Navigation

International

Visa Advice

The following information is for prospective students who have not yet joined UCLan. The information is correct at the time of publication; please read through this information carefully before you apply for your visa.

Who needs a visa?

If you have non-European Economic Area or Swiss nationality and you are coming to the UK in order to study, you will need a study visa. There are two types of study visa:

  • Short-term study visa
  • Tier 4 visa

Please read the information below to decide which type of visa you will need then click on the links to find more details. You should apply for either type of visa before you leave your home country; doing this is called ‘entry clearance’.

Tier 4 (T4) visa is for you if you are coming to the UK to study here on a full-time programme of study for more than 6 months. You may be allowed to do limited work on a Tier 4 visa; you may be allowed to bring your family with you (provided you meet certain criteria) and you may be allowed to extend your Tier 4 visa in the UK, depending on your circumstances.

The UK has a points-based immigration system which has different ‘tiers’ within it; Tier 4 is the tier which relates to students. You must apply for a Tier 4 visa in your home country; you cannot apply for a Tier 4 visa when you arrive in the UK. It is very important that you prepare carefully before you apply for a Tier 4 visa.

Before you apply for a Tier 4 Visa

  1. You need to have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from UCLan before you can apply for a Tier 4 visa. The CAS is an electronically generated reference number which the University gets from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) computer system. In order to receive a CAS from UCLan you must have an unconditional offer; in order to have an unconditional offer, you must have met all our academic conditions; you must have received your Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if it is required to study your course (please see ‘Evidence you will need to have when you apply for your visa’); you must have paid the relevant deposit and you must have provided details requested of previous academic study, visas and passport.

    Your CAS number will be sent to you in an unconditional offer letter from UCLan; you will receive your CAS number up to a maximum of 6 months before your course starts. Please note:
    • A CAS can be used only once
    • A CAS expires after 6 months
  2. You need to have the right amount of money available to you for the right period of time.
    If you are coming to the UK as a single student (ie. you are not bringing any dependants) you will need to show that you have your tuition fees for one year AND £1,015 per month (up to a maximum of £9,135) to cover your living expenses AND that this money has been in the bank for at least 28 days before you apply for your Tier 4 visa. Please see below for more details.

    If you plan to bring dependants with you:
    A dependant is your husband/wife or partner or your child/children. Not all Tier 4 applicants are allowed to bring dependants with them. To bring a dependant with you, you must: Either be sponsored by a government on a course longer than six months OR you must be doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer.

    For further information please visit UK Council for International Student Affairs.


UCLan cannot guarantee that you will get a second CAS if your visa application is refused; please read the information below to help make sure that your visa application is successful.


How to apply for a Tier 4 Visa

Immigration rules can change at short notice; before applying for your visa you should refer to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) policy guidance to check for changes to this published information.

Although you may receive your CAS from UCLan up to 6 months before your course starts, you can use your CAS to apply for a visa only up to 3 months before your course starts; please do not apply for your visa earlier than 3 months before your course starts as your visa may be refused. Check the processing times in your home country.

Evidence you will need to have when you apply for your visa

Information under 1. and 2. below applies to all students; information under 3. and 4. applies to certain students only; please read through carefully first to check which sections are relevant to you.

  1. CAS: Please check all details on your unconditional offer letter as soon as you receive it. If you believe there are any errors in it, or if any details have changed (eg. passport number) please inform us immediately.
  2. Money: You will need to show that you have:
    - your tuition fees for one year AND
    - £1,015 per month (up to a maximum of £9,135) to cover your living expenses AND
    - that this money has been in the bank for at least 28 days before you apply for your Tier 4 visa AND
    - the earliest date on the bank statement must be within 31 days of your visa application

    (i) For students funded by family

    This money must be in cash funds in a bank account, not on credit cards or in the form of assets or shares. The bank statement can be printed from an online account or can be on headed paper from the bank; each page must show the name of the bank and its logo; the name of the account holder and the account number and must be stamped with an original stamp by the bank. If you have printed off a statement from an online bank account you will need to go into the bank in person to have each page of the statement stamped.

    If you are using your parents’ bank account to provide the money you need for your visa application you must provide with your visa application documents your original birth certificate and an original letter from your parents that clearly states that the money in the account is for your tuition fees and/or living expenses in the UK. Your parents’ bank account must be a personal (not business) account.

    You cannot use the bank account of another relative unless you have evidence that this person is your legally appointed guardian. You cannot use the bank account of a friend.

    Bank statements must be in English; if the bank statement is not in English, you must provide a certified, official translation.

    If the bank statement is in a foreign currency, you must go to: www.oanda.com to print off the currency conversion and you must send this print-off with bank statement in your visa application.

    (ii) For students sponsored by a government, company or organisation

    You must provide an original letter, on official sponsor letterhead, from your sponsor which clearly states the sum of money your sponsor is providing for your tuition fees and/or living expenses. The letter must be dated within 6 months of the date of your visa application.

