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Tier 4 : Applying Overseas


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This booklet explains the process of applying for a Tier 4 visa overseas. In order to apply as a new or continuing student, you will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), which is issued by the University of Bedfordshire. If you are a new student, this will be issued when you have met all the conditions of your offer to study at Bedfordshire. If you are a continuing student, you will need to request a CAS and the University will consider your request. Please see this page

Before issuing a CAS, the University must have reasonable grounds to believe you will obtain a visa using that CAS and that you intend and are able to follow the course of study concerned. The expected duration of the course of study must not result in you spending more time studying in the UK than permitted by UK Visas and Immigration and the proposed course of study must constitute academic progression from any previous course of study in the UK.

In certain cases, a student who has previously been in the UK, will be required to apply for a Tier 4 visa from their home country. Before we can issue a CAS, we will require evidence that the student has returned to their home country. We will require copies of :

  • Boarding pass AND;
  • Passport page showing holder’s details AND;
  • Entry stamp in the passport

A guide to obtaining your Tier 4 (general) Visa overseas - PDF 1.9 MB


Tier 4 : Applying in the UK


PLEASE NOTE: ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED AT ALL TIMES.

Introduction

The following section will guide you through the process of applying for a Tier 4 visa in the UK.

Can I apply in the UK?

The following circumstances will allow you to apply for a Tier 4 visa in the UK:

The gap between the end of your current leave and the start of your new course (as stated on your CAS) should not be longer than 28 days, if it is longer than 28 days you must leave the UK and apply from your home country.

Immigration Rules only allow people who were last granted leave in the following categories to make a Tier 4 application in the UK:

  • Tier 4 (Child) / (General) student
  • Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrant
  • Tier 2 migrant
  • Those who have a pre March 2009 Student Visa (pre Tier 4 Student Visa)

If your last grant of leave was not one of the categories listed above then you may need to return to your home country and apply for a Tier 4 visa from there. Please check with your visa advisor.

If you currently have a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa then you must currently be sponsored by:

  • a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as an HEI (higher education institution); or
  • an overseas higher education institution and you have been undertaking a short-term study abroad programme in the UK; or
  • an Embedded College offering Pathway Courses (this does not include pre-sessional courses)

If you do not know if this applies to you then ask the visa advisor in the International Office.

If during the period of your current Tier 4 visa you have not been sponsored by one of the above, you will be required to return to your country to apply for the visa.

What do I need to make a Tier 4 (General) application in the UK?

Appropriate visa application fee: You will be required to pay this online, (£457 for standard application, Priority service £916, Premium in person application £1047.

Immigration Health Surcharge fee: £150 per applicant, per year of study. You will be required to pay this when completing the Tier 4 visa application form online. The form will direct you to make that payment.

CAS: New students will need to obtain this from Admissions Team. Continuing University of Bedfordshire students will need to request this from the Visa & Immigration Advisory team – requests must be submitted online at www.beds.ac.uk/cas. Please look at our CAS Application process Timeframe

Passport(s): Current and previous passports which have been used to travel to the UK.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): (if you have been issued one)

2 Passport sized photos: (refer to the Home office photograph guidance – remember they need to be taken within the last month)

Police Registration Certificate (if applicableCertain nationalities are required to register with the police. Your visa/visa decision letter should state if you are required to register): Make sure it is updated with your current address. These will need to be updated at your local police station. If you live in Luton/Bedford, you can only update at Luton Police Station. You must also inform the police of your new visa within 7 days of receiving it. You will need to email Lee Allen at lee.allen@beds.ac.uk who will arrange a time for you to get the Police Registration Certificate updated.

Course fees you need to show in your account: You must have enough money to pay for the course fees for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year long. Your CAS will state the fees that you will be required to pay for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year long. The Home Office will use the details in your CAS to confirm how much money you need for your course fees. The Home office will look for any outstanding tuition fee in your account. The money must continue to be available in your account, even after the application is made.

Living costs you need to show in your account: You must have a fixed amount of money to cover your living costs. You need to have £1,015 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of £9,135 for a course lasting nine months or more. (see details set out in Tier 4 policy guidance paragraphs 153-202 [PDF]) Please also see below section: How to evidence money required The living cost must be maintained for a consistent 28 day period in addition to any outstanding tuition fees. The last date on the statement must not be more than 31 days old from the date of application. The money must continue to be available in your account, even after the application is made.

Can I make any deductions from the funds I am required to maintain?

You can deduct the following from the total amount of money that you need as part of your immigration application:

  • money that you have already paid to University of Bedfordshire, towards your course fees, and
  • If you will be living in University Accommodation and you have paid some accommodation fees you can deduct up to £1,265 that you have paid to the university for your accommodation fees from your living costs.

