Tier 4 (General) visa - applying in UK

You may need to apply for new Tier 4 leave in the UK if you need to take re-sits, you are progressing to another course, or you are studying at another institution and have been offered a place at Aberystwyth University.

The Home Office introduced new rules on the 6th April 2016 which restricts student’s eligibility to apply for a new Tier 4 visa within the UK.  It is therefore important that you contact the International Student Adviser on immigrationadvice@aber.ac.uk if you are a current student who needs to apply for new Tier 4 leave, to check whether you will be able to apply for your Tier 4 visa in the UK.

It is recommended that you read the Home Office’s Tier 4 policy guidance to ensure that you are clear about the requirements that you must meet to make a successful visa application.  We would also advise you to refer to information on the UK Council for International Student Affairs, UKCISA, where you will be able to find clear and concise information on student visas.

How to apply for a Tier 4 visa from inside the UK:

  1. Collect all your supporting documents, please see 'Supporting documents needed to apply for a Tier 4 visa'.
  2. Book a 'Check & Send' appointment with the International Student Adviser by emailing immigrationadvice@aber.ac.uk
  3. Create an account with the UKVI, and complete the Tier 4 (General) on-line form, available from here https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/extend-your-visa, please refer to the  for step by step instructions.  DO NOT go beyond the 'Declaration' page on the on-line form.
  4. Attend 'Check & Send' appointment where the International Student Adviser will check your supporting documents and go through your visa application form.
  5. Once your application form has been checked, you will pay the the Immigration Health Surcharge, calculated at £150 per 12 months , based on the length of leave that you are granted.  To help you calculate how much you will have to pay please see https://www.immigration-health-surcharge.service.gov.uk/checker/type.
  6. Pay the Tier 4 visa application fee, currently the standard fee is £457.
  7. The International Student Adviser will print out the cover sheet and send this with your supporting documents to the UKVI by special delivery.
  8. The International Student Adviser will contact you when the UKVI requests that you submit your biometric data (fingerprints, face scan, and electronic signature).  Biometric data can currently be submitted at the main Post Office in town.
  9. You should receive a decision on your Tier 4 visa within 8 weeks from the date that you submitted the application.  

You should not make any travel arrangements until you have received your new visa and the UKVI has returned all your supporting documents.

Resources

How to Extend your Tier 4 Visa Tutorial

How to Extend your Tier 4 Visa Leaflet

Supporting documents needed to apply for a Tier 4 visa

To apply for your Tier 4 student visa you will need the following:

1.  Your CAS number (contained in your CAS email from Aberystwyth University)

This is your unique reference number emailed to you by Aberystwyth University. The CAS email will include your personal details, your qualifications, details of your course, Aberystwyth University address and licence number: CMRTYMH23.

To get your CAS email you must have:

  • Completed a 'CAS Extension Request Form' obtained by emailing the International Student Adviser on immigrationadvice@aber.ac.uk
  • Passed all your exams.
  • Paid any outstanding fees.
  • Sent a copy of your bank statement showing that you have enough funds to cover your tuition fees plus your maintanance costs, please see 'How much money do I need for my visa application'. 

2.  Immigration Health Surcharge number

All students applying for a visa for a course of 6 months or more, will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge, the IHS is calculated on the length of your leave (course plus leave before and after your course), at £150 per 12 months, per person. 

Examples:-

3-year Bachelor = £525

1-year Masters = £225

4-year PhD = £675

To calculate the amount of your IHS, please go to https://www.immigration-health-surcharge.service.gov.uk/checker/type

The IHS is paid as part of your visa application, the IHS reference number will be entered automatically into your visa application after you have paid it.

3.  The transcripts/qualification certificates listed in the CAS email

For your Tier 4 student visa application, you will need to submit your original transcripts/exam certificates/references showing that you have satisfied the entry requirements for your course at Aberystwyth University.

You must submit original qualifications with your visa applications. Scanned copies, faxes or emails are not acceptable. These certificates/transcripts/references will be listed in the CAS email.

