Tier 4

An example of a UK Student Tier 4 Visa application from India by the We Are International Campaign.


Tier 4 General visa

For the majority of students on courses that are over 6 months, that need a Visa to study in the UK, you will need to have a Tier 4 General Visa. In addition, a student coming to study for less than six months will also need a Tier 4 General visa if your course requires you to need the right to work, such as if the course contains a work placement - paid or unpaid, or if you need to extend your visa / studies in the UK, such as Completing a Pre-Sessional Course with Keele and progressing on to a Degree course at Keele. 

The information within these pages are designed to help you prepare for your Tier 4 visa application, including the Visa Checklist and CAS Statement processes, applying for your Visa and an interview you will have to attend. This information is regularly updated with the latest information and video guides available online; www.keele.ac.uk/visa

Under the rules of the Points Based System, the University will, if a student is suitable for sponsorship issue students with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). The CAS is an electronic record held by the UK Home Office (UKVI) and includes information about you and the course you'll be studying, including:

  • Full Name (as on your passport) 
  • Academic qualifications
  • English Language Qualifications
  • The cost of your course
  • Your living costs (as defined by the UKVI) 
  • Fees Paid to the University
  • Details of any scholarship from the University
  • Previous UK Study and Visas
  • Details of any previous UK visa refusals
  • If ATAS is required (and the certificate number)
  • Details of any work placements
  • Details of any study during your course outside of Keele
  • Your expected Start date of your studies at Keele
  • Your expected End date of your studies at Keele

A CAS for an incoming student will only be issued when they have fulfilled all the conditions of their offer of a place at the University, including payment of a required deposit and agreement from the Immigration Compliance Team that they are suitable for Tier 4 Sponsorship. A CAS will only be issued no earlier than three months prior to the start date of the course.

A CAS for a current student who is extending may only be issued in a limited number of circumstances and is at the discretion of the University in line with the UK Immigration rules, Tier 4 requirements and the University’s duties and abilities as a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor. Students on a Tier 4 Visa are usually (at the discretion of the UKVI) given an additional period of time on their Visa to account for any resits or reassessments. If you need to do a resit or reassessment and your current Visa does not cover this, or you are not studying Full Time, then you may need to apply for a new Tier 4 Visa or Short Term Study Visa from outside the UK.

This is because to apply for a new Tier 4 visa from within the UK, the UKVI requires a student to have successfully completed their course of study for their current / last Visa. However for PhD Students and those that have already successfully completed their repeat year there is an exception from the UKVI that allows for a UK based Visa application at the end of your current Visa. If you believe you qualify for an exemption please contact the support services at the University who will be able to assist you.

During the CAS issuing process will we issue you a Visa & Confirmation (Pre – CAS) Checklist, which you will need to, read, agree and return via email. We will then send you a 'CAS Statement' usually within 5 working days outlining the details in your CAS, including the 'CAS number' that you will need to include on your visa application. Once you've received this, you can apply for your visa.

Under the UK Immigration rules you cannot hold more than one Visa (Immigration Permission) at any one time. Furthermore, if you already hold a Visa to enter the UK and then apply for a new UK Visa whereby the dates of that Visa will go over the date of your previous Visa, the granting of your new Visa will mean that you run the risk of it cancelling your previous Visa. This can apply both to Visa applications made outside of the UK and those made and stamped in at the UK Border as a Non-Visa national.

The University has a specific regulation with regards to Visas and Immigration, Regulation A1; in addition, the University’s regulations on admission to a programme of study separate admission from agreement of Tier 4 sponsorship. Therefore, an offer of a place does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University, which is only confirmed when a CAS number is issued. A Visa and Confirmation Checklist (pre-CAS) is not an agreement of sponsorship under Tier 4.


Principle Statement: Accuracy of Information

The information provided in this guidance is for reference only and is based upon the University’s understanding of the UK Immigration rules, Tier 4 requirements and Sponsor Guidance at the time of publishing: 01 May 2018. For the avoidance of doubt any Tier 4 Visa application is made at the students own risk and; that a student is required to ensure that they have read, understood and meet the requirements outlined in the UK Home Office (UKVI) Tier 4 Policy Guidance (available online here) and that a decision on a Tier 4 Visa application is made by the UKVI.

Immigration Compliance, acting on behalf of the University as a Tier 4 Sponsor will make the decision of who the University is willing to sponsor under Tier 4 or support students on other immigration Category’s that allow for study.

New Students

When can you apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa?

You should make your visa application as early as possible. However, you cannot apply any more than three months before the start date of your course, as stated on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If you submit your application before that, it will be refused. 

The 'date of application' outside of the UK is the date on which you either pay for your visa application in 'online' process countries, or in countries where there is no online process, the date you attend the Visa Application Centre to hand in your application. The turnaround time for a Visa application, what the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration (UKVI) state as their processing time, is from the date you have your Biometrics (Finger print) taken at a Visa Application centre (VAC); or if you are applying in the UK, when you have them taken and pay at a Post Office.

For Visa applications made outside of the UK, the UKVI does publish its previous processing time information online. This is separated by the City and County you are applying and can be found here www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

Please note; Applicants requiring Tier 4 sponsorship to study in the UK must not only meet the entrance criteria for the course but also the requirements, rules and responsibilities of the UK Home Office for sponsorship. Therefore, an offer of a place does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University.

Where can you make your application?

You must make your Tier 4 (General) application in your home country or country where you are officially resident. Unless you are extending and meet the requirements to do so from within the UK. Most students will apply for their visa at the British High Commission, Embassy, Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Consulate closest to their home. You can find the closest Embassy to you at the FCO website.

The FCO website will tell you where to apply for your visa using the Visa4UK Service. Please note that in some countries you can only apply online. You will not usually be permitted to make a Tier 4 (General) application outside of your home country, or country where you are officially resident, unless you are extending in the UK. If you want to submit a Tier 4 (General) application outside of your home country, we advise you to contact the British Diplomatic Post where you want to submit your application to ensure that it will be accepted. You are advised to not book a visa appointment until you receive you CAS Statement. 

How long will the visa application take?

If you are applying from outside of the UK you must ensure that you allow enough time to apply, receive your visa and book travel to the UK by the start date of your course as stated on your CAS statement and at the very latest before the last date of enrolment stated on your CAS. The turnaround time for a Visa application (what the UKVI state as their processing time) is from the date you have your Biometrics (Finger print) taken at a Visa Application centre (VAC); or if you are applying in the UK, when you have them taken and pay at a Post Office.

For Visa applications made outside of the UK, the UKVI does publish historic processing time information online. This is separated by the City and County you are applying and can be found here www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

If you are applying from inside the UK, you are able to do this in person at a Public Enquiry Office or Online (sending your supporting documents via post). The processing times for online applications in the UK can vary dependent upon the time of year, the peaks of which are during August to October and December to March. If you are applying by post in the UK, as long as you have evidence to provide to the University that you have made a valid in time visa application under the University’s licence (for Visa’s sponsored by Keele) we will in the majority cases allow you to continue your studies unless there is a risk that your application would fail, by allowing you to study would be in breach of the immigration rules or that would be contrary to our duties and requirements as a sponsor. 

Where can you find the application form?

Depending on where you live, you will either submit an online application, or you will send a paper application. You can find out how to make an application in your country on the UK Home Office and Visa4UK website.

All applicants will have to post their original documents, including their passport, to the British Embassy or Visa Application Centre. All Tier 4 (General) applications that are not completed online will need to complete the VAF9 and Appendix 8 forms.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee that has been introduced by the UK Government requiring Visa nationals (those that need a Visa to be in the UK) to pay an upfront fee to have access to the Health Services in the UK. The IHS must be paid at the point of a visa application and the mandatory Health Surcharge is calculated for a student (and each dependant) as £150 each per year for the length of time on the student’s Visa. For example: a 1 year Postgraduate Taught student would need to pay £225 (each); a Postgraduate Research student on a 4 year programme would need to pay £675 (each) when they make their Visa application. This amount must not be deducted from the funds you have available as evidence of ability to pay your tuition fees and living (maintenance) costs.

