Any current students wishing to discuss visa changes or extensions should contact the Dean of Students International Support Advisory Team.
Applying for your student Visa
The following sections on this page are designed to provide information on the visa system and what you need to know in order to make an application to the UK Border Agency.
In order to ensure you have the most up to date information please visit the UK Border Agency (UKBA) website. The procedures you need to follow vary depending on which country you are applying from, so please ensure you check the UKBA website before submitting your application.
What is the Point Based System?
What is a CAS and how do I get one?
How do I apply for my student visa?
How do I obtain a joint CAS?
How much money do I need?
What if I have already paid some of my course/accommodation fees to my institution?
What financial documents should I include?
What is an ATAS certificate and do I need one?
What about if I am a study abroad / exchange student coming to the UK to study for less than 6 months?
What do I do if my visa is rejected?
The Points Based System (PBS) is the UK system for managing migration for those outside the European Economic Area wishing to enter the UK for the purpose of study. To make a Tier 4 student visa application under the Points Based System you are required to score 40 points. Your 40 points will be based on the following: Confirmation of a unique Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from the University of East Anglia and the documents used to obtain this (30 points). Bank statements/financial guarantee letters confirming that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees for the first year and a specific amount of money for living costs, also referred to as maintenance (10 points).
CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies and is required to apply for a Tier 4 student visa. It is an electronic document which is sent to successful applicants once they have met all conditions of their offer (if applicable) and:
- Undergraduate students - you have formally accepted your unconditional offer with us.
- Masters students - you have formally accepted your unconditional offer and paid your International Deposit.
- Research students - you have formally accepted your unconditional offer and paid your International Deposit.
- Study Abroad students
Once we have processed your request for a CAS we will email you a CAS preview to check. All the information contained in the CAS is extremely important, so you must check it is all correct and up to date. Incorrect information could lead to your application being refused so it is essential that you check the CAS preview carefully.
After you have confirmed that your CAS preview information it is correct your CAS will be generated and your details will be automatically sent to the UK Border Agency. You will then receive your CAS statement in an email to the correspondence address that you have supplied to us; we do not send this to you in the post. The statement will contain your unique CAS number which you will be asked to provide to the UKBA (See a sample of a CAS letter).
Please note that the student visa you receive will be valid for UEA only and cannot be used for any other institution. If you decide to leave UEA and change institutions, you will require a new CAS from your new institution to apply for a new visa.
To apply for your visa, we recommend you obtain assistance from one of our approved education representatives/agents to help ensure you receive your visa easily and successfully. A list of our approved education agents in each country is on the relevant country page on our website at www.uea.ac.uk/international/country. Click on the 'agents' tab on your country page. If we do not have any approved agents in your area, please follow the guidance very carefully on the UKBA website. Most students can submit an online visa application through the Visa4UK website, but follow the guidance for your country.
Note: You cannot apply for your visa more than 3 months before the start of your course. For example, if your course start date is 23 September, UKBA will not allow you to apply for your visa before 23 June. Please note your CAS is only valid for 6 months and will expire if not used at the end of this period.
If you have chosen to study at UEA for the 8, 6 or 4 week Pre-Sessional English course then we can offer you a joint CAS enabling you to apply for only one visa to cover both the Pre-Sessional Course and your main degree course. This can save you valuable time and money as it should mean you only need to apply once for a student visa to study within the UK. We can only offer this joint CAS to students who have completed the following conditions.
To be eligible for a joint CAS you must:
- apply and be offered a place on the 8, 6 or 4 week course studying at the INTO UEA centre;
- have paid your deposit to INTO UEA centre;
- have been offered and accepted a place on your main degree course at UEA;
- have no outstanding academic conditions with UEA.
All Tier 4 Student Visa applicants must show that they have enough money to pay their course fees and living costs in the UK.
