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Applying from outside the UK


This information is for you if you will be making an application for a Tier 4 student visa from within your home country.

You can find information on whether you require a visa to study in the UK, how to apply, guidance notes and application forms on the UK Visas and Immigration website. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

Which visa application form should I use?

Depending on the country where you live, you may need to make your application online or use an application form VAF9. You can find out which method you should use on UK Visas and Immigration  Applying for a student visa from outside the UK webpages.

Do not apply for a Tier 4 student visa more than three months before your course start date. 

Even if you receive your CAS statement earlier than this, you cannot use it until you are within three months of the start date of your course or your visa will be refused. Your course start date will be noted on your CAS statement.

As a part of the visa application process, you will be required to supply biometric data. This includes scans of your fingers and a full-face digital photograph.

In order to provide this information, you will need to visit a UK visa office or a visa application centre in person. Your visa application will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information.

What should I include with my visa application form?

Please include the following documents with your application form:

  1. Passport/Travel document
  2. A recent passport-sized photograph
  3. Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies - CAS
  4. Original certificate(s) or transcript(s) of results for any qualifications used to assess your application to UCL
  5. Evidence of your English language ability as stated in your CAS statement
  6. Evidence that you can meet the cost of the tuition fees, maintenance and maintenance of any dependents
  7. A letter from your parents (if you are under 18 years old)
  8. ATAS certificate (if required)
  9. TB screening certificate (if required)

You are required to submit all original documents along with a photocopy of each. Where a document is not in English or Welsh, the original needs to be accompanied by a fully certified translation that can be independently verified by UK Visas and Immigration. You can find further information in UK Visas and Immigration Documents required section.

You will be required to pay a £310 non-refundable fee in your local currency.

Who is a "low risk" country national?

At present* you are considered to be "low risk" if you are a national of:

Argentina, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, 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 in it), Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America or a British National Overseas.  

From 6 April 2014, “low risk” applicants will no longer be exempt from the credibility interview. 

At the same time, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be added to the list of “low risk” countries.

Your passport will be used to determine your nationality.

If you are considered to be a "low risk" country national, you will be required to provide fewer evidence documents when applying for a Tier 4 student visa to pursue a programme of study at UCL.

Where you are exempt from having to provide a document - or a group of documents - this is specifically stated in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance. However, UK Visas and Immigration reserves the right to request the full range of documents from you. If you are requested to submit supporting documents, you need to do this within the period specified in the request. If you fail to do this, your application will be refused.

*UK Visas and Immigration will review the list of low risk nationalities on an annual basis.

What are the English language requirements of UK Visas and Immigration?

UCL needs to assess your English language ability as part of the academic admissions process. We will state on your CAS statement how we have assessed your English language ability and the level of ability that you have obtained in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

UCL can only issue a CAS for you if you are able to demonstrate that your English language proficiency is at a minimum of CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) level B2 in each of the four components of language learning - reading, writing, speaking and listening.

You may be required to take one of UK Visas and Immigration approved secure SELTs (English language tests) as evidence of your English language ability. The current list of the approved English language tests is available on the GOV.UK website.

UCL will not need to assess your English language competency if:

  • you are the national of a majority English-speaking country*
  • you have completed an academic qualification at degree level or above, which was taught in a majority English-speaking country (including the UK and Ireland but excluding Canada).
*Majority English-speaking countries are currently defined by the UKVI as: Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Tinidad and Tobago; United States of America. UKVI will assess your nationality using your passport.

Do I need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme is run by the British Government (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) and it is a mandatory requirement for some undergraduate and postgraduate students planning to undertake study in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology.

You can find further details on the ATAS webpages.

What is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)?

A CAS is a unique 14 digit reference number, containing a mixture of letters and numbers that is given to you by UCL and confirms to UK Visas and Immigration that you are a genuine student. A CAS is valid for 6 months from the date it is issued. You should use your CAS to apply for a Tier 4 student visa no earlier than 3 months before the start date of your course.

Only students who have firmly accepted an UNCONDITIONAL offer to study at UCL will receive a CAS. It is not possible to issue a CAS for students who have conditional offers.

How to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)?

UCL will apply for a CAS on your behalf. Once you have accepted your unconditional offer you will be sent an email asking you to verify the information that is held on the UCL record system (i.e. your name as it appears on your passport, passport number, etc.).

