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International Students

 

If you are already in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, or in certain other visa categories, you may be able to apply for leave to remain under Tier 4 from within the UK.

Please note:

  • If you currently hold permission in another immigration category, you will need to check you are eligible to switch into Tier 4 from inside the UK on the UK Visas and Immigration website. You cannot switch from a dependant visa, visitor visa or a Tier 5 visa. Contact the International Student Office to check if your current immigration permission allows you to switch from inside the UK.
  • If there is a gap of more than 28 days between your visa expiring and your new course start date, the Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration - UKVI) requires you to leave the UK and apply for new Tier 4 entry clearance from overseas. This would normally be in your country of nationality or in a country where you have immigration permission other than as a visitor (tourist).
  • You must apply before your current visa expires, otherwise you will become an overstayer and will not have valid permission to be in the UK.
  • If you are already in the UK under Tier 4, you can only apply to extend your visa from inside the UK if you fulfil the academic progression requirements.
  • If you hold a current Tier 4 visa sponsored by another institution you must provide evidence of either a new Tier 4 visa for Cambridge or proof of submitting an in-time application for further leave to remain using the CAS issued by Cambridge before you can commence your studies. You can start your course at your own risk whilst your application is pending. You are required to keep your College informed of the progress of your application.
  • If you hold a current Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Cambridge and you are continuing onto a new course at Cambridge, you can start your new course on your current visa. You will need to make a new application for further leave to remain within 6 weeks of starting the course. You will need to provide proof of submitting an application for further leave to remain to your College within this 6 week period.

The following guidance is provided to help you prepare your Tier 4 visa application for Cambridge from inside the UK (leave to remain):

Obtain ATAS clearance

Students undertaking a PhD-level research degree or Masters course in certain science and technology subjects require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate to support their visa application. Graduate students who are required to apply for ATAS will have it included as a condition of offer and will be able to view an ATAS summary of research and the course JACS code, required for the ATAS application, in their applicant self-service. Undergraduate students undertaking an integrated Masters which requires ATAS clearance will receive instructions from the International Student Office by email. Current students should contact the International Student Office.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) manages this scheme. You must apply online to the FCO. The application is free and you can apply when you have a conditional offer. You will be sent the ATAS certificate via email and must have received it prior to being issued your CAS and applying for the Tier 4 visa. The FCO advises that it considers complete applications within 20 working days.

If your course requires ATAS clearance, you must submit the certificate issued by the FCO with your visa application as a mandatory supporting document.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Your Tier 4 visa application must be supported with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is issued by the University once you have met all the conditions of your offer. The Graduate Admissions Office issues the CAS for new graduate students and graduate students continuing to a new course. The International Student Office prepares all other CAS. Your CAS statement will be sent to you by email. You must enter the CAS reference number in the relevant section of your application for further leave to remain.   

The Your CAS Explained document outlines the information that is included in the CAS Statement. When you receive your CAS, check it against this document. You should make sure that all of the details in your CAS Statement are correct and let the office who sent the CAS know if you identify any errors. These will need to be corrected prior to you making your visa application.

You should make sure that all of the details in your CAS are correct and let the team who sent you your CAS know if you identify any errors. These will need to be corrected prior to you making your visa application.

When, where and how to apply

The online application is available via the UK Visas and Immigration Tier 4 webpages.

Once you have completed the online application you can either send your supporting documents to UKVI in the post or attend a Premium Service Centre. The application processing time and cost varies depending on the service you opt for:

  • £475 if you submit your documents via the standard postal service. The decision takes up to 8 weeks.
  • £952 if you use the priority postal service. The decision  takes up to 10 days.
  • £1085 if you use the premium service. The decision is made on the same day.

Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), confirming your immigration permission, will be sent to you using a courier service and can take around 1 week after a decision on the application has been made.

You may be asked to attend a credibility interview as part of the application process. The interview would be conducted by a member of Home Office staff who will be assessing whether you are a 'genuine student' and have the required level of English language proficiency. The questions may include information on your new course of study, your previous UK study and immigration history, how you will fund your studies and the reasons you have chosen to study in the UK.

If you intend to apply from overseas, you should follow the procedure outlined in Applying for a Tier 4 visa (entry clearance).

Healthcare surcharge

Applicants are required to pay a mandatory immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application in order to access healthcare services in the UK. This is charged at £150 per year for the duration the visa will be valid. If the permission granted includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for that year would be £75. Any Tier 4 dependant will also be required to pay the surcharge.