The amount of money that you will need to have for your course fees and your maintenance will depend on:
- how long your courses lasts and
- where you will be studying in the UK
You must have enough money to pay the course fees for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year in duration. Your CAS will state the fees that you will be required to pay. Any scholarships that have been awarded to you from UEA will be deducted from the course fees amount on your CAS. The UKBA will use the details on your CAS to determine how much money you need to show for your course fees.
If you do not need to pay any course fees to your Tier 4 sponsor, your CAS will state that there are no fees due. For example, if you are applying to come to the UK as part of a 'study abroad' programme, and you have paid all of your course fees to your home institution, this will be confirmed in your CAS.
If you are a fully funded student, for example sponsored by your national government, your CAS will state your full course fees and you will use your government sponsorship letter as proof of funds.
Your accommodation and living costs are called 'maintenance'. In addition to your course fees, you must have a fixed amount of money to cover your maintenance.
If you will be studying at our Norwich campus, you will need £800 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months. This means that for a course lasting nine months or more, the minimum amount that you will need to show for maintenance in your bank statement is £7,200.
If you will be studying at our London campus, you will need £1,000 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months. This means that for a course lasting nine months or more, the minimum amount that you will need is £9,000.
In all cases, part months are rounded up to the end of that month.
If you have an established presence in the UK as a student, you must show that you have enough money for your course fees, plus £800 per month, up to a maximum of 2 months (£1,600).
Any student (including a postgraduate doctor or a student union sabbatical officer) has an established presence studying in the UK if they:
- completed a single course of study lasting at least 6 months during their most recent permission to stay in the UK; or
- are applying to continue studying on a single course in the UK, of which they have completed at least 6 months.
Additionally, your current or most recent permission to stay must have been:
- under Tier 4; or
- as a student under the former Immigration Rules that were in force until 30 March 2009; or
- as a postgraduate doctor or dentist.
If you are a fully funded student, for example sponsored by your national government, you need to provide a letter from your financial sponsor in which they confirm that they will pay for your tuition fees and living costs. See the UKBA definition of an official financial sponsor, (view the Tier 4 policy guidance PDF and scroll down to paragraph 143 and 228).
If you are partly funded, you need a letter from your sponsor which states details of the costs they are paying for, but you also need to show, through bank statements, loans, letter from your bank or a regulated financial institution that you can meet the remainder of the amount set out in the policy guidance.
You can deduct the following from the total amount of money that you need to show as part of your visa application:
- money that you have already paid to your Tier 4 sponsor towards your course fees, and
- up to £1,000 that you have already paid to the University for your accommodation fees, if you will be living in university accommodation.
Your CAS may include details of any money paid to UEA. If not, you will need to provide an official receipt issued by the University. It must be an original paper receipt confirming how much money you have paid towards your course fees and/or your accommodation fees.
If the total amount that you are required to show the UKBA is more than the amount that you have paid to the University for course fees and for accommodation fees (up to a maximum of £1,000) then you must provide UKBA evidence that you have the rest of the money required.
Evidence of your tuition and maintenance must meet specific UKBA requirements. If it does not, your immigration application may be refused.
As evidence of your money, you must use:
- personal bank or building society statements, or
- building society passbook, or
- certificate of deposit, or
- letter from your bank confirming your funds, or
- letter from a regulated financial institution confirming your money or loan, or
- letter from your national government confirming a loan.
The full amount of money that you need to show the UKBA must be in the account for 28 days up to the date of the closing balance. This means that the account must not drop below the amount that you need to show at any time during the 28 day period. If it does your immigration application will be refused.
Furthermore, the closing balance must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you submit your application; or if you are submitting a letter which confirms that you have a loan it must not be dated more than six months before the date on which you make your application.
A bank account can be in your name, in your parent's or legal guardian's name or it can be a joint account you hold with someone else. You can use more than one account if necessary, and you can use a combination of your account(s) and your parent's or legal guardian's account(s). If you are relying on a loan, the loan must be in your name only.
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 UKBA uses the Oanda website to convert currencies into Pounds Sterling, so you should use this exchange rate too.
