General visa

Tier 4

The information within these pages is 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.

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.

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
  • The expected start date of your studies at Keele
  • The 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.

Guides and forms

How to apply for your visa - a guide designed to help new students prepare for their Tier 4 visa application.

PDF (326 KB)

Interview preparation guidance for your interview with the UKVI

PDF (138 KB)

How to apply for your visa - a guide designed to help continuing students prepare for their Tier 4 visa application.

PDF (326 KB)

PhD visa extension form - a form to be completed and agreed to for PhD students currently studying at Keele on a Tier 4 Visa to request an extension to their Visa. For your own version you will need to download this form, then using Adobe Reader use the ‘save as’ option.

PDF (309 KB)

UK visa application from India

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

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: 10 January 2019. 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.