You cannot deduct any advance payment for any other type of housing, nor can you adjust the amounts if you will have no housing costs, (for example if you will be living with a relative free of charge).

Your CAS should include details of any money you have paid to the University for your accommodation.

If the total amount that you are required to show the Home Office is more than the amount that you have paid to your institution for course fees and for accommodation fees (up to a maximum of £1,265) then you must have the rest of the money required in your/your parents bank account.

How much do I need to maintain if I am applying under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme?

If you are applying for a visa under the Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme) you must show that you have maintained two months maintenance £1015 x 2 = £2030.00 consistently for 28 days. The last date on the statement must not be more than 31 days old from the date of application. The money must continue to be available in your account, even after the application is made.

ATAS certificate: (If applicable)
This usually applies to Research students and some taught masters degrees. It is your responsibility to check with your department if you require an ATAS Certificate. If you require an ATAS you will need to apply in advance to ensure you receive it timely, an ATAS application can take up to 3 months to be processed. More information about ATAS is available here

If dependants are applying at the same time it is good practice to send your marriage certificate (or a copy) and birth certificate for each child applying with you. Although it is not mandatory to send these documents, as you are likely to have already shown these documents to Home Office when you first applied for the UK visa, please ensure they are available should it be requested.

How to evidence money required

Please see our sample financial documents - PDF 1.2 MB for examples of what you will need to provide.

How long do I need to maintain the money for?

The relevant funds must be maintained consistently for 28 days. The last date on the statement must not be more than 31 days old from the date of application. The money must continue to be available in your account, even after the application is made.

What if my funds are in a different currency?

Please ensure that your financial evidence states clearly the currency of your funds. You should use the OANDA currency converter to convert the money, and you can provide a print out with your application. The conversion date which the Home office will use will be the date of application.

Do UKVI accept bank statements from any bank?

For certain countries UKVI have a list of financial institutions which are acceptable by them and list of those that are not acceptable. It is advisable that if your country is on that list,  then you check to ensure that the bank account you will be using for your visa application will be acceptable.

About evidence of official financial sponsorship

An official financial sponsor is her Majesty’s Government, your home government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company, university or a UK independent school. Detailed information is available at Paragraphs 177-188 Tier 4 policy guidance [PDF]

Please note that sponsorships by family or relatives are not considered as ‘official financial sponsorship’. If the official financial sponsor is an international company, the best way to evidence this is to show print outs from website, or a letter including the web-link which shows contact details for offices in more than one country. The official financial sponsor will also need to provide a letter confirming the details. Please refer to the latest Tier 4 policy guidance [PDF]

The letter must be on official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisation of the official financial sponsor which must have the official stamp of that organisation on it. The letter must show:

  • your name;
  • the name and contact details of your official financial sponsor;
  • the date of the letter;
  • the length of your sponsorship; and
  • the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you or a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all of your fees and living costs

Evidence of sponsor’s consent to complete studies:

If you are currently financially sponsored by a government or an international scholarship agency or your financial sponsorship ended within 12 months of your application being made, you will need your sponsor’s permission to stay in or re-enter the UK. You must provide the Home Office with your financial sponsor’s unconditional consent in writing. This must confirm that your sponsor has no objection to you continuing your studies in the UK.

If your financial sponsor is only covering some of your course fees or living costs, you must show that you have the rest of the money needed in your account - Please see our sample financial documents for examples. - PDF 1.2 MB

Can I use funds maintained by my parents?

If you are planning to submit your parents bank statements. The statements must meet the requirements set out in How to evidence money required (sample financial documents - PDF 1.2 MB ). In addition, you must show that you are related to them and must provide one of the following:

i. your birth certificate showing the names of your parent(s)/legal guardian(s); or

ii. your certificate of adoption showing names of both parent(s) or legal guardian(s); or

iii. a Court document naming your legal guardian(s). The document use must be the original legal document or a notarised copy.

You must also show that your parent(s)/legal guardian have given their permission for you to use this money. You must provide: a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s). The letter must confirm:

  • the relationship between you and your parent(s) or legal guardian(s);

and

  • that your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have given their consent to you using their funds to study in the UK.

If any documents are not in English

Any documents which are not in English must be accompanied by a fully certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. This translation must include:

  • details of the translator/translation company’s credentials;
  • confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • translator/translation company’s contact details.
  • must also be dated and include the original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company.

Low risk nationals

Nationals of some countries do not need to provide evidence of their qualifications or their money when they apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa. The Home Office calls this the 'differentiation arrangement' for 'low-risk applicants'.

