Any current student wishing to discuss visa changes or extensions should contact the Student Support Service's International Students Advisory Team.
How to apply for a UK student visa
The following sections are designed to provide information on the UK visa system and what you need to know in order to make an application to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
In order to ensure you have the most up to date information please visit the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. The procedures you need to follow vary depending on which country you are applying from, so please ensure you check the UKVI 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 for a UK study visa? What if I have already paid some of my course/accommodation fees to my institution? What financial documents should I include in a UK study visa application? What is an ATAS certificate and do I need one? UK study visa interview help and support What do I do if my study visa application is rejected? Short-term study visa
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 (General) student visa application under the Points Based System you are required to score 40 points. Your 40 points will be based on the following: having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from the University of East Anglia and the documents used to obtain this (30 points); and evidence confirming that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees for the first year and living costs (also referred to as maintenance) (10 points).
A CAS is a unique reference number that is issued by UKVI and sent to you by the University. Students are required to state the CAS number when applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa. A CAS is an electronic document which the University sends 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 - you have formally accepted your unconditional offer with us.
Before issuing a CAS, the University will email you a CAS preview letter to check. All the information contained in this document is extremely important, so you must check that it is all correct and up to date. Incorrect information could lead to your application being refused or delayed so it is essential that you check the CAS preview letter carefully.
After you have confirmed that the CAS preview information is correct, this information will be sent to UKVI and your CAS number will be generated. 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 UKVI as part of your visa application.
Please note that the Tier 4 (General) 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. A list of our approved education agents in each country is on the relevant country page on our website. 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 UKVI website. Most students can submit an online visa application through the Visa4UK website, but please follow the guidance for your country.
Make sure you submit all the required documents with your application. Please make sure they are original documents and follow the specified UKVI requirements. If you do not follow the requirements set out, your visa application will be refused and you will not have an opportunity to submit any other documents at a later stage.
When applying for a new student visa for more than 6 months you will need to pay a healthcare charge, called the Immigration Health Surcharge, as part of the visa application. Paying this charge will allow you to use the National Healthcare Service (NHS). On making your payment you will receive an IHS reference number which you will use as part of your visa application. Any visa application without this unique number will be refused.
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 21 September, you should apply for your visa after the 21 June or you will receive a visa refusal. 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 the 12, 8, 6 or 4 week Pre-Sessional English course at INTO UEA prior to your degree programme, then the University can offer you a joint CAS. This will enable you to apply for a visa that covers both the Pre-Sessional Course and your main degree course - saving you valuable time and money. The University can only offer the joint CAS to students who have met the following conditions:
- have received and accepted an offer of a place on the 12, 8, 6 or 4 week Pre-Sessional English course at INTO UEA;
- have paid your deposit to INTO UEA;
- have received and accepted an unconditional offer of a place on your main degree course at UEA;
All Tier 4 (General) 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 the course duration.
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. UKVI 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.
You will need £1,015 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 as evidence for maintenance is £9,135.
In all cases, part months are rounded up to the end of that month.
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.
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.
For further information on financial sponsors, please see the section below.
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 the University towards your course fees, and
- up to £1,265 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 with your visa application. 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 UKVI is more than the amount that you have paid to the University for course fees and for accommodation fees (up to a maximum of £1,265) then you must provide UKVI evidence that you have the rest of the money required.
Evidence of your tuition and maintenance must meet specific UKVI requirements. If it does not, your visa application may be refused. To ensure you have the most up to date information, please check the UKVI Policy Guidance before submitting your visa application.
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.
Bank Accounts and Bank Statements
The bank account statement that you submit with your visa application 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). The account must show cash funds in the bank (this includes savings accounts and current accounts even when notice must be given), but shares, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards and pension funds are not acceptable.
You must show that you have held the required tuition fees and maintenance in your bank account for a consecutive 28 day period (finishing on 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.
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 UKVI 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. The financial institution must be regulated by either the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulatory Authority or, in the case of overseas accounts, by the home regulator (the official regulatory body for the country the financial institution is in and where the money is held) for the purpose of student loans.
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.
The loan must be in your name only, and must not be dated more than six months before the date you submit your visa application.
There must be no conditions placed on the release of the loan funds to you, other than your Tier 4 application being successful.
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 UKVI 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.
Low Risk Countries
If you are from a "Low Risk" country, you are not required to include your bank statement or qualifications with your application. You must, however, confirm on your application form that you have this documentary evidence, and UKVI can ask "low risk" students to send these documents.
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 offer letter and CAS will also state if you require ATAS clearance.
A student applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa may be asked to undertake a credibility interview with an official in the UK, via video-conferencing, when they submit their biometric details. Please note that if you are asked to interview but do not attend (and there is no reasonable explanation), your application will be refused.
The officer will question you about your reasons for studying in the UK – including questions about your course, university and intentions of study; your background and immigration history; about your previous education; and/or about your financial circumstances. The 5 – 10 minute interview will be conducted in English and provide assurance that the English language requirements of the Tier 4 rules are met. For more information, please see the Home Office Entry clearance guidance for Tier 4 interviews.
A report of the interview will be used as an additional piece of information that will be considered by the entry clearance officer, alongside your visa application and supporting documents. If the visa officer needs to examine wider genuine student rule points then they may call you for a more in-depth interview.
Where an application has been refused following an interview, the applicant can request that an Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) reviews the decision. The applicant has 28 days from the date of the refusal notice to submit a request for an Administrative Review.
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.
A Short-term study visa 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, or for existing students requiring re-assessment.
The Short-term study visa route is for students who are 18 years or older who wish to study in the UK for 6 months or less. Students who enter with a Short-term study visa may not work (including internships, work-placement or work-study) and may not switch their visa 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.
UEA strongly recommends that all students using this visa route obtain their Short-term study visa before travelling to the UK as this reduces risk at the point of entry and also gives you a multi-entry visa. A Short-term study visa obtained at the point of entry to UK is a single-entry visa only, is only available to certain nationalities and any errors or problems can be complex and expensive to resolve.
When you tell us that you plan to study at UEA using a Short-term study visa we will provide you with an original letter from UEA which provides details about you, that you will be enrolled in classes for 15+ hours per week and will include details regarding the fees and start and end date of the course.
As part of your application you will be asked to show 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 may be required to 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.
Please note that if you are intending on entering the UK as a Non-visa National and wish to apply for a Short-term study visa stamp on entry, we do not advise that you enter the UK via Ireland as you may not get the correct entry stamp to allow you to study in the UK.