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Visa Information

Academic progression, finances and sponsorship

Find out more about financial requirements, who can sponsor your studies, and different requirements if you’ve previously studied in the UK.

Academic Progression

Where you have studied in the UK previously and want to continue onto further study, you must meet the UKVI Academic progression requirements, to show you are a genuine student and not simply seeking to extend your stay in the UK.

Some examples of acceptable academic progression are undergraduate to postgraduate, postgraduate taught to postgraduate research, etc.

Studying at the same level as your previous study requires clear justification, so the new course should be linked to previous study or a deeper specialisation of this. 

Studying at a lower level, for example moving from postgraduate to an undergraduate course would not represent academic progression and you cannot apply for a visa from within the UK, this would have to be done from home.

Tuition fee/Living costs

You need to show the UKVI that you can afford to study in the UK, for the first year of your course.

The amount of money you need to show available to you is made up of your tuition fee (minus any deposit you have paid and any scholarship you have been awarded) added to living costs. The living costs figure is set at £9,207 for Scotland. 

Tuition fees differ for different courses but to give you an example, if the course fee was £14,000, you had been awarded a scholarship of £2,000 and paid £5,000 deposit, the amount of money needed to show the UKVI would be £7,000 tuition fee and £9,207 living costs, total £16,207.  

The good news is that under the new Student visa, you do not have to show evidence of your finances for CAS or visa application if you are already in the UK on a valid visa and have been here under that visa for at least 12 months.  If you think that this applies to you, please get in touch with us so that we can help you to confirm if it does. 

Immigration Health Surcharge

A surcharge is paid as part of the Visa application and allows you to access to the National Health Service, which provides general healthcare in the United Kingdom.

The cost for students is reviewed on an ongoing basis. The UKVI website publishes the current fees.

Find out how much you should have to pay:

You can start using the National Health Service (NHS) when:

  • you’ve paid the healthcare surcharge, and 
  • your visa or immigration application is granted
  • The IHS payment covers all healthcare costs under the NHS once you’re in the UK.

Who can sponsor a student?

There are a number of different ways that you can show you have the funds available for your studies.

Self Financing & Education Loan

A self-financing student is someone who plans to pay their course fee and living costs from their own money and show their own personal bank statements or education loan as evidence when applying for a visa.


If you wish to use a bank account in your parent's or guardian's name (or names), you must also include evidence of their relationship to you. This can be: 

  • your original birth certificate, showing the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using
  • an original certificate of adoption, showing your name and the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using
  • if you have a legal guardian, an original court document, which shows the name of your guardian(s) whose bank account you are using. This must have been issued when the student was still considered a child. An Affidavit is not accepted here.

In addition to this you will also need to provide:

  • A letter of support from your parent/legal guardian indicating that they are happy to provide their funds to you.
  • Copies of their financial evidence which meets all UKVI requirements.

Other family members or friends 

This is perhaps the most common area of misunderstanding when it comes to sponsorship by others

It is possible that anyone can pay money direct to your Student sponsor (in this case RGU) on your behalf, for example to pay your course fees or accommodation costs.

However, you cannot use evidence of money held in any other person's name, even with their permission, if they are not your parent or guardian. The best way to overcome this is for them to transfer the funds to your account. You’ll need to allow enough time for the funds to be held for the required period and get evidence of this, before you get your CAS and apply for your Student Visa.

You can use a joint account with another person, provided you are named as one of the account holders.

You can use an account from your spouse or partner alone but only where:

  • They are applying for their visa at the same time as you, or,
  • They already hold a visa for entry to the UK or are already in the UK on a visa.

Official financial sponsor

You can also be sponsored by an official financial sponsor, which includes:

  • the UK government
  • your national government
  • the British Council
  • any international organisation
  • an international company
  • any university
  • an Independent School

If you receive funding from any of the named sources, you will need a letter from them confirming how much money they will contribute towards your course fees and living costs. The letter must show:

  • your name
  • the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor
  • the length of the sponsorship
  • the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you, or a statement that all course fees and living costs will be covered.

The date of the letter must be no more than 6 months old when you use it to apply for your visa.

If your official financial sponsor is not covering all of your course fees and maintenance, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the rest of the money required available to the UKVI.

Company Sponsorship

The UKVI have strict rules about being sponsored by a company and require that this is only done by an International Company. This generally means one which has a trading presence in more than one country.

This means that the company must have an office in more than one country. They must be able to provide evidence of this such as providing their registration certificate or licence number in that country or a VAT/TAX letter displaying the address of the office in that country.

The UKVI will verify this, both online and through access to internal resources, that this evidence is genuine.

If the company who wishes to sponsor you meets this requirement then they should provide you with a letter which details the terms of that sponsorship.  Where a company cannot meet these requirements, they can still give you funds but this must be done by transferring to you, where the category of Self-financing student then applies again. 

Further information

Please do not send any documents until these are asked for by the Admissions Department or Immigration Team.  When we ask for documents, unless we tell you otherwise, do not send original documents, send scans of them or very good quality photographs where all the details on the document can be seen. Keep original documents for your visa application.

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