In order to ensure that your CAS is produced in a timely manner, it is essential that you provide evidence of meeting any outstanding conditions of entry on your offer letter as soon as possible. You should also verify your details as soon as you receive a request from UCL to do so.

Upon receiving confirmation that the data UCL holds is correct, a CAS will be generated. CAS numbers will be generated by the following offices:

  • Undergraduate Students - the relevant Faculty Office
  • Graduate Students - Admissions Office
  • Affiliate Students - International Office

An email will be sent to you containing your CAS number, alongside details of the information used to obtain the CAS.

From the point of receiving confirmation from you that the data UCL holds is correct, it may take up to two weeks for the CAS number to be generated.

How to meet UK Visas and Immigration maintenance requirements?

As a Tier 4 student, you will not have access to most state benefits. Hence, you need to be able to demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration that you have sufficient funds to pay your programme fees and maintenance while you are in the UK.

The amount you need to pay for programme fees will be stated on your CAS statement. If you are starting out on a new programme, this will be the fees for the first academic year, or for the entire programme if it is less than a year long.

Your maintenance is made up of accommodation and living costs. UCL is based in inner London and you you will need to demonstrate that you have £1000 for each month of your programme, up to a maximum of nine months. The maximum amount you need to show is £9000.

In some circumstances, when you have previously studied in the UK and are applying for entry clearance to continue studying in the UK you may be able to qualify for the reduced maintenance levels due to your "established presence" in the UK.

To see if you have established presence studying in the UK, you can refer to Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

If you are in receipt of official financial sponsorship, this sponsorship can be used as evidence of the money you have. Official sponsors can be:

  • The UK government,
  • Your home government,
  • The British Council,
  • Any international organisation/international company,
  • Any university or
  • An independent school.

All the information you need in regard to maintenance funds, can be found in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance . It is essential that you always refer to the most recent edition as published on the GOV.UK website.

Will I need to attend a visa interview?

As a part of your Tier 4 visa application, you may be invited to attend a credibility interview where you will be asked a range of questions about your education history, the programme you will be studying at UCL, how your studies with us fit in with your overall career plans and how you are funding your stay in the UK. The purpose of this interview is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate that your intentions to enrol as a student at UCL are genuine and that your English language ability is at the level specified on your CAS.

From 6 April 2014, “low risk” applicants will no longer be exempt from the credibility interview. 

If you are invited to attend a visa interview

It is essential that you attend the interview, or provide a reasonable explanation as to why you cannot attend, otherwise your visa application may be refused. At the interview, remember to stay calm and answer all questions in English. 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 UCL study is relevant to your future plans;
  • Your knowledge of UCL, your programme of study and your living arrangements in the UK;
  • Your personal and financial circumstances (including whether you can support yourself and, if applicable, your dependents during your studies).

You will need to be able to demonstrate the above using the required level of English without the need for an interpreter. The UCL website gives you information about the university and the facilities, and services we provide - visit our pages to remind yourself about UCL.

Feedback

The visa interviews are a new initiative by the Home Office, if you attend one please share your experience with the International Support Team, internationalsupport [at] ucl.ac.uk.

How long will my Tier 4 student visa be?

If you are coming to UCL to study on a programme which will last for six months or more, or a pre-sessional course which will last for less than six months - your entry clearance will start one month before the start date of the programme.

Your entry clearance will end:

  • Four months after the end of the programme, if your programme lasts 12 months or more.
  • Two months after the end of the programme, if your programme lasts six months or more, but less than 12 months.
  • One month after the end of the programme, if your programme lasts less than six months and is a pre-sessional course.
  • Seven days after the end of the programme, if your programme lasts less than six months and is not a pre-sessional course.
It is essential that you check your entry clearance carefully upon receiving it, to ensure that all the information stated on it is correct. You are recommended to pay specific attention to whether you have been granted the correct length of leave.

If any of the information is incorrect, ask to have it changed immediately, before you travel to the UK. It is very difficult to make changes to your immigration permission once you have arrived in the UK.

Will I need to be screened for TB (Tuberculosis)?

Students from certain countries coming to study in the UK for longer than six months now require a certificate to show that they are free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). The countries that this applies to are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Cameroon
  • China
  • Congo
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • East Timor
  • Ecuador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Macau
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Swaziland
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Further guidance including information on how you will be screened for TB can be found on UK Visas and Immigration Applying for Visa webpage.

Can I bring my dependants to the UK?