You are a 'low-risk' applicant if you are applying for Tier 4 (General) to study at an institution that has Tier 4 Sponsor status, and:

  • you are a national of Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, or USA, and you are applying for entry clearance in your country of nationality, or for leave to remain in the UK; or
  • you hold a Hong Kong SAR passport or a British National (Overseas) passport and you are applying for entry clearance in Hong Kong, or for leave to remain in the UK; or
  • you hold a Taiwan (ROC) passport with a residence card number, and you are applying for entry clearance in Taiwan, or for leave to remain in the UK.

It is very important that as a low-risk applicant you still obtain the evidence of your qualifications and your money, even though you do not need to send them. This is because the Home Office will sometimes ask a low risk national to send them the documentary evidence. Failure to provide the evidence within a specified timeframe when requested by the Home Office will result in your application being refused.

Please note, the Immigration Rules state that all students, including low-risk applicants, must submit evidence of their English language ability with their application (if appropriate).

Evidence of qualifications mentioned in your CAS

You MUST submit the original qualifications mentioned in the CAS letter. Continuing University of Bedfordshire students, may not need to send any previous qualifications. Please check your CAS letter. If you are required to submit any qualifications, it should meet the following requirements:

Your original certificate(s) of qualification. Each document must be the original (not a copy) and must clearly show:

  • your name; and
  • the title of the award; and
  • the date of the award

OR

Your original transcript of results. Each document must be the original (not a copy) and must clearly show

  • your name; and
  • the name of the academic institution; and
  • the course title; and
  • confirmation of the award.

Please check your CAS to confirm whether you need to provide the certificate or transcript of results.

Certificate of English language qualification:
If you are a continuing student of University of Bedfordshire you are not required to send this as your CAS will confirm the English Language ability. Your CAS should state that the university has made their own assessment of your English Language Ability.

If you are a new student you should submit the English Language Qualification mentioned in your CAS with your Tier 4 application, unless the CAS confirms that University of Bedfordshire have assessed your English language ability.

When do I apply for a CAS letter?

New students/Students starting a new course – Should apply for the course 3 months before the course start date. Once a conditional offer letter is issued you will be instructed of the next steps and what requirements you need to meet to obtain the CAS. If the course is due to start soon and you still wish to join, you can discuss your options with our admissions team. You can find their contact details here.

Continuing Students – You will need to apply for your CAS 8 weeks before your visa expiry date. If you think you need to apply earlier, you must come and speak to us. Please see the time frame for obtaining a CAS letter for continuing students – This gives details of the time it takes to process a CAS.

How do I apply for a CAS letter?

New students – Once you have met the conditions in your conditional offer letter, please contact the relevant admissions team whom you have been dealing with and they will issue you the CAS once they are satisfied that you have met all the conditions.

Continuing Students: Complete and submit the CAS application form online

What factors will be taken into account when assessing my CAS request?

Due to strict Immigration Rules, the CAS assessment is a very stringent process. Below are some of the main things that are considered during the CAS assessment process.

Time Limit Cap:

The University will not issue a CAS to an applicant or student who has exceeded or will exceed by the end of their new visa the amount of time they are allowed on a student visa as per Immigration Rules. This is why we require everybody applying for a CAS to provide full details of their UK immigration history. The Home Office will already have this information on their system.

View detailed information about the Time Limit Cap here

Academic Progression:

In order to establish if you are satisfactorily progressing on your course we will need to consider the following:

  • Results for your units so far
  • Any Course transfers
  • Overall qualification
  • Any non-attempts at any assignment or exam (G Grades)
  • Your attendance so far on the course – this is very important, poor attendance could mean that your CAS application is refused.
  • Any mitigating circumstances
  • Any academic appeals
  • Any academic concerns/suspected plagiarism
  • Any breach of study conditions or visa conditions
  • Any other issue we think may have hindered your progress

  • Credibility Interview:

    International Office will conduct an interview with you as part of the CAS assessment process. Your performance in this interview will be a deciding factor of your CAS application. It will also help you prepare for the interview you are expected to attend if invited to do so by UKVI as part of your actual visa application.

    Bank statements and other documents:

    If you meet all the other criteria and a decision to issue you a CAS is made, you will then be required to show you have the correct financial evidence to make a valid Tier 4 application. If you do not have the correct documents to apply for the visa, the CAS will not be issued.

    If you are concerned that you may be affected by any of the points mentioned above, you can come and discuss your situation with a visa advisor as soon as possible.

    Every CAS request will be assessed individually on a case by case basis. If we feel that there are any other factors which may affect your ability to follow your course of study, or you have breached any university or UKVI regulations, the university holds the right to refuse your CAS request.

