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UK studies: Be careful with student agents
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June 20, 2007

The UK has long been considered one of the finest destinations for international education.

But what about the visa process? Are student visas difficult to obtain?

When applying for a visa, how should you organise and highlight your funds and assets?

And what about those self-proclaimed professionals, student agents? Are they worth the time and money?

Kevin Woods, head of the visa department at the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai, shared his expertise in UK visas during a chat with Get Ahead readers on June 13.

For those of you who missed it, here's the transcript:

Part I: Apply early to avoid the rush
Part II: Submit original documents



 
gaurav_10 asked, 
sir i am going for international business course and course fees is around 9000pounds and living cost around 7000pounds so adding all it would coust 16000pounds so i have to show that amount as liquid assent in mine saving account how old the money should me in account

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
we would like to see the evidence of the finances to have been there for a period of time (say six months) or evidence of where that money has come from.



mellwynfdes asked, 
do i need to answer ielts exam

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
IELTS is not compulsory for visa applications. We will look at your English ability in other ways, we do take into consideration English marks at degree level or 10th and 12th standard. We will also take into consideration TOEFL marks but again, it is not compulsory.


ravi asked, can i get Job in IT Companies after doing MBA program in IT & Systems at UK?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
You would be able to apply for jobs, but you would be in open competition.


swaroop asked, iam swaroop i have completed my MBA in 2005 now i want to persue another degree is anymasters degree in marketing can u let me know is it possible.and what r the chances of getting a visa. by the by iam ready with ielts with a score band of 6.0

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
You should carefully research the course and college you intend to go to and seek admission. Your visa application will be considered on its own merits. You should include all the relevant information about your present circumstances, employment, qualifications and funds.


srinimisha asked, If I pay the fee of first semester,is it considered as an advantage for a visa application

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Any funds that you put towards paying for the fees is taken into consideration.


masula asked, one more Question our university statrs in August and if we apply for visa in june what would be the starting date for the migrating to london

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Dear Masula, you can apply for your visa 3 months ahead of your course start date and travel to the UK in the 3 month period.


nara asked, Hello I am doctor keen in do masters, will my age affect chances to get visa as Ia m 36

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Age is no bar to further education. You should research your course and college carefully and provide information of your current circumstances, the qualifications you already hold and what you have been doing since your last period of study.


vcprabhu asked, Godd Afternoon Mr Wood. I hold a MBA degree from University of Wales and am currently working in India. Would it be possible for me to apply for HSMP from India and if yes what is the waiting period?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
If you would like to apply for HSMP, please look at this website for more information: http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk there is no waiting period, you can apply at any time.


mokthiar.E asked, how can i apply for uk visa

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
You can apply through the VFS centre closest to you. In Southern India there are VFS offices in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Cochin.


Vignesh asked, Kevin. I have recently got my HSMP approval from the Home Office and need to apply for my HSMP-VISA. 2 quick questions 1. How much funds do I need to show to get a visa-approval ? Is it ok if it just suffices my 3-months stay there ? 2. What is the general probability of conversion-rate for a HSMP-visa ?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
You need to show that you will be able to maintain and accommodate yourself for the first few months after your planned arrival in the UK if you do not already have a job. The HSMP visa is for those that are planning to make the UK their main home not just for a three month stay there. The HSMP category has specific criteria to be met in order to qualify. Providing you have faithfully presented your circumstances in order to obtain the required points score, and have no adverse Immigration history then you should not have any problems in obtaining the visa.


scouser asked, Will support of Liverpool football team earn my access to university?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Dear Scouser, supporting Liverpool football team would certainly be a personal and individual choice. Fortunately it does not have any bearing on accessing universities or visas.


jasjeet asked, I have done LLB degree in from Delhi university and am pursuing LLM at the moment. However I am desirous of doing my LLM degree from a UK based university. Can you please advise if my LLB degree would hold good for a pre-requisite for LLM degree from UK? Also what are the tution fee/other costs involved in pursuing a LLM degree from the UK

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
I cannot provide you with that assurance but it would be best to get the advice from the experts and LLM providers directly. The British council would be able to provide details of LLM providers in the UK


suzanne asked, Respected Sir, I will be highly obliged of you answer my question...do we have to submit all the orginal docs of degree and offer letter?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Dear Suzanne, yes, you should submit original documents with your application, including your offer letter.


shoaib asked, hi kevin, i would like to know the student visa requirement qualification for united kingdom

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Please look at our website http://www.ukinindia.com and the visa rules for paragraph 57


GowthamiKankanalapalli asked, Hello Kevin this is gowthami i have been offered a place at university of nottingham i have a few doubts about and documents required for visa

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
we have provided helpful advice on the documents required at our website www.ukinindia.com


sar asked, Hello Kevin, I have a 2 two HSMP visa, can I take up further studies in the UK based on this visa.

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
No the visa is for highly skilled migrants to take employment in the UK.


abcd asked, i have got only 76% in english in 10th in ICSE stream and 83% in 12th in ISC stream.i have got a over all band of 7.5 in IELTS with 7 in reading,writing and apeaking and 9 in listening.will i be called fro an interview to check my english or is the scores that i have got enough?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
If you can show an IELTs certificate confirming your 7.5 IELTs score this will be sufficient evidence of your English ability. An interview may be required for a number of reasons - not just to check English.


sindbad asked, How do you define degree level study in the UK aaccording to Immigration rules

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
A degree can only be awarded by a University. There are some courses that are equivalent to them. For more information please look at: www.educationuk.org


sunil s sharma asked, sir is it really useful to apply with student agents or personally ?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Only you can decide on this one. We know that there are many student agents that operate in India and we have engaged with a large number of them to ensure that the standard of information that they supply is good. Be careful when you select a student agent, any fees that they charge should be reasonable and remember that no-one can guarantee the issue of the visa. That decision remains with the Entry Clearance Officer in the High Commission


suman asked, Dear Wood sir, I am working in retailing company . If i want to do retailing course hw should i proceed?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Search the internet www.educationuk.org or the british council for further advice.


Charan asked, Hello, Iam a student in Germany [Images].I would like to apply for working holiday maker visa(as iam completing my studies in 2 months)...what are my chances .I have applied for US H1B visa and the visa is under administrative processing.so would it affect my chances for WHM.

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Dear Charan. For more information about Working Holiday visas www:ukvisas.gov.uk if you have applied for a USA visa, it should not affect your chances of applying for a UK visa.


arvindkavi asked, Dear sir, this is indeed a very nice and informative session, I am keeping patience for my chance 2 reply but due to official obligations I will have to shift to my routine work. May I have the previledge to get the reply via email at a later period. with best regards. my query was ----- I have done my M. Sc. Statistics in 1986 and since than working with Indian Council of Medical Research as Biostatistician, I wish to persue Ph. D. in Biostatistics, I did not appeared in any TOFEL/GRE/IELTS kind of exams. I have 20 years researc experience and few good publication. Pl advice me how to enroll for a Ph. D. arvindkavi@rediffmail.com

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
It is not a requirement to show TOEFL or IELTs certificates. If you have employment and research experience this will be taken into consideration. For information on PhD please check www.educationuk-in.org


Thangaraj Arumugam asked, I got visa rejected twice for UK Student Visa for not providing gud sponsor.This was happened due to improper guidance. Am going for complete educational loan this time for both tuition fee n living expenses...Am a bit fear on applying this time. I dont know wether my Visa get through this time...Can u giv me a suggesstion?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
I would suggest that you are honest about your previous applications and provide full explanations for the past problems


boscoo asked,  Can i work full time during vacations while i am on a student Visa?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Yes you can, but during term time you can only work 20 hours per week


suhasini asked, Hello! I have offered a schlorship of 12,000 pounds per annum.Do I need a bank statement of my father for my VISA application?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Only if you still need to show funds to meet the costs of your course and living expenses in the UK. If your scholarship covers all of your costs then you don't need to show your father's bank statement.


Theeda asked, How many weeks prior to the starting date of course, would a student be allowed to goto UK?

KEVIN WOODS answers, 
Your student visa can be issued three months prior to the start of your course.


Part I: Apply early to avoid the rush
Part II:  Submit original documents
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