Making a Tier 4 Application

The information below is for applicants applying for their Tier 4 visa outside the UK. If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa in the UK, you will need to make this application via the University’s Immigration & International Student Advice (IISA) team. Please email the team so they can offer you full guidance and support around that.

When should I make my application?

You can start the application for a Tier 4 visa 3 months before the start of your course. A Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) statement can be issued 6 months before the course start date but cannot be used until the correct time. Applications submitted earlier will fall for automatic refusal.

How do make my application?

The visa application itself can be broken down into 4 stages:

  1. Gather the documents needed for your application
  2. Complete the Tier 4 online form and pay all application fees due
  3. Attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre
  4. Post your documents to the Embassy

1. Gather the documents needed for your application

You will need to provide the following documents with your visa application. Make sure that you are also using the IISA Document Guidelines for Tier 4 applications to help you to make sure all your documents meet UKVI requirements.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number
This will be sent to you or your Agent by email. You will need the unique CAS number on the CAS to include in your online application form.

Evidence of finances
You must be able to prove that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and living costs during your studies. The amount you will need is dependant on the length of your course and the cost of your fees as per the guidelines below:

Programmes of 9 months or more £9,135 plus course fees for the first year
Programmes of 9 months or less £1,015 for each month of the course plus the course fees
Course fees The exact amount will be shown on your CAS

  • proof must be in the form of original bank statements or a bank letter covering 28 days. These must be on official bank paper with the bank logo, and letters must be stamped
  • statements should begin no more than one month before the date of your application
  • you may only use your bank statements or those of your parents/legal guardians
  • if you are using your parents’ or legal guardians’ bank statements, you must also provide a birth certificate to prove your relationship with them. You will also need an original signed and dated letter from them giving consent for you to use the money for your study in the UK
  • you can use overseas statements, but if they are not in English, you must also send a fully certified translation by a professional translator. This must include the translator’s qualifications, confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the date, and the translator’s signature
  • if you are using overseas currency, you must write on the document the closing balance in pounds sterling. Use the official exchange rate on the OANDA website

Make sure you also read the University information on Minimising risk of visa refusal-funding and finance

Proof of progress/qualifications as stated on your CAS (original certificates)

  • You will need to include the original transcripts and certificates of any qualifications that are listed on your CAS statement as having been used to assess your suitability for the course.

Proof of English language proficiency as stated on your CAS (original certificates)

  • If you need to prove your English Language level you would need to provide evidence related to that. Please see the University information about English Language Entry Requirements

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if applicable)

  • Certain postgraduate courses within science, engineering or technology disciplines may need to apply for an ATAS Certificate before they can issued a CAS. Your offer letter from the University will state if you need to do this. If it is not listed on your offer you should not need one. Further information and how to apply can be found here

Passport (current and any previous)

Visa application and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees available to you in appropriate format for online payment

  • A list of all UKVI fees can be found on the Gov.UK website Currently a standard overseas application costs £335
  • The IHS is payable on all Tier 4 applications and allows the payer access to free National Health Services in the UK. The cost is £150 per year of leave granted. Periods of less than 6 months are charged at half the annual rate (£75). For further information on the IHS and to work out the fee that you can expect to pay, please see the IISA website
  • You will have to pay the above fee as part of the online application process using a Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card- so make sure that the money is available for payment via that method

Passport photos x 2

  • You will find UKVI guidance on acceptable passport photos on the Gov.UK website

Translations of any documents not in English *The UKVI are very specific about what they will consider acceptable translations and will only accept fully certified translations by a professional translator. The translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator or translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document. E.g. “I can confirm that this is a true and accurate translation of the original document”
  • the date of the translation
  • the full name and original signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company
  • the contact details of the translator or translation company

Remember – to avoid any risk of refusal, you need to make sure that your translation contains all of the information listed above. You can ask the Immigration & International Student Advice (IISA) team to check a translation before application if you are unsure if it meets all requirements. You would need to scan a clear copy of the document to the “IISA email account“mailto:international.advice@southwales.ac.uk

TB test

  • Applicants from some countries will need to take a TB test before applying for their visa. You can find a full list of guidance and UKVI approved clinics on the Gov.UK website

You must include originals of all documents as well as a copy of each. Make sure you keep copies of everything you submit for your own records. If you need further confirmation of acceptable documents it is possible to look at the UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance

Some nationalities are considered to be low-risk and do not officially need to provide all these supporting documents with their application. However, we strongly recommend that you prepare and have all these documents available to you on the date of your application as the UKVI can ask to see them at any point during the visa application process.