What is a CAS?

A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) is a unique reference number to an electronic document held by the UK Home Office. A CAS is issued by Keele University for all new students and those students continuing at Keele who need to extend their Visa.

A CAS is an agreement from Keele University to sponsor your visa to be in the UK for the sole purpose of study. Keele will only issue a CAS to a student who needs to be sponsored under Tier 4 of the immigration rules and who Keele believes will be able to make a successful application for a Tier 4 Visa. For more information on CAS, please refer to the CAS tab on this page.

Tier 4 General guidance

The first place to look for information on applying for a Tier 4 General student visa is the UK Home Office Tier 4 online guidance. The guidance is constantly updated and gives full details of the requirements of the Tier 4 General visa, including the requirements for which documents you need to use to apply. 

It is essential to check your application is in accordance with the official guidance. It is your responsibility to ensure that any documents, including certified translations into English, you use in the application are in accordance with the criteria detailed in it before making your application.

To successfully apply for a Tier 4 General visa, you must score 40 out of 40 points.

All documents you send with the application must be original versions (not copies) including your passport.

Points

What you get points for

Evidence required

30

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

CAS number issued by Keele University. This will be emailed to you once you have achieved the conditions of your offer and have paid your deposit.

Academic Qualifications

This is the academic qualification that the University used to assess your suitability for the course. The qualification will be noted on your CAS.

You must include your ORIGINAL certificate or transcripts detailed in the CAS Statement with your visa application.

If you are a low risk national you may not be requested to provide original documents but you must have them available in case they are requested.

Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)

Please note that the HEAR is an online document which the UKVI has not included in the UK Immigration Rules as an original certificate, transcript or document and could refuse your Visa application. To make your Visa application we strongly recommend that you use an original certificate and official transcript from your University. If you are a Keele student please contact Student Records and Exams (studentrecords@keele.ac.uk) to arrange this.

English Language

Your CAS will state how the University assessed that your English language ability is to the required standard.

You must submit the ORIGINAL certificates, if this is stated on your CAS.

Some students will not need to submit evidence of their English language ability. If you do not need to submit evidence, your CAS will state that you;

  • Are from a UK Home Office (UKVI) defined majority English speaking country; or
  • Have completed a degree from a UKVI approved English speaking country; or
  • Have a UKVI SELT (Secured English Language Test); or
  • Have been assessed as suitable by the University’s own criteria and methods.

Academic Progression   

If you have studied in the UK previously, your CAS must confirm how the new course represents academic progression from the previous one. For example, an undergraduate degree (successfully completed) to a postgraduate degree.

If the previous study in the UK is not listed on a CAS, the Visa will be refused with no right of appeal.

ATAS certification

If your course requires ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance, you must provide a print out of this certificate.

 

Work Placement

 

If your course has a mandatory work placement that is part of the assessed part of the programme the percentage (%) of the work placement in relation to the course start and end date on the CAS must be given. This information will be present on your CAS, if it is not please contact cas@keele.ac.uk

10

Maintenance (funds)

You will need to demonstrate your ability to fund your tuition fees for the academic year plus a set amount for your living costs. 

Your CAS statement will state the tuition fee payable for the academic year. The living costs for Keele University are defined as £1015 per month (up to a maximum of nine months; £9135) If you are in Keele University accommodation, and have made payments to the University, a maximum of £1265 of this payment can be deducted from your living costs.

The total amount (tuition fee plus living costs) must have been available to you for 28 days. The balance in your bank account must never fall below the total required amount during the whole 28 day period. If it is below the required amount, your application will be refused. The last transaction date (on the bank statement) of that 28 day period must not be more than one month before the date of your application. For more information upon maintenance please see below.

All documents you provide to demonstrate your maintenance funds must be ORIGINAL. Electronic bank statements for all types of Bank Accounts will be considered by the UK Home Office, however we advise you to get these stamped as a true copy by your bank and that the statements would need to meet the prescribed format, details below.

Maintenance (funds) continued

The information and guidance for funding below is based upon the UK Immigration Rules and Tier 4 requirements. All funds being used for a Tier 4 Visa application must achieve the requirements of Appendix C of the UK Immigration Rules.

Students that are Self-funding; Self-funding means that you have provided the money yourself, or a member of your family (parent) has provided it. If you are self-funded the money must be held in either your account, your parent's account or your legal guardians. It cannot be held in anyone else's name, be they either a spouse, relative (brother, sister, cousin) or a friend. You must ensure that your funds are in an institution that the UK Home Office is able to verify, list of financial institutions (accepted and not accepted from high risk countries can be found online here. The bank statement that you provide must show the following:

  • Your name or your parent's name(s) - If you are using your parents account you must provide a copy of your birth certificate with your visa application along with a signed letter agreeing to allow you to use these funds.
  • The account number
  • The date of the statement
  • The financial institution's name and logo and
  • The amount of money available for 28 days in the transaction list

If you wish to use a bank statement printed from an online bank account, the statement must meet the requirements above AND be stamped by the bank to confirm it is genuine. Electronic bank statements for all types of Bank Accounts will be considered by the UK Home Office, however we advise you to get these stamped as a true copy by your bank and that the statements would need to meet the prescribed format. You must ensure that the date of the closing balance on the statement is no more than one month before you submit your application. If the money is being held outside the UK, you must ensure it never drops below the required amount due to the exchange rates. Please use the UKVI approved exchange rate converter Oanda to confirm this.


Students that are sponsored both for tuition fees and / or living expenses by an official financial sponsor, you will not need to show the sponsorship amount in your bank account. An official financial sponsor is Her Majesty's Government, the student's home government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company (the Home Office requires an international company to be a company with a trading presence / registered office in more than one country), university or UK independent school. An official financial sponsor is not a Spouse, friend or family member. Instead, you will need to obtain a letter from your financial sponsor confirming how they are supporting you. The letter must be recently dated (A copy of which must be sent to Admissions prior to your Visa & Confirmation Checklist), on official letter-headed paper and must contain:

  • Your name
  • The name of your official financial sponsor
  • The contact details of your official financial sponsor
  • The length of financial sponsorship
  • A statement that your financial sponsor will cover all fees and / or living costs.
  • A statement confirming that the sponsorship is for Keele University and for your course of study.

Finance Calculator

To assist you in working out how much money (the minimum amount) you need to show in your bank account for a 28 day period (with the closing statement no more than 28 days prior to the date of Visa application)  we have created the table below:

Part A

Tuition / Course Fee Payable

£

+

Maintenance Costs (UKVI Defined with a first Visa application)

£9135

Total A

£       

 

Part B

Tuition Fee Paid (Shown on CAS)

£

+

University Accommodation Fee Paid (Only a maximum of £1265 can be used in making a Visa Application)

£

Total B

£

 

Total A - Total B =

£

Minimum amount required in a UKVI acceptable bank account (28 day minimum period)

Please note that this is only used for guidance and that you should contact International Student Support for assistance in making a Visa application.

Dependants

If you would like to bring your family with you to the UK, the requirements for ‘Dependants’ (the UKVI’s term for family members) are different to students (the main Tier 4 applicant). Your partner and your child can be your Tier 4 dependant. Your parent, brother, sister or other relative cannot

Only some courses and those sponsored to be in the UK by an accepted financial sponsor can bring their dependants with them. Each dependant must have a certain amount of money, held in a bank or building society account, or an account with an officially regulated financial institution. All dependants will need to have evidence of this, and in most cases, your dependant must produce this evidence with their immigration application.

The money can be held by the dependant or by you. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent will come to the UK too.

The money must have been in the account for a minimum period of 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. The account must not have dropped below the amount required at any time during the 28 day period. Also, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days before the immigration application is made.

There is an exception to this requirement if a government, the British Council, an international organisation, an international company or a university is giving you money to cover your course fees or living costs. In that case, ask if they are prepared to give you a letter stating that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant. If they will, then that letter on its own will mean that your dependant has met the financial requirements. There will be no requirement for them to show that they have any money at all in a bank or building society account, or in an account with an officially regulated financial institution. There are precise instructions about the format the letter must take in the ‘Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance’.

