1. What is a CAS?
CAS stands for “Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies”. This is a secure electronic record containing detailed information about you, your course of study, and any fees you may already have paid to the university. It has a unique reference number, which is shown on your CAS Statement. You will need to provide this number as part of your Tier 4 visa application.
2. When should I apply for my visa?
We recommend that you apply for your visa as soon as possible after being issued with your CAS Statement, though please note that you are not permitted to apply any earlier than three months before the start-date of your course.
3. What documents should I submit with my Tier 4 application?
Documentary requirements are always subject to change, so you should be sure to check the latest information on the UKBA web-pages before submitting your application. As a guide, however, you can expect to have to submit the following documents:
Ø 1 x recent passport-sized photograph (see UKBA photo guidance for further info)
Ø Application fee of £298 (please note: this is non-refundable)
Ø CAS Statement from the University of Gloucestershire
Ø All documents listed under the “Evidence used to obtain offer” section of the CAS Statement (this will usually be education certificates and evidence of English language proficiency)
Ø Evidence you have enough money, in the form of either cash in a bank (held for a consecutive 28 day period), a loan in your name, official sponsorship (see questions 5, 6 and 7)
Ø ATAS certificate (only if stated on CAS – see question 8)
Ø Tuberculosis certificate (certain nationalities only – see question 9)
Ø Parental consent letter (under 18’s only – see question 10)
4. Am I “low risk” national, and if so, what does this mean?
The UKBA categorises certain nationalities as “low risk”. To find out if you are a “low risk” national, please see here. If you are “low risk” national you are not required to submit evidence of your academic qualification or finances with your visa application. You must, however, confirm on your application form that you meet all the relevant requirements, and that you hold documentary evidence in the manner required. Please be aware that the UKBA reserves the right to request these documents from “low risk” students as part of the visa application process. For this reason, we recommend that “low risk” students prepare their visa applications in exactly the same way as other students.
5. How much money do I need to show?
You must show that you have enough money to pay for:
v any course fees that are outstanding on the date you submit your visa application
v maintenance (i.e. living costs) – see below
6. How do I calculate what I need to show for maintenance?
You are required to show £800 for each month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months. Most students will therefore be required to show £7200 for maintenance.
If the length of your course includes a part of a month you need to round the time up to the next month. For example, if a course lasts 6 months and 2 weeks, you must show that you have 7 months of maintenance, i.e. £5600.
Please note that if you have paid money to the university for halls of residence accommodation, you are permitted to deduct a maximum of £1000 from the maintenance you have to show, even if you have paid more than this. As an example: if you are on a course of over 9 months and have paid a total of £4000 to the university for your accommodation, you will be required to show a total of £6200 for maintenance (i.e. £7200 - £1000).
If you have recently been studying in the UK on a Tier 4 visa AND your Tier 4 visa has not yet expired, you may be eligible to show a lower amount of maintenance – please contact us for further details if you believe this applies to you.
7. What documents should I submit as evidence I have enough money?
Detailed guidance regards what documents you are required to submit can be found in the Tier 4 policy guidance (paragraphs 184 – 194). We recommend, however, that students supply evidence in one of the following formats: cash funds in a bank, a loan in your name, or official financial sponsorship:
Evidence of cash funds in a bank
Money must be held as cash, which includes savings and current accounts. Shares, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards, pension funds and similar savings accounts will not be accepted, regardless of notice periods. You will need to provide a bank statement showing funds have been held for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your visa application. The statement must show:
§ your name or your parent(s) / legal guardian(s) name(s); and
§ the account number; and
§ the date of the statement; and
§ the bank’s name and logo; and
§ the amount of money available through the 28 day period (note: the balance must not have dropped below required amount at any time during the 28 day period!)
Please note: if you use a statement in a parent or legal guardian’s name, you are required to submit two additional documents:
- A legal document confirming your relationship to your parent – this would be your birth certificate, certificate of adoption, or court document confirming naming the legal guardian; and
- A letter written by your parent or legal guardian confirming their relationship with you and giving their consent to you using the money in their account to study in the UK
If you are using overseas currency, the UKBA will expect you to write on the document the closing balance in GBP. They use the official exchange rate on the OANDA website.
