Applying overseas (Entry Clearance)
How to apply from overseas (Entry Clearance)
The Entry Clearance Tier 4 visa application is located at https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/. When completing the Tier 4 application form, Please use our detailed Entry Clearance application guide (see ‘Quick links’ on the right hand side of this page) which provides step-by-step guidance with screenshots to help you complete the form.
When applying from your home country which is outside the UK to start a new course, you cannot submit your application more than three months before your course is due to start. You are advised to check the Home office website for more details. In some countries, applications are processed by the British Embassy/Consulate and in others, applications are outsourced and processed by a Visa Application Centre.
Exact procedures and processing times may vary so you are advised to check this carefully with the organisation who will be processing your application. You must ensure that you have sufficient time to secure your visa and travel to the UK in time for the start of your course. If the Entry Clearance post conclude that their processing time will not allow for you to receive your visa before your course is due to start, your application may be refused.
The University has staff members based in several countries around the world who may be able to provide you with assistance.
Important changes to ways visas are issued when applied from overseas
From March 2015, the Home Office have introduced a new process for the receipt of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) relating to applications made overseas. This means you are expected to arrive in the UK before the expiry date of your temporary travel visa to collect your BRP card. If this is going to be a problem for you, for example, because you are a continuing student currently in a study-abroad year, you should contact Immigration Service for further advice before making your visa application.
What type of Tier 4 visa should I select on my application form?
Select the option ‘Apply for Myself’
For ‘Reason for Visit’, select Study
For ‘Visa Type’, select PBS Tier 4 Student
You will then need to select the correct Visa Sub Type:
- Tier 4 (General) Student if you will be self or family funded, otherwise privately funded or funded by a student loan, or if you are in receipt of a scholarship from the University;
- Tier 4 (General) (Sponsored) Student if you are going to be funded by an “official financial sponsor”, such as the UK government, your home government (though this does not include student loans), the British Council or any international organisation or international company (whether fully sponsored or partially sponsored);
- Tier 4 (Scholarship) Student ONLY if you are the holder of a Chevening Scholarship or Fellowship, a British Marshall Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship or a Commmonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.
How much money do I need when preparing financial evidence?
Your offer email will state how much are the course fees. The same information will be in your CAS when you receive it. For most students whose course is longer than 9 months, for living costs you will need £1015x 9 = £9135 (unless you are applying for Doctorate Extension Scheme and qualify for ‘established presence’). Please note the UKVI calculates any part month as one month (for example, if your course starts on 20 January and ends on 20 March, you should prepare 3 months of maintenance because it involves 3 calendar months). This means most of the students will be expected to evidence £1,015×9 months =£9,135 of living costs in addition to course fees due.
So, the total amount you need to prepare can be worked out using this formula:
Course fees due in your CAS – any fees/deposits already paid to the University in your CAS – any accommodation fees already paid to the university (up to £1265) in your CAS + living cost (£1015x number of calendar months of studies, up to £9135)
What do I need for my Tier 4 (General) student visa application?
- Complete the online application form via https://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa
- Appropriate fee for visa application (£322 per student)*
- The appropriate fee for the Immigration Health Surcharge (£150 per applicant, per year of study, to be paid online at the point of submitting the visa application)
- CAS (to be obtained from either Admissions or Immigration Service) – you are not required to submit a hard copy CAS but if asked by a Visa Application Centre, a print-out of the email from the University which contains your CAS number should suffice
- Passport(s) – current passport, and previous passports if you have used them to travel to the UK
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (if you have previously lived in UK and currently hold a BRP card)
- 1 passport photo (refer to the Home Office photo guidance- remember it must be taken in the last month)
Police Registration Certificate (if you have previously studied in the UK and is required to register wih the police as a visa condition for that period of study)
- TB Certificate (if applicable) (also refer to more specific information if you have recently studied in the UK)
- Financial evidence confirming you have the required funds for course fees and maintenance** (not required for eligible low risk nationalities) (see details set out in Paragraph 181-194, 208-218 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance, and some frequently asked questions about how to evidence money required).
