We have now come to the final part of the six-part series on British Education. The final stage of application to British educational institutions is that of the visa application. Students wishing to study in the UK would need to apply for the Tier 4 student visa.
The UK Border Agency website will be the most up to date and current source of information so please ensure that you go through the website, check requirements and follow the guidelines given there.
A point system for eligibility
For adult Tier 4 (General) and child students coming on Tier 4 (Child) student visas, the UK has a points-based visa system which is designed to be objective and transparent. To apply, you need to gain 40 points. This includes 30 points for a “confirmation of acceptance for studies” (CAS) from the university, college or school where you want to study. It is imperative that the institution that issued the CAS is on the UKBA’s official Register of Tier 4 Sponsors (approved education providers). This register is designed to assure you that you are applying to join a genuine institution.
The remaining 10 points comes from demonstrating that you can afford to cover your fees and living costs to study in the UK. This has been put in place to help you avoid any financial difficulties that might affect your ability to complete your studies.
Tier 4 Student Visas (points-based system) has two categories:
General student – for students aged 16 years and above.
Child student – for children aged 4 to 17 years.
If you wish to study a lower-level course in the UK, or your course lasts six months or less (or eleven months or less, if you are studying English language), you may prefer to use the student visitor route.
Requirements – Tier 4 (General) You must meet the requirements of the UK Immigration Rules. In summary you must:
• Have a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from a trusted sponsor; Have enough money to study in the UK;
• Meet the English language requirements;
• Provide all the relevant supporting documents you are asked for with your application.
Requirements – Tier 4 (Child) In addition to meeting the requirements for a Tier 4 (General) visa (except the English language requirements), you must show that there are suitable arrangements in place for your travel, reception and care in the UK. International students between 4 and 15 years of age may only be educated at independent fee paying schools.
What do you need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa? You will need the following:
• A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) – This is completed online by your chosen place of study (sponsor) and contains details about you, your course, qualifications and confirmation of your English language skills (if necessary). Your sponsor will give you a unique CAS reference number. You will need your CAS reference number to make your application; while submitting your visa application, you will need to furnish all your academic credentials to demonstrate that you are a genuine student.
• Finance - You must provide specified evidence (for example original bank statements) showing that you have enough money to pay for your course fees for the first year of the course you are applying to study and your living costs for up to 9 months (you can use the self-assessment calculator on the website to find out the amount of money you must show). You can rely on money from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) in some circumstances but you will need to show you have their permission to use this money.
Should you be undertaking the study as a sponsored candidate or have been granted a scholarship, evidence of the same needs to be submitted.
As per current regulations, apart from the course fees and other incidental fees, you would need to show GBP 800 per month if you intend living outside London and GDP 1000 per month if you plan to stay in London; If the money is held in currency other than GBP, it would be better if the statement from the bank reflects funds held as per the current conversion rate in GBP;
• English language requirement – If you are a Tier 4 (General) student you will need to show that you speak English. The level of English language proficiency you need will depend on the level of course you are applying to study. You may also need to provide evidence of your English language ability with your application; as evidence you can submit an IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or any other relevant test score. Apart from this, in some cases, you will need:
• Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate – You will need an ATAS certificate if you intend to undertake studies in designated science and technical subjects. For example if you want to go for a research based Master’s level programme.
www.gov.uk/uk-visasimmigration has more information.
Where documents are requested, it is important that you provide originals. Scanned, photocopied, printed duplicate or faxed copies of documents (unless specifically state otherwise).are not accepted. If these documents are not in English you will need to provide translations.
How do I apply for my visa?
You should be clear about the type of visa you are applying for and read the information on the website. To apply you will need to:
• Complete your visa application form online;
• Pay your visa application fee;
• Prepare all your supporting documents and make an appointment at your local UK Visa Application Centre (VAC);
• Visit the visa application centre to give your biometric information (Fingerprints and photograph) and you may be required to sit a short credibility interview;
• The interview will be conducted in English, usually be held via video conference and last about 10 minutes. You will be asked questions by a UK Visas & Immigration official on screen.
Once the interview and submission is done, you can track your application through the website and the processing agency will also give you mobile alerts through text messages. It is important that you are completely truthful in your application. This is important because failure to do so can result in a 10 year ban.
For additional information, please visit:
Rema Menon is the Founder & Director of Counselling Point Training & Development,
A KHDA approved center.