Make sure the letter complies with every one of those instructions. If they are not prepared to say in their letter that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant, but they are prepared to promise them a certain amount, they should say in their letter how much they will provide for your dependant. That amount will then be deducted from the total amount of money that your dependant is expected to show in bank or building society accounts or accounts with officially regulated financial institutions.

Each dependant must declare in their application that the money for living costs will remain available to them, unless used for living costs in the UK.

When studying at Keele (considered outside of London), each dependant must show £680 for each month of immigration permission you have been granted (if your dependants are applying after you have received your permission) or will be granted (if your dependants are applying at the same time as you). This is up to a maximum of 9 months (therefore, a maximum figure of £6,120).

The evidence of your dependant’s funds would have to meet the same requirements as a Tier 4 student. This includes being in an acceptable bank account and remember that your dependants can not sponsor you to study in the UK and that you must be able to support yourselves in the UK, you should not include money you expect to be paid to you even if your dependant has a job offer in the UK. For students who are planning on making a Tier 4 Visa application with family members we strongly recommend that you contact International Student Support for assistance in making a Visa application.

Entry to the UK (BRPs for Entry Clearance)

In March 2015 changes to the UK law requires anyone who applies for a visa outside of the UK for leave (Visa) that exceeds a period of six months will only be issued with a 30-day vignette (entry clearance ‘sticker’) in their passport.  You will then need to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) within 10 days of arriving in the UK from the University or a specified Post Office, which you select when you submit your visa application. 

To collect your (and your dependents’) BRP you will need to bring your original passport with the 30-day vignette and also your visa application decision letter from the UK Home Office.  BRP’s for dependents will only be issued with the student’s BRP. To collect the BRP’s the student must bring the decision letter and their passport as well as the decision letter and passports for all dependents. Without both the decision letter and the passport containing the entry clearance sticker ‘vignette’, you will not be issued with your BRP.

Keele University has a special arrangement with UKVI to distribute BRPs to students and you will be given your BRP at the time of enrolment on to your course. The University will provide you with a specific code to use on the ‘Visa4UK’ website as an ‘alternative collection location’, which will allow the UKVI to send your BRP to Keele for you to collect. This specific BRP collection code is on your CAS statement. When selecting the BRP collection location you must choose an ‘alternative location’ and use the code 2HE542 as shown below:

Details of the University's BRP ACL Code

Alternatively the nearest pick up location to the University is the Post Office in Newcastle-under-Lyme (approximately 4 miles away), to select this location you will need to use the University’s post code ST5 5BG on the ‘visa4UK’ website, however you will need to arrange your own transport to this Post Office and you will not be able enrol, partake in teaching or start your studies without your BRP.

When you receive your decision letter and 30-day vignette following your visa application, you must email a scanned copy of the letter and the Visa to cas@keele.ac.uk

Medical Screening

You may be required to get a certificate to show that you do not have infectious tuberculosis (TB). The list of countries where a TB screening certificate must be presented with a visa application has recently expanded.  There is a cost for this screening and it is your responsibility to meet this cost and failure to provide a certificate or medical report when required by the UKVI is likely to lead to refusal.

The UK Home Office website www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa provides details on which students (or dependants) need a certificate or medical report.

However if you are already in the UK and applying for a Visa extension or you have been legally residence in the UK for 6 months or more before your Visa application (including applications made outside of the UK) do not need to provide a TB certificate or medical report. This is because an applicant who applies for entry clearance in a country listed in Appendix T who has not been present in that country (or any other country listed in Appendix T) for more than six months immediately prior to making their application is not required to obtain a TB test certificate if they were lawfully present in the non-Appendix T country. This includes students who have been in the UK for more than six months before returning to an Appendix T country to apply for entry clearance.

Credibility Interviews

The UK Home Office routinely conducts credibility interviews to confirm that they are issuing Tier 4 Student visas only to genuine students. We know you are a genuine student - we wouldn’t have made an offer to you otherwise – but you may still be asked to attend an interview with an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to discuss your motivations for studying in the UK.

Preparing for your interview

First of all, you should review your personal statement submitted with your application to study at Keele along with the Course information; either in the online prospectus, course list or for Undergraduates, the course information document provided with your offer of admission. For Undergraduates; if you did not receive this information please contact the admissions team by email, and for Postgraduates please refer to the University's online course information. You will mostly find that you will have answered a lot of the questions you are likely to be asked. Here are the key things you should be able to tell the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO):

  • Why you chose to study in the UK
  • Why you chose Keele University
  • Why you chose the particular course you are going to study, including consideration given to the modules which you will be taking for the course
  • How the course will benefit your career, or future plans
  • What your plans are after you finish your studies
  • How you will be funding your studies (more detailed guidance below)

You will also need to be very clear on how you are planning to fund your studies. This is particularly important if your family or employer is sponsoring your studies. The ECO will need to understand both why and how they are able to fund your studies. Please remember that working rights with a Tier 4 visa are limited to a maximum of 20 hours a week (although some employers may only offer you less hours than this) during term time and so you should not be planning to work in the UK to fund your studies.

The interview

In many ways, your credibility interview is like a job interview. These tips would apply in both cases: 

  • Make sure you know where you are going, and don’t be late!
  • Pause before answering, respond with consideration
  • Be aware of your body language: try to stay relaxed.
  • Listen carefully to the questions so you do not misunderstand what is being asked.
  • Ask for clarification if you need it.
  • Don't talk too much - you can always pause and ask if they require further details.
  • Don't simply answer yes or no.
  • Give yourself time to think before answering; you don’t need to jump straight into an answer.

Three points to remember for an interview

Be Confident

Be confident in your choices - you are investing a lot of time and money into your education in the UK so it is important that you are confident in the choices you have made. If you seem uncertain in your responses, this may make the ECO think that you are uncertain about your studies.

Be Comprehensive

Be comprehensive – answer questions fully and give all of the information requested. You have already been through a considered decision process in choosing the UK, our University, and your course, so be ready to explain this process in full.

Be Consistent

Be consistent – even if the ECO asks you the same question twice, or in a different way, remain straightforward and consistent in your answers. You know why you want to study in the UK.

The Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) knows that English is not your first language so it’s okay to take your time while you think through your responses and process how to answer them in English. You do not need to rush through your interview - it is more important that you provide complete and accurate responses.

If you are a "low risk" student you may not be invited to an interview, to see if you are a low risk national please click here.

Decision on your Visa

Once you have a decision on your Visa application you must send a scanned copy of the decision letter to the University’s Immigration Compliance Team by emailing cas@keele.ac.uk. The University will send you an automated email based upon the UK Home Office’s data base when we notice a change in the status of your CAS / visa application.

Refusals

If you meet the point’s requirements and send the required evidence, you should expect that your Tier 4 visa will be granted. However, if you have not provided Keele with accurate information and details of any previous study in the UK you visa may be refused, therefore it is very important to make sure that you get your application right first time.

If you do not send in all the original documents required, the UK Home Office will not contact you to ask for missing documents. Incomplete or incorrect applications will be refused. If your application is refused you must send a copy of your refusal letter to cas@keele.ac.uk.

The UK Home Office routinely conducts credibility interviews to confirm that they are issuing Tier 4 Student visas only to genuine students. We know you are a genuine student - we wouldn’t have made an offer to you otherwise – but you may still be asked to attend an interview with an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to discuss your motivations for studying in the UK.

There is no right of appeal against a Tier 4 Visa refusal. If your visa application is refused and you wish to rebut the UK Home Office’s decision the only option available is to submit an Administrative Review. Migrants who opt for Administrative Review may not be covered by section 3c leave and therefore may not be able to study. 

