The UK Home Office requires that you obtain a Tier 4 Visa if you are:

  • Coming to the UK to study for more than six months; or
  • Coming to the UK to study for less than six months but will be undertaking an internship or voluntary work in the UK

When should you apply for your Tier 4 Visa?

  • You can begin the application process when a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number has been issued
  • You must apply for and receive your visa before you travel to the UK to start your programme

When will your CAS number be issued?
A CAS number (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) is an electronic 14 digit reference number that you will need in order to apply for your Tier 4 visa.

Richmond will issue this number for you only when:

  • Your offer is unconditional; and
  • You have paid at least 50% 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

How long will the visa application process take?
The length of time it will take to apply for and receive your 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.

Booking Travel to start your course
We strongly recommend that you do not book any non-refundable tickets for travel until you have been approved for and obtained your Tier 4 visa.

Useful Infomation

We strongly recommend that you read the information on the following websites:

When to apply

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

Richmond will issue you a CAS number when:

  • Your offer is unconditional; and
  • You have paid at least 50% 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.

How to apply

A Tier 4 visa application is made on-line, unless you are from North Korea, in which case you must make a paper application.

You need to make the application from the country that you are ordinarily resident in. Normally this means your country of nationality. However if you hold a residence permit in a country other than your nationality you may be able to apply from there. You will need to check with the local embassy first though.

Your application will be processed through the nearest Visa Centre in the country you are applying. You will need to travel to this visa centre as part of the application process. You can find out where this is by using the application centre finder on the UKVI website. Some countries do not have visa centres so you may be expected to travel to a neighbouring country.

Please use our guidance document for information about how to make an entry clearance visa application Tier 4 Application Form Guidance.

Biometrics
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 book an appointment to do this on-line after you submit and pay for your application.

Healthcare charge (NHS surcharge)
All Tier 4 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 will be a fee of £150 per year for each year you are in the UK. Where your stay in the UK includes part of a year they will charge you £75 for periods of 1-6 months and £150 for periods of 6-12 months. For example if you are doing a 12 month Masters course they will charge you £225. This is because your visa will be issued for a total of 16-17 months. You can find out how much will be expected to pay using the fee calculator on the UKVI website.

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 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.

Documents required

  • Application form: You will need to print off a copy of your on-line application.
  • Application fee: You will need to pay a fee the equivalent of £328 in local currency
  • NHS surcharge: You will need to pay the immigration health surcharge fee as part of your application. You can calculate the surcharge fee using the calculator on the UKVI website
  • 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 will be listed on your CAS statement. You only need to 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. For information about what evidence you need to provide for your finances please see the “financial evidence” tab.
  • TB screening; in some countries you must show that you have been screened for Tuberculosis (TB). 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 https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa/countries-where-you-need-a-tb-test-to-enter-the-uk

Financial Evidence

In order to get a Tier 4 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 £11,385 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 £9,135 (although your actual living expenses in the UK might be higher than this).

Acceptable Financial Evidence

Unacceptable Financial Evidence

1.       Cash funds in the students bank account – a savings (deposit) or current account. 1.       Cash funds in a bank account of an Aunt/Uncle/Sister/Brother or other family member or friend.
2.       Cash funds held in the student’s parent’s or legal guardian’s savings or current account. 2.       Cash funds held in a joint account unless you are named on the account.
3.       A loan letter for a loan provided by the student’s national government or government sponsored student loan programme. 3.       Cash funds in a company bank account.
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. 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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 education provider when you arrive in the UK.

Credibility interviews

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)

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.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
The temporary visa in your passport is valid for 30 days only from the date you wish to enter the UK. 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.

Police Registration

Nationals from the countries listed below are required to register with the police as part of the terms of their visa. Please read the information below carefully to ensure you are abiding by the conditions of your visa. If you are a dual national then you only need to register with the police if both your nationalities are listed below.

Afghaistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

Not registering with the police, if you are required to do so, is a criminal offence and you may be reported to the Home Office for failure to comply with the conditions of your leave to enter/remain in the United Kingdom.

If this is your first registration with the police in the UK, you will need to visit the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) to submit the required documents and pay the registration fee.

What documents do I need to bring?
You are required to bring the following documentation to your appointment at OVRO.

  • Your passport
  • Completed and signed proforma – guidance on completing the proforma
  • One passport sized (45mm x 35mm) photograph pasted to the proforma
  • Biometric Residence Permit – BRP (if applicable)
  • Home Office letter showing the requirement to register – if applicable (this letter is separate to the one your BRP arrived with)

If you visit OVRO without all of the necessary documents, you may not be seen.

How much is the registration fee?
When attending OVRO to complete Police Registration you will be required to pay a £34 registration fee. This may be paid by cash, sterling travellers’ cheque or most debit/credit cards.

How do I get to OVRO?
OVRO is located at 323 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1JL. The nearest Tube station is Borough on the Northern line.

Please visit the OVRO website for opening times and further information.

Working in the UK

Your Tier 4 visa allows you limited working rights in the UK. If your course of study is at degree level or above you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations. Your hours limit includes any paid work, unpaid work voluntary or otherwise and internships. There are some restrictions on the types of employment you can undertake as a Tier 4 student.

You cannot do any of the following:

  • Be self-employed – you are not permitted to set up your own business in the UK, including where you are not the controlling shareholder.
  • Take a permanent full-time job
  • Be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
  • Be employed as an entertainer

You must not work beyond your allowed working hours or do any prohibited work. Breaking of working rights can result in cancellation of your visa, fines and/or a ban on entry to the UK.