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Is UK still the dream destination to study?

Updated on December 19, 2013
Oxford University Crest
Oxford University Crest | Source

How to study in UK?

Indians who wish to study in UK need to apply for a UK Study Visa under the Tier 4 category. There are 2 types of Tier 4 Study Visas: Child (aged 4 to 17); and General (aged 16 or over).

To apply for either of these visas, the applicant must be able to show that he/she has:

  • A confirmed place at the college, university or school where the applicant intends to study. This is called as ‘confirmation of acceptance for studies’;
  • Enough money, also called as ‘maintenance or funds’ to cover the living costs and course fees; and
  • If the applicant is a child, suitable care arrangements need to be in place for the applicant’s stay in the UK.

The United Kingdom stands as one of the most developed nations in the World and the British Universities, with their centuries of still top most of the Global Education Surveys. Every year, many students visit the United Kingdom to pursue higher education and to craft a better future for them.

Document Requirement for UK Tier 4 Visa

The following are the documents necessary to apply for a Tier 4 UK Study Visa:

  • A signed copy of the completed visa application form.
  • A present and valid passport with least 1 blank page on both sides, so that the visa can be inserted.
  • 1 passport sized color photograph according to the requirements of UKBA (United Kingdom Border Agency) photo guidance.
  • Any previous passports to show earlier travel history.
  • A copy of the passport bio-data page (the page containing the photograph).

If applying for a Tier 4 General Visa, a copy of the completed Tier 4 Appendix 8 form should be submitted.

If applying for a Tier 4 Child Visa, a copy of the completed Tier 4 Appendix 9 form should be submitted.

Tower of King's College in Cambridge
Tower of King's College in Cambridge | Source

Where does UK stand in quality global education?

A survey published by the British Council says that, for Indian students who are in the pursuit of status and quality education, the UK is the most sought-after destination. This, regardless of the competition from other developed countries like Australia, Canada, and the United States, shows that British Universities still provide the best education in the world.

The biggest pull for Indian Students to study in UK is the country’s contemporary institutions and courses. Out of the total respondents of the study, the largest per cent (21) chose the United Kingdom followed by 19 per cent choosing the US and 14% choosing India.

The new report named ‘Inside India – A new status quo’ states that, according to the survey, Indians give 1st preference to British Universities for Post-Graduate courses. For Under-graduate and Research Doctorate courses, UK stands on the top along with the US.

Top 10 nationalities issued study visas (excluding student visitors), 2012 (Total 209,749)
Top 10 nationalities issued study visas (excluding student visitors), 2012 (Total 209,749) | Source

So what would be YOUR education destination?

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A few statistics pertaining to UK Study Visas

According to the British Council, India is the primary market and the 2nd highest provider of foreign students to the UK with 75-80 per cent of Indian students enrolled in postgraduate degrees in the country.

When the participants of the study were asked about the 3 most critical factors in choosing an education destination, 61% of the group said ‘Quality of Education’. The 2nd criterion was ‘Cost’ (42%) and 3rd was ‘Scholarship Opportunities’ (43%). However, 23% of the participants said that the option to work in the country while studying and after graduation was important to them.

In 2012, 70% of the Study Visas were issued to the top 10 nationalities, with the top 5 nationalities i.e., China, India, United States, Nigeria and Pakistan account for more than half i.e., 53%.

St. John's College - Cambridge
St. John's College - Cambridge | Source

No. of Study Visas issued by UK in 2012

Visas issued in 2012
United States
Saudi Arabia
Hong Kong

Realizing the importance of Indian students in UK, Prime Minister David Cameron, in a recent visit to India assured that there is no limit on the number of students from India to study in UK.

At the interaction with a few businessmen, Cameron said that there is no cap on the number of Indian students in UK, and he only wishes to admit genuine students with genuine university admissions in UK.

In 2009, a record 60,000 Indian students visited UK. However, the figure has dived in the recent years.

Cameron pressed for a proper immigration control regime, and insisted on the most appealing offers for foreign students and the 2 new limits – the limit on numbers and the limit on staying in the UK to work in a graduate job.

Online Payment for UK Visas

Effective 16th December, 2013, all Indians applying for any UK Visa need to pay the visa fees online via Credit or Debit Cards. The option of paying through Cash at the VAC (Visa Application Centre) and Demand Drafts are discontinued.

As part of the initiative to integrate the visa application process and to make it available to the wider universal trend, this new drive has been put into action, said Thomas Greig, Immigration Regional Director of UK for South and Central Asia.

Visa applicants from India should pay the fee online via e-wallet (Skrill) or using MasterCard or Visa Debit or Credit Cards.

Applicants who wish to travel on study, work or settlement visas can request their UK sponsor to make the payment online.

People who applied and paid online for their visa should attend the VAC to submit their documents and biometric data, including fingerprints and digital photograph.

A markerUK -
United Kingdom
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Top 10 British Universities:

  1. University of Cambridge
  2. University of Oxford
  3. London School of Economics
  4. Imperial College
  5. Durham University
  6. University of St Andrews
  7. University College London
  8. University of Warwick
  9. University of Bath
  10. University of Exeter

So, from the results of various surveys and the Statistics from the Government of UK, we can deduce that the United Kingdom still stands at the top for the running of a favorite global education destination. If you or any of your relatives/friends are planning to study overseas and are still unsure about studying in UK, then check out these British Universities who topped the list of the latest Complete University Guide (CUG) and you will definitely convinced.


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    • Anita Anne Asra profile image

      Opulentus Akhila Suri 4 years ago from Hyderabad

      Thank you for reading an commenting on my Hub AliciaC!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub should be very useful for people who want to study in the UK. Thank you for sharing all the helpful and detailed information.

    • Anita Anne Asra profile image

      Opulentus Akhila Suri 4 years ago from Hyderabad

      Its good to hear that you've had an education system based on UK MsDora, and thank you for going through my Hub and taking the time to comment here. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for this detailed presentation on studying in the UK. I believe that their system of education is excellent. I grew up in the Caribbean where our elementary and high school education is patterned after theirs.

    • Anita Anne Asra profile image

      Opulentus Akhila Suri 4 years ago from Hyderabad

      Thank you Suzanne Day! :)

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Interesting hub and it looks like you have put a lot of research into it. I know a fellow who came from the UK to Australia after studying in the UK and it seems that the education there is quite thorough and very useful to people in getting employment.