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Applying overseas (Entry Clearance)

Updated on 04 June 2019: We have updated the 'Tier 4 Fact Sheet' to give you an overview of making a Tier 4 visa application from outside of the UK including some key facts and FAQs.
Update on 04 June 2019: The Home Office UKVI published the new list of 'low risk nationalities' which means a lot more nationalities can now benefit from a simplified visa application process, including those from China, Thailand & Mexico. See the full list of low risk nationalities who are eligible for a simplified visa application process and what they need to submit with their Tier 4 visa application. Please continue to refer to the information below for full documentary requirement.

Find out more about how to apply for a Tier 4 visa from overseas, what type of Tier 4 form to choose, How much money you need to evidence, a list of documents required, do you need to take a TB test, what visa you will receive, and some of the Frequently Asked Questions.

You can view a short webinar for an overview of the preparing the right documents for your application.

Support from Warwick Overseas Offices: The University has overseas offices and representatives based in several countries around the world who may be able to provide you with assistance. Please also subscribe to our Social Media for immigration updates and top tips (Facebook: @warwickinternational; Weibo and Wechat by searching for 'Warwick University' 在中国境内申请签证的同学请关注华威大学的官方微信或微博).

How to apply for a Tier 4 visa from overseas (Entry Clearance)

Where is the application form: https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/apply 

Help with Completing the form: Please refer to our sample form with step-by-step guidance.

How much is the visa application fees: £348 per person (check how much this converts to your local currency here: https://visa-fees.homeoffice.gov.uk/)

When can I apply online: once you have received your CAS and gathered all the required documents in support of your application, you can submit your online Tier 4 visa application (this is the date you submit the online application and make payment for the visa application fees, NOT the date of appointment) from 3 months before your course is due to start (For example, if the course start date in your CAS is 30 September 2019, you CANNOT submit your online TIER 4 application anytime before 01 July 2019). Submitting earlier than 3 months will be a refusal of your visa application and loss of the application fee + the CAS.

If you are returning after taking a break in studies, or if you are continuing your studies without a break, you can apply within 3 months before your resumption date or mention as the 'course start date' on your CAS.

Where can I apply: You would normally apply from your country of nationality, however, it is also possible to apply from the country where you are living (for example, if you hold a valid residence permit for that country- check with the visa application centre if unsure).

What visa application service is available from my country (premium & priority): check https://www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre . The UKVI's service target for a standard application is 15 working days (from the date of appointment to the date of decision) - Maybe slightly more for some nationalities.

How is my application processed: The UKVI has on-shored most of the Tier 4 applications which means that once you attend your appointment and give your biometric data (photo and fingerprint), it is likely that a caseworker based in the UK will make a decision on your visa application. In some cases, students might be invited to an interview to ascertain that they are genuinely coming to the UK to study.

Delayed 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 officer considers 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. Don't worry if you are waiting for your results to clear your offer condition though, as many students will be in the same situation as you.

What type of Tier 4 visa should I select?

  • 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 of Warwick; if you are going to be funded by an "official financial sponsor", such as the UK government, your home government (this does not include student loans), the British Council or any international organisation or international company (whether fully sponsored or partially sponsored);
  • Tier 4 (Chevening, Marshall and Commmonwealth Scholars Only) 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.

If you are applying at the same time as your dependents (spouse/partner, children), please read the seperate guidance about how to prepare your application.

How much money do I need when preparing financial evidence?

Your offer email will state how much are the course fees (for continuing students, refer to Student Finance Tuition Fee Table). The same information will be in your CAS when you receive it. Please note the UKVI calculates maintenance requirement based on the course duration (or the remaining course duration if you are continuing on a course), rounding up for part month. For example, if your course starts on 30 May and ends on 1 October, you should prepare 5 months of maintenance because the course duration is 4 months and 2 days.

If your course duration is 9 months or more (continuing students should refer to the remaining course duration), you will need to evidence £1,015x9 months = £9,135 of living costs in addition to course fees due (as specified on your CAS).

Course fees (full or partial) and some accommodation deposits/fees already paid to the University can be deducted from the amount you need to evidence as long as your CAS has been updated with this information. 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 (£1015 x number of calendar months of studies, up to £9135)

Remember: funds must have been held for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application.

28 days and 31 days

Click 'how to evidence money required' for more information about what is considered as acceptable financial evidence, and find useful samples/templates.

What do I need for my Tier 4 (General) student visa application?

If you are a Low Risk Nationality or your CAS indicates that your CAS is issued under 'Tier 4 Pilot', you do NOT need to submit evidence of financial documents, academic qualification or English language certificate. However, you should still prepare them as the UKVI might make spot checks.

  • Complete the online application form via https://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa (follow the instructions as you will need to print off certain documents after submitting the application online)
  • Appropriate fee for visa application *: The Application fee for a Tier 4 visa application made outside of the UK after 6 April 2018 is £348 (or equivalent in local currency).

* If you are applying at one 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)

  • Approriate fee for the Immigration Health Surcharge (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
  • Financial evidence confirming you have the required funds for course fees and maintenance. This can be your Personal Account (must be cash funds in the bank, including savings accounts and current accounts), or the Personal Account of your Parents or Legal Guardians**; OR, a loan letter (the loan must be provided by your national government, state or regional government, or by a government sponsored student loan company or be part of an academic or educational loans scheme); OR official financial or government sponsorship *** available to you. Submission of this document is not required for eligible low risk nationalities but you must still prepare the evidence. Please refer to the how to evidence money required for more information.

** If you are using a parent or legal guardian's bank statement as evidence of your finances, you will need to provide documentary evidence 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). Moreover, 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).