Tier 4 application process (in the UK)

Tier 4 Application Flowchart - PDF 230.4 KB

This flowchart is designed to act as a summary of the steps involved in applying for further leave to remain under Tier 4 (General). It does not contain detailed information about the Tier 4 requirements, and it is only intended as an overview.

Tier 4 Online Application Form and Guidance

Tier 4 Application Form - This will take you to the UKVI website where you can complete the Tier 4 Online Application Form.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The health surcharge was introduced on 6 April 2015 and it applies to visa applications for courses that are more than 6 months long. It allows international students to access the National Health Service in the same way as permanent UK resident.

Cost: The health surcharge is £150 for Tier 4 students and £150 per dependant for each year of the visa granted.

How to pay: The health surcharge is incorporated into the online Tier 4 visa application form, once the form is completed the form will direct you to the page where you will need to pay the health surcharge. You should keep a copy of the confirmation email you receive which confirms the amount you have paid.

How the surcharge is calculated: The amount you need to pay is calculated based on the maximum period of time for which a visa could be granted, this includes the wrap up period granted at the end of your course. For example, where the maximum period is 6 month or less you will be required to pay £75.00, which is half the annual surcharge. If the maximum period goes beyond six months you will be required to pay the full yearly surcharge.

There are a limited number of exemptions to paying the health surcharge. You can read the full list of exemptions and further information about the health surcharge on the Home Office website.

Credibility Interviews for applications made in the UK

UKVI have also now introduced credibility interviews for those making a Tier 4 application in the UK, including Low risk nationals. The purpose of this interview is to ascertain your genuineness as a student. Therefore once you have made a Tier 4 application, you might be sent an email and/or a letter from UKVI asking you to attend an interview as part of the application process. You will be required to respond to the email to confirm your attendance. You should check your email (including the 'junk' folder) regularly as your application is likely to be refused if you are asked to attend an interview and you do not do so without providing a reasonable explanation.

The interviewer will confirm your name, date of birth and nationality and then ask you a fixed series of questions in English. Download our credibility interview guide - PDF 227.8 KB for an idea of the type of questions you may be asked. If there is anything which may affect your performance at the interview, such as ill health, it is important you make the officer aware of this at the beginning of the interview. This interview will be similar to the interview you would have had with International Office before a CAS was issued to you.

The Home Office will make a note of the answers you give them, this will then be used by the Caseworker to assess if you are a genuine student when the decision is made on your Tier 4 visa application.

Visa Refusals and Rejections

A refused application

Your visa application can be refused if you fail to meet the immigration requirements. For example, if you have not demonstrated that you have maintained the required level of funds, or if you submit a document which does not meet the policy guidance requirements.

In order for the Visa and Immigration Advisory Service to advise you, we would need to see a copy of the refusal notice. As soon as you receive a refusal you should send your refusal notice to visamonitoring@beds.ac.uk Please make sure you provide your name and student number in the subject heading of the email.

Whether you are a new or continuing student of University of Bedfordshire you should urgently seek immigration advice from us and drop in to see a Visa adviser at the earliest opportunity.

If you made an in-time application, i.e. your visa was still valid on the date of application, then you may still have legal status by virtue of Section 3C, in order for Section 3C leave to continue you would need to submit an Administrative Review within the timeframe stated on your refusal notice. An administrative review is a review of the application you submitted by a different Home Office official, usually no new evidence can be submitted in support of an administrative review so this is only likely to be successful if you believe you submitted all the correct documentation but the Home Office made a mistake in refusing you a visa. You must submit this before the deadline stated on the refusal notice in order for your stay in the UK to continue to be legal. If you are covered by Section 3C leave, Your stay in the UK will be legal until an Administrative Review decision is made.

If your initial application was made after your visa expired, you will have no legal rights to remain in the UK, however you are still allowed to submit an administrative review. In this instance please note that your time as an overstayer in the UK will start counting from the date your visa expired.

Penalties for overstaying in the UK

If you overstay in the UK by more than 28 days, any further applications made in the UK will be automatically refused. If you overstay by more than 90 days, you could be banned from making any further UK visa application in your country for 12 months. The 12 month ban will start from the day you enter your country.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is highly advisable that you come and discuss your case with a Visa and Immigration Advisor in International Office.

A rejected (invalid) application

In order for an application to be valid, it must:

  • be made on the correct form with all mandatory sections completed
  • include the correct fee
  • include photos in the correct format
  • include a passport or travel document
  • include a BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) where one has been issued.
  • Involve you enrolling your biometric within the specified timeframe.

Where an application is deemed invalid it will be returned unprocessed with an accompanying letter confirming that you have made an invalid application. It will be as if an application had never been made and, if your visa has already expired, this has serious implications for your immigration status and record.

