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Applying inside the UK

Information about how to make a Tier 4 visa application when resident in the UK.

If you are already in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, or in certain other visa categories, you may be able to extend your leave to remain under Tier 4 from within the UK. Further information on eligibility for this can be found on the UKCISA website. 

Tier 4 visas are only valid for use on the programme of study at the university they were issued for.

  • If you have a Tier 4 visa that was issued for study at another university you must apply to extend your visa before you can enrol at UCL
  • If you hold a Tier 4 visa issued for study at UCL and are starting a new programme of study you must apply to extend your visa before you are allowed to enrol on your new programme of study

In both cases you do not need to have received your new visa before the start of the programme. However you must be able to prove to us that you have submitted your extension application.


On this page you will find information about: 


The application process

Find out more about:

How and where is an application made?

A Tier 4 visa application in the UK is completed, paid for, and submitted on-line. When you complete your application on-line you are given the choice of using:

  1. the Standard Service
  2. the Priority Postal Service
  3. the Premium service

Standard Service

  • It costs £475

  • You will need to upload your documents on the UKVCAS website.

  • You enrol your biometrics and verify your supporting documents at a Core Centre/Service Point. You will be redirected to the ‘Sopra Steria’ website to book an appointment at your nearest location, you will have the choice of a free service at one of the 6 CORE CENTRES or for an additional fee you may wish to travel to one of the 50 Enhanced Service Points. Optional added-value services will also be available. If your application includes family members, you will all need to attend an appointment at the same time

  • The Home Office aims to process your application within 8 weeks. It may be quicker during quiet periods and slightly longer during busy periods

Priority Service 

  • It costs £975

  • You can make a priority application by applying online.

  • You will need to upload your documents on the UKVCAS website. 

  • You enrol your biometrics and upload your supporting documents at a Core Centre/Service Point. You will be redirected to the ‘Sopra Steria’ website to book an appointment at your nearest location, you will have the choice of a free service at one of the 6 CORE CENTRES or for an additional fee you may wish to travel to one of the 50 Enhanced Service Points. Optional added-value services will also be available. If your application includes family members, you will all need to attend an appointment at the same time.

  • The Home Office aims to make a decision on your application within 5 days

Super Priority Service

  • You have an in-person appointment at a UKVI centre
  • It costs £1,275
  • You enrol your biometrics and upload your supporting documents at a Core Centre/Service Point. You will be redirected to the ‘Sopra Steria’ website to book an appointment at your nearest location, you will have the choice of a free service at one of the 6 CORE CENTRES or for an additional fee you may wish to travel to one of the 50 Enhanced Service Points. Optional added-value services will also be available. If your application includes family members, you will all need to attend an appointment at the same time.
  • Your visa application will be processed within 24 hours of your appointment. Your BRP will be sent to you through the post 5-10 working days later
  • Appointment availability can depend on whether you are applying in a busy period. You may wish to travel to a UKVI centre which is slightly further away.

Whichever service you choose you will leave the Core Centre/Service Point with all your evidence including your travel document – Please do not leave the UK until a decision is made on your application otherwise it will lead to your application being withdrawn!

 

When to make an application

You should prepare your application 2 months before the expiry date of your current visa. However, this is not always possible and you have up until the expiry date of your visa to submit an in-time application in the UK. The application date is the date you submit and pay for your application on-line. You then have 15 days to submit your biometrics and upload your documents online and vertify them at one of the UKVI Core Centres or Enhanced Service Points (or two days if you are using the Priority Service).

Under immigration law, as long as you submit an in-time application your visa will automatically be extended whilst it is being considered by UKVI. This means you will not be illegally in the UK. 

It is not advisable to make your application after the expiry date of your visa. You will become an overstayer which is a criminal offence and could have serious consequences for any future immigration applications.

Making an application in the UK

You can only make an application in the UK if your new programme starts within 28 days of the expiry date of your current visa. If it starts later than this you will need to leave the UK and apply for fresh entry clearance from your home country.

If you are switching from another visa category to Tier 4 you should check that you are eligible to switch to Tier 4 in the UK. You can find this information on page 19 of the Tier 4 policy guidance. If you are not eligible you will need to return to your home country to apply.

Biometrics

As part of the application process you will be required to give biometric information (this means fingerprints and facial image) at a UKVI Core Centre or Enhanced Service Point.

  • You will be told what you need to bring to your appointment when you submit your application, this will include:

  • appointment confirmation - passport or travel document -supporting evidence 

  • At your appointment you will:

  • show your appointment confirmation (you will get this as an email containing a QR code) and ID documents to confirm your appointment
  • enrol your biometric information (fingerprints, photograph) and digital signature
  • submit your supporting evidence 
  • show your passport or travel document and have your identity checked
  • speak to a member of staff who will check that your biometric information has been successfully enrolled and your passport and supporting evidence has scanned correctly

Healthcare charge (NHS surcharge)

All Tier 4 visa applications made for a programme of study of more than 6 months in duration will be required to pay a fee for access to NHS health care in the UK. You must pay this fee in advance and it is a mandatory requirement for a visa application. If you do not pay it your visa application will be refused. Please see our guidance page for further information about the Healthcare charge. 

