Sponsored students

What is a sponsored student?

You are a sponsored student if you have been given money to cover part or all of your course fees and/or living costs from one of the following:

  • the British Government; 
  • your home government; 
  • the British Council;
  • an international organisation or company;
  • a university;
  • a British independent school.

This is called Official Financial Sponsorship and is used as evidence of money you have when when applying for your visa. If you have received money from other sources not on the list above, this does not count as Official Financial Sponsorship.

If you do not have Official Financial Sponsorship, or your official financial sponsor is only covering part of your course fees or living costs, you must show in your visa application that you have the money needed to cover the remaining costs.

Evidence needed for sponsored students

When applying for your visa, you must provide a letter from your official financial sponsor with all details of your sponsorship.

The letter must be printed on official headed paper from your sponsor’s organisation, and must include:

  1. your name;
  2. the name and contact details of your official financial sponsor;
  3. the official stamp of your official financial sponsor;
  4. the date of the letter;
  5. the length of the sponsorship;
  6. a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all your tuition fees and living costs. If your sponsor is not covering all tuition fees and living costs, the letter must include the amount of money they are giving you. You will also need to include additional evidence that you have the funds available to cover the remaining fees and costs.

If you are being sponsored by an Official Financial Sponsor, or have been sponsored within the last 12 months before your application, your letter must confirm that your sponsor gives their unconditional consent for you to remain in the UK.

Evidence needed for University of Bristol scholarship students

If you have received sponsorship in the form of a University of Bristol scholarship, you should not need to provide a letter with your visa application. Instead, the University of Bristol should include details of the of your Official Financial Sponsorship on your CAS.

Application Costs

You can find out about the current application costs on this government webpage. As well as the application fee, you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is set at £470 per each year of visa and is calculated in 6-month blocks. Please visit this webpage for information on how the UKVI calculate the IHS payments. Wrap-up time awarded after the CAS end date will be counted as well, so a student taking a 4-year PhD programme for example will be liable for 4.5 years of IHS payments upfront.

If your sponsor is covering these costs, they may choose to pay your costs at the time of application, or may prefer to reimburse you for the application costs at a later date, in which case you should make sure you save the payment confirmation from the UKVI at the time of payment. This is especially relevant with IHS payments as they do not appear on the application form. Student Visas are not able to provide letters confirming how much IHS a student paid at the time of application as those fees are paid to the UKVI. 

Evidence needed to apply under the differentiation arrangement

If applying under the differentiation arrangement, applicants are not required to submit a letter of financial evidence when they apply for a visa. However, we strongly advise that such applicants prepare their financial evidence anyway. This is because the UK Government may ask to see this when reviewing an application and failure to provide it will result in a refusal of the visa application. Find out more about applying under the differentiation arrangement.

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