If your application is returned invalid you should come and see a visa adviser in International Office for specific advice on your options (in particular whether to re-apply from within the UK or to leave and apply for entry clearance) as this can differ depending upon the expiry date of your visa and whether this has already passed. It is very important that you are fully-aware of all the options available to you and implications of your decision on how to proceed.

Any refusals and rejections of your visa may have consequences on your registration at the university, therefore it is very important you discuss your case with a visa advisor as soon as possible.

After receiving my visa

Now that you have your visa, there are a few more checks you should make to ensure there are no mistakes on your visa.

Please check our section about protecting your visa, in particular look out for information about:

  • How much leave a Tier 4 General student should be granted.
  • Updating your police registration certificate (if applicable) - you will need to go to the police station with your new visa to update them.

Dependants – Can they extend?

Detailed information as regards whether or not your dependants can apply with you is available on the UKCISA website


Short-term study visa


Introduction

From 24th April 2015, this category of visa replaced the Student Visitor visa.

When is a Short-term study visa an appropriate option?

A Short-term study visa can be a useful option for a non-EEA national coming to the UK for study of less than six months, perhaps for the following purposes:

  • for current students to take re-sit examinations or retake units which will be completed within 6 months.
  • for students coming to University of Bedfordshire to attend the Summer School.
  • For PhD students attending viva or requiring to come back to the UK to submit corrections.

You must be at least 18 years old, and have the financial resources to accommodate and maintain yourself during the visit. If you are under 18, you must have also:

  • made arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK.
  • have permission from your parent or guardian to stay in the UK.
For more information about this contact the Immigration and Visa Advisory team.

What can you do on the Short-term study visa?

You can:

  • Do a short course of study in the UK, such as an English language course or a training course
  • Do a short period of research as part of a degree course if you are studying abroad
  • Attend a PhD viva or return to submit thesis corrections
  • Re-sit an examination or come to do referrals
  • Retake units which will take less than 6 months to complete
  • Study a full-time English language course of more than 6 months using an extended 11 month short–term student visa.
  • You can study full time or part time and the course does not need to lead to a qualification
  • You are not entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service (except in an emergency at Accident and Emergency in a hospital), if you apply for the 11 month visa you will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge when you apply for the visa, this will then entitle you to free treatment from the NHS.
  • Enrol on a full-time course of study longer than 6 months or 11 months (if you are coming to study English Language only)

What are the limitations of Short-term study visa?

It is not possible to:

  • Work paid or unpaid (including on a work placement or work experience) or carry out any business
  • Apply to extend your Short-term study leave in the UK
  • Apply to switch into another visa category from inside the UK
  • Bring family members (‘dependants’) with you - they must apply separately
  • Intend to stay beyond the course of study end date given in the visa application (although your visa may be valid for longer)

Length of Leave (visa) granted and the time you spend in the UK? 

You will usually be granted 6 months, except where you are issued an extended 11 month visa for an English Language course. If your intended visit period is less than 6 months and you are granted a visa for 6 months you should not spend longer in the UK than the duration of your course - you must intend to leave at the end of your period of study or the end of the 6 / 11 months, whichever is sooner. Staying in the UK beyond the visit date stated in your original visa application could be viewed by the Home Office as a breach of visa conditions and may lead to future visa applications being refused.

Is a Short-term study visa a multiple entry visa?

A Short-term Student visa that is applied from overseas before you travel (Entry Clearance) is usually a multiple entry visa, whereas a Short-term Student visa issued at the port of entry to the UK (available only to non-visa nationals, check the Home Office website before you travel) is a single entry visa. Your visa will state whether or not your visa is multiple or single entry.

What documents do I need to apply for a Short-term study visa?

  • Passport sized photo (see guidance)
  • A Short-term study Letter from the University of Bedfordshire confirming details of the studies you will be doing whilst on Short Term study visa.
  • Evidence of your travel and accommodation plans (although it is not necessarily advised that you pay for your accommodation and travel prior to obtaining your visa)
  • You need to show that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your study or at the end of the 6 months whichever is sooner. We recommend that you include details of onward and return flights. It may also be helpful to provide evidence of other ties that you have in your home country, such as family, property or other assets.
  • You should be able to convince the entry clearance officer that you are genuinely seeking to enter as a Short term student.

Bank statements and evidence of income:

You need to show that you have sufficient funds available to support yourself during your visit to the UK. This should include evidence of money to pay for: course fees, accommodation, daily subsistence (meals, etc), onward and return flights. There is no set amount which the Home Office expect you to show for your living costs, but you can use the Tier 4 maintenance requirement as guide only, which is about £1015.00 per month for the number of months you will be here. Money can be in an account other than the students, but you should explain the relationship and explain why this person is supporting you and the source of their income.