The online payment procedure will calculate how much is to be charged based on the course dates entered in the visa application.

If your visa application is not successful, you will automatically be refunded the immigration health surcharge (but not the visa application fee).

Financial documents

As part of your visa application you must submit evidence to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your course fees as stated in your CAS plus £1015 in living costs for each month of your course up to a maximum of 9 month.

Please note that only Doctorate Extension Scheme applicants can benefit from a reduced amount for living costs of two months.

You must ensure that your financial documentation meets the specific Tier 4 requirements. You are advised to use our Tier 4 Maintenance Checker tool to help determine the financial evidence you require as part of your visa application based on your circumstances. Please note in particular that if you are using your own or your parent's/legal guardian's funds, you will be required to show that the money has been held at the required level for a consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance) and the financial evidence used must not be more than 31 days old.

You can provide evidence of funds in UK Sterling (GBP) or in another recognised world currency. If the money is not in GBP please make sure that the amount meets the minimum level requirements on the date of application using the OANDA currency converter.

Applicants from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka should also check Appendix P of the Immigration Rules to ensure that their financial evidence is from a Home Office approved institution.

The Home Office outlines the specific documents you will need to provide including the types of acceptable financial evidence you can submit and the definition of an official financial sponsor. It is important you read the Tier 4 Policy Guidance in good time to ensure you fully understand the requirements and make the necessary preparations. The documents you submit with your visa application must be originals; copies are not acceptable.

Avoiding a refusal on financial grounds

Failure to meet the Tier 4 financial requirements is the most common reason for visa application refusals. Common mistakes include:

  • Showing evidence of lower funds than the amount required.
  • Submitting bank statements that do not evidence that the funds have been in the account for a consecutive 28 day period.
  • Submitting financial evidence that is older than 31 days old.
  • Submitting copies and not the originals of documents.
  • Submitting evidence where the money is not in cash funds (for example, shares, bonds, pay slips, credit cards).
  • Using a parent's bank statements without providing an original birth certificate and a letter from the parent(s) confirming their relationship and giving permission for the applicant to use their funds to pay for their studies.
  • Using another relative's bank statement other than a parent.

Date of Application
The date of application is the date you submit the online visa application form and pay the fee. This means you will need to ensure your financial documentation meets the specific Tier 4 requirements on this date.

Documents not in English or Welsh

Any documents that you need to submit that are not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by the Home Office. The translation must provide confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document; the date of the translation; the translator/an official of the translation company's full name and signature; and the translator/translation company's contact details.

Nationals subject to differentiation arrangements

If you are a national of one of the following countries, you are subject to differentiation arrangements:

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, The Dominican Republic, Hong Kong*, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Macau SAR*, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan**, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, British National Overseas*

Subject to differentiation arrangements means that you do not need to submit your financial documents or your qualifications with your visa application. However it is possible for these documents to be requested during the consideration process so you should make sure you have them in the manner required under Tier 4 at the point of making your visa application.

As the University of Cambridge is participating in a Tier 4 visa pilot scheme, all students applying for a visa to undertake a Masters course of 13 months or less are subject to the differentiation arrangements.

* Where the applicant is a rightful holder of a passport which has been issued by the relevant competent authority.

**Those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan.

Other supporting documents

You will need to provide your passport and 2 passport-sized photos. In addition to the financial evidence, you may need to submit your ATAS certificate (if your course requires it), evidence of the qualifications outlined on your CAS (e.g. academic transcript/degree certificate), police registration certificate (if you were required to register), a letter of consent from your financial sponsor to continue your studies in the UK (if you were previous sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency in the past 12 months) and proof of parental consent if you are under 18.

You will be provided with a checklist at the end of the online application which should outline the documents you need to submit.

English language ability

No evidence of English language ability is required as part of the visa application, even if this was a condition of your offer to study at Cambridge. The exception is students who are applying for a visa to attend the ADTIS pre-sessional course only.

In the relevant section of the visa application form, where applicable you will be asked to confirm that you are coming to study at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) and that your instituion has assessed your English language ability.

Evidence of Qualifications

You are required to submit any qualification documents listed in your CAS statement. For most students this would be an official original transcript or certificate relating to a previous qualification. Copies of qualifications are not acceptable, unless it is a print out of the qualification or transcript results from the awarding body's online checking service which clearly shows you name, the title of award, the date of award and the name of the awarding body. If you are unable to provide the required document, you should contact the International Student Office for further advice prior to submitting your visa application.