Credibility interviews

UKVI is now carrying out “credibility” interviews for students making visa applications in the UK.

For further information about this please see below.


Credibility interviews

UKVI is now carrying out “credibility” interviews for students making visa applications in the UK. A credibility interview is used by UKVI to determine whether they think you are a genuine student. Questions may be asked about your background and immigration history; about your previous education; about the studies you are planning to undertake in the UK; and/or about your financial circumstances.

Find out more about:

Will I have an interview?

Not all students will be asked to attend an interview. If you are required to attend an interview they will send you a letter through the post informing of this.

You will need to complete the Interview Reply Form and Declaration sent to you in the post by the Home Office and email it to the Home Office before the deadline as stated on the Home Office’s covering letter.

If you do not attend the interview your application will automatically be refused.

How will the interview be conducted?

The interview will take place at a UKVI centre as stated on the Home Office’s covering letter. The interview will be conducted in English and therefore your ability to communicate in English will be tested.

For most students the interview will be 30 minutes long and it will be conducted by a Home Office member of staff in the UK (either in person or by Skype). The report of the interview will then be sent to the visa officer who will consider it alongside your visa application and supporting documents.

What will they ask?

They may ask you questions about the following:

  • Your previous immigration history
  • Your previous study history, current study and post-study plans
  • Your finances

To prepare for your interview it would be a good idea to prepare the following:

  • Make sure you are familiar with your course, its content and the modules you may be taking
  • Consider what your plans are post-study and how your study links with this
  • Be prepared to explain your finances and where the money is coming from

How will the interview affect my application?

The visa officer who deals with your application will be given a copy of the transcript of the interview and will use that to assess your credibility along with the other documents you provide with the application.


What you need to make an application

  • Please ensure you include all relevant pages of these documents with your Tier 4 visa application. 

  • Passport(s): You will need to provide your current passport and any previous passports needed as part of the application
  • Proof of qualifications: You will need to provide original certificates or transcripts of the qualifications you used to obtain your unconditional offer at UCL. This includes your academic qualifications and any relevant English qualifications. These documents will be listed on your CAS statement. You only need to provide the documents listed thereIf your documents are not in English you will need to provide official verified translations in addition to the originals 
  • Proving academic progression evidence: In order to demonstrate academic progression you must have achieved the qualification for which you obtained your most recent Tier 4 visa. Therefore you are required to submit an original degree certificate or transcript of results for your most recent qualification as part of your Tier 4 application.

    If your degree has not been officially awarded yet, you should obtain formal confirmation in writing from your current tier 4 sponsor that, based on your performance, you are highly likely to successfully complete your course and the date by which this will be confirmed. 

    This letter must be printed on letter-headed paper and can be signed/stamped by your academic department or your institution and should be included in your Tier 4 visa application. It must contain the following information:
  1. Your full name;
  2. Name of the course and level of course;
  3. Date qualification is due to be awarded (this can be stated as a single day or a month but the latest date by which it is to be awarded must be within 3 months of the official course start date of the new course);
  4. A statement confirming that you are highly likely to successfully complete the qualification based on your performance.
  • CAS statement: You will need a CAS from UCL. Please see our guidance on what a CAS is and how to obtain one
  • Financial evidence: You will need to provide the documents you will be providing to show you meet the financial requirements. If these documents are not in English you will need to additionally supply an official verified translation. For information about what evidence you need to provide for your finances please see our guidance
  • ATAS certificate: You may be required to provide an ATAS certificate with your application if you are studying at advanced levels in certain subject areas. To find out whether you need an ATAS certificate please see our guidance.
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable). Please see our guidance for further information.

How to make your application

Please contact the Student Immigration Advice Team by using the contact form for further advice and support with regards to this.


Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not from the European Economic Area or Switzerland and are planning to study in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology you may be required to apply for clearance under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme.

If you need an ATAS certificate for your programme you will be required to submit it with your application documents.

Please see our guidance pages for further information.


Overstaying

If you are eligible to extend your Tier 4 visa from within the UK, you must ensure that you submit your visa application before your current visa expires. If you do not submit your application in-time, you will become an overstayer.

Overstaying means allowing your visa to expire and staying in the UK which is a criminal offence. 

If you have become an overstayer, you will need to depart the UK immediately. Any further visa application you make will need to be submitted from outside the UK. Please note that we may also be required to interrupt your registration whilst your case is resolved. You will be required to provide evidence to show that you have left the UK before we can consider assigning a new CAS.

It is likely that you will miss significant teaching on your programme. As such, you must inform your department that you are an overstayer, that you are required to leave the UK and seek authorisation for this period of absence. You can use the UCL Authorised Absence Form in order to do this.  

You will need to contact the UCL Visa Compliance Team and it is also advisable contact the Student Immigration Advice Team who can provide you with immigration advice by using the contact form.