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Tier 4 visa information

Making a Tier 4 visa application

In order to a make successful visa application you should consider the following:

  • Read the Tier 4 Policy Guidance which is available on the following website: Guidance on application for UK visa as Tier 4 student - GOV.UK
  • Ensure that you supply the correct supporting documents in your application.
  • Ensure that you have maintained the required amount of funds for 28 days before making the visa application
  • Ensure that complete the application form carefully
  • If applicable, be prepared for a credibility interview and try and answer the questions as clearly and honestly as possible.
Making a Tier 4 visa application from inside the UK

You can make a Tier 4 leave to remain visa application from inside the UK if you currently have valid immigration permission in one of the categories listed below:

  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 4 (General)
  • Tier 4 (child)

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa application to extend – including any children who have turned 18 during your stay.

Although you will submit your visa application online, you will need to post your documents to UKVI (we recommend using Recorded Delivery). Alternatively, you may prefer to make an in-person (premium) appointment at a UKVI Public Enquiry Office. This is the fastest way to apply. It is very important that you allow enough time to apply for your visa to enable you to register for your course in time.

You must submit the visa application before your visa expires. If your visa expires more than 28 days before the start of your new course you will have to return home and apply from your home country.

Under the current immigration rules you can only apply to extend your Tier 4 visa from inside the UK if you have successfully completed the course for which your current Tier 4 visa was issued. If not, then you have to leave the UK and submit your visa application from your home country.

Please note that the same rule applies if you have needed to change courses during your time studying in the UK and need to extend your Tier 4 visa.

Making a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK

If you are applying to make a Tier 4 visa application from outside the UK please refer to the Gov.uk website. This will give you the most updated information as to how and where to apply according to your home country.

When you make a visa application from outside the UK please ensure that you have prepared all the relevant documentation to take to your visa appointment.

You can send your documents to the UKVI Visas and Compliance Officer to check beforehand. Please send your documents to studentvisas@stmarys.ac.uk

Please use this email address for any questions and assistance regarding the visa application.

You cannot apply for your visa more than three months before the start of the course.

Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

As part of the visa application, you will need to achieve 40 points to be successful. 30 points will be awarded for having a valid CAS and 10 points will be awarded for Maintenance.

You will be sent a CAS once your offer has been made unconditional. This will happen once your application has been approved and screened by the Admissions Team:

  • £2,000 deposit has been paid
  • You have not studied in the UK beyond the 5 year cap / or the course you hold an offer for will not take you over the limit
  • The course you applied for demonstrates academic progression from the course you have previously studied in the UK

Once we have received the necessary information the UKVI Compliance and Visas Advisor will email you the CAS.

When completing the visa application form please ensure that you match all the information with what is provided with your CAS. UKVI will reject any incomplete or incorrect visa applications. This will also cause a delay in the visa processing.

Please note that we will not issue you a CAS if there will not be enough time for you to make the Tier 4 visa application. You must ensure that you meet the conditions of your of offer and prepare the documents in time.

You will not need to submit a hard copy of the CAS with your application as UKVI will be able to view this electronically.

 All the information regarding your course will be entered onto the CAS. These will be things such as the course start dates, academic course level and all the qualifications we would have used as the basis of your offer.

You must ensure that you submit all the original documentation listed on the CAS when you apply for the visa application. Sending photocopies or non-certified documents may result in getting a visa refusal.

A CAS expires if it is not used within six months of being issued. A CAS can only be used in a visa application up to three months before the course start date.

Documents required for the Tier 4 visa information

Once you have been given a CAS you will need to ensure that you prepare the following documentation:

  • Academic transcript
  • English Language certificate
  • Bank statements to show your maintenance requirements. The funds must be held in the account for 28 consecutive days before making the visa application.
  • Birth certificate and a letter of authorisation (this is only if you are planning to use your parents bank statements)
  • A valid passport
  • 2 passport sized photographs (this need to have been taken in the last 6 months)
  • Sponsorship letter (this is if you are being sponsored)
  • Tuberculosis test (this is if you are from a country that requires you to take the test.)
  • Documents that are not in English: if you planning to submit any documents that are not in English you must ensure that the document is translated by a certified translator

On 15th June 2018 the UK government announced some changes for students entering the country to attend university:

  1. If you are an applicant from China, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Macau, the Maldives or Serbia, you can now apply for a visa more easily. You no longer need to submit evidence that you meet maintenance fund requirements, or submit evidence of your previous qualifications or your English language ability as part of your visa application. It is important to note that you still need to have this evidence available as you could be asked for it separately. 