If you have previously been studying at a different institution in the UK and will be applying for a visa for a new course at Cambridge, you will need to provide evidence with your Tier 4 extension application that you have successfully completed the course for which you were last granted Tier 4 leave. This can be demonstrated by having received the certificate or transcript confirming the award or, where the award has not yet been issued and you have been studying at degree level at a university, by providing formal written confirmation from your institution that, based on the assessment and your performance throughout the course, you are highly likely to complete the course successfully.

If you are a current graduate research student who is being supported to extend their visa in order to complete their PhD, your CAS should state that this is based on your academic progress to date. This means that you do not need to submit any evidence of your previous qualifications.

Letter of consent from previous financial sponsor

If you have been financially sponsored for your studies in the UK by a government or international scholarship agency in the past 12 months, you will need to provide a letter from your sponsor confirming that they have no objection to you continuing your studies in the UK.

Documents not in English or Welsh

Any documents that you need to submit that are not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by UKVI. The translation must provide confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document; the date of the translation; the translator/an official of the translation company's full name and signature; and the translator/translation company's contact details.

Nationals subject to differentiation arrangements

If you are a national of one of the following countries, you are subject to differentiation arrangements:

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, The Dominican Republic, Hong Kong*, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Macau SAR*, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan**, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, British National Overseas*

This means that you do not need to submit your financial documents or your qualifications with your visa application. However it is possible for these documents to be requested during the consideration process so you should make sure you have them in the manner required under Tier 4 at the point of making your visa application.

As the University of Cambridge is participating in a Tier 4 visa pilot scheme, all students applying for a visa to undertake a Masters course of 13 months or less are subject to the differentiation arrangements.

* Where the applicant is a rightful holder of a passport which has been issued by the relevant competent authority.

**Those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan.

Enrolling your biometrics

As part of the application process you must enroll your biometrics which involves having your facial image and fingerprints taken.

If you use the standard or priority application service, when you have made your application the online system will automatically generate a Biometric Enrolment Letter which should be downloaded and printed out. You will need to take this letter to the Post Office in order to have your fingerprints and photo taken. The Post Office in Cambridge on St Andrew's Street offers the biometric enrolment service. The cost of enrolling your biometrics is £19.20. You do not need to provide the Biometric Enrolment Letter or the receipt from the Post Office as supporting documents with your application.

If you submit your documents in person at a Premium Customer Service Centre, biometrics will be enrolled on the day of your appointment.

Receiving your BRP and other Tier 4 responsibilities

Your leave will be issued in the form of a Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP) and sent to you using a courier service. The BRP is a credit-card sized document which contains your personal and biometric information and will confirm your immigration permission in the UK.

Once you have received your BRP, you should check to ensure the details are correct and include:

  • The correct start and end date (you should receive the length of the course plus 4 months for courses of more than 12 months, length of course plus 2 months for courses between 6 and 12 months, or the length of course plus 6 months if you fall under the Tier 4 visa pilot for Master's students);
  • Either the University’s Sponsor License number (4NUV7KB58) or your CAS number.
  • Your correct personal details.

If you identify any errors on your BRP, these will need to be reported to UKVI. Contact the International Student Office for further guidance.

Once you have received your BRP you must take this to your College Tutorial Office so that a copy can be uploaded onto your student record.

Some students will be required to update their police registration certificate when they have received their BRP.

You should ensure you understand and comply with the conditions of your Tier 4 visa and your responsibilities as a student sponsored under Tier 4 at Cambridge.

If your visa application is refused, inform the International Student Office immediately and provide a copy of the decision letter. This Office will advise you of your options. Please note that the University will not issue another CAS to support a new application until evidence is provided that any issues identified in the refusal notice have been resolved.

Switching into Tier 4

If you were granted permission to start your studies on an alternative visa, but need to switch Tier 4 to complete your studies, please contact the International Student Office for further guidance and advice.

Dependant family members

If you have dependant family members with you in the UK, read the section on Tier 4 dependants.

Your dependants can apply to extend their visa from inside the UK, ideally at the same time as you or, if that is not possible, once you have the outcome of your application as long as their immigration permission has not expired.

Further sources of information

It is your responsibility to ensure you understand and meet the UK immigration requirements.

You are advised to read the Tier 4 information on the UK Visas and Immigration website, including the Tier 4 Policy Guidance, prior to making your Tier 4 application.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides information on applying for a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK.
 

Contact us

The University's International Student Office provides a visa advice service and can assist with queries in relation to your Tier 4 visa application.