Current Students

Extensions for current Keele Students

A CAS for a current student who is extending may only be issued in a limited number of circumstances and is at the discretion of the University in line with the UK Immigration rules, Tier 4 requirements and the University’s duties and abilities as a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor. Students on a Tier 4 Visa are usually (at the discretion of the UKVI) given an additional period of time on their Visa to account for any resits or reassessments. If you need to do a resit or reassessment and your current Visa does not cover this, or you are not studying Full Time, then you may need to apply for a new Tier 4 Visa or Short Term Study Visa from outside the UK.

This is because to apply for a new Tier 4 Visa from within the UK, the UKVI requires a student to have successfully completed their course of study for their current / last Visa. However for PhD Students and those that have already successfully completed their repeat year there is an exception from the UKVI that allows for a UK based Visa application at the end of your current Visa. If you believe you qualify for an exemption please contact the support services at the University who will be able to assist you.

For example if a student on a undergraduate programme is repeating an academic year in full then they should usually be sponsored for the additional year needed for them to undertake this. Students who are repeating by semester, assessment only or by module would not be sponsored under Tier 4, but would need to leave the UK and return for the semester on a Short Term Study Visa (STSV), which is valid for up to 6 months of study in the UK. Only once confirmation of the successful completion of the repeat semester would a student be given a new CAS to apply for a new Tier 4 visa to complete their course.

For postgraduate taught students depending upon the nature and length of the extension it may only be possible for them to return on a Short Term Study Visa (STSV), which is valid for up to 6 months of study in the UK. However, if there are exceptional circumstances Tier 4 sponsorship may be considered but it is likely that a student would have to apply for their new Tier 4 Visa from outside the UK.

For postgraduate research (PhD only) students you may be eligible for a single extension for a maximum of 6 months to enable you to finalise your research in the UK, complete your viva and/or corrections. If you believe you are in need of an extension; you and your Research area will need to complete the PhD Extension form (downloaded from below), agreeing to the relevant terms and conditions, returning it to the Immigration Compliance Team, who will then inform you if you are suitable and eligible for an extension.

In all instances of requests for extensions, we will need to have received confirmation from the University’s central services and your School / Research Area or Institute of your continued academic standing and progression within your current course, including your new expected end date. In addition, we will review the original information on your original Keele CAS to see if an extension is in line with how and why you were originally admitted, for example if you transferred some of your studies along with where a student made their Visa application.

A student extending will need to be suitable for Tier 4 Sponsorship and in the position to make a valid Tier 4 visa application.

Additionally, if you are undertaking a course (usually PhD) in a research area that requires an ATAS Certificate, a new certificate must be applied for and be approved before a decision for a single extension for a maximum of 6-months can be made. UKVI recommend that you apply for a new ATAS certificate at least 4 months in advance of the expiration date of the current Visa. Once granted an ATAS Certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue and must be valid at the point of submission of a new visa application. For more information about ATAS and how to apply, please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. Your Supervisor and Research Institute can assist you in applying for a new ATAS certificate. As soon as this is received please send a scanned copy to visa@keele.ac.uk

Please note that the issuance of a new CAS to extend a Tier 4 Visa is at the discretion of the Immigration Compliance Team at the University, and if suitable a student would be expected to leave the UK and return on a Short Term Study Visa. Therefore, an extension to a student’s course does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University.

Before you apply for a Visa extension you must seek immigration advice from International Student support, or Advice and Support at Keele (ASK) service in the Students Union.

Students who need to extend their Tier 4 Visa will need to email cas@keele.ac.uk stating they need a visa extension with the following information:

  1. Student Number
  2. Current personal email address
  3. Current contact address
  4. Reason for extension (example: repeat a year of study that requires you to be in the UK which will need to be confirmed by your School / RI)
  5. Confirmation that they are in a position to make a valid visa application (following immigration advice)
  6. Provide a copy of your current Visa and Passport (email attachments)
  7. Provide a copy of your valid ATAS certificate (if necessary)

Once you have received your CAS statement you will need to apply for your visa extension. You are expected to make your application in time and within 10 working days of receiving your CAS statement. You will be required to keep a copy of all the documents you submit and get evidence of postage when sending your documents / email receipt of payment.

You will also be required to keep the University up-to-date with the progress of your Visa application, including any letters from the UK Home Office and notification of your visa being granted or refused. These documents will be requested from students and are required to be shown at enrolment, re-registration and checkpoint events. Failure to provide this information may result in you being in contradiction of the University’s rules and regulations.

The guidance below is designed to support you in preparing your Visa application.


When can you apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa?

You should make your visa application as early as possible. However, you cannot apply any more than three months before the start date of your course, as stated on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If you submit your application before that, it will be refused.

In addition, if you are applying for an extension to your current Keele University sponsored Tier 4 Visa in the UK you cannot apply any more than three months before the end of your current Visa. This does not apply if you are applying for your Tier 4 Visa extension from outside the UK.

The 'date of application' outside of the UK is the date on which you either pay for your visa application in 'online' process countries, or in countries where there is no online process, the date you attend the Visa Application Centre to hand in your application. The turnaround time for a Visa application, what the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration (UKVI) state as their processing time, is from the date you have your Biometrics (Finger print) taken at a Visa Application centre (VAC); or if you are applying in the UK, when you have them taken and pay at a Post Office.

For Visa applications made outside of the UK, the UKVI does publish its previous processing time information online. This is separated by the City and County you are applying and can be found here www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

Where can you make your application?

You must make your Tier 4 (General) application in your home country or country where you are officially resident. Unless you are extending from within the UK. Tier 4 applications inside of the UK (Further Leave to Remain) can only be made by a limited number of students and it is likely  that you will have to apply for your new Tier 4 Visa from outside of the United Kingdom. For example if you are applying due to the additional year for a work placement, repeating a year of your studies, changing course or full year study abroad. Therefore if you are in the UK, we recommend that you prepare yourself for the possibility of having to leave the UK, returning home and applying for your Tier 4 Visa from your home country.

Your CAS from the University will confirm if we believe that you are able to make a Visa application inside of the UK, when doing this you must use the assistance of the support services at the University. Tier 4 applications inside of the UK are made online using this UK Government web portal www.gov.uk/apply-tier-4-visa

For applications outside of the UK, the FCO website will tell you where to apply for your visa using the Visa4UK Service. Please note that in some countries you can only apply online. You will not usually be permitted to make a Tier 4 (General) application outside of your home country, or country where you are officially resident, unless you are extending in the UK. If you want to submit a Tier 4 (General) application outside of your home country, we advise you to contact the British Diplomatic Post where you want to submit your application to ensure that it will be accepted. You are advised to not book a visa appointment until you receive you CAS Statement. 

How long will the visa application take?

If you are applying from outside of the UK you must ensure that you allow enough time to apply, receive your visa and book travel to the UK by the start date of your course as stated on your CAS statement and at the very latest before the last date of enrolment stated on your CAS. The UK Home Office Visas and Immigration (UKVI) publish their expected visa processing times for each application centre on their web site.

If you are applying from inside the UK, you are able to do this in person at a Public Enquiry Office or Online (sending your supporting documents via post). The processing times for online applications in the UK can vary dependent upon the time of year, the peaks of which are during August to October and December to March. If you are applying by post in the UK, as long as you have evidence to provide to the University that you have made a valid in time visa application under the University’s licence (for Visa’s sponsored by Keele) we will in the majority cases allow you to continue your studies unless there is a risk that your application would fail, by allowing you to study would be in breach of the immigration rules or that would be contrary to our duties and requirements as a sponsor. 

The turnaround time for a Visa application, what the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration (UKVI) state as their processing time, is from the date you have your Biometrics (Finger print) taken at a Visa Application centre (VAC); or if you are applying in the UK, when you have them taken and pay at a Post Office.

For Visa applications made outside of the UK, the UKVI does publish its previous processing time information online. This is separated by the City and County you are applying and can be found here www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

Where can you find the application form?

Depending on where you live or currently reside, you will either submit an online application, or you will send a paper application. You can find out how to make an application in your country on the UK Home Office and Visa4UK website.

