaction, employment and pay, sense of community and, of course, education. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) , the average English student scores 500 points in reading, mathematics and science, higher than the OECD average (486). For this reason, it is not surprising to find that over 81% of adults in the UK have an upper secondary degree.

The UK is also home to several of the world’s most prestigious and renowned universities , including the long-lived University of Oxford, ranked 4th in the 2020 QS World University Rankings , the University of Cambridge (7th) and University College London ( position 8). As you can see, we are talking about a European nation that offers excellent academic training. In several of its educational centers, many of the professionals who have contributed the most to the progress of humanity and society in general have been trained. In short, studying in United Kingdom is one of the best decisions you can make.

However, before living this unforgettable experience, you should consider several aspects. One of them and perhaps the most important are the types of visas that exist for this purpose. You should also know that the UK Immigration System has been revamped in October 2020.

All the information that we will provide you in this guide is updated and shows the most recent process to study in the UK as a foreigner. The visas that you can process as an international student in the UK are:

  • Student visa. Aimed at people aged 16 or over who have been accepted in an academic course that lasts more than 6 months. The applicant must be able to write, read and speak English.
  • Standard Visitor Visa. Aimed at people who want to study short courses in United Kingdom for a maximum of 6 months. Not all nationalities need this visa.
  • Short Term Student Route. Aimed at people who want to study English for a period of 6 to 11 months.

As you can see, the type of visa you will need depends mainly on the duration of the course. For higher education studies lasting more than 6 months, a student visa is mandatory. On the other hand, the standard visitor visa is only a requirement for some nationalities, such as the Ecuadorian. The UK has a wide range of educational institutions where courses are given for foreign students. The best known are:

  • Universities. They are autonomous institutions that confer degrees in a particular field of study. Most of its courses are modular, that is, the student has the option of choosing which study units they are interested in learning. Bachelor’s degrees are generally 3 years.
  • University Colleges. They are institutes that, in most cases, are associated with a university. Some are independent, while others only offer student services. Although they offer different levels of study, not all of them can issue bachelor’s degrees.

If you are looking to perfect your English or learn the language from scratch , there are also many attractive possibilities waiting for you. Over half a million people travel to the UK to learn English, so… you won’t be alone! What better way to learn the universal language than in your home country? To fulfill your dream, you simply have to enroll in any of the accredited English centers in the UK, and process your short-term student visa.

How much does it cost to live in UK?

Shared room
in the capital


Shared room
in another city


2 bedroom apartment
in the capital


2 bedroom apartment
in another city


Bus or Metro ticket

$3 / $7

Movie Ticket


A beer in a bar


A beer in the supermarket


Typical Street Food


Meal in a Restaurant


Medical consultation


Phone plans

$8 / $14

Average Cost of Living per Month

USD $2,956

Every trip requires planning and even more so when it is a long stay. In order to live and study in the UK without financial worries, it is best to have an approximate idea of the cost of living in the country. It is obvious that we cannot tell you exactly how much money you will need, but we can guide you and give you approximate figures. On average, you should have at least $2,956 to live and study in the UK comfortably. Of course, this amount may be higher or lower depending on many factors, such as your lifestyle, the tuition of the university where you are going to study, the city where you will live, the salary you will earn at your job, etc.

UK isn’t exactly the cheapest nation to live in, ranking 27th on CeoWorld magazine’s list of the world’s most expensive countries . Even so, it is also one of the countries that exceeds the average annual earnings of the OECD, with a figure of $43,732 dollars per person per year. Evaluating the average salary of the population and the cost of living in the UK, we could say that it is worth enrolling in one of their courses. In the same way, it is best to take accounts and have a clear budget before getting on the plane.

Can you study in the UK for free?

For many, studying in the UK is opening your way through a world of advantages and opportunities, and they are not wrong. In addition to observing a new culture up close and meeting people from different parts of the planet, it is a highly enriching experience at an academic and professional level.

All this sounds wonderful, but you have to keep your feet on the ground, which leads us to ask ourselves: How much does it cost to study in the UK? Is it possible to access free educational programs? Tuition fees in the UK are estimated to be between $15,000 and $55,000 , with laboratory and medical degrees being the most expensive.

However, to help mitigate expenses a bit, the UK Government offers all kinds of scholarships, financing and financial support to foreign students.

There are also institutions that have their own scholarship program, although most apply only for postgraduate studies. In short, studying in the UK is not free, but at least there are many programs that can help you pay tuition and cover expenses related to your education.