    If you are from Oman, you do now need to submit this information when applying for your Tier 4 visa:  visit this page for guidance.

    If you are from elsewhere,  check to see if your country is on this list. If your country appears on this list, then you do not need to submit evidence that you meet maintenance fund requirements or submit evidence of your previous qualifications or your English language ability. It is important to note though that you still need to have this evidence available as you could be asked for it separately.  
  2. If you are coming to the UK to study on a postgraduate course lasting nine months or more, you are now able to bring dependents, such as children, with you. Before now, this was only available for students on courses of 12 months or more.
  3. If you have a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you will now be able to study or work abroad as part of your UK degree. Before now, students from outside the UK had to ask for special permission to do this. Even if you have already started your course in the UK, you can now add a study or work abroad programme to your course before applying for further leave to remain.

If you would like to learn more about visa requirements for studying in the UK, and more, visit the UKCISA website.

Helpful links
Maintenance requirements for the visa application

One of the major parts of the visa application is the maintenance requirement. You are awarded 10 points on the visa application for the financial side of things.

The maintenance requirement is to evidence that you have enough money to support your stay in the UK. You will need to demonstrate that the funds are available to cover your tuition fees (less what you would have already paid to St Mary’s University) and also extra £1265 x 9 = £11,385 additional to cover your living costs.

If you are studying a course that is 9 months or longer in duration you must ensure that you show £11,385. Please note that this amount is in addition to the tuition fees. These funds must be in your account for 28 consecutive days before making the visa application.

Acceptable proof of funds

  • Cash funds in a bank account in your name (this can also be in savings). The money needs to be in your account for 28 consecutive days and the evidence that you provide must not be more than 31 days old at the point of the application.
  • Money held in your parents account. (Please note that you will need also need to submit extra documents such as a letter of authorisation and your original birth certificate)
  • Letter from your financial sponsor / Government body
  • Bank Loan letter
  • Educational Loan letter  (provided by the bank)

If the funds that are looking to use are in another currency please ensure that you can convert this to the required amount in UK currency. UKVI uses the currency converter tool at Oanda to check the currency rates.

You must ensure that you check the documentation very carefully to ensure that you can meet the maintenance requirements. Common UKVI refusals are normally due to the incorrect funds maintained in bank accounts and these documents are submitted to meet these requirements. 

Biometric Residence Permit and 30-day entry vignette visa

When you make a Tier 4 visa application from outside the UK for leave to enter for 6 months or more you will be issued with a 30 day entry clearance visa. This will be placed in your passport giving you 30 days within the date on the vignette for you to enter the UK.

The date given on the vignette will be around the date you said that you will be arriving in the UK on the visa application. If you do not enter by this date you may have apply again and give a new arrival date to the Home Office.

Once your visa application has been decided you will be given back your supporting documents alongside a decision letter from the Home Office and advised to collect your Biometric Resident Permit (BRP). This is a plastic card that acts as a visa for the length of your course.

You will need to present this at Registration in order for you to register. You will not be allowed to register using jus the temporary entry clearance vignette.

Where can I collect my BRP?

St Marys University has now arranged for all Biometric Resident Permits to be sent to the University. This is designed to make it easier for you and your dependants to have their Biometric Resident Permits sent to us.

Please remember to send the UKVI Compliance and Visas Advisor the names if your dependants (if you are travelling with them) so that we can keep them for you together.

In order to have your BRP sent to the University when completing the visa application form you will need to enter our Alternative Collection Code (ACL) which will be given to you when you are issued with a CAS. You will then collect your BRP from the UKVI Compliance and Visas Advisor within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

You will need to bring your passport and the letter that UKVI will give you to confirm your BRP collection. This is also called your ‘Home Office decision letter’.

We recommend that you select this option, particularly if you intend to stay in our ‘on campus’ accommodation or live near the University. This will enable you to collect your BRP her before you go to register.

