The British government has announced that starting from October 4, 2023, the new student visa fee for international students, including those from Nigeria will be £490 (equivalent to N409,640.00), an increase of 34.99 percent.
The UK Home Office, which made the announcement, cited the need to finance essential services and allocate more funds for public sector pay increases. This increase coincides with the laying of legislation in Parliament on September 15. The adjustments also affect visit visa fees for stays of fewer than six months, rising by £15 to £115.
The statement said that the fee for applying for a student visa from outside the UK will surge by £127 to match the £490 charged for in-country applications.
It said that this development came after the Government’s previouse announcement in July, which saw a 15 percent increase in the cost of most work and visit visas and a minimum 20 percent hike in priority visas, study visas, and certificates of sponsorship.
The UK Home Office emphasised that the revenue generated from these fees would play a crucial role in sustaining the immigration and nationality system.
The fee structure, according to the government, is aimed at minimizing the financial burden on British taxpayers while ensuring an attractive service for those seeking opportunities in the UK. In recent years, the UK has become a prominent immigration destination for Nigerians, with data from the UK immigration office showing a remarkable 73 percent increase in Nigerian nationals, rising from 33,958 in June 2022 to 58,680 in June 2023.
Also, the United Kingdom has introduced new travel requirements for individuals wishing to enter the country, including Nigerians and other non-British and non-Irish nationals. Effective from November 15, 2023, all travellers must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), including children.
This means that anyone applying for a UK visa must obtain an ETA card before entering or transiting through the country. ETA applicants, including those on visits shorter than six months, business travelers, tourists, and those visiting family and friends, must apply online before making travel plans.
Once granted, an ETA is valid for multiple journeys over two years or until the expiry date of the applicant’s passport. Travelers with valid visas may not be allowed to board without a valid ETA, as the ETA is digitally linked to their passports.
If you were previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and not already legally resident in the UK, you will now require an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) for stays shorter than six months, encompassing tourism, visiting family and friends, transit, business, and short-term study.
However, an ETA only grants permission to travel to the UK, and travellers must still go through passport control at the border for entry.
It is essential to use the same passport for both ETA application and entry and ensure the passport is valid for the entire stay.