Study at University in the UK

There are universities in the UK that have more than 700 years of history, such as the aforementioned University of Oxford. There is no doubt that it is a country where education, research and critical thinking play a fundamental role. Several of the UK’s colleges have produced notable and renowned graduates such as Stephen Hawking, JRR Tolkien, Emma Watson, Oscar Wilde, Isaac Newton, Sacha Baron Cohen, Arianna Huffington, and many more. The UK has over 162 higher education institutions , all subject to strict regulations that ensure the best teaching, guidance and resource management. All universities in the UK are equipped to offer an environment that promotes independent thinking, self-motivation and real world problem solving. In addition, a large part of the faculty has extensive experience and are specialists in their field.

Requirements to Apply for the University in the UK as an international student

Although each University is different and perhaps the difficulty to be admitted is not the same, they generally share a similar admission process. Here we tell you what are the requirements that you may be asked for in an English university:

  • Know English. One of the first factors that you must take into account to study a degree in the UK is knowing English. In fact, one of the requirements to be able to process the Student Visa for university programs is to certify your level of English by passing the SELT by an authorized provider.
  • Have good marks. It is likely that the University of your interest will ask you for the qualifications of your previous level of studies, to verify that you have the necessary skills to perform correctly in the course you are applying for.
  • A written personal statement. To study in the UK as a foreigner, the university may ask you for a personal statement. In this letter you must include all the reasons why you want to study in this country and why you think you will be successful in the career of your choice. Demonstrating your interest, motivation and commitment will be crucial points.
  • Take an admission test. For some specific careers such as medicine or veterinary medicine, you may have to take an admission exam.
  • Valid passport and other documents. As obvious as it may seem, some people forget that, in order to process any visa, they need to have a valid passport. In addition to your passport, universities in the UK will probably ask you to send them other documents, such as your bachelor’s degree or criminal record.

Requirements to Apply for a College

As we explained to you earlier, English Colleges are generally associated with a University, but a good number of them are completely independent. In the United Kingdom, the term “college” is used for various types of institutions, ranging from private colleges to university faculties. The most famous are those of Cambridge and Oxford, often called “Oxbridge”, which offer accommodation, food, a library and sports and social activities for students. The requirements that you will be asked for in a College vary depending on the program and the type of institution . If the school belongs to a university, it will possibly share the requirements that we mentioned before. However, if you are dealing with independent schools (such as those that make up the University of London), there may be some specific requirements. For all this, it is best to contact the institution that offers the program that interests you directly.

How to Apply for University as a foreign student in the UK

Starting the process to study in the UK and become an international student is easier than it seems. There is a non-profit organization called UCAS, which has a platform that manages millions of applications to enter a university program in the UK. Here we detail step by step what you should do:

  1. Register on the UCAS portal. Enter the UCAS website and create a username, a password and choose your security questions. It is important to keep in mind that only 1 request can be registered per cycle.
  2. Log in and enter the rest of your personal data. Once the previous step is completed, you will need to verify your account by email. You will also need to enter additional information, such as any special medical conditions, criminal records, or disabilities.
  3. Choose the course that interests you. The UCAS platform allows you to apply to up to 5 different courses. For studies in Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Veterinary Science, you can select a maximum of 4 courses. For programs at Oxford or Cambridge universities, you can only apply to 1 course from either.
  4. Attach your grade history . As an international student, you will need to attach your qualifications according to your country of residence. Then a series of categories will appear. If your qualifications do not correspond to any of the sections shown on the web, select the “Others” option. You may have to send some qualifications to the university or college of your interest.
  5. Work experience. If you have previously worked in paid employment, you will need to enter details about it. You can add up to 5 jobs. Include company names, period of employment, job description, and address.
  6. Write your personal statement. If you want an opportunity to explain why you want to study in the UK, what motivates you and what your aspirations are, this is it. Try to expose your skills, qualities and virtues. If you have trouble writing your personal statement, go here .
  7. Take a final look at your application. Review all the information you have posted to make corrections or edits if necessary. Upon completion, accept the terms and conditions, in order to give UCAS permission to send all the information to the university or college you have chosen.
  8. Get a referral. A reference is a written document where a professor or advisor certifies that they know you in an academic or professional field. It is like a recommendation, which helps the college or university to get to know you a little more.
  9. Pay the fee. The fee that you must pay to start this process on the UCAS platform is $27 dollars if you apply for a single course, or $35 dollars for several courses or requests made after June 30. If the request is made through a school or educational center, they will let you know whether or not you have to pay the fee and what the amount is. In case of independent requests, payment is made online by debit/credit card.
  10. Submit your request. Did you make the payment successfully? Brilliant! Now you just have to send the request and wait for a response.

