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. 

Step 1: 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 Gov.uk website.

Step 2: 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 as soon as you know that you will need one. You should send your CAS request form and documents to the e-mail address listed at the top of the CAS request form. 

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 are generally issued by the Operations teams within 5-10 working days of the request being approved.

Important information 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. 

CAS are only valid for 6 months, if you do not use your CAS within 6 months you will need to request a new one.

Step 3: Prepare your supporting documents

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.
  • New 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.
  • New 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.
  • Tuberculosis medical certificate issued by an approved clinic (if you are applying from or have been living in a country where this is requried for more than 6 months)

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.

Iif you are from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ 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 in the first instance.  However UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can request them when considering your application, so it is still important to prepare the funds and documents.

Step 4: Prepare your financial evidence

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 and on the gov.uk 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.
  • UKVI conduct verification checks when considering financial evidence and will refuse the application if your bank does not verify the statements.  If your bank is not willing to verify financial statements for data protection reasons, or charges for the service, UKVI will refuse the application.  If you are concerned about this then please consult your bank directly for their policies.

Step 5: 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. You will need to submit a copy of a valid residence permit if your country of application does not match your country of nationality.  All applicants must submit an online application form and provide biometrics information. 

Step 6: Apply online

You can complete the online visa application form here: Student visa : Apply - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).  If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national you should submit your biometrics at your nearest UK Visa Application Centre.  If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national then you can do this using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.  

FAQ’S

How much does the application cost?

Entry clearance applications cost £490 per applicant for a standard application.  Most countries offer a priority service which costs an additional £500 and a super priority service which costs an additional £1000.  You must pay this fee in local currency in the country in which you make your application.

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 £776 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 £2,716 fee because a further four months is added to the end of a visa for courses of 12 months or more.

How long will the process take?

Standard applications can take 15 working days for a decision to be made.  Priority service is 5 days and Super Priority service is 24 hours.

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.

DO NOT travel to the UK before the start date of your visa.

Will I be interviewed?

Anyone applying for a Student visa from outside the UK can be interviewed as part of their visa application.

UKVI can arrange and conduct nterviews in a variety of ways.  If they decide to interview you they will contact you after you have submitted your application and ask you to be available tor a telephone interview on a particuly date and time, or they may ask you to attend an interview in-person at a designated time and location.  You must make sure that you check your email regularly, including your junk folder, in case you are contacted with an interview invitation or a request for further evidence.  At your interview UKVI will ask you about your course, where you want to study and your reasons for studying in the UK. The purpose of the interview is to check you are a genuine student and that your English ability is at the correct level. The report of the interview will be sent to the caseworker who makes the decision on your visa application.

What if my application is refused?

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

Key points to remember

Read the guidance information carefully before completing your application.

Check whether you need a tuberculosis test.

Email the team at studentvisaadvice@leeds.ac.uk if you have any questions of if you would like us to check your applicaiton form, financial evidence or other supportig documents.

Further information on making a student immigration application overseas is available from UKCISA.  You can also use UKCISA’s application checklist to check if you have missed anything.