Additionally you may also be required to provide:

  • Evidence of previous qualifications (official certificates/transcripts)
  • Evidence of English Language ability (e.g: IELTS) - if applicable
  • Evidence of marital status (unless single)
  • If you are applying in a country where you are not a national, evidence of your immigration status there
  • If you are being financially supported by someone else (eg: parents), you can provide evidence of their finances to show that you can maintain and accommodate yourself whilst in the UK

You will need to submit original documents with your visa application. If any documents are not in English, you will need to provide an official, verifiable translation.

How do I obtain a Short-term study visa support letter from the University of Bedfordshire? 

You should email your request to visaadvice@beds.ac.uk If you are a PhD student you should contact RGS@beds.ac.uk

How do I apply for a Short-term study visa? 

Information on how to apply for Short-term study visa is available at www.gov.uk/study-visit-visa/overview. Read the on screen instructions to complete the online form.

What do I have to show to the University when I arrive to register on a Short-term study visa?

If you have a Short-term study visa, when you come to register we will be looking for confirmation that you hold an appropriate visa which permits studying. You should bring your passport with you for staff to verify your immigration status.


If you are unsure about which visa is the most appropriate for you then please contact the Visa & Immigration Advisory Team at visaadvice@beds.ac.uk, who will be able to help you.

You should ensure that a Short-term Student Visa is the most appropriate visa type for your circumstances to avoid any problems.

Please note you can NOT extend or apply to transfer to a Tier 4 Visa within the UK from a Short-term Student Visa.

For information from the UK immigration authorities about short-term students, please read the Home Office information for applicants. You can also read the modernised guidance on short-term students that UKVI give to their own staff.


FAQ


Introduction

If you have a non-Tier 4 visa/visas for another institution, or if your visa application is pending, there are various processes which you will need to follow as per UKV&I regulations. The following FAQs should help answer your questions.

Studying at University of Bedfordshire with non-Tier 4 visa / Tier 4 visa for another institution/whilst visa application is pending


1)  I am already in the UK on a Tier 4 visa.  Can I use that to study at Bedfordshire?


If you have been studying in the UK on a Tier 4 visa at a different institution and are now wishing to come to study at the University of Bedfordshire, you will be required to apply for a new Tier 4 visa. We will thoroughly assess your application, and you will only be issued a CAS if we believe that you meet the requirements of a successful Tier 4 application.

We will also advise you whether or not you can apply from within the UK. If your Tier 4 application is successful you will be issued a visa specifically to permit study at the University of Bedfordshire. This is because each Tier 4 visa is issued under a particular institution's sponsorship and you can almost always only study at the particular institution that is sponsoring your current visa. For more information about applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa, please see the 'General Information about Applying for a Tier 4 Visa' section.

2) I am already in the UK on a non-Tier 4 visa.  Can I apply for a Tier 4 visa under the University of Bedfordshire's sponsorship from within the UK?

If you are in the UK on a non-Tier 4 visa you may need to apply for a Tier 4 visa under the University of Bedfordshire's sponsorship before you can join your intended course of study. Once you have a conditional offer letter our visa team can advise you accordingly.

3) I am already in the UK and have a CAS from the University of Bedfordshire.  If I apply for my Tier 4 (General) visa under University of Bedfordshire's sponsorship, can I register?  


If you are already in the UK with valid leave to remain under a category which allows you to switch to Tier 4 in the UK (see Question 2, above), you may, at your own risk, register with the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of having applied for a visa under our sponsorship, before obtaining a decision concerning your visa application.

You will need to prove that you have applied for your visa whilst you had valid leave to remain. The documents the University of Bedfordshire accepts as valid proof of an in-time Tier 4 visa application consists of:

1) A copy of your application Documents Checklist which you will be prompted to print out after you complete the tier 4 online application.

and;

2) Your transaction confirmation email, showing that you have paid for your visa application

and;

3) Your NHS surcharge payment confirmation email

and;

4) Post office receipt showing the full address where your application has been posted to.

The first three documents listed above must be dated before your previous visa expired to constitute evidence of an in-time application. We will also require evidence that your supporting documents have been correctly posted to the address stated on the second page of the Document Checklist within 15 working days of your application being submitted online.

You will be required to agree to certain conditions in order to be registered at the University of Bedfordshire before you obtain your visa.