Indian students on making a Tier 4 application

2. Complete the Tier 4 online form and pay all application fees due

You will need to register an account on the UKVI website and then complete an online application form.

There is guidance available as you are completing the form, this is found by clicking on the little question marks (?) that you will find next to the questions. Make sure that you are reading each question carefully and double check that your answers are correct.

The form will ask you from where you wish to collect your Biometric Resident Permit and will ask for an Alternative Location Code (ALC). It is very important that you enter the University’s ALC code: 2HE492 as this means your visa card will be sent directly to the University for collection. It also enables the University to help you should the card be delayed or missing.

If you get totally stuck on a question, you can access support and guidance from the University’s IISA team. You can email the IISA team or access them via their Ask an Adviser, Live Chat facility

Once you have completed your application and submitted your answers, you will be asked to make a payment online. This payment will be for both the visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees.

N.B. In the unlikely situation that you not able to make an online application in your home country, you will need to print out and complete a VAF2 application form. You will need to take this completed form to your appointment in stage 3 below. You can find the form and further guidance on the Gov.uk website

3. Attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre

Once you have completed your online form and paid all fees, you will be able to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre During this appointment you will be asked to submit your biometric information (have photographs and your fingerprints taken) and usually have a short interview- referred to as a Credibility Interview.

As you may already be aware, the UKVI undertake credibility interviews which will be carried out as part of the Tier 4 visa application process. This interview is to find out a bit more about you, the University, your course and why you have chosen it and what you future plans are. It’s essential that you are well-prepared in advance of these interviews as questions can cover a wide variety of subjects. In order to help you prepare, we have prepared a series of credibility interviews questions that you can expect to face. This is not an exhaustive list, but please use these questions as a guideline and ensure that you are confident in answering such questions before you attend your visa interviews. If, after you make your initial application, you should be called for a second interview please contact the Immigration & International Student Advice (IISA) team so that they can offer you further guidance.

You can view a University video about credibility interviews and what type of questions you will be asked below.

4. Post your documents to the Embassy

Once you have attended your appointment at the Visa Application Centre, you will be given confirmation that you attended your appointment and be given details of where to send your documents. In some cases you might not have to send your documents as they have undertaken all scanning etc at the Centre but it is more common practice that you are required to send them off.

Make sure that you send all original documents required and that they meet all the requirements outlined above. Any documents that are not addressed to the UKVI will be returned to you but make sure that you take copies of all documents for your records. Be aware that the quicker you send your documents, the quicker you will receive your application decision.

Chinese students on making a Tier 4 application

How long will my application take?

A standard application outside the UK usually takes around 3 weeks to process- although this is sometimes longer at peak times (September/October). You can check the current visa processing time for your country on the Gov.UK website

Some countries also offer a Priority Visa Application Service that takes around 3-5 days. To see whether this service will be available to you, please check the information on the individual Visa Application Centres above.

What do I do when I receive my visa?

You will receive your visa in the form of a vignette (or sticker) in your passport. If your length of leave is longer than 6 months, this vignette will just cover you to travel to the UK and then you will be expected to collect your Biometric Resident Permit (BRP- visa card) on arrival in the UK. If you put d the Alternative Location Code (ALC 2HE492) in your application form, you will collect your BRP directly from the University. If you did not use the code, you will collect from a local Post Office. Further information on the BRP collection process can be found here

Make sure you check your visa vignette to make sure your name, date of birth and other details are correct and that it states you are . If not, you should contact the Visa Application Centre immediately so that they can correct this for you.

Please scan a copy of your new visa to the University’s Enquiries & Admissions team so that they can attach it to your record and make sure you familiarise yourself with the Tier 4: Student Responsibilities and University Reporting Duties

What do I do if my visa is refused?

It is important that you let the University’s Enquiries & Admissions team know as soon as possible if you have a visa refusal. Please scan all refusal letters over so that we can look at the refusal for you. If we agree that an evidenced mistake has been made, you will be referred to the IISA team so that they can support you in making an Administrative Review application.