Appling for visa

Applying for Visa

Who needs to obtain entry clearance?

How long you can apply to stay for

As per the published immigration guidelines the length of the visa granted will be as follows:

Course of Study Length of Visa granted
Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses lasting more than 12 months Length of course plus four months
Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses lasting more than 6 months but less than 12 months. Length of the course plus 2 months
All other course less than 6 months e.g English language courses Length of the course plus seven days
Foundation course or an English language course immediately followed by a degree course. Progression on to the degree course is automatic and does not depend on successful completion of the Foundation/English course. Combined length of the Foundation / English course and the degree course plus four months
Foundation course or an English language course immediately followed by a degree course. Progression on to the degree course depends on successful completion of the Foundation/English course. Either:
1) Length of the Foundation/English course plus an additional period of seven days if the course lasts for less than six months

Or2) Length of the Foundation/English course plus an additional period of two months if the course lasts for more than six months

European Economic Area and Swiss Nationals

If you are a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or a Swiss National, you do not need entry clearance to enter the UK. You have the right of free movement and residence in the UK, although certain EEA nationals have to register under the Workers’ Registration Scheme if they want to work whilst they are in the UK

EEA nationals may want to apply for a free residence permit during your stay in the UK. A residence permit simply confirms that you have a right to live in the United Kingdom under European Community law. A residence permit is not compulsory, but it is advisable, and will be particularly useful if you stay in the UK to work after your studies, or have a spouse or children who are non-EEA nationals.

If you are a Visa National, you need to make sure that you obtain entry clearance as a student. If you mistakenly obtain entry clearance as a student visitor, you will not be allowed to stay any longer than 6 months and for English Language course upto 11 months. You will then have to return to your country and apply for entry clearance as a student before being allowed to continue your studies.

Non Visa Nationals (i.e. non EEA, Swiss or visa nationals)

All Non Visa Nationals seeking to enter the UK as a student on a course for MORE THAN 11 MONTHS are required to obtain prior entry clearance as a student. If you are a Non Visa National and you do not obtain prior entry clearance, then you will be refused entry to the UK, and must return home to obtain the required entry clearance.

If you are a Non Visa National and intend to study in the UK for LESS THAN 6 MONTHS, then you must apply as a student Visitor prior to coming to the UK by completing Form VAF1D.

How to apply for a Visa or entry clearance?

Where do I apply?

When should I apply?

Make sure that you apply in plenty of time (you will need your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies Letter (CAS)), as certain Missions get very busy prior to the start of the academic year. You may miss the start of term if you have to wait for the application to be processed, and you will not be permitted to start your programme late. Make sure you check how long it takes to process applications in your country, as times vary.

How do I apply?

Legal requirements for obtaining entry clearance as a student

The points-based assessment

The Home Office has introduced new rules for overseas students under the Tier 4 scheme. To be able to travel to the United Kingdom as a general student, or if you are already here and want to apply to extend your permission to stay, you must pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points. Before applying to any college make sure that the College is accredited and has obtained a sponsor licence to bring international students to the UK. If you fulfil the entry requirements the College will issue you a visa/CAS letter. You must also have sufficient funds to maintain your living in the UK as per the chart given below in this document.

If you fulfil the requirement, you will get 30 points for a visa/CAS letter from a licensed sponsor; and 10 points if you can show (and have the required documentation) and you have enough money for your course fees and monthly living expenses (known as maintenance). The UK V&I looks at a figure of around £1020 per month for board and lodging in London and £820 outer london. See cost table below.

From autumn 2009, the visa letter has been replaced by a confirmation of acceptance for studies when the first phase of the new IT system for sponsors went live.

Changing sponsor

If you change your mind about what institution (sponsor) you want to study at either before you come or after you have entered the United Kingdom, you will have to get a new visa letter from a different institution and apply again. So it is very important that you are sure which institution you want to choose before you apply.

What are the acceptable levels of courses that a general student can get a visa letter for?

The courses are ones that are:

  • approved at level 4 or above on the National Qualifications framework (NQF) or a qualification that is the same level; or
  • courses at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages for English language students; or
  • higher education courses at overseas higher education institutions for students doing short-term study abroad programmes
  • in the United Kingdom that are part of the course (the overseas qualification towards that they are studying for must be validated

What type of study can a general student do?

Full-time study

You must be in full-time study in the United Kingdom. This means:

  • a full time United Kingdom degree level course or above at a publicly funded higher education institution; or
  • an overseas higher education course that is recognised as being equivalent to a United Kingdom higher education qualification at a overseas higher education institution; or
  • a course of study below United Kingdom degree level but at a minimum of level 4 on the NQF or a qualification at the same level, that involves a minimum of 15 hours per week organised daytime study (daytime study is 0800 – 1800, Monday to Friday); or
  • a course of study which is at a minimum level of NQF level 4 or its equivalent (or at the equivalent of a United Kingdom degree level or above if an overseas qualification) which includes a work-placement that is no more than 50% of the full course length.