The International Office will closely monitor the status of anyone who registers without having obtained a visa. In order to assist us with this process, you must ensure that you provide the International Office with copies of all correspondence received from the UKVI, such as an acknowledgement letter or biometric appointment letter as well as your biometric appointment receipts. You can either email us scanned copies to visamonitoring@beds.ac.uk or bring the original documents to the International Office.  It is also essential that you report to the International Office as soon as you receive your Tier 4 visa or any other decision concerning your visa application, including a visa refusal or a letter telling you your application is deemed invalid. Failure to do so will lead to your removal from the University register.

If you do decide to register on the basis of having a visa application pending, but your application for a visa is refused, you could be removed from the University register, may have to return to your home country, and you may not be eligible for a full refund.

4) Can I register to study at the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of my Tier 1 or Tier 2 work visa?

You may register on a course at Bedfordshire on the basis of a work visa, as long as your main purpose of being in the UK remains to work, and not to study. If the main purpose of your stay does change from work to study, you may well be in breach of the conditions of your visa.  If your visa does not cover the full duration of your proposed course you will be encouraged to apply for a Tier 4 visa before being able to register at the University. In some cases, your work visa may not allow you to transfer to a Tier 4 visa whilst remaining in the UK. If this is the case, you will need to return to your home country and apply for a Tier 4 visa from there before you are permitted to join your course of study.  If you are on a Tier 2 visa we may ask you to provide a letter from your employer confirming your continued employment and that they are happy for you to study alongside the employment. We may also need to confirm with UKVI that they are happy for us to register you with us.

5)  Can I register to study at the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of my standard visitor visa?

A maximum of 30 days study is permitted on the Standard Visitor visa. However, the study must be incidental to the reason you are travelling to the UK. Therefore, in most cases you will not be eligible to study in the UK on the basis of a visitor visa.  
You should also be aware that it is not possible to switch from a Visitor visa to a Tier 4 (General) student visa whilst in the UK. As such, you will have to return to your home country to apply for a new visa under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System, and obtain your visa, before you can return to the UK and register for a place at the University of Bedfordshire. In the case where an applicant is required to return to their home country before they can apply for their visa, the University of Bedfordshire will require evidence of having returned home before a CAS is issued.    

6) Can I register to study at the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of my Student Visitor or Prospective Student visa?

Student Visitor visas are only issued for short courses or for students returning to complete less than 6 months of a current course. The University of Bedfordshire will only permit registration on the basis of a Student Visitor visa if the visa was issued for the purpose of coming to study at Bedfordshire.

You should also be aware that it is not possible to switch from a Student Visitor visa to a Tier 4 student visa whilst in the UK. You will need to return to your home country to apply for a new visa under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System and obtain your visa, before you can re-enter the UK and register for a place at the University of Bedfordshire. As such, a condition of your offer would be to provide evidence of return to your home country before the University would issue you a CAS. Valid evidence will take the form of a scanned copy of the entry stamp in your passport proving your entry to your home country, and a copy of the boarding pass for your flight home.

7)  Can I register to study at Bedfordshire on the basis of my Dependant or Spouse visa?

The conditions of your leave to remain in the UK on a Dependant or Spouse visa do allow you to study, both full-time and part-time. As such, it may be possible for you to register at the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of holding one of these visas.
However, you must be aware that if the person on whom you are deemed to be dependent leaves the UK, or if your relationship ends, you will no longer have leave to remain in the UK and you will need to suspend your studies until you gain another visa which renders you eligible to remain in the UK as a student. In some cases, this will involve returning to your home country and re-applying from there.  Please be aware that if you are studying part-time and you are required to apply for a Tier 4 visa, you will not be able to continue studying part-time. This is because part-time study is not permitted under the conditions of being in the UK on a Tier 4 visa.  Please also note that if your Dependant or Spouse visa does not cover you for the full length of your course you may have to apply for a Tier 4 visa either prior to commencing your course or in the middle of the course itself. If the University believes that the need to apply for a Tier 4 visa will disrupt your studies, you may not be able to register for, or continue with, your course until you have made the Tier 4 application.

For these reasons, it is generally recommended that you convert to a Tier 4 visa before registering for a course at the University of Bedfordshire. This will be discussed with you when you apply to study at Bedfordshire.

Continuing with your studies when visa is refused or returned as invalid

1)  If I have registered for my course of study at Bedfordshire on the basis of having applied for a visa and the visa gets refused, can I continue with my studies?

If you have registered at the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of having applied for a Tier 4 visa and your visa application is refused you must tell the International Office immediately.

If your notification of refusal does not state that you have alternative leave to remain that permits you to study at Bedfordshire, you may need to interrupt your studies and apply for a visa to return to study at a later date.