  3. ATAS: Some students who are going to study certain courses in engineering, science or technology need to have ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) before they can apply for a Tier 4 visa. Your unconditional offer letter from UCLan will show your JACS code (What’s Next guide) and should state whether you need an ATAS certificate; you can also visit find if you require an ATAS certificate.

    You should allow plenty of time to get an ATAS certificate; it usually takes around 20 working days to process the ATAS application. There is no fast-track service.

    Please read the guidance on applying for an ATAS certificate carefully before you make your ATAS application.

  4. TB test: students from certain countries need to have a valid TB test before they can apply for a Tier 4 visa. Please visit: check whether you need a TB test  which also lists approved test clinics where you can have the test.

Tier 4 Application Process

Once you have collected together all the documents and evidence you need for your Tier 4 visa, as set out above, you can apply online.

It should take you only a short time to complete your online application; please ensure you register first to create an account; this takes just a few minutes and you can do this immediately before you do your online application.


On your visa application form you will be able to choose either to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (see below) from a post office or to collect it from UCLan; we strongly recommend that you choose to collect it from UCLan. To collect it from UCLan please enter our Alternative Collection Code (ACL) code on your online visa application: ACL Code: 2HE559


Biometrics

‘Biometrics’ means facial image and fingerprints; all Tier 4 applicants need to provide facial image and fingerprints as part of the visa application process. You usually do this when you attend an appointment at the British Embassy or Visa Application Centre (VAC); after you complete your online visa application, you will receive an appointment time and date.Check where your Visa Application Centre is.

Interviews

Some Tier 4 visa applicants may be required to attend either one or two interviews at the Visa Application Centre. Interviews are done to establish that you are a genuine student. The first interview is done via Skype or video link with UKVI staff based in the UK and lasts around 5 minutes and is recorded. A transcript of the recording is then sent to the Entry Clearance Office in the Visa Application Centre who then decides whether a second interview is needed in order to be assured that you are a genuine student. Second interviews are done face-to-face in the Visa Application Centre with the Entry Clearance Officer.

Receiving your visa

Your visa will be given to you in two stages:

The first stage is a sticker (called a ‘vignette’) which covers one page in your passport. The vignette is valid for only 30 days from your planned date of travel to the UK.

The second stage is when you receive your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP); the BRP covers the remaining length of your course plus some time after your course (this varies according to the length of your course) and you will need to collect the BRP yourself after you arrive in the UK. If you have chosen on your visa application form (see above) to collect your BRP from UCLan, you will be emailed by the University and told when your BRP is ready to collect.

If your visa is refused

If your visa application is refused UKVI will explain the reason/s for the refusal in a letter (called a refusal notice).

You MUST IMMEDIATELY scan and email this letter to the University (PBSHelp@uclan.ac.uk); the University’s Student Immigration and Compliance Team will contact you to discuss and advise on whether you might wish to submit an Administrative Review to UKVI or whether you might wish to request a refund of your deposit from the University.

If you decide to submit an Administrative Review to UKVI you must do this within 28 days of receiving your refusal notice. Administrative Review is appropriate if you think that UKVI has made a mistake in refusing your visa. You cannot give UKVI new information in an Administrative Review.

UKVI will tell you the result of your Administrative Review within 28 days of the date you submit it to them.

For further advice or support with your Tier 4 visa application please contact: PBSHelp@uclan.ac.uk

Short-term study visa is for you if you are coming to the UK to study here for 6 months or fewer; for example, if you are an exchange student coming to study for a semester or if you are coming on a short course (eg. in Postgraduate Dentistry). You can also apply for a Short-term study visa if you are coming to the UK to study an English language programme which lasts up to 11 months.
Please note that:

  • you cannot extend a Short-term study visa in the UK
  • you cannot bring members of your family (dependants) with you
  • you cannot work in the UK and
  • you are not entitled to use the National Health Service; you would need to arrange private medical insurance (unless your Short-term study visa is for an English language programme longer than 6 months.

More about Short-term study visas and How to apply for a Short-term study visa

You must apply through the British Embassy or through a Visa Application Centre (VAC) in your home country. You will need a letter from UCLan offering you a place on your chosen programme of study; evidence that you have enough money to pay for your fees and to support yourself throughout your stay in the UK and (depending on your programme of study and your country of origin) you may also need a letter from your institution in your home country and you may need your tuberculosis (TB) test result. In terms of letters:

  • If you are coming to UCLan as a study abroad or exchange student, you will receive a letter offering you a place on your chosen programme of study from the Study Abroad Team in the International Office.
  • If you are studying a PhD as an off-campus student, you will receive a letter from the Research Student Registry.
  • If you are studying as an English language short-course student, you will receive a letter offering you a place on your chosen programme of study from the Language Academy or from the International Office.

You may apply for a Short-term study visa up to 3 months before your course starts and you should receive a decision on your application within 3 weeks, however, you should check the visa processing times in your own country on the website listed below.

Please read more about eligibility, cost and application process for the Short-term study visa.

Visa Information for Current Students

If you are a current enrolled international student at the University of Central Lancashire and wish to find out about extending your Tier 4 visa, please access the information about this on our student portal.