4.  Finances – evidence of funds to meet the UKVI maintenance requirements

You need to show that you have a certain amount of money to cover your tuition fees and living costs in order to get a Tier 4 student visa. See: 'How much money do I need to show for my student visa?'

5.  ATAS Certificate (if applicable)

If your course requires an ATAS clearance certificate, it will state this in your CAS email from Aberystwyth University. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for a list of courses, which are identified as ATAS applicable: http://www.fco.gov.uk/atas

If you need an ATAS certificate, you must have your ATAS clearance certificate before you apply for your Tier 4 student visa. It can take 2 months to get this, so you must apply early.

6.  Police Registration certificate Please make sure that you maintain your police registration up to date at all times with changes of addresses and new visa details.

7.  Valid passport You will need to send your passport with your student visa application. Check that it is not about to expire!

8.  Passport photograph 2 passport-sized colour photograph, not more than 1 month old. The photos you provide with application must be in a specific format otherwise your visa application will be rejected by the immigration officials. For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports

9.  Consent letter if you are under 18. 

Students under the age of 18 will need to demonstrate that they have received consent from their parent/legal guardian to travel to the UK and study at Aberystwyth University.  To meet this requirement the following documents will need to be submitted with your visa application:

Important - Translations

If any of the documents you are submitting are not in English, you must also include a fully certified translation by a professional translator. This includes any references, qualifications, transcripts and bank statements or letters. This translation must include the following:

  • confirmation by the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator’s full name and signature
  • the translator’s contact details
  • the translator’s qualifications

For more details on how to find a translator see: http://www.iti.org.uk/

How long can I study at Aberystwyth on Tier 4 visa?

Recent changes to the immigration rules now mean that students coming to the UK on a Tier 4 student visa are limited to spending 5 years on courses at degree level. If you go onto a Masters course then the time limit is 5 years and 11 months, and 8 years on a PhD level course.  There are some exceptions to these rules, so please consult the International Student Adviser if you are not sure whether a new visa application will take you over the time limit caps.

Also see:

http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Tier-4-eligibility-and-requirements

How much money do I need to show for my visa application?

You need to show that you have enough money for your:

Tuition fees for your first period of study. The amount you need to show will be in your CAS email.

PLUS

Living expenses:

  • All students  have to show that they have £1,015 per month to cover their living costs, for a maximum of 9 months, i.e. £9,135 for a full academic year (Dependants £680 per month/per person, i.e. £6,120 for a full academic year).
  • If you live in University accommodation, you can deduct money you have paid to the University from the total amount of living costs. A maximum of £1,265 can be deducted (even if you have paid more than this).
  • All funds must have been available to you for a minimum period of 28 continuous days on the date that you apply for your visa.

How do I prove I have enough money for my visa application?

The immigration rules are very strict about the financial documents you must show to prove you have enough money to support yourself (and your dependants if you have any) whilst you are studying in the UK .

You will need to provide evidence of one, or a combination of the following:

1.  Cash in a bank account.  Cash in your, or a parent or legal guardian’s, bank account for a 28 day period - see more information about bank statements you need to provide.

IMPORTANT:  If you are using your bank account or the bank account of your parents or legal guardian, the money must be held in cash and you must show that you have held the money in your, your parents', or your legal guardians' bank account for at least 28 continuous days.  Your balance must not have dropped below the required amount.  If the balance has dropped below the right amount even for just 1 day, you will not meet the financial requirements and your student visa will be rejected.

The date of the bank statement must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you submit your visa application.

Property, shares, bonds, pension funds, life insurance or similar savings accounts will not be accepted.

The money must not be held in a bank or a financial institution which UKVI view as untrustworthy. To check if your bank is viewed as an unsatisfactory financial institution by UKVI see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-rules-appendix-p

2.  Bank loan.  A loan in your name - see more information on using a bank loan to finance.

3.  Letter from an official financial or government sponsor UKVI define an "official sponsor" as:

Your country’s government or the UK government

  • British Council
  • Any international organisation
  • Any international company
  • Any University See more information about what documents you need to provide if you have an official sponsor.

