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Applying for a Visa

In these pages you can find information on student visas for study in the UK.

    Tier 4 (General) is part of the UK Home Office's Points Based System (PBS) for managed migration. Under PBS you need to secure the necessary points in order to be considered for a visa. For Tier 4 General you are required to obtain 40 points:

    • 30 for the university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), and
    • 10 for Maintenance (money available to you for your programme fees and living costs). You must show that you have money available to you covering your full fees for the programme (or the first year) and a specific amount for your living costs. The maintenance requirements are very strict and require specific evidence - see Maintenance section. 

    To study in the UK on a Tier 4 General student visa the institution must be on the UK Visas & Immigration Register of Tier 4 Sponsors. A sponsor for Tier 4 visa purposes is the educational institution who supports your visa application to study in the UK. UEL is on the register of Tier 4 sponsors.

    In order to remain on the Tier 4 Register of sponsors, UEL is required to comply in full with the UK Home Office Points Based System Sponsor Requirements. It is vital that you are aware of these requirements, as they concern your enrolment, attendance and progress at UEL from the moment you are issued with your Tier 4 visa.

    Please read our Tier 4 Compliance Leaflet for a summary of the Tier 4 requirements for students as well as the University of East London.

    Almost all students over the age of 16 wanting to study at UEL will need to apply as an adult student -Tier 4 (General). The Tier 4 policy requires you to study full time only (except in some exceptional cases if you are a continuing student repeating a part of your course).

    Note: your visa will be linked to your study at UEL and will only be valid for study at UEL. You will not be able to switch to another institution or another course with your visa.


    You can apply for a Tier 4 General visa if you:

    • Are 16 years old or over
    • Have been issued with a CAS for study at UEL
    • Meet all the Tier 4 requirements

    To qualify for a Tier 4 General - Student Visa, your programme of study at UEL must be one of the following:

    • Full time Undergraduate Degree,
    • Full time Postgraduate Degree,
    • Full time Pre-sessional English course,
    • Full time Graduate Certificate in Business (Pre Masters) course
    • Full time International Foundation Programme (IFP)
    • Other course of 15 hours + a week (organised daytime study) leading to a recognised qualification at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 or above.

    Note: Courses with elements of organised work placement are acceptable if the work placement is an integral part of the course and is no more than 50% of the course. If you are unsure as to whether your course meets the requirements contact us at isa@uel.ac.uk.

    If you want to come to the UK to study at the University of East London (UEL) you will require a visa for study purposes, if you are not a British citizen or are a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

    **PLEASE NOTE** Changes in the Immigration Rules which may affect your visa application are being introduced on 12 November 2015. Please see the Stop Press section for further details.

    Application fee and process

    Maintenance requirements (money)

    Supporting documents

    Applying for your visa

    Arrival in the UK

    Tier 4 (outside the UK)

    Tier 4 (General) is part of the UK Home Office's Points Based System (PBS) for managed migration. Under PBS you need to secure the necessary points in order to be considered for a visa. For Tier 4 General you are required to obtain 40 points:

    • 30 for the university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), and
    • 10 for Maintenance (money available to you for your programme fees and living costs). You must show that you have money available to you covering your full fees for the programme (or the first year) and a specific amount for your living costs. The maintenance requirements are very strict and require specific evidence - see Maintenance section. 

    To study in the UK on a Tier 4 General student visa the institution must be on the UK Visas & Immigration Register of Tier 4 Sponsors. A sponsor for Tier 4 visa purposes is the educational institution who supports your visa application to study in the UK. UEL is on the register of Tier 4 sponsors.

    In order to remain on the Tier 4 Register of sponsors, UEL is required to comply in full with the UK Home Office Points Based System Sponsor Requirements. It is vital that you are aware of these requirements, as they concern your enrolment, attendance and progress at UEL from the moment you are issued with your Tier 4 visa.

    Please read our Tier 4 Compliance Leaflet for a summary of the Tier 4 requirements for students as well as the University of East London.

    Almost all students over the age of 16 wanting to study at UEL will need to apply as an adult student -Tier 4 (General). The Tier 4 policy requires you to study full time only (except in some exceptional cases if you are a continuing student repeating a part of your course).

    Note: your visa will be linked to your study at UEL and will only be valid for study at UEL. You will not be able to switch to another institution or another course with your visa.