Important. Although each university and college may make a decision at different times, there are deadlines for receiving a response based on the day you submitted your application:

  • Requests made before January 15. Deadline: May 20.
  • Requests made before June 30. Deadline: July 13.

In general, the deadline for a higher education institution to make a decision is in the month of October. If you do not receive a response after the deadline, the request will be automatically rejected.

In which universities can I study in the UK?

Throughout the article, we have emphasized how renowned many of the UK universities are. Every year at least 15 UK HEIs enter the top 100 best universities in the world. Some of the most iconic are:

  • Oxford University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London
  • Manchester University
  • King’s College London
  • university of bristol
  • University of Warwick
  • Durham University
  • University of Sheffield

The most Popular public universities in the UK

Private universities with the best international agreements

Visas to Study in the UK

If you want to study in the UK, keep reading because below we will talk in depth about the types of visas, their requirements and the process that you must carry out in order to achieve it.

Student visa

The Student Visa is a document that you must have if you want to study in the UK for more than 6 months in any higher education institution. Recently, following renewals in the UK Immigration System, the former Tier 4 student visa has been renamed simply Student Visa. Do you want to study a part-time or full-time course in this European country? Then pay attention to the steps you must follow to have your visa within 3 weeks.

Requirements to Apply for a Student visa

  • Have been accepted into a program or course at a Government-validated University or College.
  • Demonstrate that you have the necessary financial resources to pay the tuition fee for the program and support yourself during your stay in the UK. The amount will depend on the course you are going to study.
  • Demonstrate that you can read, write and speak English. In Degree level courses or higher, the equivalent of B2 on the CEFR scale (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required. In courses below the Degree, you must achieve the equivalent of B1. There are several government-approved institutions that conduct tests to prove your English proficiency, such as IELTS. For more information about it, we recommend you open this link .
  • A Confirmation of Study Acceptance (CAS) from the institution where you will study.
  • The results of your tuberculosis test (mandatory only for some countries, such as Bolivia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Panama and Guatemala). If you are not sure whether or not your nationality requires a tuberculosis test, enter here .
  • Valid passport or other valid travel documentation.
  • $471 dollars to pay the processing fee.

If you are under 18 years of age:

  • Submit proof of your parent’s or legal guardian’s consent to travel and study in the UK. This proof must explicitly specify that they approve your visa application, your residence and maintenance during your stay in the UK.
  • Proof of your relationship to your parent or legal guardian (birth certificate).

Process to Apply for the student visa

  1. Check that the Student Visa is the one indicated for the purpose of your trip. Before starting the whole process, the most prudent thing to do is to make sure that the Student Visa is the right one for your situation. Remember that this visa is aimed at young people over the age of 16 who have been accepted into a higher education program in the United Kingdom.
  2. Gather all the documents you will need. At this point, you should have already checked the list of documents that you must present, such as your passport, CAS, proof of economic solvency, ATAS, tuberculosis test, etc. To know more about it, click here .
  3. Check what you can take with you to the UK. It would be a shame if after you have all the preparations ready, you discover that there is something that you cannot take with you. For this reason, we recommend you check what you can take in your hand luggage, how much cash you can have, what the process is like to bring your pet, among other details. You can open this link to get more information.
  4. Check what you need to show to the English authorities on arrival. On the website of the United Kingdom Immigration System there is information about the process and the specific documents that you will be asked for when you arrive in English territory by air or by land. Take a moment to review them so you don’t run into trouble with the English authorities.
  5. Start the process on the UK Immigration System website. Very well, now that you have verified that you have everything you will need, you can start with the process. The first thing is to enter the portal www.gov.uk and enter your country of residence. Then, specify the type of visa you are applying for (student) and the country where you will make your biometric registration (facial photos and fingerprints). Subsequently, you must enter your email, create a password, pay the fee, add information about your studies in the UK, among other information. The platform will tell you step by step what to do, so there is no room for confusion.
  6. Wait for the answer. You should receive a response from the UK Immigration System within 3 weeks. If you need to speed up the process, you can ask if the visa center in your country offers faster responses by paying an additional fee. Remember that the earliest you can apply for this visa is 6 months before the start of the course. Keep in mind that depending on your profile (for example, if you have a criminal record) or if you decide to change any information in your request, the response time can be extended by more than 3 weeks.
  7. Approved visa? Pack your things! If your application for a Student Visa for the UK has been approved, you are very close to reaching your goal. You will have an adhesive label in your passport where it is specified what type of visa you have been granted, its period of validity (date of issue and expiration), the conditions, etc. To learn more, access this link .