Your CAS from the University will confirm if we believe that you are able to make a Visa application inside of the UK, when doing this you must use the assistance of the support services at the University. Tier 4 applications inside of the UK are made online using this UK Government web portal www.gov.uk/apply-tier-4-visa

All applicants will have to submit their original documents, including their passport, to the British Embassy, Visa Application Centre or UK Home Office in the UK. All Tier 4 (General) applications that are not completed online will need to complete the VAF9 and Appendix 8 forms. 

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee that has been introduced by the UK Government requiring Visa nationals (those that need a Visa to be in the UK) to pay an upfront fee to have access to the Health Services in the UK. The IHS must be paid at the point of a visa application and the mandatory Health Surcharge is calculated for a student (and each dependant) as £150 each per year for the length of time on the student’s Visa. For example: a 1 year Postgraduate Taught student would need to pay £225 (each); a Postgraduate Research student on a 4 year programme would need to pay £675 (each) when they make their Visa application. This amount must not be deducted from the funds you have available as evidence of ability to pay your tuition fees and living (maintenance) costs.

What is a CAS?

A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) is a unique reference number to an electronic document held by the UK Home Office. A CAS is issued by Keele University for all new students and those students continuing at Keele who need to extend their Visa.

A CAS is an agreement from Keele University to sponsor your visa to be in the UK for the sole purpose of study. Keele will only issue a CAS to a student who needs to be sponsored under Tier 4 of the immigration rules and who Keele believes will be able to make a successful application for a Tier 4 Visa. For more information on CAS, please refer to the CAS tab on this page.

Tier 4 General guidance

The first place to look for information on applying for a Tier 4 General student visa is the UK Home Office Tier 4 online guidance. The guidance is constantly updated and gives full details of the requirements of the Tier 4 General visa, including the requirements for which documents you need to use to apply. 

It is essential to check your application is in accordance with the official guidance. It is your responsibility to ensure that any documents, including certified translations into English, you use in the application are in accordance with the criteria detailed in it before making your application.

To successfully apply for a Tier 4 General visa, you must score 40 out of 40 points.

All documents you send with the application must be original versions (not copies) including your passport.

Points

What you get points for

Evidence required

30

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

CAS number issued by Keele University. This will be emailed to you once you have achieved the conditions of your offer and have paid your deposit.

Academic Qualifications

This is the academic qualification that the University used to assess your suitability for the course. The qualification will be noted on your CAS.

You must include your ORIGINAL certificate or transcripts detailed in the CAS Statement with your visa application.

If you are a low risk national you may not be requested to provide original documents but you must have them available in case they are requested.

Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)

Please note that the HEAR is an online document which the UKVI has not included in the UK Immigration Rules as an original certificate, transcript or document and could refuse your Visa application. To make your Visa application we strongly recommend that you use an original certificate and official transcript from your University. If you are a Keele student please contact Student Records and Exams (studentrecords@keele.ac.uk) to arrange this.

English Language

Your CAS will state how the University assessed that your English language ability is to the required standard.

You must submit the ORIGINAL certificates, if this is stated on your CAS.

Some students will not need to submit evidence of their English language ability. If you do not need to submit evidence, your CAS will state that you;

  • Are from a UK Home Office (UKVI) defined majority English speaking country; or
  • Have completed a degree from a UKVI approved English speaking country; or
  • Have a UKVI SELT (Secured English Language Test); or
  • Have been assessed as suitable by the University’s own criteria and methods.

Academic Progression   

If you have studied in the UK previously, your CAS must confirm how the new course represents academic progression from the previous one. For example, an undergraduate degree (successfully completed) to a postgraduate degree.

If the previous study in the UK is not listed on a CAS, the Visa will automatically be refused with no right of appeal. 

ATAS certification

If your course requires ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance, you must provide a print out of this certificate.

 

Work Placement

 

If your course has a mandatory work placement that is part of the assessed part of the programme the percentage (%) of the work placement in relation to the course start and end date on the CAS must be given. This information will be present on your CAS, if it is not please contact cas@keele.ac.uk

10

Maintenance (funds)

You will need to demonstrate your ability to fund your tuition fees for the academic year plus a set amount for your living costs. 

Your CAS statement will state the tuition fee payable for the academic year. The living costs for Keele University are defined as £1015 per month (up to a maximum of nine months; £9135) If you are in Keele University accommodation, and have made payments to the University, a maximum of £1265 of this payment can be deducted from your living costs.

The total amount (tuition fee plus living costs) must have been available to you for 28 days. The balance in your bank account must never fall below the required amount during the whole 28 day period. If it is below the required amount, your application will be refused. The last transaction date (on the bank statement) of that 28 day period must not be more than one month before the date of your application. For more information upon maintenance please see below.

All documents you provide to demonstrate your maintenance funds must be ORIGINAL. Electronic bank statements for all types of Bank Accounts will be considered by the UK Home Office, however we advise you to get these stamped as a true copy by your bank and that the statements would need to meet the prescribed format, details below.

Maintenance (funds) continued

The information and guidance for funding below is based upon the UK Immigration Rules and Tier 4 requirements. All funds being used for a Tier 4 Visa application must achieve the requirements of Appendix C of the UK Immigration Rules.

Students that are Self-funding; Self-funding means that you have provided the money yourself, or a member of your family (parent) has provided it. If you are self-funded the money must be held in either your account, your parent's account or your legal guardians. It cannot be held in anyone else's name, be they either a spouse, relative (brother, sister, cousin) or a friend. You must ensure that your funds are in an institution that the UK Home Office is able to verify, list of financial institutions (accepted and not accepted from high risk countries can be found online here. The bank statement that you provide must show the following:

  • Your name or your parent's name(s) - If you are using your parents account you must provide a copy of your birth certificate with your visa application along with a signed letter agreeing to allow you to use these funds.
  • The account number
  • The date of the statement
  • The financial institution's name and logo and
  • The amount of money available for 28 days in the transaction list

If you wish to use a bank statement printed from an online bank account, the statement must meet the requirements above AND be stamped by the bank to confirm it is genuine. Electronic bank statements for all types of Bank Accounts will be considered by the UK Home Office, however we advise you to get these stamped as a true copy by your bank and that the statements would need to meet the prescribed format. You must ensure that the date of the closing balance on the statement is no more than one month before you submit your application. If the money is being held outside the UK, you must ensure it never drops below the required amount due to the exchange rates. Please use the UKVI approved exchange rate converter Oanda to confirm this.


Students that are sponsored both for tuition fees and / or living expenses by an official financial sponsor, you will not need to show the sponsorship amount in your bank account. An official financial sponsor is Her Majesty's Government, the student's home government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company (the Home Office requires an international company to be a company with a trading presence / registered office in more than one country), university or UK independent school. An official financial sponsor is not a Spouse, friend or family member.  Instead, you will need to obtain a letter from your financial sponsor confirming how they are supporting you. The letter must be recently dated (a copy of which must be sent to Immigration Compliance  prior to your CAS), on official letter-headed paper and must contain:

  • Your name
  • The name of your official financial sponsor
  • The contact details of your official financial sponsor
  • The length of financial sponsorship
  • A statement that your financial sponsor will cover all fees and / or living costs.
  • A statement confirming that the sponsorship is for Keele University and for your course of study.

Finance Calculator

To assist you in working out how much money (the minimum amount) you need to show in your bank account for a 28 day period (with the closing statement no more than 28 days prior to the date of Visa application)  we have created the table below:

Part A

Tuition / Course Fee Payable

£

+

Maintenance Costs (UKVI Defined with a first Visa application)

£9135

Total A

£       

 

Part B

Tuition Fee Paid (Shown on CAS)

£

+

University Accommodation Fee Paid (Only a maximum of £1265 can be used in making a Visa Application)

£

Total B

£

 

Total A - Total B =

£

Amount Required in UKVI acceptable bank account (28 day minimum period)

Please note that this is only used for guidance and that you should contact International Student Support for assistance in making a Visa application.

