Who needs a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK?
You will normally need a Tier 4 visa if you are a non-EEA national and:
- you are coming to St Mary’s for more than six months to study on one of our full time degree programmes
- you are coming to St Mary’s on the Study Abroad Programme for one or two semesters and you will be undertaking a work placement or wish to work/volunteer whilst you study
'Low Risk' applicants
Some nationalities are considered by UKVI as "low-risk" and will not normally need to provide all the supporting documents with their visa application. However, they may still ask for the documents, and have the right to refuse your visa application if you do not have them, therefore you should prepare the documents as if you were presenting them with your application.
A full list of low risk nationalities is available on the gov.uk website.
Applying from within the UK
If you are applying from inside the UK applications can be made online and your documents are sent by post. We recommend using special delivery to ensure your documents can be tracked. Once UKVI have received your documents, you will receive a letter from them instructing you to enrol your fingerprints and facial image (known as 'biometric information') at a Post Office branch. The cost of this service is £448.
Alternatively the Premium Service allows you to apply online, then submit your documents in person and a decision is normally made the same day. The cost of this service is £948.
Applying from overseas
If you are applying from outside the UK applications can be made online, and you will need to enrol your fingerprints and facial image (known as 'biometric information') at a visa application centre. UKVI charge an application fee of £328 paid as the equivalent in your local currency.
Changes to how the Tier 4 visa is issued outside of the UK
As of November 2015 Twickenham is classed as inner London, and as such the monthly maintenance allowance has increased to £1,265 per month, up to a maximum of nine months. The maintenance requirement for dependants has increased to £845 per month up to a maximum of nine months. The lower 'established presence' level of maintenance costs have been abolished for all Tier 4 (General) applicants.
As of March 2015 there have been changes in the way visas are issued to applicants coming to the UK for more than six months.
Applicants who apply for their visa outside of the UK are no longer issued with their Tier 4 visa in their passport, but are now be issued with a short term vignette (visa sticker) which allows 30 days entry to the UK.
Applicants then need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from a nominated Post Office upon arrival to the UK. The BRP contains the information about your full conditions of stay in the UK.
More information can be found on the Gov.uk website.
You will need to submit original documents of:
- Academic transcript/certificate
- Proof of English language (if applicable)
- Proof of the necessary funds (money) in the form of a recent bank statement showing the money in your account for 28 consecutive days. For a more detailed explanation please refer to the Financial Requirements section below.
- Passport and Current UK visa (if appropriate)
- Two passport photographs: in colour, no obstructions and a neutral expression
- Documents not in English: if any of your documents (e.g. transcript or bank statements) are not in English, you must also provide a certified translation. You must provide the translator's credentials, along with their official confirmation that the translation is accurate
- Tuberculosis test results (if you're from a country where you have to take the test)
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Before you can apply for a Tier 4 visa you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is a unique identification number that is generated once St Mary's sends information about your programme of study to the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
A CAS can only be issued if:
- The offer of a place of study is unconditional and you have accepted this offer
- £2,000 deposit has been paid (does not apply to Study Abroad students)
- You have not studied in the UK beyond the five year cap and/or the course you hold an offer for will not take you over the limit
- The course you have applied to study at St Mary’s demonstrates academic progression from the course(s) you have previously studied in the UK.
If your offer is conditional, we will require documents which confirm you have met your conditions before we can issue your CAS.
We will also require copies of the following:
- The ID page from your passport
- Your most recent academic transcript
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Evidence you have sufficient money for tuition and living costs (see information below)
Once we have received the necessary information, St Mary's will email you your CAS. It is your responsibility to check the information is correct, it is important you let us know if there are any errors. You should use the CAS information to complete the Tier 4 visa application (available on the UKVI website).
When completing the application form be sure to match all information with what we provided with your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). UKVI will reject any incomplete or incorrect applications.
Please note: You can only apply for a visa three months before the start of your course. We will therefore, only issue your CAS three months before the start of the course.