Can you study and work with a student visa?

Yes, but some conditions apply . The number of hours a week you can work depends on what you are studying and whether you are studying during the study term or outside of it. You can work as a student union sabbatical officer, but not in some one-off jobs (such as sports coach). Also, when your visa to study in the UK is approved, the authorities will explain in more detail what you can and cannot do.

Standard Visitor Visa

Do you want to study a short course in the UK for less than 6 months? Then you have found the visa that corresponds to you. The Standard Visitor Visa is a document that allows you to be in the UK for a maximum of 6 months and participate in different activities, or simply visit the country as a tourist. An important point to know about this visa is that it is not a requirement for all nationalities . That is, if your country is exempt, then you would not have to process any visa to study a short course in the UK. For example, the citizens of Ecuador and Bolivia must apply for the Standard Visitor Visa if they want to enter the United Kingdom for a period not exceeding 6 months. To find out if you require this document or not, click here .

Requirements to Apply for a Standard Visitor Visa

  • Valid passport or travel document, with at least one blank page and valid throughout your stay in the UK.
  • Documents certifying that you do not plan to stay in the UK for more than 6 months, the date of arrival and where you will stay.
  • Your address and how long you have lived there.
  • If you have a relative in the UK, their name, address and passport number.
  • Approximate budget of the expenses for your trip.
  • The name and date of birth of your parents (if you know them).
  • Document showing how much you earn per year (if you work). If you have a job, you may also be asked for your employer’s address and phone number.
  • Provide information about any criminal, civil or immigration offenses you have committed in the past.
  • $125 dollars to pay for the visa.

You may also be asked for some specific documents depending on the reason for your visit to the UK. If you want to know more, open the following link and see the complete guide offered by the UK Immigration System.

Steps to Apply for a Visitor visa

  1. Enter the UK Immigration System platform to apply as a foreigner. The first step to process your Standard Visitor Visa, if your nationality requires it, is to enter the following platform: www.gov.uk . Once there, you must enter your country of residence, enter your email, create a password and start attaching all the documents that we mentioned above. In the end, you must pay the processing fee ($125 dollars) and review the additional measures that will be shown to you on the portal.
  2. Wait for the decision. You will receive a response in a maximum of 3 weeks by letter or email. In some countries, it is possible to pay an additional fee to speed up this process.
  3. Travel to the UK! Was your Standard Visitor Visa approved? Magnificent! Now you can buy your plane ticket and prepare everything to visit this historic European country.

Can you work with a visitor visa?

No, it is not possible to work as a freelancer or in paid employment on a Standard Visitor Visa in the UK. Remember that if you breach the conditions of your visa, you may be permanently banned from entering the UK.

Visa to Study English (Short-Term Student Route)

Unlike other countries, UK does have a visa specifically to study its language. If you want to learn English to be bilingual and master two of the most widely spoken languages in the world, the UK opens its doors for you. The short-term student route or “short-term study visa” is a procedure that all foreigners over the age of 16 must complete if they want to take an English course in the United Kingdom for more than 6 months and less than 11 months . Are we describing your situation? Then pay attention to the requirements and application process.

Requirements to Apply for the Visa to Study English

  • Valid passport or other travel document with at least one blank page for the visa sticker.
  • Prove that you have been accepted to a government-approved English course, which lasts less than 11 months and does not include the study of other subjects.
  • Documents that prove that you can support yourself financially during your stay in the UK (bank statements from the last 6 months, for example).
  • Information about your trip, such as where you plan to stay and your plans in general. It is recommended not to pay for hotels or book flights until you have the visa.
  • Documents that certify that you have paid the tuition for the course you will study or that you have enough money to do so.
  • A certified translator to help you convert your documents from Spanish to English.
  • The results of your tuberculosis test, in case you belong to any of the countries that require it.
  • $250 dollars to pay the process.