Dependants

If you would like to bring your family with you to the UK, the requirements for ‘Dependants’ (the UKVI’s term for family members) are different to students (the main Tier 4 applicant). Your partner and your child can be your Tier 4 dependant. Your parent, brother, sister or other relative cannot

Only some courses and those sponsored to be in the UK by an accepted financial sponsor can bring their dependants with them. Each dependant must have a certain amount of money, held in a bank or building society account, or an account with an officially regulated financial institution. All dependants will need to have evidence of this, and in most cases, your dependant must produce this evidence with their immigration application.

The money can be held by the dependant or by you. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent will come to the UK too.

The money must have been in the account for a minimum period of 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. The account must not have dropped below the amount required at any time during the 28 day period. Also, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days before the immigration application is made.

There is an exception to this requirement if a government, the British Council, an international organisation, an international company or a university is giving you money to cover your course fees or living costs. In that case, ask if they are prepared to give you a letter stating that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant. If they will, then that letter on its own will mean that your dependant has met the financial requirements. There will be no requirement for them to show that they have any money at all in a bank or building society account, or in an account with an officially regulated financial institution. There are precise instructions about the format the letter must take in the ‘Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance’.

Make sure the letter complies with every one of those instructions. If they are not prepared to say in their letter that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant, but they are prepared to promise them a certain amount, they should say in their letter how much they will provide for your dependant. That amount will then be deducted from the total amount of money that your dependant is expected to show in bank or building society accounts or accounts with officially regulated financial institutions.

Each dependant must declare in their application that the money for living costs will remain available to them, unless used for living costs in the UK.

When studying at Keele (considered outside of London), each dependant must show £680 for each month of immigration permission you have been granted (if your dependants are applying after you have received your permission) or will be granted (if your dependants are applying at the same time as you). This is up to a maximum of 9 months (therefore, a maximum figure of £6,120).

The evidence of your dependant’s funds would have to meet the same requirements as a Tier 4 student. This includes being in an acceptable bank account and remember that your dependants cannot sponsor you to study in the UK and that you must be able to support yourselves in the UK, you should not include money you expect to be paid to you even if your dependant has a job offer in the UK. For students who are planning on making a Tier 4 Visa application with family members we strongly recommend that you contact International Student Support for assistance in making a Visa application.

Entry to the UK (BRPs for Entry Clearance)

In March 2015 changes to the UK law requires anyone who applies for a visa outside of the UK for leave (Visa) that exceeds a period of six months will only be issued with a 30-day vignette (entry clearance ‘sticker’) in their passport.  You will then need to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) within 10 days of arriving in the UK from the University or a specified Post Office, which you select when you submit your visa application. 

To collect your (and your dependents’) BRP you will need to bring your original passport with the 30-day vignette and also your visa application decision letter from the UK Home Office.  BRP’s for dependents will only be issued with the student’s BRP. To collect the BRP’s the student must bring the decision letter and their passport as well as the decision letter and passports for all dependents. Without both the decision letter and the passport containing the entry clearance sticker ‘vignette’, you will not be issued with your BRP.

Keele University has a special arrangement with UKVI to distribute BRPs to students and you will be given your BRP at the time of enrolment on to your course. The University will provide you with a specific code to use on the ‘Visa4UK’ website as an ‘alternative collection location’, which will allow the UKVI to send your BRP to Keele for you to collect. This specific BRP collection code is on your CAS statement. When selecting the BRP collection location you must choose an ‘alternative location’ and use the code 2HE542 as shown below:

Details of the University's BRP ACL Code

Alternatively the nearest pick up location to the University is the Post Office in Newcastle-under-Lyme (approximately 4 miles away), to select this location you will need to use the University’s post code ST5 5BG on the ‘visa4UK’ website, however you will need to arrange your own transport to this Post Office and you will not be able enrol, partake in teaching or start your studies without your BRP.

When you receive your decision letter and 30-day vignette following your visa application, you must email a scanned copy of the letter and the Visa to cas@keele.ac.uk

Medical Screening

You may be required to get a certificate to show that you do not have infectious tuberculosis (TB). The list of countries where a TB screening certificate must be presented with a visa application has recently expanded.  There is a cost for this screening and it is your responsibility to meet this cost and failure to provide a certificate or medical report when required by the UKVI is likely to lead to refusal.

The UK Home Office website www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa provides details on which students (or dependants) need a certificate or medical report.

However if you are already in the UK and applying for a Visa extension or you have been legally residence in the UK for 6 months or more before your Visa application (including applications made outside of the UK) do not need to provide a TB certificate or medical report. This is because an applicant who applies for entry clearance in a country listed in Appendix T who has not been present in that country (or any other country listed in Appendix T) for more than six months immediately prior to making their application is not required to obtain a TB test certificate if they were lawfully present in the non-Appendix T country. This includes students who have been in the UK for more than six months before returning to an Appendix T country to apply for entry clearance.

Credibility Interviews

The UK Home Office routinely conducts credibility interviews to confirm that they are issuing Tier 4 Student visas only to genuine students. We know you are a genuine student - we wouldn’t be allowing you to continue your studies otherwise – but you may still be asked to attend an interview with an Entry Clearance Officer or Case Worker (the person who assesses your visa application) to discuss your motivations for studying in the UK.

Preparing for your interview

First of all, you should review your personal statement submitted with your application to study at Keele along with the Course information provided on the KLE (Keele Learning Environment) and Keele University web pages. You will mostly find that you will have answered a lot of the questions you are likely to be asked. Here are the key things you should be able to tell the interviewer:

  • Why you chose to study in the UK
  • Why you chose Keele University
  • Why you chose the particular course you are going to study, including consideration given to the modules which you will be taking for the course
  • How the course will benefit your career, or future plans
  • What your plans are after you finish your studies
  • How you will be funding your studies (more detailed guidance below)

You will also need to be very clear on how you are planning to fund your studies. This is particularly important if your family or employer is sponsoring your studies. The interviewer will need to understand both why and how they are able to fund your studies. Please remember that working rights with a Tier 4 visa are limited to 20 hours a week during term time so you should not be planning to rely on work in the UK to fund your studies.

The interview

In many ways, your credibility interview is like a job interview. These tips would apply in both cases:

  • Make sure you know where you are going, and don’t be late!
  • Pause before answering, respond with consideration
  • Be aware of your body language: try to stay relaxed.
  • Listen carefully to the questions so you do not misunderstand what is being asked.
  • Ask for clarification if you need it.
  • Don't talk too much - you can always pause and ask if they require further details.
  • Don't simply answer yes or no.
  • Give yourself time to think before answering; you don’t need to jump straight into an answer.

Three points to remember for an interview

Be Confident

Be confident in your choices - you are investing a lot of time and money into your education in the UK so it is important that you are confident in the choices you have made. If you seem uncertain in your responses, this may make the interviewer think that you are uncertain about your studies.

Be Comprehensive

Be comprehensive – answer questions fully and give all of the information requested. You have already been through a considered decision process in choosing the UK, our University, and your course, so be ready to explain this process in full.

Be Consistent

Be consistent – even if the interviewer asks you the same question twice, or in a different way, remain straightforward and consistent in your answers. You know why you want to study in the UK.

The interviewer knows that English is not your first language so it’s okay to take your time while you think through your responses and process how to answer them in English. You do not need to rush through your interview - it is more important that you provide complete and accurate responses.

If you are a "low risk" student you may not be invited to an interview, to see if you are a low risk national please click here.

Decision on your Visa

Once you have a decision on your Visa application you must send a scanned copy of the decision letter to the University’s Immigration Compliance Team by emailing cas@keele.ac.uk. The University will send you an automated email based upon the UK Home Office’s data base when we notice a change in the status of your CAS / visa application.

Refusals

If you meet the point’s requirements and send the required evidence, you should expect that your Tier 4 visa will be granted. However, if you have not provided Keele with accurate information and details of any previous study in the UK you visa may be refused, therefore it is very important to make sure that you get your application right first time.

If you do not send in all the original documents required, the UK Home Office will not contact you to ask for missing documents. Incomplete or incorrect applications will be refused. If your application is refused you must send a copy of your refusal letter to cas@keele.ac.uk.