You can bring your dependants with you if you are coming to study on a postgraduate programme that lasts 12 months or longer. You are also entitled to bring your dependants to the UK if you are a Government-sponsored student on a programme that lasts 6 months or longer.

You need to visit UK Visas and Immigration webpage "Can you bring your family?" in order to find out who can qualify as your dependant and how they can apply to join you in the UK.

The application fee for each dependant is currently set at £289.

Each dependant will need to provide supporting documentation to demonstrate the following:

  • Evidence of their relationship to you,
  • Evidence that you can support them and live without needing any help from public funds.

Do I need to register with the police in the UK?

You only need to register with the police if there are instructions to do so on your student visa. You are expected to register within seven days of arrival in the UK.

If you are staying in London, within the Metropolitan Police area, you need to register in person at the Overseas Visitors Records Office on Borough High Street. Their opening hours are: Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 4.00pm. However, there are occasions when the office has to close at a very short notice.

Before you attend the Overseas Visitors Records Office always check their website for office closure updates, information about registration requirements and contact details.

If you are living outside this area, contact your local police for the address and opening hours of other police registration offices. Once registered, you will be given a Certificate of Registration.

You need to inform the police of any change to your address within seven days and of any changes to the other details on your certificate within eight days.

If you are granted an extension of stay, report to the police and request to have your certificate renewed. There is no charge for renewal.

Failure to register with the police, if required to do so, is a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

The time required for your visa application to be processed will depend on the country where you are making your application. You can find processing times for different application types in each country around the world on UK Visas and Immigration website.

Customs information

If you traveling to the UK, there are rules about what goods you can bring with you into the country. While some are allowed in specified quantities, others are subject to restrictions or completely prohibited.

Frequently asked questions:


What foods are illegal from countries outside the EU?

  • All meat and meat products including sausages, dried or smoked meat
  • Milk and dairy products, e.g. cheese or yoghurt
  • Potatoes of any kind
  • Kava kava – a herbal ingredient from the Pacific region

What concessions are there on foods from outside the EU?

You may be able to bring back up to 1kg of fish/fish products, bivalves (such as mussels and oysters), eggs/egg products, honey and up to 2kg of certain fruits and vegetables, but these concessions vary by country. Contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for more information.

What should you do if you arrive in the UK and realise you have an illegal or restricted food product in your luggage?

You should go to the Red Channel (or Red Point in smaller airports) and tell a Customs officer about your food product. If you are not sure whether or not something is illegal, always take it to Customs and ask. If your product is illegal it will be taken away from you, but you will not get into trouble or receive a fine. You will receive an official Notice of Surrender to record that you voluntarily declared your illegal goods.

What will happen if you don’t declare the illegal food products in your luggage?

By walking through the Green Channel, you are declaring that you have nothing illegal in your luggage. So if you have illegal food products, you will have committed an offence as soon as you start walking through the Green Channel. UK Customs uses dogs which have been specially trained to sniff luggage and detect illegal food products. You may be asked to open your suitcase to be searched.

If the Customs officers find illegal food products, they will take them away to be destroyed. It doesn’t matter whether the products were gifts or you didn’t realise they were illegal – you will not be allowed to keep them and will have wasted the money spent on them. There are no exceptions and arguing will only delay your journey.

What is the penalty for attempting to import illegal food products?

When the Customs officer takes away your illegal products, he or she will give you an official Notice of Seizure. This is a written warning and means your name will go on record. Depending on how serious your offence is, you could be detained for several hours. In addition, you could be arrested or even prosecuted which may result in a fine or imprisonment.


Getting through UK border security

The UK Border Force has prepared a list of top tips for you if you are a first time student arriving this autumn to commence your studies in the UK. The tips are designed to ensure you are not unduly delayed when entering the UK by being more prepared for what what you may need to present at border control.

Protecting your immigration status

Once you have obtained your Tier 4 student visa it is important that you observe the conditions of this visa in order to protect your immigration status. You can find detailed information about these conditions on the UKCISA website

UK visa application from China

Visit our News & events page to view the latest film from We Are International which captures a unique glimpse of how young people in China go through the visa process to become a student in the UK.

Disclaimer

It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to make sure you understand and meet the UK immigration requirements. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein, you are required to refer to the information provided by UK Visas and Immigration and note it overrides any other immigration information you may read.

Page last modified on 03 apr 14 13:03