Applying for your visa outside the UK

You may need to make your visa application in your home country, particularly if you've had a break in your studies.

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. 

On 5 October 2020, the UK government changed the immigration route for students. What used to be the ‘Tier 4’ route has become the ‘Student’ route. Most of the changes are not significant but they might affect you and might affect the information on this page. We will update the information on this page as soon as possible. You can read the Student Route Caseworker guidance from the Home Office.

Where to apply

Applications for 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 visa application should be made online. 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) six months before your course starts. Read the course dates on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (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 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 read more about getting a CAS as a new student.

If you are returning to or resuming study at the University of Leeds, you need to request a CAS. You should send your CAS request form and documents to the e-mail address listed at the top of the CAS request form. 

If you are an undergraduate or taught postgraduate student please complete and return this CAS Request form for undergraduate or taught postgraduate students (download Word doc).

If you are an undergraduate student and you will be undertaking a work placement year or a study abroad year please complete and return this CAS Request form for undergraduate students undertaking a work placement or study abroad year (download Word doc)..

If you are a research student, please complete and return this CAS Request form for research students.

When you email the form, 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 currency converter website to ensure that your finances meet the financial requirements.

CAS's are generally issued by the Operations teams within five working days of the request being approved.

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. 

Your CAS will list your qualification level as NQF, however on your visa application form this will be shown as RQF.  If your course is NQF6 you should select RQF6 of the visa applicaiton form.  

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’s 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 visa application form (online).
• Your current passport and any other passports that you hold with you.
• 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’re relying on money held in your parents’ bank accounts you’ll need: your 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.
• 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 

Under the Student visa guidance you can only use a personal bank statement in your name, your parent’s name or your partner’s name. You can only use your partner’s accounts if they’re already inside the UK or applying at the same time as you. You can’t use a bank statement in a company name, even if it’s your parent’s company and you can’t use another relative’s bank statement such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle, only yours, your parent’s or your partner’s personal statements are permitted for use.

Please note if you are a low risk applicant you must still prepare your documents and meet the financial requirements on the date of your application.  You do not need to submit financial or academic documents with your visa application, however UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can and do request them when considering your application.

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 the maintenance requirements (living expenses) you’ll need to show £1,023 per month for 9 months (£9,207) or for the remainder of your course, whichever is shorter. You can find out more about this on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (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.

The Immigration Health Surcharge fee is now £470 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 £1,654 fee because a further four months is added to the end of a visa for courses of 12 months or more. 

How much does the application cost?

Entry clearance applications cost £363 per applicant. You must pay this fee in local currency in the country in which you make your application.

On occasion UKVI can take longer than their published processing times for a decision to be made, therefore please don’t book any flights until you’ve received your visa as this may lead to you requiring to cancel a flight booking.

Student visa interviews

Anyone applying for a Student visa from outside the UK, including nationals of a low risk country, is likely to be interviewed as part of their visa 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 visa application.

The UKVI guidance for Entry Clearance Officers regarding student interviews can be read on the website

Key points to remember

Read the guidance information carefully before completing your application.

Check whether you need a tuberculosis test.

Email the team at if you have any questions – if you would like your financial evidence to be checked before you submit your visa application then please email and we will confirm if it meets the financial requirements.

What if my application is refused?

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

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