If I am using a bank account, what evidence do I need to provide?

If you are using your own personal bank account, you need to provide your original bank statement in your name covering a 28 day period.

The date of the bank statement must be no more than 1 month old at the time you submit your student visa application.

Your original personal bank statement must show:

  • your name
  • account number
  • the date of statement
  • the name and logo of the bank
  • that the balance has not fallen below the required amount for the full 28 day period.

If you use electronic statements then as well as including all the standard required information, they must also either be stamped on every page, or be accompanied by a supporting letter from the bank or building society confirming that the statement is authentic. You cannot use mini-statements from automatic teller machines (ATMs).

Cash in a parent or legal guardian's accountIf you are using cash in a bank account in your parent or legal guardian’s then you must include your parents’ or legal guardian’s original bank statement including all the same information as on the personal bank statement.  Your parents must write a letter saying that they will support you financially for the duration of your course.

If your parents or legal guardians are providing your tuition fees and living costs, you must also prove that they are your parents or legal guardians.

You do this by providing one of the following:

       your original birth certificate, showing the name of your parents

       certificate of adoption showing your name

       original court documents stating the name of your legal guardian

Overseas Banks Statements

You can use an overseas bank account. However, if your funds are not in pounds sterling (£), you should convert the closing balance and write this sum on the document that you are using as evidence of your finances. The Home Office uses http://www.oanda.com/ to convert currencies into pounds sterling, so you must use this exchange rate too.

The money must not be held in a bank or a financial institution which UKVI view as untrustworthy. To check if your bank is viewed as an unsatisfactory financial institution by UKVI see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-rules-appendix-p

What evidence do I need if I have an official sponsor?

You will need confirmation from your official sponsor that you are allowed to extend your stay in the UK.

UKVI define an official sponsor as one of the following:

  •        The UK Government or your government in your home country
  •        The British Council
  •        An international organisation
  •        An international company
  •        Aberystwyth University

If your official financial sponsor is paying all your tuition fees and living expenses, you do not have to provide separate evidence of your savings. However, you must provide a letter from your official financial sponsor confirming that your sponsor will pay all your tuition fees and living expenses. This letter must be on official letterhead paper showing:

  •        Your name
  •        The name and contact details of the official financial sponsor
  •        The date of the letter
  •        The length of the sponsorship – start and end date
  •        The amount of money the sponsor is giving you or confirmation that they will pay all your tuition fees and living expenses
  •        The official stamp of the organisation

If your sponsor only pays some of your costs, you will need a letter from them and proof that you have enough money yourself to meet the rest of the maintenance requirements (e.g. personal bank statements).

Can I show a reduced amount of funds if previously studied?

No.  From the 12th November 2015, all students will have to prove that they have enough funds to cover their first year of tuition fees and 9 months of living costs at £1,015 per month, i.e. for a full academic year you will need funds to cover your tuition fees plus £9,135 for living costs. 

Can I make deductions if I have paid some fees?

Yes, you can deduct the following from the total amount of money you need:

the amount you have paid towards course fees

and

up to a maximum of £1,265 you have paid towards your Aberystwyth University accommodation fees

You cannot deduct anything for accommodation fees if you arranged the accommodation yourself (in other words, private accommodation).

If you pay all or some of your tuition fees to Aberystwyth University Finance Office before we send you the CAS email, then the amount you have paid for your tuition fees will be notified directly to the UKVI and recorded in this CAS email.

We do not recommend that you pay any fees between receiving your CAS email and applying for your visa.

If any money you have paid for tuition fees or University accommodation fees is not shown on the CAS email, then you must provide official receipts from the University when you submit your student visa application. You can obtain receipts by emailing fees@aber.ac.uk.

When can I apply for my Tier 4 student visa?

You can apply for your visa up to 3 months before the start date of your course, but your course cannot start more than 28 days after your current leave expires, if it does, you will need to return home to apply to extend your visa.

The time required to process your visa will vary, depending on the time of year that you are making your application, but it should not take longer than 8 weeks.  