There is no right of appeal against a Tier 4 Visa refusal. If your visa application is refused and you wish to rebut the UK Home Office’s decision the only option available is to submit an Administrative Review. Migrants who opt for Administrative Review may not be covered by section 3C Leave and therefore may not able to study.

ISC Students

Keele ISC Students

This information is for students transferring in September 2018 

Students currently studying at the Keele International Study Centre will either have a Tier 4 Visa sponsored by Bellerbys Educational Services Limited T/A International Study Centres or an alternative Visa which allows study in the UK.

This Tier 4 Sponsor Licence is different to the Keele University Licence and is managed separately by Bellerbys Educational Services Limited usually under the Keele International Student Centre's own licence. Every CAS and Tier 4 Visa is linked to a specific course and institution; therefore you are not able to study the Keele degree when you transfer to Keele on your previous Visa.

Once students successfully complete the Keele ISC programme, at the required level to move to Keele University, they will need to apply for a new Visa to study in the UK at Keele. You will need to have a new Tier 4 General Visa, specifically sponsored by Keele University in order to continue your studies. This visa will be different to your previous ISC visa and will be sponsored by Keele University.

Please note that the issuance of a CAS for a Tier 4 Visa is at the decision of the Immigration Compliance Team at the University.


Students transferring to Keele University 

For students who successfully complete the Keele ISC programme at the required level to move to a Keele University degree, will need to apply for a new Visa to study in the UK at Keele as you will need to have a new Tier 4 General Visa. This visa will be different to your previous ISC visa and will be sponsored by Keele University.

Visa Checklist (pre-CAS) & CAS Statement

For those students who are successful with Keele ISC they will have their results and course pathways confirmed by the ISC to Keele a new 2018/9 academic record will be created. A Visa (pre-CAS) Checklist will then be sent to both the student and personal e-mail addresses. Please ensure that all personal contact details (e-mail, home & contact addresses) are updated using e-vision The Visa (pre-CAS) Checklist will contain all of the details we currently hold on our database. You are asked to check all of the details carefully and read all of the supporting guidance to make a valid Tier 4 Visa Application. An overview of the process can be downloaded below.

When the Visa (pre-CAS) Checklist has been checked and sent back a CAS Statement containing a new CAS number will be sent to your Keele & personal e-mail addresses. You will then be able to apply for the Tier 4 Visa. To assist in making the application you can contact International Student Support or the ASK Advice service. Further details of how to apply can be found on the Tier 4 Tab.

Payments

We suggest to all students that they make an initial payment towards their tuition fees, referred to as a tuition fee deposit of £2000 which can be shown on your CAS when applying for your new Tier 4 Visa to study at the University. To pay a deposit please click on the deposit payment tab below.

If you make any payments for 2018/9 academic year, which are not included on the CAS, you will need to e-mail cas@keele.ac.uk and inform the Immigration Compliance Team using the header Additional Payment followed by your student number.

If you make a payment towards your tuition fees and want this to show on your CAS statement you will need to make this payment online with the University, rather than paying by bank transfer. Online payments can be added to a CAS Statement (before you submit your visa application) within 24 hours; however bank transfers can take up to 2 working weeks. To make an online payment please go to the online payment web page.

Please note that once you have submitted your Visa application, the University cannot update your CAS with any additional payments.

Where to apply for the Tier 4 Visa

For students transferring this academic year;

  • If your current Tier 4 Visa expires on or before the Date you will be required to apply for the Tier 4 Visa outside of the UK.  
  • If your current Tier 4 Visa expires after the Date but before Date you can apply for the Tier 4 Visa outside of the UK or in some circumstances apply from within the UK. To make an application in the UK you must contact International Student Support or the ASK Advice Service for assistance.
  • If your current Tier 4 Visa expires after the Date and you decide to apply outside of the UK, it will be your responsibility to ensure that you have enough time to make a successful application and arrive back in the UK on or before the date of enrolment at Keele University. If you cannot arrive on or before the enrolment date we will not be able to accept you onto your course.

Documents Required for Enrolment

You are required to attend the enrolment event at Keele University before being allowed to begin your studies on your course. In order to enrol at Keele University you will be expected to bring with you all of your immigration documents.

You will need to bring with you your Passport(s) and current Tier 4 Visa with Keele University’s Licence number of CY3B57GX4 on the visa. You will not be able to enrol at the University if your visa does not state the correct Licence number.

Visa application made outside of  the UK

If you make your visa application from outside of the UK you will not be able to enrol until you have your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) Card detailing the full length of your Visa. Students who have a successful visa application will only be issued with a short 30 day Visa in their passport to enter the UK and will then need to pick up their BRP Card within 10 days of arriving. When applying for your Visa you will need to select a ‘pick up location’. The code you will need to input on the ‘Visa4UK’ application will be shown on your CAS and all students at the University are required to select this location. To pick up your BRP you must bring your UK Home Office decision letter with you as well as your passport. To complete enrolment at the University to commence / continue your studies you must have your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) Card which the University will need to verify.

Visa application made in the UK

If you make a valid visa application from within the UK, you will be able to enrol and continue your studies. If you have your new Visa, please bring this to enrolment however if you are currently pending the outcome of a Tier 4 Visa application made in the UK, using a CAS Number provided by Keele University, you will need to bring the following documents:

  1. A copy of your full Tier 4 Visa application
  2. A print out of the applicant summary screen/ payment screen
  3. The original postal receipt or proof of a Public Records Office (PEO) appointment 
  4. Any correspondence (letters or print out of e-mails) from the UK Home Office

If you do not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK you will still be required to bring all of your Immigration Documents to be checked and verified before being allowed to enrol onto your course.

Police Registration

If your visa or other UKVI letters state the condition “Police Registration required within 7 Days of entry” please ensure that this is up to date before making the visa application.

Course Changes

All course changes must be approved by the Head of Centre at the ISC and Immigration Compliance at the University before they can be carried out.

If you want to change course before a CAS Checklist has been sent please contact the Head of Centre at the ISC and Immigration Compliance at the University. If a CAS has been issued and you want to change course you will not be allowed to do so.  

Immigration advice for student joining Keele ISC

For those students joining Keele ISC this year please contact the ISC directly for specific guidance on how to apply for a Visa using the Bellerbys Educational Services Limited T/A International Study Centres licence.

CAS

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) is a reference number to an electronic document held by the UK Home Office. A CAS is issued by Keele University for all new students and those students continuing at Keele who need to extend their Visa.

A CAS is an agreement from Keele University to sponsor your visa to be in the UK for the sole purpose of study. Keele will only issue a CAS to a student who needs to be sponsored under Tier 4 of the immigration rules and who Keele believes will be able to make a successful application for a Tier 4 Visa. Under the University’s regulations and the requirements placed upon the University by the UKVI; the issuance of a CAS is at the discretion of the University and any offer of a place of study or decision to continue a student’s studies does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship. This decision is made by Immigration Compliance on behalf of the University.

Who needs a CAS

If you need a visa to study in the UK to undertake a course of study that is over 6 months, or is under 6 months and a requirement of the course is that you need to be able to work (work includes volunteering) you will need to apply for a Tier 4 Visa using a CAS.

What is on a CAS

The CAS is an electronic record held on the UK Home Office system. The CAS has information about you and the course you'll be studying, including:

  • Full Name (as on your passport) 
  • Academic qualifications
  • English Language Qualifications
  • The cost of your course
  • Your living costs (as defined by the UK Home Office) 
  • Fees Paid to the University
  • Details of any scholarship from the University
  • Previous UK Study
  • Previous UK Visas
  • Details of any previous visa refusals
  • If ATAS is required (including the certificate number)
  • Details of any work placements
  • Details of any study during your course outside of Keele
  • Your expected Start date of your studies at Keele
  • Your expected End date of your studies at Keele

How to get a CAS

CAS Flow Vertical_v2

If you are a new student to Keele or are starting a new course; you will need to meet the conditions of your offer (if appropriate), pay your tuition fee deposit, provide copies (scanned email attachments) of your academic and English language qualification along with copies of your current valid passport and any previous UK visas to the Admissions team (Undergraduate and Postgraduate taught programmes, Research students will need to provide this information to your Research Institute / Faculty Research Office)

These documents will then be assessed and if we believe that you will be able to make a successful valid visa application we will issue you with a Visa & Confirmation (Pre – CAS) checklist. Once you receive your Visa & Confirmation (Pre – CAS) checklist, you will need to confirm that the information upon the check list is correct, and agree to the conditions attached, by responding to the checklist email before we issue you with a CAS Statement. Please ensure that we have your personal email address as we cannot send a CAS Statement to anyone else but the student directly.