    You can apply for a Tier 4 General visa if you:

    • Are 16 years old or over
    • Have been issued with a CAS for study at UEL
    • Meet all the Tier 4 requirements

    To qualify for a Tier 4 General - Student Visa, your programme of study at UEL must be one of the following:

    • Full time Undergraduate Degree,
    • Full time Postgraduate Degree,
    • Full time Pre-sessional English course,
    • Full time Graduate Certificate in Business (Pre Masters) course
    • Full time International Foundation Programme (IFP)
    • Other course of 15 hours + a week (organised daytime study) leading to a recognised qualification at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 or above.

    Note: Courses with elements of organised work placement are acceptable if the work placement is an integral part of the course and is no more than 50% of the course. If you are unsure as to whether your course meets the requirements contact us at isa@uel.ac.uk.

    Tier 4 (in the UK)

    If you want to come to the UK to study at the University of East London (UEL) you will require a visa for study purposes, if you are not a British citizen or are a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

    In the UK immigration rules there are two routes to come to the UK as a Student

    • Tier 4 (General) Visa - This is the main visa for studying in the UK. A Tier 4 visa allows the holder to come to the UK to study full time at UEL on our undergraduate, postgraduate, pre-sessional English and pre-Masters programmes. A Tier 4 visa will normally be issued for the full length of your course plus some extra time. Employment is usually allowed but restricted on this type of visa.
    • Short Term Student Visa - This is a restrictive type of visitor visa which allows part time study and may be suitable for those on UEL distance learning programmes. A Short Term Student visa is only valid for a maximum of 6 months and cannot be extended (11 months if you are coming to the UK to study English only – which would not be applicable to UEL students). Employment is prohibited on this type of visa, and Short Term Students are not able to bring dependants to the UK with them.

    These pages relate to Short Term Student category

    • If you are outside the UK and require more information on applying for a student visa under Tier 4 (General) Visas, click on Tier 4 (General) Visa - Applying for Entry Clearance

    If you are already in the UK and require information on extending your student visa under Tier 4 click on Tier 4 (General) Visa - Extension in the UK


    Short-term student visa

    If you have dependants and you wish for them to remain in the UK with you whilst you study, this page explains the main requirements for dependants of Tier 4 (General) student visa holders. You and your dependants may apply for a visa at the same time, or your dependants may apply after you have obtained your visa. It is cheaper if you and your dependants apply for an extension at the same time.

    More information on dependants can be found at:

    UKCISA website
    UKVI website

    You must ensure that you read this information and related links very carefully.  

    • Spouse/ Civil Partners (Minimum age 18) 
    • Unmarried Partners (living together for at least 2 years)
    • Children under the age of 18 

    If your dependant is a child both parents should normally be in the UK with the child. The Immigration Rules state: Both of the applicant’s parents must either be lawfully present in the UK, or being granted entry clearance or leave to remain at the same time as the applicant or one parent must be lawfully present in the UK and the other is being granted entry clearance or leave to remain at the same time as the applicant, unless: 

    1. (i) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant is the applicant’s sole surviving parent, or 

    2. (ii) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant parent has and has had sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing, or 

    3. (iii) there are serious or compelling family or other considerations which would make it desirable not to refuse the application and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the applicant’s care. You must also provide evidence that suitable childcare arrangements have been made.

    The Tier 4 rules allow students to have dependants if the student is: 


    • studying on a postgraduate course of 12 months of longer OR
    • a government sponsored student studying for at least 6 months.
    If this does not apply to you, but you have previously had leave as a dependant, you will be eligible to bring dependants if your current or most recent immigration permission was as a Tier 4 (General) student or a pre-Tier 4 student on a course over six months long AND all four bullet points below apply: 
    • your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
    • your new immigration application is for a course over six months long AND
    • your dependants already have Tier 4 dependant or 'student' dependant immigration permission (or it is the most recent immigration permission that they had, and it expired no more than three months before this application) AND
    • you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant 

    NOTE: If you have had or are due to have a baby whilst you are studying at UEL, please email isa@uel.ac.uk for specific advice.

    • They must apply for a PBS dependant visa either at the same time or after you. (we recommend at the same time, if possible) Some applicants MUST apply at the same time - see Who can apply for a dependant visa in the UK?
    • They must provide evidence of their relationship to you
    • They must show evidence that they can support themselves without relying on public funds (see maintenance)
    • They must provide evidence that the meet the immigration rules in Part 8 (319a – 319m) available on the Home Office website.