- Evidence of official financial sponsorship (if using this as evidence of funds) (See definition of ‘official financial sponsor’ in Paragraph 199, and how to evidence official financial sponsorship in Paragraph 205-207 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance). Please note that in most cases, sponsorship by family or relatives are not considered as ‘official financial sponsorship’. If the official sponsor is an international company, the best way to evidence this is to provide print-outs from a website, or a letter including a web-link, which shows contact details for offices in more than one country.
- Official financial sponsor’s consent to complete studies (if you have been financially sponsored over the last 12 months to study a course in the UK) (see details set out in Paragraph 47-50 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance)
Your academic qualification: original certificate OR transcripts (confirming the award) as specified in the ‘Evidence used to obtain offer’ section of your CAS (not required for eligible low risk nationalities). Your certificate or transcript must meet the Home Office requirement (see details set out in Paragraph 146 (145-153) of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance). If you have an IB (online award) or have taken A level in the current academic year (where official certificates are not released until November), it is acceptable to submit the online print-out as long as it is certified by the issuing school/body, or, accompanied by an original letter from your school confirming the same results.
- Certificate of English language qualification (If an English language test has been stated in the ‘Evidence used to obtain offer’ section of your CAS). Do not submit an English language certificate if you will be studying a degree level course AND your CAS states that the University has made own assessment of your English language ability. If you will be studying a sub-degree level course (e.g., Pre-sessional English, Diploma course or International Foundation programme), ensure that you submit the same English language certificate as stated in your CAS, which should be valid at the time you submit your visa application, and is acceptable for visa purposes (see English language Test and Certificate)
* If you are applying at tone of the following Entry Clearance posts, there will be an additional charge of £52. Al Khobar (Saudi Arabia), Jalandhar (India), Osaka (Japan), Jinan (China), Izmir (Turkey), Rostov (Russia), Dusseldorf (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Madrid (Spain), Rome (Italy), Warsaw (Poland)
** If you are using a parent or legal guardian’s bank statement as evidence of your finances, you will need to provide documentary evidence (original or notarised copy) of their relationship to you (usually a Birth Certificate or a legal document confirmation guardianship***) and that they agree for you to use the funds for your studies (usually a Letter of Consent).
*** The definition is ‘Legal Guardian’ may be different in different countries but for your Tier 4 visa application, a ‘legal guardian’ is someone who has either legally adopted you (in which case you must present an ‘Adoption Certificate’) or someone who has been given legal custody of you by the Court (in which case you must present a court document/order as confirmation of this).
Additional documents which may be required:
– If you use an overseas account containing a foreign currency, you will also need to write on your application form the closing balance in pounds sterling on the ‘date of application’, which is the date you made payment of the Tier 4 visa application fees. You should obtain currency conversion by going on the OANDA.com website and including a print out from the website with your visa application.
– If any of your documents are not in English, an English translation must be provided with your visa application (see details set out in Paragraph 16 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance)
– For students with dependants: if your spouse is applying as your dependant at the same time, you will need to submit your Marriage certificate; If you have children applying as your dependant(s) at the same time, you will also need to submit their Birth Certificate.
– If you are 16 or 17 years old when making your visa application, you will also need to provide a parents’ consent letter. The letter must confirm 1) their relationship with you (i.e., they are your legal parents or legal guardians); 2) they agree to your living arrangements in the UK, as well as the arrangements made for your travel to and reception in the UK; and 3) they consent to you travelling independently to, and living independently in, the UK (if you will be living independently in the UK). If you have only one parent or legal guardian, or only one who has legal custody or whole responsibility, this must be confirmed in the letter as well. If this statement is not provided, the letter must be signed by both parents and legal guardians.
When can I apply?
If you are outside the UK, you can make your application when you have received your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and you have all of the other supporting documentation, in particular, your financial evidence, which must be in a format that is acceptable to the Home Office. If you are funding your studies yourself, your financial evidence must show that you have held the required minimum amount in your bank account consistently for a minimum of 28 consecutive days and the bank statement/bank letter must not be dated more than 31 days before the ‘date of application’, which is the date you made payment of the Tier 4 visa application fees (please note that in most cases, this will NOT be the date of your appointment).