English language courses

You can get a visa letter below the standard level needed if the course is an English Language course only. The minimum level of study for students coming to the United Kingdom to study English Language courses is set at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2.. English language courses offered must finish with an independent, recognised assessment at this level or above.

Higher education courses

You can get a CAS letter if you are enrolled on a higher education course at an overseas higher education institution, to allow you to do a short-term study abroad programme in the United Kingdom as part of your qualification. The CAS letter should only be issued if you are studying for overseas qualification that has been validated as being equivalent to United Kingdom degree level by UK NARIC (www.naric.org.uk).

Work placements

You can do a work placement as part of your course as long as it is no more than 50% of the total length of the course, for example, a four year degree course with one of the years doing a work placement.

Pre-sessional courses

A pre-sessional course is an intensive English language course; or a course to prepare you for your full-time study course.

To get permission to do this course, you must pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points before you come. You will get 30 points for a visa letter from a licensed sponsor; and 10 points if you can show you have enough money for your course fees and monthly living expenses (known as maintenance).

If you have an unconditional offer, Home Office will give permission for both courses at the same time if you are doing the pre-sessional course with the same sponsor as your full-time course; or with a partner institution included on your main institution’s sponsor license.

If you only have a conditional offer to do your full-time course, you will need to apply to do the pre-sessional course first. If you successfully finish that course, you should apply for an extension whilst in the United Kingdom to continue your studies on your full-time course. For pre-sessional course same conditions apply for acceptable level of course as explained above in main course.

What you need to apply

You must have a CAS letter from a licensed sponsor; and enough money for your course fees and a monthly amount to support yourself while living in the United Kingdom (known as maintenance), and documents to prove this.

You can have a number of visa letters from institutions you have applied to, but you can only use one to apply with. So it is very important that you are sure which institution you want to go to before you apply.

What is the amount of maintenance (funds) needed?

The maintenance requirement depends on the length of the course and where the student will study in the United Kingdom. For IIM Bedford following conditions apply:

Length of course Maintenance (funds) needed
9 months or less Course fees + £820 to cover living costs for each calendar month of the course
More than 9 months First year of fees + £7,380 to cover living costs for 9 months in the United Kingdom
All other course less than 6 months e.g English language courses Length of the course plus seven days
Foundation course or an English language course immediately followed by a degree course. Progression on to the degree course is automatic and does not depend on successful completion of the Foundation/English course. Combined length of the Foundation / English course and the degree course plus four months
Foundation course or an English language course immediately followed by a degree course. Progression on to the degree course depends on successful completion of the Foundation/English course. Either:
1) Length of the Foundation/English course plus an additional period of seven days if the course lasts for less than six months

Or

2) Length of the Foundation/English course plus an additional period of two months if the course lasts for more than six months

If you have already paid some of your fees or accommodation before applying for your visa, this amount will be taken away from the total amount of money you need to show. For accommodation, this only applies if you are staying in university or college arranged accommodation.

Money needed if I have completed a course of study in the United Kingdom that was at least six months long in the past four months

You may need to show a lower amount of money for your living costs if:

  • you have done a course of study in the United Kingdom in the last four months before you apply or are currently studying and need more time to finish your course; and
  • that course was six months or more in length; and
  • you wish to apply for a further period of leave as an adult student

If you meet each of the above you can apply showing the following lower maintenance costs, whether you are applying from inside the United Kingdom (for an extension) or from overseas.

Length of course Maintenance (funds) needed
9 months or less Course fees + £820 to cover living costs for each calendar month of the course
More than 9 months First year of fees + £1,640 to cover living costs for 2 months in the United Kingdom

Maintenance (funds) can be cash in a bank account that you can draw on; or official financial or government sponsorship. Other accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, pension funds regardless of notice period are not acceptable. students may give evidence of having the required maintenance (funds) for their course fees and living costs using money held by one of the student’s parent(s)/ legal guardian(s).

Maintenance (funds) can be proven by sending the following documents:

  • bank or building society statements;
  • building society passbook;
  • letter from a bank;
  • letter for a regulated financial institution confirming funds or loan will be released to you when you get your visa;
  • letter of official financial or government sponsorship.

Evidence required in addition to the above documents if the maintainance funds are provided by stident’s parent(s)/ legal guardian(s)

The specified original legal documentation (or a notarised copy) establishing the relationship must be provided with the application, which must include one of:

  • The applicant’s birth certificate, showing name of the parent(s) showing the funds;
  • Certificate of adoption showing the name of the student and the parent(s) showing the funds;
  • Court document stating the name of the legal guardian(s) of the named student showing the funds.

and

Students must also provide an original signed and dated letter from the parent(s) or legal guardian showing the funds when they submit their application form, confirming

  • the relationship between the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and the named student; and
  • that the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have given their consent to the funds being available to the student for study in the UK

If you are successful in obtaining a visa, then you should still bring with the documents used when obtaining the visa, as you may need to show them upon entry. You should make sure that you check your visa is the right type of visa for you, and is of the correct length of time, as it may not always be possible to correct any mistakes once you have left your country.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa