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UK student visa stories: Syed from Pakistan

Syed Ghazi, from Pakistan, is studying Computer Network Management at The Manchester College. Having first studied in further education and now working toward a higher education degree, this is his second UK course – and his second successful UK visa.

‘My number one tip for anyone applying to study in the UK? Be confident!

‘My first visa was for my one-year foundation course, and I applied for it from Pakistan. After successfully completing my foundation course I moved onto a higher education foundation degree, and applied for my second visa in the UK. I just gave the forms to the college’s international office, they sent them off for me, and literally five days later I had my biometric ID to stay for another year!

‘When I first came to the UK in 2013, it was my first time studying abroad, and I was a bit nervous about everything, including the visa process. But as soon as I got my offer from the college, the international officer sent everything to me online. She sent it all to my dad too because he was really supportive and wanted me to go to the UK as well.

‘I paid the fees to the college and they sent me my CAS letter – the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, which is the basic thing you need for your visa application.'

The international student's guide to UK visas:

   •   Student visas
   •   Work visas for graduates
   •   Bringing your family
   •   Registering with the police
   •   Working alongside your studies

‘Booking an appointment at the embassy was easy; my dad and I just went to the embassy website and chose a date that worked for me, and then I was on my way to Islamabad to make my application. It was exciting. Every second I was thinking: “This is a big life step for me.”

‘My dad waited for me outside the embassy, and I sat with 15 or so other people applying for visas until I was called up to the desk with all my forms – the CAS, the visa application and a bank statement from the past 28 days showing I had the funds to live in the UK during my studies.

‘After that I had the teleconference interview with a UK border officer. That was the bit I was really nervous about – I was expecting loads of maths questions and I was worried that the officer wouldn’t understand my English – but it was more like a five-minute conversation than an interview. They asked me about the course, about my interests, even things like what sports I like. They were really friendly and I was relaxed after two questions.

‘After about 15 days, I got an email from the embassy to say I could pick up my passport again. I couldn’t sleep, I was so nervous – and so excited! When I opened my passport and saw the visa, I was really happy.

‘I’m really glad I’m studying here. I love my course – we do everything online with the latest networks, and even the exams are done online, so it’s really up-to-date with the real world and top international firms.

‘I’d like to do a top-up course at the end of this year so I can have a full Bachelor’s degree. The Manchester College has a partnership with Salford University, so I can choose either to stay here or relocate there. After that, I might go on to postgraduate study or apply for a graduate scheme.

I don’t understand why some people think you can’t get a visa to study in the UK. Neither of my visas were a problem for me. You just have to have the right pieces of paper – and be confident!’

Read more:

  •   Further education: The essential guide to colleges, courses and qualifications
  •   Video: Students from China and India share their visa application experiences
  •   20 things you need as a UK student

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