    All applicants for a PBS dependant visa will need to:

    Documents required:

    • Passport photo
    • Valid passport and previous passport(s) used to travel to the UK
    • Evidence of relationship to student (see below)
    • Evidence of status of student (see below)
    • Evidence of maintenance - Documents which show that the dependent meets the PBS maintenance requirements (see maintenance section)
    • A photocopy of student’s passport and UK visa -if dependant is applying after student.
    • TB Test Certificate Residents of listed countries only. See www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa
    • Any other evidence relevant to the application (eg: Police Reference Number for lost/ stolen passport)
    • Official translations if any documents not in English or Welsh

    From 12 November 2015, if your dependant is applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a PBS dependant at the same time as you they will need to show £845 per month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months (or £7,605).

    There will be is no reduced maintenance allowance for you and your dependants if you have studied in the in the UK previously. You and your and dependants will need to show enough funds for the full course, up to a maximum of 9 months, regardless of how long you have been in the UK

    The money can be in either the student’s or dependant’s name. You must have the relevant amount of funds available to you through one of the following:

    • Money in own bank account (an account in student’s name or in dependant’s name).
    • Official Government financial sponsorship - UK or other government (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).
    • Official International Scholarship Agency financial sponsorship (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).
    • Official International Company sponsorship (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).
    • Official University financial sponsorship (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).

    You can provide one of the following documents as evidence of the dependant's maintenance:

    • Bank statements showing the required funds or more have been held for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before application, or
    • Original letter from your bank confirming that student or dependant has maintained the required amount of funds for the 28 day period immediately prior to your application (no more than 31 days old); or
    • Original letter from the organization providing student official financial sponsorship stating the amount that they will provide you with or a statement that they will provide the full tuition fees and living costs for the student and living costs for the dependant

    Note: Letters and Bank statements should be dated no more than 31 days prior to application. All evidence should be original and meet all the criteria as stipulated in the Tier 4 guidance notes.

    • You can use more than one bank account in student’s or dependant’s name.
    • You can use UK or home country bank accounts in student’s or dependant’s name.
    • If the applicant is applying as a Child dependant, you can use a bank account in the name of the student or other parent who is legally present in the UK,
    • You can use joint bank account where the student or dependant is one of the account holders named.
    • You cannot use bank accounts of other family members (for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings) or friends.
    • You cannot show the dependant’s funds in the student’s parent’s bank account.

    Note: If your bank account is not in £ (Pounds Sterling) you must convert the closing balance and write it on the statement/ letter. UK Visas and Immigration uses the OANDA website and you should too. All evidence should be original and meet all the criteria as stipulated in the Tier 4 guidance notes.

    Evidence of relationship to spouse/ civil partner / unmarried partner

    • If married or in a Civil Partnership: Evidence of marriage/ civil partnership (for example: certificate)
    • If unmarried: Evidence that you have been living together in a relationship similar to a marriage for at least the last 2 years (for example: bills and statements in joint name)
    • Evidence that your relationship is subsisting - whichever status of relationship you have:  you may need to prove that your relationship is ongoing, especially if you have not been living in the same country (for example: letters, emails, phone records visits to each other showing regular contact).
    • Evidence that you are living together: (eg; bank statements, utility bills or council tax bills)
    • Evidence of suitable accommodation for you and your dependants to live together, especially if you are already in the UK (for example: tenancy agreement and letter from you confirming that you already live together, or if dependent is abroad that you intend to live together and that you have sufficient space).

    Evidence if dependant is your child under the age of 18

    • Child’s birth certificate (or adoption certificate)
    • Evidence that both parents will be in the UK with child (unless evidence can be provided that student is sole surviving parent, has sole custody of child or there are exceptional circumstances for the child to join the one parent in the UK)

    Additional evidence about you, the student

    If you are not making an extension application at the same time as your dependents because you already have your Tier 4 visa, and you wish for your dependents to join you in the UK or extend their stay in the UK as your dependent later on, we recommend that you also provide the following documents:

    • Evidence that you continue as an enrolled student - A student status letter which can be requested through the Student Hub
    • A photocopy of your Passport and visa
    • A print out of your (most recent) CAS

    Generally the dependants of students are entitled to the same rights as the students. If the course is longer than six months, dependants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application and are able to access free NHS Healthcare. Primary and secondary education can be accessed by the child dependants of students.

