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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 extend your 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 UKVI 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 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 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 will 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 in Michaelmas 2017, 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, which is on or before 12 November 2017. You will need to provide proof of submitting an application for further leave to remain by this date to your College.

 

Step 1: 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 with your visa application as a mandatory supporting document.

Step 2: Obtain a 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 graduate 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 CAS confirms the University is sponsoring you under Tier 4. You should ensure you understand your responsibilities whilst holding a Tier 4 visa.

REMEMBER:

  • 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.
Step 3: When, where and how to apply

The online application is available via the Home Office's Tier 4 webpages.

Once you have completed the online application you can either send your supporting documents in the post or attend a Premium Service Centre (PSC). Alternatively you can use the Priority Postal Service which allows for an outcome within 10 working days. In order to be eligible for this service you must complete the priority application request form before submitting your visa application.

The cost of submitting a visa application is:

  • £457 if you submit your documents via the standard postal service
  • £900 if you use the priority postal service
  • £1047 if you use the premium service

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).

Step 4: Healthcare surcharge

Applicants are required to pay a mandatory immigration health surcharge of £150 for every year of study as part of their visa application in order to access healthcare services in the UK. If the leave includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for that period will be £75. Any Tier 4 dependants will also have 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. Once payment has been made, you will receive a reference number starting with 'IHS'.

If your visa application is not successful, you will automatically be refunded the immigration health surcharge (but not the visa application fee). The surcharge will not be partially refunded if you depart the UK earlier than the expiry of your visa. The surcharge is also not refunded if you do not use the NHS during your time in the UK.

Step 5: 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 Financial 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 an institution that the Home Office accepts.

Avoiding a refusal on financial grounds

Failure to meet the Home Office 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).
  • Claiming to have paid more fees than is recorded in the CAS.
  • 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 Home Office defines the 'date of application' according to the method of application. If you apply online, the application date is the date on which you submit the online 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, Barbados, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong*, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan**, 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 the Home Office is entitled to request these documents during the consideration process and failure to provide them within a specified timeframe could result in your application being refused. You are therefore advised to ensure you have the documents ready and 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 and where the applicant is applying for entry clearance in the territory related to that passport

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

Step 6: Other supporting documents

You must submit all of the documents on the checklist that will be provided at the end of the online application. You will need to provide your passport(s) 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) and proof of parental consent if you are under 18.

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 application form you should select one of the following statements that is most relevant to you (please see your CAS if you are unsure):

  • National of a majority English speaking country.
  • Your sponsor is a Higher Education Institution and has made its own assessment of your English language ability.

Evidence of Qualifications

The Home Office requires you to submit the original version of any documents or certificates listed in your CAS statement. For most students this would be an official transcript or certificate relating to a previous qualification.  Copies of qualifications are not acceptable. If you are unable to provide this document, you must contact the International Student Office for further advice prior to submitting your visa application.

If you have previously been studying at a different institution 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 the student is 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.

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, Barbados, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong*, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan**, 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 the Home Office is entitled to request these documents during the consideration process and failure to provide them within a specified timeframe could result in your application being refused. You should therefore make sure you have the documents ready and 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 and where the applicant is applying for entry clearance in the territory related to that passport

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

Step 7: Enrolling your biometrics

As part of the application process you must enrol your biometric details which involves having your facial image and fingerprints taken.

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.

Step 8: 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 in the post. 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, 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 your visa application is refused or you identify an error on your BRP, contact the International Student Office immediately.

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.

 

Switching from Tier 4 to another visa category

If you switch into another immigration category from Tier 4 at any time during your studies, you must inform your College and the International Student Office. This is because the University has to report this change to the Home Office and you continue to be subject to the Tier 4 responsibilities until you have provided the evidence of your new visa.

Your College will upload your new visa onto your student record.

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 Home Office 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.