Different rules apply to student visa applicants depending on the type and duration of their course of study. Students who intend to study on a course that will last less than six months may apply under the visitor visa system completing the part of the application that applies to students. Students who apply under the visitor visa system may subsequently apply to extend their stay in the UK if they wish to continue their studies.
In recent years the requirements for a successful student visa application have become much stricter due to concerns that many foreign nationals applying for student visas were either not genuine students or were due to study courses of limited value.
If an application for a full student visa is refused, the UK Border Agency will write to the applicant setting out in full:
- the refusal to grant a student visa;
- the reasons for the refusal to grant a student visa; and,
- whether or not the applicant has the right to appeal against the decision.
If the unsuccessful applicant for a UK student visa does have a right of appeal, the written notice will also inform them how to appeal the decision.
Reasons Why an Application for a Student Visa May be Refused
There are many reasons why an application for a UK student visa could be refused. These could include some or all of the following:
- The proposed course of study is not provided by a recognised educational or training organisation as listed on the UK’s Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills Register of Education and Training Providers.
- The applicant has failed to satisfy the UK Border Agency that they will be able to pay for their course and support themselves financially whilst they are in the UK.
- The UK Border Agency officials who considered the application do not believe that the applicant’s real reason for coming to the UK is to study.
Refusal of an Application to Extend Stay in the UK
If a foreign national is in the UK on a student visitor visa they are only permitted to stay in the UK for up to six months. Student visitors can apply to extend their stay beyond the six month period. An application to extend the stay could be refused because:
- The six month period had already expired when the student made the application to extend their stay;
- Immigration officials are not satisfied that the applicant has been attending the course that they say they are in the UK to study.
- Immigration officials are not satisfied that the applicant has been making sufficient progress on their course – for example by passing the necessary exams.
- The applicant has not provided sufficient proof that they can continue to support themselves financially if they are allowed to remain in the UK.
Applications to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
Appeals against immigration decisions made by UK Border Agency officials are made to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The Tribunal will provide a written explanation of their decision, known as a determination. In some cases an unsuccessful appellant may be able to request a redetermination of the appeal. Appellants may represent themselves at appeals to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, and the Home Office, which is ultimately in charge of immigration, will be represented by a lawyer or lawyers.
If an appeal is unsuccessful the only UK legal recourse open to the unsuccessful applicant is likely to be by seeking a judicial review. This is a complicated legal process in which it would have to be shown that the public body reaching the decision breached the laws of natural fairness in the way they that they reached their decision.