You should not make any travel arrangements until you have received your new visa and the UKVI has returned all your supporting documents.

Do I need to attend an interview as part of the application

Credibility Interviews

If you are not from a low risk country, then as part of your visa application you may be required to attend a short interview at an UKVI office. The interview will focus on your reasons for applying for new leave, this is known as a credibility interview. An UKVI staff member may ask you questions about your immigration history, your previous education, the course you are planning to study at Aberystwyth University, your post study plans and your financial circumstances.

If you do not attend this interview without a good reason, your application will be refused.

You should be able to answer the questions at the interview without the assistance of an interpreter and to a standard that matches the English Language requirements that are stated on your CAS.

It is important to prepare for the interview and to help you, here are some examples of the types of questions that you may be asked:

Why you need to extend your Tier 4 visa?

  •        how studying this course will help with your future plans;
  •        how this course fits in with any previous courses you have done.

You should know the following details of your course at Aberystwyth University:

  •        how long your course is;
  •        what modules you will be studying;
  •        how many students will there be on your course;
  •        how you will be assessed;
  •        what qualification you will receive at the end of your course;
  •        whether the course offers any professional qualifications/recognition;
  •        why you have chosen not to study this course in your home country.

You should know some details about Aberystwyth University, for example you may be asked:

  •        where Aberystwyth is in the UK;
  •        how big the University is;
  •        why you chose to study at Aberystwyth;
  •        what other places you considered.

You should not be asked about your academic ability to follow the course, as Aberystwyth University has already assessed this.

Here are some examples of things you may be asked about your finances:

  •        if the money you have shown for your application is genuinely available to you;
  •        who is financing your studies;
  •        the profession of your financial sponsor and what relationship they are to you;
  •        whether you have evidence of the financial status of your financial sponsor; e.g. current bank statements
  •        if you have a loan, you may be asked how you plan to pay this back.

You should know some details about the cost of living and studying in the UK, for example, you may be asked:how much your tuition fees are and when you are paying them;

  •        where you are planning to live and how much it will cost;
  •        what your anticipated annual living expenses will be while you are studying at Aberystwyth;
  •        if you are planning on working, whether you know how many hours you are allowed to work, and how much you are likely to be paid;
  •        how reliant you are on being able to work.

Am I a low risk national and if so what does this mean?

You are considered to be a low risk national by UK immigration officials (UKVI) if you are from one of the following countries:

  •        Argentina
  •        Australia
  •        Barbados
  •        Botswana
  •        British National Overseas
  •        Brunei
  •        Canada
  •        Chile
  •        Hong Kong
  •        Japan
  •        Malaysia
  •        New Zealand
  •        Oman
  •        Qatar
  •        Singapore
  •        South Korea
  •        Taiwan (those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan)
  •        Trinidad and Tobago
  •        United Arab Emirates
  •        United States of America

If you are a national of one of these countries you will not need to provide your qualifications or evidence of your maintenance funds with your supporting documents.

However, the UKVI reserves the right to request the full range of documents in all cases. Therefore you MUST have these documents just in case. UKVI change the list of low risk nationals annually, so please check to country is still on the list.  Further advice is available from http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Tier-4-eligibility-and-requirements

Please note that you will need to submit financial evidence in order to obtain your CAS from Aberystwyth University.

How long will it take to get my visa?

It can take up to 8 weeks to get your visa. The time it takes will depend on the visa application centre you apply to and the amount of information and documents you need to obtain to submit with your visa application.

You should not make any travel arrangements until you have received your new visa and the UKVI has returned all your supporting documents.

Can I apply for my dependants to extend their visas?

A "dependant" is your partner/husband/wife and any dependant children you may have. They can stay with you in the UK if:

  •        You are government sponsored and your course is over 6 months long or
  •        You are doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer.

More information on bringing your dependants with you is available from the UKCISA website http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Dependants

If you and your dependants are applyin to extend your stay in the UK at the same time, you will need to apply on the same Tier 4 on-line form.