Dreaming of studying in another country is common, especially if you live in a third-world country. But taking that step can be tricky because you might feel lost, not knowing how to begin or what it will cost. If you've ever asked yourself this question, "How much does it cost to move to the UK?" worry no more – this article is here to guide you.
We had a conversation with Tolulope Peters, a student who recently moved to the UK from Nigeria for studies, and she shared all the things she had to figure out and the total amount of money she had to pay.
In this article, you'll discover the ins and outs of her journey, from visa expenses to accommodation costs. Let's dive in!
Tell us about you.
Hi, I'm Tolulope Peters, a new student at the University of Huddersfield in the UK. Before I moved to the UK, I used to work as an accountant at Guarantee Trust Bank after finishing my Accounting degree at Babcock University in Nigeria.
Seems you were doing pretty well in Nigeria already. What inspired you to move to the UK?
Yeah, back in Nigeria, my job as an accountant at Guarantee Trust Bank paid well. But, I wanted to study more. Also, I've always dreamed of living with my family outside Nigeria. It was a big step for me, but I'm glad everything turned out well.
Interesting. What was the initial process of moving to the UK like?
First of all, if you intend to come to the UK from Nigeria using the student route, the first thing you should consider is getting admission to a university. In my case, I started applying to several schools in the UK in December 2022, and by January 2023, I received conditional offers from different schools and the University of Huddersfield.
What is a conditional offer?
A conditional offer means a school is interested in having you, but you must meet certain conditions. The condition can be anything from obtaining a Bachelor's Degree with a specific overall grade, paying a 50% deposit, to providing a satisfactory financial guarantee or sponsorship letter.
Alright. Makes sense.
In my case, I had to pay 50% of my school fees, which was £16,000. I was also very fortunate to get a £3000 discount on my school fees because of how I performed when my results came out. It's always good to look for different scholarship options when applying for admission in the UK. This can help in easing off the financial burden.
After I got the discount, 50% of the school fees was down to £6,500. I paid using the CBN Form A portal at a bank rate of 605 NGN to a pound, totaling approximately 3.9 million NGN.
That's quite a process. What steps did you take after paying the initial fees?
Immediately after the school received the part payment, I filled in some information, and my Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was sent. This document is crucial for applying for a student visa with the UK Home Office.
How did you go about the visa application?
Building proof of funds was the next step. The Proof of Funds (POF) payment was £1,023 per month for up to 9 months, which summed up to £9207 (for courses outside London), plus the remaining balance of school fees (£6,500).
In the UK, you must prove you have enough money for yourself and any dependents. This money must stay in your bank account for 28 days without going below a certain amount before you can apply for a visa.
Did you move with any dependant?
Yes, I moved to the UK with my partner.
Aww, couple goals. So, what happened after that?
After that, I applied for the visa through the Home Office portal, paying a visa fee of about $469 and an IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) fee of $910.47.
Did you encounter any additional requirements during the process?
Yes, I also had to book an appointment with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Tuberculosis testing, costing approximately 57,500 NGN. When the test is done, you'll be given a certificate, which is usually valid for 6 months from the date you take the test, and it MUST be valid at the time of your visa application.
What about the biometrics and the final steps?
After uploading all the required documents, I booked a free appointment at TLS for biometrics. Surprisingly, after the biometrics, it only took about 2 days to receive my visa.
Finally, we had to sort out flight tickets and secure accommodation before moving to the UK. Depending on your location in Nigeria, you can expect to pay anywhere from ₦578,235 – to ₦1,532,910 for a one-way ticket to the UK. Accommodation was also 800 pounds for a studio apartment.
Did you face any challenges?
Absolutely! One significant problem was making payments, especially for accommodation. Dealing with the hassle of sending money to the house agent abroad was quite a task. Looking back, I can't help but wish I had known about Leatherback earlier – it could've saved me some money and made the process much smoother.
Any advice for students relocating to the UK?
Take it step by step, make sure your funds are in order, and stay informed about any changes in the process. It's challenging, but it's worth it in the end.
Moving to a new country to study can be tough, especially if you don't know what to expect. Now that you know the costs involved in making such a move, it's crucial to start planning.
Also, keep in mind that exchange rates can vary, so if you can act now, please do. When planning to move to the UK, you must sort out different bills from your local country, and make it easy by using the Leatherback mobile app.
With the Leatherback mobile app, you can effortlessly send Pounds to anyone in the UK from the comfort of your home using the in-app remittance solution - SendR by Leatherback. And that’s you saying bye-bye’ to physical bank visits, long queues, and unending documentation processes.
To get started:
Download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store.
After installation, register, select a personal account, and complete your setup. Watch our tutorial video for a step-by-step guide.
Once your Leatherback account is approved, sign in and fund your account with your local currency, NGN.
Then, tap the SendR “S” button.
Choose NGN as your local currency.
Select GBP for the recipient's preference, enter the desired amount.
Tap "Send Funds" You can choose from your list of beneficiaries or provide details of the person you wish to send money to. Voila!