You should apply for your Student Route visa via the GOV.UK website.

The Home Office has full guidance on how, when and where to apply for a Student Route visa, but here is a brief summary of the process:

  1. Request your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  2. Complete your Student Route visa application form online, (if you plan to apply from within the UK, check to make sure you are eligible)
  3. Pay immigration health surcharge and application fee
  4. Book biometrics appointment at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application
  5. Attend biometrics appointment (remember to scan and upload your documents before appointment)
  6. Attend credibility interview (if asked to do so)
  7. Home Office will contact you with a decision (often within three weeks, but visa processing times vary by country)
  8. Collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) on arrival in the UK. If you applied within the UK, your BRP will be posted directly to your home address in the UK.

The length of time it will take to apply for and receive your Student Route visa will vary depending on where you are located, but on average it will take about 3-4 weeks. As such, we recommend that you start preparing your documents and finances well in advance so that you do not run the risk of delaying the start of your programme.

Please check the current processing times on the Home Office website.

If your Student Route visa is refused, please contact our UKVI Compliance Officer Roberto Di Bello

You cannot begin the Student Route visa application process until Richmond has issued you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.

Richmond will issue you a CAS number when:

  • Your offer is unconditional; and
  • You have paid circa 40% of the course fees for the first year, or provided evidence that you have US Federal Loans to cover at least this amount (this payment is non-refundable unless your visa application is refused); and
  • We have checked your financial evidence and other supporting documents (including tuberculosis test certificate where applicable) to ensure they meet the Home Office requirements

The CAS number is valid for six months, but you should not submit your visa application more than three months before the start date of your course.

You can check the visa processing times in your country on the Home Office website.

For a list of documents and evidence we need you to supply, please click on each of the drop-down options to find more information.

Students with the following nationalities are classed as ‘Low Risk Nationals’ and are subject to different documentary requirements. This is called the ‘Differentiation Arrangement‘ and by taking part, you will have different document requirements for your Student Route visa application.

  • Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, the Dominican, Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
  • Hong Kong (SAR) passport holders, Macao (SAR) passport holders, Taiwan passport holders (with residence card no. in passport) + British National Overseas passport holders

On your Student Route visa application form, you must select that you would like to take part in the ‘Differentiation Arrangement‘. You must also be applying from your home country or the UK. If you hold dual nationality, you can qualify as long as you make your application from the UK or from the country which qualifies as Low Risk.

Student Route visa application documents
As a Low Risk National taking part in the differentiation arrangement, you are not required to provide evidence of your qualifications or financial evidence with your Student visa application.

  • Application form: You will need to print off a copy of your online application
  • Application fee: You will need to pay a fee in local currency
  • NHS surcharge: You will need to pay the immigration health surcharge fee as part of your application. UKVI Surcharge Calculator
  • Passport(s): You will need to provide your current passport and any previous passports needed as part of the application
  • 2 Photographs: You will need two photos. Please make sure you read the UKVI photo guidance
  • Proof of qualifications: You will need to provide original certificates or transcripts of the qualifications you used to obtain your unconditional offer at Richmond. These documents are listed on your CAS statement, please only provide the documents listed there. If your documents are not in English you will need to provide official verified translations in addition to the originals
  • English language: Your CAS statement will state whether you need to provide proof of English
  • CAS statement: You will need a CAS from Richmond.
  • Financial evidence: You will need to provide originals of the documents you will be providing to show you meet the financial requirements. If these documents are not in English you will need to additionally supply an official verified translation
  • TB screening: Please check the Home Office website to see if you need to obtain a certificate confirming you are free from TB before you apply for a visa
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if applicable)

In order to get a Student visa to study in the UK you need to provide suitable evidence that you have enough money to pay your course fees less any scholarships/bursaries/grants that you have been awarded plus funds to cover living expenses in the UK for 9 months.

Maintenance Requirements

  • If you are enrolling in London, the Home Office requirement is that you have £12,006 to cover your living expenses in the UK (although your actual living expenses in the UK might be higher than this)
  • If you are enrolling on the RIASA programme in Leeds, the Home Office maintenance requirement is £9,207 (although your actual living expenses in the UK might be higher than this).
Acceptable Financial Evidence ✓
1. Cash funds in the students bank account – a savings (deposit) or current account.
2. Cash funds held in the student’s parent’s or legal guardian’s savings or current account.
3. A loan letter for a loan provided by the student’s national government or government sponsored student loan programme.
4. A letter confirming financial sponsorship from UK or the student’s home government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company, university or a UK independent school.
Unacceptable Financial Evidence ✕
1. Cash funds in a bank account of an Aunt/Uncle/Sister/Brother or other family member or friend.
2. Cash funds held in a joint account unless you are named on the account.
3. Cash funds in a company bank account.
4. Money held in shares, securities, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards, pension funds and certificates of deposit (if they indicate that funds are frozen).
5. Payslip pertaining to parent’s salary.
6. Financial sponsorship from a local non-international company.