A loan in your name
If you are relying on a loan to fund your studies, you must provide a letter from a financial institution (regulated by your country’s home regulator) confirming the loan.
The letter must be dated no more than 6 months before the date of your visa application and must show:
§ your name; and
§ the date of the letter; and
§ the financial institution’s name and logo; and
§ the money available as a loan; and
§ that the loan is provided by your national government, their state or regional government, a government sponsored student loan company, or is part of an academic or educational loans scheme.
Please note: loans held in a parent or legal guardian’s name are not acceptable. The loan must be in your name!
Official financial sponsorship
The UKBA defines official financial sponsorship as money given to a student to cover some or all of their course fees and/or living costs, by one of the following organisations: the UK government; the student’s country’s government; the British Council; any international organisation, international company or University. If you are in receipt of sponsorship from one of these organisations, you need to provide a letter from your sponsor in support of your visa application. The letter must be on official letter-headed paper and must have the official stamp of the sponsoring organisation on it. The letter must show:
§ your name; and
§ the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor; and
§ the date of the letter; and
§ the length of the sponsorship (including start and end date); and
§ the amount of money the sponsor will be giving you or a statement that they will be covering all of your fees and living costs
Please note that:
- if your sponsor letter only confirms that some of your fees and/or living costs are covered, you will need to provide additional evidence to confirm you hold the rest of the money required e.g. personal bank statements
- if your sponsorship covers all your tuition fees and living costs, and your sponsor limits the time that you may study in the UK, the UKBA will take the date on the sponsorship letter as the course end-date for visa purposes, irrespective of the actual course end-date stated on your CAS.
8. Do I need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate?
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is designed to ensure that those applying for postgraduate study in certain sensitive subject areas do not acquire knowledge that could potentially be used in Weapons of Mass Destruction programmes. Very few courses at the university will require clearance under this scheme, but if you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate, it should be stated on your CAS Statement. To learn more about the ATAS application process, and for more detailed information about which types of study and subject areas are affected, please see the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. Please note: it can take several weeks to obtain an ATAS certificate, so it is important that you apply well before submitting your Tier 4 visa application.
9. Do I need a certificate confirming I am free from Tuberculosis?
Nationals of certain countries need to obtain a certificate that states they are free from infectious TB before applying for a visa. The test includes having a chest X-ray at an accredited clinic or hospital run by the International Organisation for Migration. For the current list of affected countries, plus further information on the test, please see here.
10. I am 17 years old – do I need to supply a letter of consent from my parent(s)?
Yes, as stated at paragraphs 195 – 197 of the Tier 4 policy guidance. The letter needs to confirm:
§ your relationship to your parent(s); and
§ that your parent(s) consent to your visa application; and
§ that your parent(s) consent to you living independently in the UK; and
§ that your parent(s) consent to you travelling independently to the UK
11. Do my supporting documents have to be in English?
Yes. Where an original document (e.g. bank statement, birth certificate) is not in English, it must be accompanied by a fully certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. This translation must include details of the translator/translation company’s credentials, confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document, and the translator/translation company’s contact details. It must also be dated and include the original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company.
12. I have made a further fees payment to the university after receiving my CAS Statement. Does my CAS automatically get updated?
No. If you make a further fee payment after you have been issued with a CAS Statement, you need to send an email notification to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then check with the university’s fees department that the money has been received and amend your CAS accordingly.
Please note: it is the student’s responsibility to ensure their CAS is up to date prior to applying for a visa. The university cannot accept responsibility for any visa refusals that result from CAS not being up to date.
13. I have been issued a CAS for a Pre-sessional course only. Will the university help me to extend my visa inside the UK on successful completion of the Pre-sessional?
Yes. We will run a series of workshops during and following your pre-sessional course to guide you through the visa extension process. Please note that you will be required to submit originals of all relevant education certificates as part of this application. You will also be required to submit evidence of funds in the form of a UK bank statement. For further information about extending your visa, please see here.
