Applying for your visa outside the UK

You may need to make your Tier 4 Student visa application in your home country, particularly if you've had a break in your studies or if you have added a year abroad or a year in industry to your programme

If you need to return to the UK to continue your studies, you need to apply for entry clearance (a visa) as you did when you first came to the UK. 

Where to apply

Applications for Tier 4 student visas should be made in your home country if you're applying from outside the UK. If you don’t live in your home country, you should make your application in your country of normal residence. Your Tier 4 application should be made online at the Visa4UK website. You should submit your immigration application at your nearest UK Visa Application Centre.

When to apply

You can make your visa application up to (but not more than) three months before your course starts. Read the course dates on your CAS carefully before making your application. You should apply in good time to receive your visa before you need to return to the UK. You can check visa processing times on the Gov.uk website.

Requesting a CAS - EXISTING STUDENTS ONLY

Please note if you will be studying at the University of Leeds for the first time as a new student, you do not need to request a CAS via this method. Your CAS will be issued to you by the Admissions team, please see here for further details regarding how it can be issued to you.

If you are returning to or resuming study at the University of Leeds, you need to request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the International Student Office.

If you are an Undergraduate or Taught Postgraduate student please complete and return this CAS Request form and e-mail it to the International Student Office

If you are a Research student, please complete and return this CAS Request form and e-mail it to the International Student Office.

When you email the form to us, please save the form electronically with your surname (in capitals) first and your forename second.

You must submit evidence of your finances with your CAS request form. This should be a scanned copy of a bank statement or a letter of official financial sponsorship. A CAS request cannot be authorised until you demonstrate that you have the documents to meet the UK Visas and Immigration financial requirements.

Before submitting your financial evidence, you should check the official currency exchange rates on the Oanda website to ensure that your finances meet the Tier 4 requirements.

If your financial evidence meets the Tier 4 requirements then your request will be forwarded to Student Operations (for taught students) or Postgraduate Research & Operations (for research students) for them to issue the CAS. A CAS is usually issued within 5 working days of the request being received.

About your CAS 

Don't attempt to make a visa application without a CAS - you'll be refused and you'll need to pay for a new application.

A CAS can only be used for one application. If your application is refused or rejected, don't attempt to make another application using the same CAS. You can request a new CAS using the contact email addresses in the email which delivered your first CAS.

What documents do I need? 

It's your responsibility to collect all the documents that you need for your application. All documents must be translated into English if they aren't in English already. You must use an independent translator and include a signed declaration from the translator with your application. The declaration includes details of the translator's credentials verifying that it is an accurate translation of the original document.

Depending on your situation you might need different documents to your friends. The application form will help to tell you which documents you need. You will need some, or all, of the following documents:

• Completed Tier 4 application form (online)
• Your current passport and any other passports that you hold with you
• Two identical passport photos which have been taken within the last month
• Payment for your application - you'll need a debit or credit card to pay for your application
• Sponsor letter (if you are sponsored)
• Financial documents – bank statements, bank letters, savings books etc. You need to hold your funds for a minimum of 28 days and your bank statement must be no more than 31 days old on the date you make your application
• If you are relying on money held in your parents’ bank accounts you will need: your original birth certificate with an official translation if not in English; your parents’ bank statements; a letter from your parents confirming they're supporting you 
• Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
• Previous qualifications if mentioned in your CAS. If your CAS states that you are being ‘sponsored on the basis of progress to date’ you don't need to provide qualification evidence
• Police registration certificate if applicable
• ATAS Certificate if applicable
• Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (if you have one)
• Birth and marriage certificates for dependants (husband / wife and children) if applicable and only if they're applying as part of your immigration application.

Please note that under the Tier 4 guidance you can only use a personal bank statement in your name or your parents name. You cannot use a bank statement in a company name, even if it is your parents company and you cannot use another relatives bank statement such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle, only yours or your parents personal statements are permitted for use.

All supporting documents must be originals. Photocopies will not be accepted and could result in your application being refused.

How much money do I need?

There are strict rules about how much money you need to have access to for your living expenses. To meet Tier 4 maintenance requirements (living expenses) you will need to show £1,015 per month for 9 months (£9,135) or for the remainder of your course, whichever is shorter. You can find out more about this on the UKCISA website

If you're applying with dependants, you'll need to show a higher sum of money - the maintenance requirement for each dependant is £680 per month for the remainder of your course or 9 months, whichever is shorter.

You must hold the money in an account in your name, or a parent’s name, for a minimum period of 28 days before making your application.

You'll need to provide a bank statement or letter from your bank confirming that the money has been held for a minimum of 28 days. This letter or statement must be no more than 31 days old on the date that you make your application.

If you don't have the required amount, haven’t held it in your account for 28 days, or if you use a bank statement which is more than 31 days old, your application will be refused. 

In addition to the visa application fee, you are also required to pay an immigration health surcharge at the point of submitting your visa application. This is a mandatory fee and will apply to you and any of your family members applying to come to the UK with you. The charge will entitle you to free health services under the National Health Service (NHS) once you are inside the UK.

At present the fee is £150 per person per year and it will be charged for the maximum period of leave which could be granted under the immigration rules. For example, applying for a visa for a three year course would incur a £525 fee because a further 4 months is added to the end of a visa for courses of 12 months or more. 

The fee applies to applications made inside or outside the UK. Failure to pay the health surcharge will result in your application being refused or returned as invalid. When making this application, please enter your course start and end date OR enter your CAS start date as the course start date if your actual start date is a date in the past.

You are advised to ensure that in addition to the having sufficient money available to cover the visa application fee, you also have access to a credit or debit card which can be used to pay the health surcharge online. There is no requirement to hold the health fee for 28 days or to provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover the health surcharge in the visa application. However if you are using same account to pay the visa application fee and health surcharge as the one to evidence your tuition fees and maintenance, you should ensure that there is enough money available to cover everything.

How much does the application cost?

Tier 4 entry clearance applications cost £335 per applicant. You must pay this fee in local currency in the country in which you make your application.

Tier 4 student visa interviews

Anyone applying for a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK, including nationals of a low risk country, is likely to be interviewed as part of their Tier 4 application. Interviews take place when you attend a visa application centre to give your biometric information and submit your documents. A UKVI member of staff will ask you about your course, where you want to study and your reasons for studying in the UK. The report of the interview will be sent to the Entry Clearance Officer who makes the decision on your Tier 4 application.

The UKVI guidance for Entry Clearance Officers regarding Tier 4 student interviews can be read on the Gov.uk website

Key points to remember

Read the guidance information carefully before completing your application.

Check whether you need a tuberculosis test.

Prepare your application carefully and double check that you have included good quality, original documents with translations into English if necessary.

Contact the International Student Office if you have any questions - if you would like your financial evidence to be checked before you submit your Tier 4 application then please contact us and we will confirm if it meets the Tier 4 requirements.

What if my application is refused?

If your application is refused, please email a copy of the refusal letter to visa@leeds.ac.uk. Wait for our advice before making a new visa application.

If your application is rejected, please contact the International Student Office for advice.  

Further information on making a student immigration application overseas is available from UKCISA.