If you are using money held in a bank account then you must be able to show that the money has been in the account for at least 28 consecutive days (finishing on the date of the closing balance) ending no more than 31 days before your application and no later than the date of the application – it is very important that the balance of your account does not drop below the minimum required amount, even just for one day.

If you are using a bank statement or a letter from the bank, it must state the following information:

  • Your name/parent’s name
  • The account number
  • The date of statement/letter
  • The financial institution’s name and logo
  • The amount of money available
  • Confirmation that funds have been held for at least 28 consecutive days (if providing a bank letter)

You can download our suggested sample bank letter wording sample bank letter.

If you only have online statements, they can be used if they contain all of the details listed above. However, you must also:

  • Provide a letter from your bank on headed paper confirming that the statements are authentic, OR…
  • Ask your bank to stamp your electronic statement with the official stamp of the bank. This stamp should appear on every page of the statement.

If you are self-financed and using your parents’ bank statement for your visa application in addition you must also provide the following:

  • Your original birth certificate
  • A letter of parental consent confirming that this money will be used for your studies – you can use our suggested sample wording parental support letter

Official translations of these documents must be included if not in English.

If you are providing a loan letter as evidence of maintenance, you can only obtain a letter from a regulated financial institution confirming that you have a loan that is provided by the national government, the state or regional government or a government sponsored student loan company or that is part of an academic or educational loans scheme.

The loan must be held under your own name and the loan letter must be dated no more than 6 months before the date of your application. There must be no conditions on the release of the loan funds to you, other than your making a successful Student visa application.

If you are applying from overseas, the loan funds must be available to you before you travel to the UK, unless the loan is an academic/student loan from your country’s national government; and will be released to you by your national government or your Student visa education provider when you arrive in the UK.

The UKVI now expects to interview most students as part of the application process. If you need to have an interview you will be notified of this by e-mail (check your junk mail).

Where and when will I have an interview?
This will take place at the Visa Centre at the same time as you go for your biometric appointment. Interviews will be done over Skype and you will talk to a Home Office member of staff based in the UK. The purpose of the interview is to check that you are a genuine student. For most students the interview will be quite short, no more than 5-10 minutes.

What will they ask?
Questions may be asked about your background and immigration history; about your previous education; about why you chose to study at Richmond University in London, details of the studies you are planning to take including details of courses. They may also ask about your financial circumstances.

How will the interview affect my application?
The Entry Clearance Officer who deals with your application will be given a copy of the transcript of the interview and will use that to assess your credibility along with the other documents you provide with the application.

If they have concerns about your credibility they will contact you for a second interview that will take place face to face or by telephone.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
The temporary visa in your passport is valid for 90 days. You must not enter the UK earlier than the first date of your 90-day vignette. Once you enter the UK you will be required to collect your full visa, called a Biometric Residence Permit (identity card) within 10 days of arrival from a local Post Office. You can find more information about this on the UKVI website.

As part of the application process you will be required to give biometric information, this means fingerprints and facial image. This has to be done in person at a Visa Centre.

You can book an appointment to do this online after you submit and pay for your application. There is now a new process in place for issuing UK residence permits for visa applications made outside the UK.

Temporary visa
Once your application has been processed and approved you will receive a temporary visa sticker (vignette) in your passport.

Please check that the details on this visa are correct. You will need to pay attention to the following:

  • The end and start dates of your visa
  • Your working rights
  • The Richmond licence number
  • your name and details

If there are any errors it is advisable to have they amended before entering the UK.

All Student Route visa applications made for a programme of study of more than 6 months in duration will be required to pay a fee for access to NHS health care in the UK. You must pay this fee in advance and it is a mandatory requirement for a visa application. If you do not pay it your visa application will be refused.

The fee you pay is based on the duration of your visa rather than the duration of your course. The surcharge is calculated per year for each year you are in the UK. If your leave includes part of a year that is six months or less, you will be charged an additional fee for this period. If your leave includes part of a year that is more than six months, you will have to pay an addition fee for this period. You can use the Immigration Health Surcharge tool on the Home Office website to check how much you will have to pay.

You will be required to pay the full fee for the entire duration of your stay in advance. The payment is made as part of your Student Route visa application, and your visa will not be granted if you have not paid the fee or if you have paid the incorrect amount.

You can find more information about the health surcharge on the UKVI website.

Read the frauds and scams guidance on the UKCISA website, for the latest information and advice.