    Dependants are also allowed to work and do not have to abide by the same restrictions as those on a student visa. Be aware, however, if you are currently in the UK and need to extend your Tier 4 visa under the transitional arrangements and your extension will be for less than 12 months leave, you should expect that your dependants will lose their permission to work.

    Dependants of students are also allowed to undertake full or part time study but in most cases will be required to pay overseas fees.

    Students' dependants in the main are not able to switch into other categories of visa whilst in the UK and may need to return to their country of normal residence if they wish to change their status from dependant (for example from dependant to Tier 4).


    Dependants (outside UK)

    If you have dependants and you wish for them to remain in the UK with you whilst you study, this page explains the main requirements for dependants of Tier 4 (General) student visa holders. You and your dependants may apply for a visa at the same time, or your dependants may apply after you have obtained your visa. It is cheaper if you and your dependants apply for an extension at the same time.

    More information on dependants can be found at:

    You must ensure that you read this information and related links very carefully.  

    • Spouse/ Civil Partners (Minimum age 18)
    • Unmarried Partners (living together for at least 2 years)
    • Children under the age of 18

    If your dependant is a child both parents should normally be in the UK with the child. The Immigration Rules state:

    Both of the applicant’s parents must either be lawfully present in the UK, or being granted entry clearance or leave to remain at the same time as the applicant or one parent must be lawfully present in the UK and the other is being granted entry clearance or leave to remain at the same time as the applicant, unless:

    1. (i) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant is the applicant’s sole surviving parent, or
    2. (ii) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant parent has and has had sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing, or
    3. (iii) there are serious or compelling family or other considerations which would make it desirable not to refuse the application and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the applicant’s care.
    You must also provide evidence that suitable childcare arrangements have been made.

    The Tier 4 rules allow students to have dependants if the student is:
    • studying on a postgraduate course of 12 months of longer OR
    • a government sponsored student studying for at least 6 months .

    If this does not apply to you, but you have previously had leave as a dependant, you will be eligible to bring dependants if your current or most recent immigration permission was as a Tier 4 (General) student or a pre-Tier 4 student on a course over six months long AND all four bullet points below apply:

    • your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
    • your new immigration application is for a course over six months long AND
    • your dependants already have Tier 4 dependant or 'student' dependant immigration permission (or it is the most recent immigration permission that they had, and it expired no more than three months before this application) AND
    • you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant

    NOTE: If you have had or are due to have a baby whilst you are studying at UEL, please email isa@uel.ac.uk for specific advice.


    If you are studying on a postgraduate course of 12 months of longer (or are a government sponsored student studying for at least 6 months) then provided your dependant has not been given immigration permission to be in the UK as a visitor, your dependant can apply to extend their stay from inside the UK.

    If you are not studying on a postgraduate course of 12 months of longer (or are a government sponsored student studying for at least 6 months) BUT you are still eligible to bring dependants as outlined above, then they are only eligible to apply in the UK if you are making your Tier 4 (General) application in the UK at the same time. If you are not going to make a Tier 4 (General) application here in the UK at the same time as them, they must return home to apply for 'entry clearance' from the British Embassy or High Commission in their home country, before travelling back to the UK with that entry clearance. See 'Dependance (outside UK)' tab.

    In all cases, your dependant must not have been given a notice from the immigration authorities telling them that they have 'Temporary Admission' or 'Temporary Release' in the UK.

    NOTE: If you have had or are due to have a baby whilst you are studying at UEL, please email isa@uel.ac.uk for specific advice.


    • They must apply for a PBS dependant visa either at the same time or after you (we recommend at the same time, if possible).
    • Some applicants MUST apply at the same time - see Who can apply for a dependant visa in the UK.
    •  They must provide evidence of their relationship to you
    •  They must show evidence that they can support themselves without relying on public funds (see maintenance) They must provide evidence that the meet the immigration rules in Part 8 (319a – 319m) available on the Home Office website

    All applicants for a PBS dependant visa will need to:

    Application fee and processing times:

    • £448 if applying using the standard service - UKVI state that applications will be processed in 8 weeks, but it may take longer than this.
    • £948 if applying in person (premium appointment) - You will usually receive a decision on the day, and your documents one week later.