Online statements must include all the standard required information, and must either be stamped by the bank on each page, or have an accompanying letter from the bank confirming its authenticity.
If you wish to use a bank account in your parent's or guardian's name or names, you must also include evidence of their relationship to you. This evidence can be:
- your original birth certificate, or a notarised copy, showing the name of your parent or parents whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
- if you are adopted, the original certificate of adoption, or a notarised copy, showing your name and the name of your parent or parents whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
- if you have a legal guardian, an original court document, or notarised copy, which shows the name of your guardian whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
If your country of nationality does issue birth certificates then you must submit whatever document your country issues as evidence of your relationship to your parent(s). This provision is only for people whose country of nationality does not issue birth certificates.
You must also provide an original signed letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s), confirming the relationship between you, and confirming that they consent to the funds being available to you for study in the UK.
With effect from the 28th February 2013 if you wish to use a loan letter as evidence of your funds this letter must confirm that:
The loan is provided by the national government, the state or regional government or a government sponsored student loan company or is part of an academic or educational loans scheme.
Therefore if you will be using a loan from a different source (such as from a bank) and you are going to make your application on or after 28 February 2013 then you should transfer the funds into your own bank account (or that of your parents or legal guardian) and wait 28 days before using one of the other forms of evidence listed above.
An official financial sponsor is defined in the Tier 4 policy guidance as:
- the UK government
- your home government
- the British Council
- any international organisation
- an international company (the UKBA has not defined 'international company' but it seems to mean a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country)
- any university
- an Independent School
If you receive funding from any of the above sources, you will need to obtain a letter from them confirming how much money they will contribute towards your course fees and maintenance, (unless your official financial sponsor is also your Tier 4 sponsor and they have included details of your financial sponsorship in your CAS). This letter must show:
- your name
- the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor
- the date of the letter
- the length of the sponsorship
- the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you, or a statement that all course fees and living costs will be covered
- state that they consent to your Tier 4 (General) application
If your official financial sponsor is not covering all of your course fees and maintenance, you must have the rest of the money required.
From 30 July 2012, the UKBA's entry clearance officers can require Tier 4 (General) student applicants to attend interviews or to conduct interviews by telephone in order to assess whether they are genuine students.
UKBA may ask you to attend an interview before your visa is granted. The officer is likely to ask you about:
- Any previous visa applications for the UK and other countries, including the purpose for your visit;
- The amount of time you have previously spent in the UK;
- Your education history – including when you last studied and why your UEA course is relevant to your future plans;
- Your knowledge of UEA, your course and your living arrangements in the UK.
- Your personal and financial circumstances (including whether you can support yourself during your studies).
Students will need to be able to demonstrate the above using the required level of English.
If you are a postgraduate student and will be studying or researching one of the areas listed by the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), you must have an ATAS clearance certificate.
We advise you to find out if you need an ATAS certificate before applying for a student visa or extension. We will issue a CAS once you have received your ATAS certificate. Please visit the ATAS website for further information and a list of the courses affected. Please note that your CAS will also state if you require ATAS clearance.
What about if I am a study abroad / exchange student coming to the UK to study for less than 6 months?
If you are coming to the UK to study for 6 months or less, you may have the option to apply for a Student Visitor Entry Clearance outside PBS (note this is not available for all nationalities).
Student Visitor Entry Clearance is only usually applicable to students participating in an undergraduate one-semester study abroad programme, but could also be an option for any other participant of a short-term programme less than 6 months.
Note: you are NOT able to come on Student Visitor Entry Clearance and change to a Tier 4 student visa or switch to a Student Visitor visa later on and remain in the UK. If there is any chance you may want to extend your period of study and/or wish to work (even volunteer) while you are studying, please apply for a Tier 4 PBS student visa as described above.