You must not apply any earlier than 3 months prior to the start of your course. The course start date is stated on your CAS.
Do I need to take a TB test?
Applicants for UK visas in certain countries require a certificate to show that they are free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).
Further information on TB requirements can be found at GOV website .
If you have been in the UK for more than six months holding a student visa and are returning to your home country and applying for a Tier 4 visa while there, as long as you are not in that country for more than six months, you do not need to take a TB test. For example, if you have just completed a 3-year undergraduate degree in the UK in June 2015 and are going home over the summer holidays and applying for a Tier 4 visa before returning to the UK for the new term starting September 2015, you will not require a TB test. You should explain on the Tier 4 application form why you don’t require a TB test.
I will not receive my exam results until August. Will I have time to make a visa application and receive my visa in time for the start of term?
Firstly, don’t worry as lots of students will be in this situation. Check the conditions of your offer and ensure that your exam results are the only thing that the Admissions team are waiting for. If you have any other outstanding conditions, verification of a reference for example, provide this well in advance. Prepare the supporting documents that you will need for your visa application. Many Entry Clearance posts offer a ‘user pay service’ which costs a little more (an additional £100, approx) but which offers quick turn-around of your Tier 4 visa application. If you are particularly worried about the time it may take to get your visa you could consider paying for this service. You can check the processing times for your local visa application centre .
When will my visa be valid from, and how long should my visa be valid for?
For a student doing a course that is six months, or more, or for a pre-sessional course that is less than six months, your visa will be valid for up to one month before the start date of your course, or 7 days before the ‘intended travel date’ you put on your application form, whichever is later. For a student doing a course that is less than six months and is not a pre-sessional course, your visa will be valid up to seven days before the start date of your course.
You will also be given some additional time after your ‘course end’ date to prepare your departure or prepare to switch/ extend your visa. Depending on the type and length of the course you are doing, you may be given between 7 days and 4 months of additional leave. Students pursuing a course that is 12 month or longer should always receive 4 additional months. Make sure that you check your visa/ biometric residence permit that you have received the full length of your visa. If the caseworker has not granted you the amount of leave you are entitled to, you should make an appointment with the Student Union Advice Centre to have it corrected.
Do I need to submit original documents or photocopies?
The Tier 4 Policy Guidance states that documents must be issued by an authorised official of the issuing organisation and be:
- original (unless we say otherwise); and
- on the official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisationns.
Is there any Premium or Priority Service?
Largely in response to business demands, the Home Office has further been expanding its premium and priority services for out-of-country applications. Premium and priority services allow applicants to attend their appointment outside of normal working hours, or, have their visa applications placed at the front of the queue once attended an appointment with UK Visas and Immigration. In certain countries, applicants will need to submit documentary evidence that they have previously travelled to one of the following destinations in the previous five years and complied with the terms of their visas: the UK; USA; Canada; Australia; and New Zealand.
Premium and priority applications are usually processed between 48 hours and 10 working days. To find out if such services are available in a country, please check the VFSglobal website and select the country, then click ‘User Pay Services’ on the top menu of the page.
UK Visas and Immigration advises that applicants should not apply for a premium or priority service if they:
- have been refused leave to enter the UK;
- have been previously deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK;
- have overstayed a period of leave in the UK;
- have had leave to remain in the UK curtailed by the Home Office;
- have been refused leave to remain in the UK by the Home Office;
- have been previously refused a visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, or a Schengen country;
- have been interviewed, detained, or prosecuted by the police for any offence in the UK or elsewhere;
- have an unspent criminal conviction in any country; and/or
- have committed a criminal offence in any country.
Can I contact anyone for more advice on making an application overseas?
Yes. From 1 April 2014, Home Office UK Visas & Immigration launched a new international enquiry service. For more information please see the following link: https://ukvi-international.faq-help.com/ Please be aware that a charge applies when using this service and that Home Office staff will not be able to provide progress updates on individual application