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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 :
PLEASE NOTE: ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED AT ALL TIMES.
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:
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:
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.
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 applicable – Certain 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 email@example.com 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:
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.
Please see our sample financial documents - PDF 1.2 MB for examples of what you will need to provide.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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:
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:
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:
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).
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 original transcript of results. Each document must be the original (not a copy) and must clearly show
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
In order to establish if you are satisfactorily progressing on your course we will need to consider the following:
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.
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.
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 Application Form - This will take you to the UKVI website where you can complete the Tier 4 Online Application Form.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
In order for an application to be valid, it must:
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.
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:
Detailed information as regards whether or not your dependants can apply with you is available on the UKCISA website
From 24th April 2015, this category of visa replaced the Student Visitor visa.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 email@example.com, 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.
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.
2) Your transaction confirmation email, showing that you have paid for your visa application
3) Your NHS surcharge payment confirmation email
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.