The University of Cambridge has been selected by the Home Office, along with a small number of other UK Universities, to participate in a Tier 4 visa pilot scheme to help simplify the visa application process. The scheme offers several important advantages for students applying for a Tier 4 visa to study on a Masters course of 13 months or less:
- You will be granted six months of additional leave on your visa from your course end date. This will be particularly helpful if you are considering remaining in the UK after your course to look for work.
- You can submit fewer documents with your visa application: you will not need to include any financial documentation or your previous academic qualifications. Please note that UKVI can request this evidence from any applicant as part of the visa process and will be making spot-checks under the pilot. It is therefore very important to ensure you hold these documents in the manner required although you do not need to submit them with your visa application. If you submit financial or qualification documents with your application when they are not required, they will be assessed in the normal way. If they do not meet the Tier 4 requirements, your application will be refused. If you are required to submit an ATAS certificate and/or a TB certificate you must still include these with your visa application.
The pilot scheme is outlined in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance, Annex 6 (page 92).
Only students applying for a visa for Masters courses of 13 months or less are eligible for this scheme. Undergraduate and PhD students, as well as students on Masters courses longer than 13 months, will be required to submit all necessary supporting documents with their visa application and will be granted the standard additional leave on the end of their visa in accordance with Tier 4 policy
All visa applications for Masters courses of 13 months or less will be considered under the pilot. This includes the following qualifications at Cambridge: MPhil, MRes, MBA, MFin, MASt, LLM, MCL and MMus.
Cambridge applicants applying for a visa to undertake a Masters course of 13 months or less will automatically be considered under this scheme. This means these applicants will not be required to submit financial documents and previous academic qualifications when they apply for their visa. You will, however, still need to hold these documents in the manner required and you could be contacted to request them by UKVI during the application process. If you are asked for these documents and cannot provide them, your application will be refused.
Although you will not be required to submit them to UKVI, at the point you make your online application you will need to hold:
- the original qualification documents as outlined on your CAS;
- financial documents that meet the Tier 4 requirements. The documentary evidence required to demonstrate you the necessary finances for your studies are specific and will depend on how you are being funded.
If you submit financial or qualification documents with your application when they are not required, they will be assessed in the normal way. If they do not meet the Tier 4 requirements, your application will be refused.
There are no other changes to the way you apply for your visa under the scheme and you will still need to submit all other supporting documents: your passport, two passport photographs, TB certificate (if applicable), ATAS certificate (if applicable) and police registration certificate (if applicable and you are applying inside in UK).
As this is a pilot affecting only certain students at a small number of institutions, the Tier 4 online application form has not been changed to reflect the new scheme. Therefore it might still indicate that you need to include these documents with your visa application. Under the scheme if you are applying for a visa to undertake a Masters course of under 13 months at Cambridge, you are not required to include your qualifications or financial documents with your visa application.
In accordance with the normal Tier 4 policy, if your Masters course is at least 12 months long or you are a government sponsored student, you can bring dependant family members with you under Tier 4.
If your dependants are applying for their visa at the same time as you, they will also not need to submit financial documents will their application. They must hold these documents in the manner required and could be asked for them during the visa application process.
If you are eligible for the pilot but your dependant is not applying at the same time as you, they will be required to include full evidence of their finances with their visa application.They will, however, be entitled to the same duration on their visa as you.
Further details about bringing your family can be found here.
The standard leave granted on the end of a Tier 4 visa is two months for students on 9–11 month courses and four months for those on courses lasting 12 months or more. This scheme will grant all eligible students 6 months additional leave from their course end date. This additional time is provided to help support students who may wish to seek employment opportunities in the UK after their studies and switch into a work visa.
It is also helpful if you intend on continuing with further studies at Cambridge after completion of your Masters as it will enable you to extend your visa from inside the UK. Even if you do not intend to stay in the UK, the additional time will give you longer to make any final preparations prior to your departure if required.
There is no change to the start date of your Tier 4 visa. The earliest your Tier 4 permission will be valid is one month prior to the start date of your course.
As long as the Masters course you will be studying is 13 months or less AND you are issued a CAS to cover both the pre-sessional and the main course, you are eligible for this scheme.
If you applied for your visa for a Masters course of 13 months or less at the University of Cambridge and you have not received the additional 6 months of leave on the end of your visa, you can have your visa amended.
If you have chosen to collect your BRP from the University, you can advise us if you want your visa amended at that time. If you are collecting your BRP from the Post Office, you are still advised to speak to the International Student Team at one of the BRP collection events. You will not require an appointment if you are simply telling us that you want to receive the additional 6 months leave under the pilot but you should bring your BRP with you. Details of the BRP collection events can be found here
You will need to request to have your visa amended by Monday 31 October 2016 if you start your course in Michaelmas 2016.
The intention is for the pilot to run for two years. This means it is currently applicable to students applying for a visa to commence their studies in 2016/17 or 2017/18.