We hope that these guidelines will assist in obtaining a visa. If you feel your application was wrongly rejected however, please contact us immediately by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can investigate why this has happened. We would need a copy (scanned or faxed) of the rejection letter from the Entry Clearance Officer and will do everything we can to help overturn the decision if we feel an error has been made.
Pay your International Deposit or Pre-pay additional tuition and accommodation fees.
We strongly recommend you make any payment to the University through our preferred method Uni-Pay. Uni-Pay works with a network of banks in an increasing number of countries. It allows you to pay in your local currency (or neighbouring country) at a favourable exchange rate with no transfer fees. We are informed very quickly of your payment, and if a refund is necessary, this can be paid back to you very quickly and easily. If you are in the UK however, it is best to pay by direct bank transfer (below).
If you would rather pay by traditional bank transfer, find out how to make a pre-payment by bank transfer. Take the instructions to your bank. You will need the bank to help you calculate the currency equivalent of the amount in Pounds Sterling you are sending. Once sent, fill in the online Payment Notice Form to alert the Finance Office of the payment. Once the funds have been received in the UEA bank account, a receipt will be sent directly to your contact email address.
- Any pre-payment made in excess of the required deposit may be refunded at any time upon request
- The maximum amount we can receive for pre-payment of accommodation fees is £1,000, which will count towards your room on campus once allocated. If your assigned room is less than this, any overpayment will be refunded after arrival. You MUST apply for a room to receive one. Full information of accommodation fees and the accommodation application form are available online at www.uea.ac.uk/accommodation.
- We cannot accept any payment of living costs on top of the maximum pre-payment allowed for accommodation of £1,000. Therefore, the maximum total possible pre-payment is your tuition fees in full + £1,000. Any attempt to pay more than this maximum amount will result in the entire payment being refused.
- Make sure you use your full name and application number as the bank reference when you make this payment, for example "John Smith, 800047891", so we can assign your payment to you.
- Also ensure you keep a record of payment. We cannot issue a refund without proof of payment and can only refund to the same account payment was made from.
Student Visitor visas for those studying 6 months or less
The (Non-PBS) Student Visitor category is for students who are 17 years or older who wish to study in the UK for 6 months or less. Students who enter as a student visitor may not work (including internships, work-placement or work-study) and may not switch their status and/or extend their stay whilst in the UK. If you plan to undertake any type of employment or internship in the UK during your studies, or if there is any chance you may wish to extend your period of study, please apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.
Nationals who DO require a visa before arriving in the UK as a student visitor must obtain their visa BEFORE travelling to the UK. All others can obtain their Student Visitor visa at immigration when entering the UK, however, you must be prepared to supply the Immigration Officer with the correct documentation (see below).
Steps to entering the UK as a (Non-PBS) Student Visitor:
- As a short-term student entering the UK, you may be able to enter without a visa, depending on your nationality. However, you must be prepared to show the Immigration Officer at the airport (or other port of entry) that you have been accepted on a course of study by:
- An Accredited Educational Institution
- An institution that holds a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence, or
- An Institution of Higher Education which is delivering only part of its program in the UK and holds its own national accreditation and awards degrees equivalent to those in the UK (eg study abroad programmes).
- You will do this by showing an original letter from that institution which provides details about you, that you will be enrolled in classes for 15+ hours per week and will include details regarding the start and end date of the course.
- You will be asked to show the Immigration Officer that you will have the necessary funds to pay for your course fees and support yourself for the entire period you intend to stay in the UK. This can be in the form of scholarship, grant or other financial aid award letters as well as bank statements in your name which are dated no more than one calendar month before you arrive in the UK.
- You will demonstrate your willingness to leave the UK once your course of study is complete by showing return tickets or an itinerary with your name and information on them.
- You must present a valid passport that will not expire while you are in the UK.
- You will receive a stamp in your passport when you present your documents.
- If you travel outside the UK during your course of study, show the Immigration Officer your Student Visitor stamp (code 5N) and the institution letter when re-entering the UK.
Full details of the Student Visitor visa at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/applying-inside-uk/