14. When will my visa start?
If you are doing a course that is six months or more, or a pre-sessional course that is less than six months, you should be given permission to come to the UK up to one month before the course start date on your CAS.
If you are doing a course that is less than six months and is not a course to prepare you for study, you should be given permission to come to the UK up to 7 days before the course start date on your CAS.
15. When will my visa end?
This depends on the type and length of your course:
· Four months after the end of your course if your course lasts 12 months or more.
· Two months after the end of your course if your course lasts between 6 and 12 months.
· One month after the end of your course if your course is a pre-sessional course of less than 6 months.
· Seven days after the end of your course if your course is less than 6 months long and is not a pre-sessional course.
16. Will I be interviewed as part of the visa application process?
The UKBA reserves the right to call any applicant for a face-to-face interview, as they see fit. In addition, the UKBA has recently announced its intention to conduct “credibility interviews” (using video-conferencing facilities) as part of the Tier 4 visa application process. We understand that these interviews will be introduced in April 2013 for a selection of students applying inside China, and for ALL OTHER applicants in June 2013. It is essential that you prepare yourself in advance of these interviews, as questions are likely to cover a wide range of topics. Some possible questions are as follows:
§ How long is your course?
§ What topics will you be studying during the course?
§ Why did you choose this course?
§ Why did you choose the University of Gloucestershire?
§ How do you intend to travel to the University of Gloucestershire?
§ Where will you be living in the UK?
§ Have you ever studied in the UK before?
§ How are you funding your studies?
§ What do you intend to do after your course has finished?
§ Do you intend to work during your studies?
§ Do you know the work restrictions for Tier 4 students?
[Please note: this is not an exhaustive list, and is provided as rough guidance only]
17. Can I bring dependants with me?
If you are a postgraduate student on a course lasting more than 12 months, or you are a Government sponsored student on a course lasting more than 6 months, you are permitted to bring dependants with you. If you are studying a course at undergraduate level or below then you are not allowed to bring your dependants for the full length of the course, although they can apply to come and visit you for up to 6 months under the category of “General Visitor”.
18. How do my dependants apply for their visas?
Dependants must apply under the rules for points-based system migrants. Depending on the country where you live, you might need to make your application online or using application form VAF10. This form, along with detailed information about the application process for family members, is available here.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has also produced detailed advice and guidance for dependants of Tier 4 applicants, which can be accessed here.
19. What should I do if my visa application is refused?
If you think the refusal was incorrect, based on the evidence you submitted with your application, you are allowed to ask for an “Administrative Review” of the decision to refuse it. There is no fee for this, and you must request the Administrative Review within 28 days of the date you receive your refusal notice. You cannot produce new or different documents for an Administrative Review. The process is explained more fully in Annex 4 of the Tier 4 policy guidance.
Please be aware that you are permitted to submit a new visa application at the same time as requesting an Administrative Review of an earlier visa application. You will need to submit a new CAS with this application, which can be obtained by sending an email to email@example.com. Please attach your visa refusal notice to this email, as we will need to review the reasons for refusal before issuing a new CAS. Please also note that a new CAS will only be issued if, in the university's view, there is sufficient time for you to re-apply and arrive at the university before the latest start-date.
20. Will I be able to work in the UK?
Your Tier 4 visa should state that you are permitted to work, subject to certain restrictions.
If your course is at degree level or above (excluding a foundation degree), you will be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week (i.e. part-time) during term-time and full-time during the official university vacation periods. If your course is below degree level (including a foundation degree), you will be permitted to work up to 10 hours per week (i.e. part-time) during term-time and full-time during the official university vacation periods.
For further information about working during your studies, please see the guidance notes produced by the UK Council for International Student Affairs.
21. Where can I get more help with the visa application forms?
The university has produced annotated PDF guides to completing forms VAF9 and Appendix 8, which are available here. If you still have questions after reading these guides, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0)1242 714518.
22. Where can I find further information about the visa application process?
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has produced a detailed guide to making a Tier 4 (General) application, available here. This guide includes information about all aspects of the visa application process, and includes links to many other useful publications.