Total Student Care TSC
11 August, 2023

5 mins min read


How to study in the UK from Sri Lanka

In 2023, Sri Lanka witnessed an impressive 874% surge in granted sponsored student visas to the UK compared to 2019, reflecting growing educational aspirations. This excerpt provides a concise guide on the systematic procedure for Sri Lankan students aspiring to study in the UK.

Being an affiliate of UK Transnational Education, Sri Lanka is already dotted with myriad campuses of UK universities across the country. The overwhelming popularity of UK universities among Sri Lankan students has triggered the propensity of students studying in the UK for the past few years. As a result, the demand for UK degrees culminates among the youngsters of Sri Lanka. The UK degree bestows universally recognised degrees, world-class education, lavish living, high-paying jobs and all the world-class amenities and facilities that one can think of. Once a student aspires to study in the UK, he must comply with the entry requirements to land in the UK. With detailed planning and knowledge, Sri Lankan students can prepare for admission to UK universities. The excerpt will deduce the step-by-step procedures that the students must conduct to enter UK universities.


Conduct a Thorough Research


First of all, a Sri Lankan student needs to conduct thorough research using the following process:

  • Explore the list of universities and the courses based on location, facilities and ranking offered by the universities.

  • Make a list of universities and courses by verifying the entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, CAS requirements, and installments of tuition fees.

  • Once you find a few preferred options, you can directly apply online or can seek assistance from an agent.

The undergraduate students may search the UCAS website to know about the courses the university offers and the postgraduates need to search in the respective universities they want to undertake the course from. You can apply to five different courses at a time in the same or different universities.


Registration and Application Process


After deciding on the right course for yourself, the next step is to participate in the admission process which varies from the bachelor to the postgraduate or PhD students. A Sri Lankan student can opt for a wide range of courses from UK universities viz. Accounting and Finance, ACCA, MBA, Law, Arts, Digital Marketing, Computer Networking, Web Engineering, Tourism, Hospitality Management, Economics, Criminology, and Business Studies. Some obligatory documents that a Sri Lankan student must have at the time of application are:

  • Passport
  • All academic certificates and transcripts.
  • Documents on English language proficiency
  • CV
  • Reference letter
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio ( for the art and design course)

Different courses demand different academic criteria. Let's understand the admission process deftly:


Admission Process for Undergraduate Students:


Once you choose the university or college and your preferred course, you need to register through the UCAS website and fill out the application forms. A Sri Lankan student must complete an A level with Grades CCC to apply for an undergraduate course. Here you must attach the required documents as follows:

  • Your academic details and testimonials
  • Your transcript
  • Your statement
  • Two letters of reference
  • Report of English language test


Admission Process for the Post-Graduate Students:


To obtain a Master's degree, an international student can directly apply to a favourable university. The academic criteria for a Sri Lankan student to obtain a Master's degree are:

  • A Bachelor's degree (Professional/ Special/ Honours/ General) or equivalent degree from a recognised institution
  • A dissertation/project being completed within the degree (if applicable)


Admission Process for PhD Students


A Sri Lankan PhD aspirant must comply with the below academic criteria to secure admission to UK universities.

  • A Master's degree or 4 years Bachelor's degree
  • All final official academic certificates and transcripts
  • Up-to-date CV
  • Personal statement of purpose
  • Research proposal
  • Two academic reference letters on official letterhead

Since some universities in the UK welcome applications throughout the year and do not draw any deadlines, you can send the applications throughout the year. However, some of the programmes hold strict deadlines. After neat research, you can contact the university to send your application.


Mandatory Tests to Qualify for the Admission Process


For the admission process some standardized tests are needed to be qualified to apply to a UK University:

Language Proficiency Test

The university checks the students ' level of command and comprehension of English. IELTS, TOEFL and PTE are some certifications that students out of the EU need to clear at the time of applying.


Academic Tests

Different courses demand different academic tests to be qualified to get through the admission process such as GMAT determined for management students, and GRE for the graduate students to determine proficiency in arithmetic, language and writing, whereas MAT is conducted in the most eminent universities to filter the admission process.


CAS Letter


CAS is another crucial aspect for international students including Sri Lankans who wish to study in the UK. Without the letter for CAS, students won't be able to study in the UK. A CAS letter is also known as a 'Confirmation Of Acceptance For Studies'. CAS consists of a unique license number which shows that the university has accepted your admission. The fee for CAS needs to be deposited which can vary between 0 to 6000 GBP.