A CAS Statement for an incoming student will only be issued no earlier than three months prior to the start date of the course. From the point of receiving your Visa & Confirmation (Pre – CAS) checklist we aim to issue a CAS Statement within 3 to 5 working days.

At any point during this process, if we need further information we will contact you via email.


If you are extending your Keele Visa, you will need to email cas@keele.ac.uk stating that you are requesting a visa extension with the following information:

  1. Student Number
  2. Current personal email address
  3. Current contact address
  4. Reason for extension (example: repeat a year of studies)
  5. Confirmation that they are in a position to make a valid visa application (following immigration advice)
  6. Provide a copy of your current Visa and Passport (email attachments)
  7. Provide a copy of your valid ATAS certificate (if necessary)

Please note that the issuance of a new CAS to extend a Tier 4 Visa is at the decision of the Immigration Compliance Team at the University, and if suitable a student would be expected to leave the UK and return on a Short Term Study Visa. Therefore, an extension to a student’s course does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University.

Student’s needing to extend their Visa in the UK should apply for new leave to remain with a new CAS as soon as they know they need to extend. A CAS for a current student needing to extend will only be issued once Immigration Compliance are satisfied that the student is suitable for Tier 4 Sponsorship and in a position to make a valid Visa application (please see the previous sections). In addition, that the student has at least one calendar month of valid leave (time left on their Visa) in the UK. From the point of receiving your Visa & Confirmation (Pre – CAS) checklist we aim to issue a CAS Statement within 3 to 5 working days.

Once you have received your CAS statement you will need to apply for your visa extension. You are expected to make your application in time and within 10 working days of receiving your CAS statement. You will be required to keep a copy of all the documents you submit and get evidence of postage when sending your documents / email receipt of payment.

You will also be required to keep the University up-to-date with the progress of your Visa application, including any letters from the UK Home Office and notification of your visa being granted or refused. These documents will be requested from students and are required to be shown at enrolment, re-registration and checkpoint events. Failure to provide this information may result in you being in contradiction of the University’s rules and regulations.

At any point during this process, if we need further information we will contact you via email.

 

When you are completing your Visa application, make sure that you have all the details of your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) available. You will only be able to make a Visa application with a CAS statement.

Your CAS statement will have all the answers you need about your course, previous qualifications and financial details. Before you start to fill in your application form, you should read the Tier 4 Policy Guidance carefully as well as the VAF9 guidance notes. You must ensure that you fully complete each question which is relevant to you. 

 

ATAS

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

If you are entering the UK to study at postgraduate level certain subject areas may require an ATAS clearance certificate. At Keele University, this will mainly apply if you're undertaking a Research degree. If you require an ATAS certificate, your Research Area should inform you during the admissions process.

ATAS is based on the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) codes, JACS code for a single subject contains of a letter and three numbers. You will need this four digit JACS code as well as the first two digits of the JACS code shown to apply for your ATAS certificate. At the University, the JACS code you will be assigned will relate to your specific research area you propose to undertake rather than just your course title.

An ATAS clearance certificate must be provided to the University before you will receive a Visa & Confirmation Checklist (Pre CAS - Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) along with payment of your tuition fee deposit / providing financial documentation and any other outstanding conditions of your offer.

The ATAS certificate has two timeframes:

  1. The “active” six month timeframe, which exists solely to serve as a deadline for students to complete their visa applications. Once this process is finalised, the active element of the certificate falls away.
  2. The “inherent” timeframe, which covers the student’s studies for the duration of time given in the online application form. The course start and end dates, which are provided by the university on admission, are entered onto the application form by the student at the time of applying. The ATAS certificate is subsequently valid for the duration of time provided on the CAS.

Once the certificate is issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the only time a student should need to submit a new application will be; to support a new visa application; or a student changes their studies or research during the study period; or extends their studies by a period of more than three months; or changes their UK Visa (Immigration status).

Students who are studying / undertaking research in a subject area (JACS Code) that needs ATAS clearance will need to get ATAS clearance regardless of what Visa type (Except for those students on a Short Term Study Visa - STSV) they will be studying on. However we expect that a majority of students to study on Tier 4 if their course in the UK is over 6 months long.

If your course requires ATAS this will be stated on your Visa & Confirmation Checklist (Pre CAS - Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) and CAS Statement.

Furthermore if you already have a Visa to be in the UK, such as Tier 2, Dependant or Spouse Visa; or you are planning to switch to one of these Visa types, you will also need ATAS clearance before you can study on one of these Visas. (Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of Visa types).

If you are a current PhD Student and you are considering applying for a single extension for up to a maximum of 6-months and you are undertaking a PhD in a research area that requires an ATAS Certificate, a new certificate must be applied for and be approved before a decision on a visa extension can be made. UKVI recommend that you apply for a new ATAS certificate at least 4 months in advance of the expiration date of the current Visa. Once granted an ATAS Certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue and must be valid at the point of submission of a new visa application.

Additionally, if your course end date is extended by more than three months you will need to apply for a new ATAS Certificate after being notified of the new expected course end date. A new ATAS Certificate would also need to be applied for if you change your course of study/ area of research and that course of study/ area of research requires an ATAS Certificate.

For more information about ATAS and how to apply, please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. Your Supervisor and Research Institute can assist in you in applying for a new ATAS certificate. As soon as a new ATAS Certificate is received please send a scanned copy to visa@keele.ac.uk

Deposits

Deposits & Tuition Fee Payments 

All new international students are required to make a deposit payment of £2000 towards their tuition fees prior to a CAS being issued. Students who are undertaking a Pre Sessional English course at the University are required to make an additional deposit payment of £150 for the Pre Sessional English, totalling £2150 towards their combined tuition fees prior to a CAS being issued.

Refund requests on the deposit payment are only considered if a student’s visa application is refused, with a copy of the refusal being sent to the Immigration Compliance Team and an unsuccessful UKVI administrative review (appeal against the UKVI refusal decision). However deposits are not refunded in instances of fraud.

The quickest way to make a deposit payment and for it to show on your CAS is to use the University’s online payment system.

Students who have a financial sponsor to cover part or all of their Tuition Fees will need to send an email copy of their sponsorship letter to the University’s Admissions Team who have managed your application, which if suitable will be used to waive the requirement for a tuition fee deposit. The financial sponsorship letter must meet the requirements as stated by the UK Home Office (UKVI), as detailed in the previous tabs.

  • Applicants to; Foundation, Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and English Language Courses need to email admissions@keele.ac.uk with this information.
  • Applicants to Postgraduate Research courses need to email the relevant Faculty / Research Institute admissions office with this information.
  • All other applicants please email cas@keele.ac.uk with this information.

The financial sponsorship letter will be reviewed by the University’s Immigration Compliance Team and if suitable (and all other requirements are achieved) then a CAS will be issued. However if the financial sponsorship letter / evidence is not suitable then a CAS will not be issued and a student will be expected to pay a Tuition Fee Deposit of £2000 or £2150 in the case of students under taking a pre sessional English course. 


If you make an additional payment towards your tuition fees, and want this to show on your CAS statement you will need to make this payment online with the University, rather than paying by bank transfer. Online payments can be added to a CAS Statement (before you submit your visa application) within 24 hours; however bank transfers can take up to 2 working weeks. To make an online payment please go to the online payment web page.

Please note that once you have submitted your Visa application, the University cannot update your CAS with any additional payments.