Collecting your BRP from the Post Office

If you like, you can also request to have your BRP sent to a local post Office. Here you will need to physically input the UK postcode of the address of where you will be staying. If you visa application is successful, you will be given instructions of the Post Office you selected.

Please note it is your responsibility to ensure that you track and collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

You will need to have collected your BRP before being able to register for the course.

Creditability interviews

UKVI sometimes can invite you to do a credibility interview as part of the application process. This can be inside the UK or outside the UK. This interview will be designed to ensure that you are a genuine student and that your English Language is up to the required level to do the course.

If you are invited to attend an interview this may be because the caseworker requires further information from you in order to process and / or make a decision on your visa application.

The type of questions that you may be asked at the interview?

If you are asked to attend an interview you must make sure that you can understand and answers the questions being asked honestly and clearly. The questions that you may be asked  will cover the following areas:

Your intentions of study in the UK

You should be able to answer questions regarding your course and explain how you made the decision to study the course at St Mary’s University. Before attending the interview please ensure that you know why you have chosen the specific course. Be prepared to answer why you could not do study this course in your home country. You may also be asked questions about the content and structure of the course.

Your previous education history

Here you may be asked about what you have been studying previously or whether the course you are looking to study meets your career aspirations in the future. If there are gaps between your periods of study you should be able to explain this clearly.

Whether you know the progression routes of the course you are intending on studying

You need to think about what you intend to do once you have completed the course at St Mary’s University and how the course may support your future career plans. You will need to explain this properly.

Your financial circumstances/ documents that you submitted

Studying in the UK is costly therefore you may be asked you have decided to study in London in comparison to your home country. Although you would have supplied financial information / documents in your visa application you may still have to justify how you intend to support yourself the next academic year.

The interviewer will also be checking your ability to converse in English, regardless of the qualifications that you may hold.

Please note: you will not be allowed to use an interpreter

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Every national that requires a visa will now need to pay an additional fee called the Immigration Health Surcharge. The fee was introduced in April 2015 and does increase the overall cost of making a visa application. The money for this surcharge contributes to the NHS (National Health Service). The surcharge enables you to receive free medical care whilst in the UK.

The fee for Tier4 visa applications is £150 for each year that your visa covers.

Any dependant visa application is subject to the same charge. For example, if you apply for a visa to study a course that is 3 years long the IHS that you would pay would be £450.

All students who apply for a visa to study a course that is six months or more in duration will be charged. Any student looking to come to study for a course that is less than six months will not be charged.

British Overseas Territories Citizens who are resident in the Falkland Islands are exempt.

Payment is automatically requested at the end of your visa application. If for some reason your visa is refused you will be refunded the fee amount that you paid for the IHS.

Visa refusals

If the Caseworker is not happy with your submissions they may refuse your visa application. Students are sometimes refused because they fail to demonstrate that they genuinely intend to study in the UK.

What to do if you receive a refusal?

If your visa application is refused you will receive this notice in writing from UKVI. The first thing you must do is carefully read this letter in order to understand the reasons given for the refusal.

You must then inform the UKVI Visas and Compliance Adviser and email a copy of the refusal. The UKVI Visas and Compliance Advisor will then advise you of what options you have.

The options may include:

Submitting a new Tier 4 visa application

If the reasons for the refusal are valid and you still want to study at St Mary’s University you may be able to submit a new Tier 4 visa application. The will require getting a new CAS. (You must ensure that you do not repeat any errors or omissions in the second application.) A second application will only be suggested if we believe that it will be successful and that there is enough time for you to make the visa application.

If your visa application for further leave in the UK has been refused, you may only be able to make a new visa application provided you still have valid leave and that you have not ‘overstayed’.

You will need to declare any previous refusals in the new visa application.

Administrative Review

If you have reason to believe that the UKVI have incorrectly refused your application you can also submit an administrative review application. This means that your visa application can be reconsidered by UKVI. If a mistake is encountered there is a possibility of the decision being reversed and your visa granted.

Instructions on how to submit an Administrative Review application will be supplied in the visa refusal letter.

If you are not in a position to make another visa application or submit an administrative review you may need to defer or withdraw your application to St Mary’s University.