Obtaining an Acceptance Letter


Once you attain all criteria and submit your application successfully, the acceptance letter or offer letter is followed by some time. The offer letters can be of two types.


Conditional Acceptance Letter

First, the university generally issues a conditional acceptance letter. A conditional letter is for the student which can be extended by the university when the student has not fulfilled all academic or financial requirements for the particular study programme. The students must comply with the requirements to get admission in the UK promptly.


Unconditional Acceptance of Acceptance

Once the university receives the confirmation of meeting all necessary academic and financial requirements by the student, the student is granted an unconditional letter of acceptance from the university or the college.


Compulsory Documents for UK Study Visa from Sri Lanka


A student must procure all mandatory documents to apply for a student visa in the UK from Sri Lanka. The following documents will enable a Sri Lankan student to obtain a student visa:

  • A valid passport with other necessary travel documents
  • Proof of financial ability and the statement of payment you have already made.
  • CAS ( Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)
  • A tuberculosis test report.
  • Updated CV
  • Work reference (in case of a break of studies for more than 3 years)
  • In case of availing sponsorship for tuition fees and living expenses within the last 12 months, a consent letter from the financial sponsor is required.


Type of Study Visas


Once a Sri Lankan student succeeds in getting through the admission process, one should initiate the visa application, which needs to be organized through a few pieces of paperwork along with the aforementioned documents. An international student can obtain two kinds of study visas to get into a university.


Short-Term Study Visa - This visa is feasible for an international student for the course consisting of a brief stay, specifically from 6 or 11 months.

Tier 4 Visa – This visa is for students who get admission in academic courses for a relatively longer period such as graduation, post-graduation, or Ph.D.


Step-by-Step Visa Application Process for Sri Lankan Students


Upon fulfillment of all the requirements, the final step is to apply for the right Visa for admission to a British university. Here is a step-by-step process explained to obtain your UK study visa.

  • Choose the proper visa
  • Apply online
  • Know the payable amount via the visa application fees calculator
  • Fix an appointment at the nearest visa application centre
  • Visit the visa application centre
  • Verify and upload all the mandatory documents
  • Keep a tab on your application to obtain a visa


Financial Attainment and Scholarships


To grab an unconditional acceptance letter, an international student must arrange and pay the liable course fee first. Universities in the UK provide myriad financial support for brilliant but needy students.

The other resources are scholarships and grants. Ample scholarship opportunities are available for aspiring students to study in the UK from Sri Lanka. A Sri Lankan student can opt for the following scholarships to unburden the financial strain of tuition fees.

  • Commonwealth Scholarship
  • GREAT Scholarships
  • Rhodes Scholarship
  • Chevening Scholarship
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship
  • Fulbright Partnership Awards.

The eligibility criteria for scholarships usually tend to be uncompromising based on high competition.




Upon the arrangement of tuition fees, the next step is to look for affordable accommodation. It is necessary to do a little research. A student comes across various options for accommodation in the UK such as:


University Provided Accommodation

In most cases, first-year students decide to stay in the university-provided residence which one needs to apply for and make a prior payment to book. This is known as the Halls of Residence for the students which is usually self-catered. It offers an opportunity to be in the zone of studying and making new friends. There are a few campuses that also offer shared flats and houses for international students.


Privately Rented Houses or Flats

Privately rented houses or off-campus accommodations are feasible options that you can share with your friends or the people you prefer. Although they're more popular with mature or postgraduate students, upon your arrival, the university usually provides you with a temporary guest room for a few days till you find a permanent residence to settle down.


Final Arrival at the UK


The final step of the admission process meets its commencement once and for all as you land in the UK from Sri Lanka. However, students who belong to the EU have direct and hassle-free access to the UK whereas students from all other corners of the globe must pass through immigration to get there. The universities of the United Kingdom are highly regarded for their welcoming nature and the environment may unlatch a realm of resplendent learning opportunities for you.


For an international student from Sri Lanka, the admission process in universities in the UK is cut-throat, so it is crucial to plan early. Having good grades as well as good reference letters may place you in a favourable position. Overall, following these straightforward steps, you can enhance your prospects of succeeding in the admission process.

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