     

    • Passport photo
    • Valid passport and previous passport(s) used to travel to the UK
    • Current valid visa for UK (if already in the UK) - This may be a vignette in your passport and/ or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
    • Evidence of relationship to student (see below)
    • Evidence of status of student (see below)
    • Evidence of maintenance- Documents which show that the dependent meets the PBS maintenance requirements (see maintenance section)
    • A photocopy of student’s passport and UK visa -if dependant is applying after student.
    • Any other evidence relevant to the application (eg: Police Reference Number for lost/ stolen passport)
    • Official translations if any documents not in English or Welsh

    From 12 November 2015, if your dependant is applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a PBS dependant at the same time as you they will need to show £845 per month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months (or £7,605).

    There is no reduced maintenance allowance for you and your dependants if you have studied in the in the UK previously. You and your dependants will need to show enough funds for the full course, up to a maximum of 9 months, regardless of how long you have been in the UK

    The money can be in either the student’s or dependant’s name. You must have the relevant amount of funds available to you through one of the following:

    • Money in own bank account (an account in students name or in dependant’s name).
    • Official Government financial sponsorship - UK or other government (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).
    • Official International Scholarship Agency financial sponsorship (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).
    • Official International Company sponsorship (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).
    • Official University financial sponsorship (in student’s name – if the sponsorship covers the living costs of the dependant).

     

    You can provide one of the following documents as evidence of the dependant's maintenance:

    • Bank statements showing the required funds or more have been held for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before application, or
    • Original letter from your bank confirming that student or dependant has maintained the required amount of funds for the 28 day period immediately prior to your application (no more than 31 days old); or
    • Original letter from the organization providing student official financial sponsorship stating the amount that they will provide you with or a statement that they will provide the full tuition fees and living costs for the student and living costs for the dependant

    Note: Letters and Bank statements should be dated no more than 31 days prior to application. All evidence should be original and meet all the criteria as stipulated in the Tier 4 guidance notes.


     

    Evidence of relationship to spouse/ civil partner / unmarried partner

    • If married or in a Civil Partnership: Evidence of marriage/ civil partnership (for example: certificate)
    • If unmarried: Evidence that you have been living together in a relationship similar to a marriage for at least the last 2 years (for example: bills and statements in joint name)
    • Evidence that your relationship is subsisting - whichever status of relationship you have:  you may need to prove that your relationship is ongoing, especially if you have not been living in the same country (for example: letters, emails, phone records visits to each other showing regular contact).
    • Evidence that you are living together: (eg; bank statements, utility bills or council tax bills)
    • Evidence of suitable accommodation for you and your dependants to live together, especially if you are already in the UK (for example: tenancy agreement and letter from you confirming that you already live together, or if dependent is abroad that you intend to live together and that you have sufficient space).

    Evidence if dependant is your child under the age of 18

    • Child’s birth certificate (or adoption certificate)
    • Evidence that both parents will be in the UK with child (unless evidence can be provided that student is sole surviving parent, has sole custody of child or there are exceptional circumstances for the child to join the one parent in the UK)

    Additional evidence about you, the student

    If you are not making an extension application at the same time as your dependents because you already have your Tier 4 visa, and you wish for your dependents to join you in the UK or extend their stay in the UK as your dependent later on, we recommend that you also provide the following documents:

    • Evidence that you continue as an enrolled student - A student status letter which can be requested through the Student Hub
    • A photocopy of your Passport and visa
    • A print out of your (most recent) CAS

    Generally the dependants of students are entitled to the same rights as the students. If the course is longer than six months, dependants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application and are able to access free NHS Healthcare. Primary and secondary education can be accessed by the child dependants of students.

    Dependants are also allowed to work and do not have to abide by the same restrictions as those on a student visa. Be aware, however, if you are currently in the UK and need to extend your Tier 4 visa under the transitional arrangements and your extension will be for less than 12 months leave, you should expect that your dependants will lose their permission to work.

    Dependants of students are also allowed to undertake full or part time study but in most cases will be required to pay overseas fees.

    Students' dependants in the main are not able to switch into other categories of visa whilst in the UK and may need to return to their country of normal residence if they wish to change their status from dependant (for example from dependant to Tier 4).

    Dependants (inside UK)