Process to Apply for the Visa to Study English

  1. Access the UK Immigration System portal. If you don’t know it, you can click here . You will see that the first step is to select the type of visa you need. Select the option that says “Short-term student visa” .
  2. Select your country of residence for Biometric registration. Enter the country where you are located in order to find the visa centers available to register a photograph of your face and your fingerprints.
  3. Start the registration on the platform. Once you have read the conditions of the visa, what it allows you to do and to whom it is addressed, it is time to enter your information on the platform. The first thing is the email and a password, followed by the relevant documents and the payment of the fee ($250 dollars).
  4. Wait for the response from the authorities. This process generally takes about 3 weeks. If you need a quick response because the course you are interested in is about to start, you can request an advance by paying an additional fee.
  5. Learn English in your home country! If your visa application has been approved, you are ready to pack your bags and learn English in the UK. Congratulations!

Is it possible to work with the Visa to Study English?

No, the Visa to study English in United Kingdom does not allow you to work . You may not engage in any work activity, from paid employment to independent business or internship without pay.

Where can I study English in the UK?

In short, studying English in the UK is the best way to learn the language. There are many reasons why some 500,000 foreigners travel to the UK each year to study the English language in their homeland. When traveling to the island of Great Britain, you will have at your disposal more than 500 language academies . Is there a way to simplify the search for an English course in the UK? Yes! And it’s called English UK . English UK is an online platform where you can find the perfect course for you. You can select the type of course, region, study modality, duration, age range of the participants, among other factors. If it has caught your attention, click here and find your English course. Although all the language centers and academies that appear on English UK are members of Accreditation UK , there are some institutions that do not appear on this website. Some of the most popular are:

  • Express English College
  • British Study Center
  • Born English School
  • Twin School

Requirements to apply for an English language course

Each institute or language academy in the UK has its own policy for admitting foreign students. In general, the requirements are:

  • Take a test or exam to find out your level of English and thus determine which is the appropriate course for you.
  • Pay the tuition for the course. The prices for studying English in the UK depend on several aspects, such as the duration of the course, the institution, the location, the modality of the program, if it includes accommodation and meals, etc. An intensive course that includes meals and lodging can cost as little as $990.
  • Process the corresponding visa (short-term study visa).

How to apply for a language school

The admission process in this case also depends on various factors. One of the points that you should take into account is the type of course you are applying for , as there are many options depending on the reason you have for learning English. A junior summer English course may have a different admission process than an intensive or business and executive course. Usually, after making your application through the English UK portal or the official website of the academy, you will receive an email response within a few weeks. You should also consider the number of people who are applying for the same course as you, since most of these programs admit between 15 and 39 students.

Scholarships and grants to study in the UK

Aspiring to a better future should not be an impossible dream for people with financial difficulties. In the UK, education and opportunities are not socially or racially biased. This nation offers numerous scholarship, grant, financing and loan programs aimed at international students, with different academic and professional objectives. Among the most famous we have:

  • Chevening Scholarships. Global scholarship program of the British Government, aimed at outstanding students who want to study a postgraduate degree in the United Kingdom.
  • Rowan Williams Cambridge Studentship . Program established by the Cambridge Trust with the aim of supporting the most vulnerable people who wish to study at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship covers the entire tuition and maintenance of the student.
  • Gates Cambridge. The Gates Cambridge Scholarships were created in the year 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Aimed at outstanding students from anywhere in the world who want to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge.
  • Denys Holland Scholarship . Program that offers scholarships to undergraduate students from any country who, without this support, could not study at the University College of London due to lack of resources. The scholarship offers about $12,000 a year.

For more information on scholarships, financing and subsidies to study in the UK, click here .

Study and Work in the UK

Have you been accepted on a course in the UK? Did you process your visa and has the application been approved? In that case, there is nothing stopping you from working in this multicultural country. Of course, you have to comply with the conditions of the Student Visa and the regulations of the British Government . As you could see a few paragraphs ago, the only visa that allows you to study and work in the UK is the Student Visa, but it doesn’t end there. You must also take into account the restrictions of the University , if applicable. One of the biggest factors influencing the type of job you can get and the hours you are allowed to work is the type of academic program you are going to study in the UK. Generally, when your Student Visa is approved, the printed label specifies how many hours a week you can work. The periods can go from 10 to 20 hours per week during the academic term .

Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in the UK?

If you are considering staying in the UK to work, again the European country gives you many options so that you can gain work experience in a job, start your own business or carry out academic research. Whatever the case, you will probably need to apply for an additional visa to be able to work in the UK.

The good news is that from summer 2021 international students who have successfully completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s program will be able to enjoy 2 years of work experience in the UK. This program is called “The Graduate Route” and there is no doubt that it adds a plus to the experience of studying in the UK as a foreigner.

For more information about the Graduates Route, open the following link.

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