***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.

  • Your academic qualification (as specified in the 'Evidence used to obtain offer' section of your CAS): certificate OR transcripts. If you will use a degree certificate as evidence, it must contain 1) your name; 2) the title of the award; 3) the date of the award; and 4) the name of the awarding institution. If you will use your academic transcript as evidence, it must contain 1) your name; 2) name of the academic institution; 3) the course title; and 4) the confirmation of the award.

If you have an IB (International Baccalaureate) or have taken A level in the current academic year (where official award certificates are not released until October/November), it is acceptable to submit a print out from the online checking service of the awarding body (The University of Warwick will always confirm on a CAS that results stated on a CAS are verified via UCAS). The print out of results from online checking service must show your name, the title of the award, the date of the award and the name of the awarding body.

  • Certificate of English language qualification (if specified 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 its 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 'IELTS for UKVI' certificate as stated in your CAS, which should be valid at the time you submit your visa application. We advise that you submit a photocopy of the test certificate and state the SELT Unique Reference Number on your Tier 4 visa application form (see Guidance on Approved Secure English Language test). UKVI will verify your scores online.
  • ATAS certificate (if specified in your CAS): this is required for certain science and technology courses at Undergraduate Master's or Postgraduate level as specified in your CAS.

Additional documents which may be required:

  • TB Certificate (only for certain nationalities) (also refer to more specific information if you have recently studied in the UK)
  • Official financial sponsor's consent to complete studies (if you have been fully financially sponsored over the last 12 months to study a course in the UK by a government or an International Scholarship Agency): this must confirm that your sponsor has no objection to you continuing your studies in the UK. If you previously received scholarship from the University of Warwick, the sponsor's consent is not required.
  • If you use an overseas account containing a foreign currency, we would advise that you write on your application form the closing balance (or the lowest balance in the 28-day period) in pounds sterling on the 'date of application' (wthis 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.
  • Translations: If any of your documents are not in English, an English translation must be provided alongside the document in its original language with your visa application. It must meet the following requirement: 1) the translation can be independently verified by the Home Office; 2) the translation must contain confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the document; 3) it must contain the date of the translation, the translator/an authorised official of the translation company’s full name and signature, and the translator/translation company’s contact details.
  • 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. Please refer to our Dependant webpage for more information.
  • 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) that your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have given their consent to your application; and

3) that your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have given their consent to you living independently in the UK; and

4) that your parent(s) of legal guardian(s) have given their consent to your independent travel to 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.

You must also provide evidence of your relationship with your parent(s) or legal guardian. Acceptable evidence includes one of the following documents:

a) your birth certificate showing the names of your parent (s),

b) your certificate of adoption showing the name(s) of your parent(s) or legal guardian,

c) a court document naming your legal guardian.

Do I need to take a TB test if I have recently studied in the UK?

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 and the Country Information webpage. Please note that Tier 4 students do not fall into the category of a 'Returning UK Resident' and so if you have been away from the UK for more than 6 months, you WILL need to take a TB test.

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 2017 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 2017, you will not require a TB test. You should explain on the Tier 4 application form why you don't require a TB test.

Updated information in August 2016: We have been made aware of a few visa refusals on the basis of TB because the immigration stamps on students' passport don't make it clear of the periods spent outside of the UK (for example, a missing entry stamp when returning to your home country). We strongly advise that if you are exempt from taking a TB test, you check your passport(s) to ensure that the immigration stamps support your claim and explain this on the Tier 4 online application form.

What visa will I receive?

From March 2015, the Home Office have introduced a new process for the receipt of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) relating to applications made overseas. Please see our dedicated web page for information. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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. Aim to have all your visa application documents ready so that you can apply as soon as your place at Warwick is confirmed. 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 .

Do I need to submit original documents or photocopies?

From 5 November 2018, there is no longer a requirement to provide original documents with applications. However, there are still specific requirements in terms of the format of certain documents. For example, there are specific requirement for the format of financial documents (bank statements) and financial sponsorship letter.

What if I answered one of the questions on the online Tier 4 visa application form incorrectly and only realised it after submitting the form but before I attend the appointment?

It is quite common to answer some of the questions incorrectly. For example, if you answered that you will use your personal bank statement but will actually need to use a combination of your personal bank statement and your parent's. If this happens, please write a personal covering letter and submit it with your passport and other supporting documents when you attend your appointment. You can find a sample letter here.

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 (https://www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre). 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.

Priority applications are usually processed between 3-5 working days. Super Priority applications are usually processed within 24 hours. However, you should allow 2-3 days to collect your passport.

UK Visas and Immigration advises that applicants should not apply for priority service if they:

· have been refused leave to enter the UK;* (see more information below)

· 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.

* In our experience, if you have previously had a visa refusal for a straight forward reason, for example, unacceptable financial evidence, and you have not had any other adverse immigration history, you should still be able to use the 'priority service'. 

Can I contact anyone for more advice on making an application overseas/ check the progress of my application?

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://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk. 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 applications.

If you experience visa delays beyond the UKVI's service target (15 working days for a standard application or 5 working days for a priority application from the date of appointment to the date of decision), and the delay means you may be unable to arrive in the UK before the 'latest start date' stated on your CAS, please get in touch with us and we will try our best to follow up with the UKVI on your behalf.

What do I need to check when I receive my visa?

You should check for errors when you receive your visa to ensure that it has been issued correctly, for example, your personal details, your educational sponsor, the length of your visa and conditions of your visa (police registration, working permission etc..)

 

 

Guide for students completing the online TIER 4 application form(Entry Clearance application) - TIER 4 visa application made overseas

Document Checklist

More information on Tier 4 pilot Scheme for Master's students
More information about how to prepare 'Financial Evidence'
More information on Low Risk Nationalities and the document requirement
 

View the 'We are International' visa application films, tracking the UK visa application process from China and India.