The Visa and Immigration Advisory Service in the International Office will help you to make sense of your visa refusal letter, and will be able to advise you of how to interrupt your studies and apply for a new visa to allow you to return to study with as little disruption as possible. In some circumstances you will not need to leave the UK and you may only have to interrupt your studies for a very short period. In order to find out whether you have this option, you must bring your refusal to the International Office as soon as you receive it.

If the Home Office do consider you to have leave to remain in the UK, despite your visa application being refused, this will be mentioned on your refusal letter. This will only occur when the leave to remain you had when you applied for your Tier 4 visa has not expired and is still considered valid. If the refusal letter does state that you have valid leave to remain in the UK despite being refused your Tier 4 visa, you must bring the letter to the International Office where you will be advised of your options and receive further advice about continuing your studies at Bedfordshire. .

2) Can I continue with my studies if I have submitted an Administrative Review.

If you submit a valid Administrative review within the time limit, you are allowed to continue with your studies whilst decision is pending, as long as your initial visa application was made in time. Please note that you are required to provide the University's International Office with evidence of submitting the Administrative Review in order to remain on the University register. You will also need to provide the University with copies of all correspondence received concerning your appeal.

The University of Bedfordshire only endorses appealing against a refusal decision if you have valid grounds for appealing, which usually requires the reason provided for the refusal to be factually incorrect. The University strongly recommends seeking advice from an authorised body before submitting an administrative review against a visa refusal. You should seek this advice from the International Office at the University of Bedfordshire. You may also wish to consult an OISC regulated organisation, or an immigration solicitor recommended by the ILPA.

3)  If I have registered for my course of study at Bedfordshire on the basis of having applied for a visa and the visa application gets returned as invalid, can I continue with my studies?

If you are registered at the University of Bedfordshire on the basis of having a visa application pending and the application is returned as invalid, you must report this to the International Office immediately. Each student's visa status is closely monitored and failure to do so will result in your removal from the University register.
The Visa and Immigration Advisory Service in the International Office will discuss your options with you. It is particularly important to discuss your options if your visa application has been returned invalid after your visa expiry date. You may need to resubmit your visa application, and/or you may need to interrupt your studies and apply for the visa to return at a later date. If this is the case, the Visa and Immigration Advisory Service in the International Office will be able to advise you of how to do this with as little disruption as possible.

Please note that an application being returned as invalid is different from a visa refusal. It indicates that the UKVI are dissatisfied with the application package to the extent that they will not even consider your visa application. The document you receive telling you that the application has been considered invalid will also indicate why it was considered invalid. It will usually be because important documents are missing from the application, or because satisfactory payment has not been made for the visa application.  If this occurs, you will be viewed by the UKVI as having made no application for a visa. Due to this fact, and so that you can be confident you will not experience the same outcome again or be refused, it is highly recommended that you seek advice before re-submitting your application, from the International Office at the University of Bedfordshire. You may also wish to consult an OISC regulated organisation or adviser, or a solicitor who can provide specialist immigration advice, such as those recommended by the ILPA or a UK immigration specialist in your country of residence.

If, after consultation with the International Office, it is decided that you should submit a fresh application, you should ensure that you declare in your new application that you had previously applied for a visa but that the application was returned as invalid.

Deferring your Studies Prior to Registration

Can I defer my studies to another intake once I have arrived in the UK, but have not yet registered as a student at Bedfordshire?


If you have travelled to the UK on a visa issued on the basis of a CAS provided by the University of Bedfordshire, you may be allowed to defer your studies, but only in exceptional circumstances. The University will withdraw our sponsorship of you with the UKVI. You must return to your home country and provide proof to us that you have done so. The UKVI will be aware that you must return home, and they will know whether you have done so by means of your passport record.  

To return to the UK, you will be required to obtain a new visa, based on a new CAS, at a later date. It cannot be guaranteed that you will be successful in your second visa application. Therefore, we do not recommend you undertaking this process if it can be avoided.

If you have any reason to believe you will not be able to start your studies when you reach the UK, you should not travel.

Repeats, Referrals and your visa

What must I do if I have to repeat a module, or have a referral?

If the need to repeat a module or sit a referral will not result in you having a gap in your studies of 60 days of term time or more then you may remain in the UK to complete your studies. However, if the need to repeat has caused your course length to be extended, you may be required to apply for a new visa to extend your leave to remain in the UK under Tier 4.

If you think you may require a visa extension, you should come to the International Office and speak to a member of the Visa and Immigration Advisory Service as soon as you find out about your re-sit or retake unit so that you can discuss your visa options well in advance. They will review your academic and visa situation and advise you concerning any immigration rules that may affect you.
Bedfordshire University

International» International student support» Visas & immigration guidance» Visas for study