The earliest you can submit your Tier 4 (General) Student visa application is 3 months before your course starts or if you are continuing on the same course, you should submit your application up to 3 months before your current visa expires. However, you can start planning straightaway and ensuring you have the correct documents and enough funding in your bank account.
Please note that you are responsible for your immigration status. The International Student Team (IST) will send email updates 90 days before, 60 days before and 30 days before your current course end date and will provide you with information on the visa workshops that will help you prepare for your visa application but you are responsible for ensuring that you abide by the conditions of your visa. It is very essential that you understand these conditions and take them seriously, failure to do so could result in the loss of your visa.
You can attend the visa workshops that IST carries out or contact the IST if you require any information on extending your visa in the UK.
The IST run a series of visa extension workshops where we explain in detail how to make a visa application. We recommend that you attend one of these workshops if you are planning on extending your student visa.
Getting a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is an electronic document issued to students who need to make a Tier 4 (General) application. Your CAS is only valid for 6 months, and you can only use it once. Your CAS number which is required on your visa application will be found on the CAS statement email you receive from the University.
New students will be sent a CAS number as part of the admissions process.
Students that need to extend their visas to continue their studies, need to request a CAS and book onto a visa document checking session at least 10 working days before your visa expires.
You need to have your documents checked by the IST before your visa expiry date in order to be assigned a CAS. You cannot apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa without a CAS number. It is the University of Birmingham policy to only issue a CAS to a continuing student if the student has provided IST with their visa application documents, and the IST considers them to meet the UK visas and immigration (UKVI) requirements at least 10 working days before the expiry date of the current visa.
Making an application for a Tier 4 visa - UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS)
There are various options to apply in the UK. Please note that these options cost different amounts:
- £475 to extend the Tier 4 visa
- the healthcare surcharge - check how much you’ll have to pay
- £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken
If you want to get a decision more quickly than the standard 8 weeks, you can pay an extra:
Tier 4 Application Process
Students in the UK must submit all necessary evidence and personal information, in support of their Tier 4 visa application quickly and securely through a more streamlined digital process. You will be led through an online application process making it clear what you need to do step by step, what supporting documents you need and where you need to go to complete your application.
You will be required to make your Tier 4 visa application online. After payment has been made you will directed to the UKVI commercial partner, Sopra Steria website to book an appointment and attend your local UKVCAS centre (Service Point). You will have the option of either uploading copies of your supporting documents on the Sopra Steria website from the comfort of your own home/office before you attend your scheduled appointment or, you can take your evidence on the day of your appointment to be scanned and uploaded. Please note there is an additional charge to upload your documents at your appointment.
When and where are appointments available?
You will be able to book an appointment at one of 6 core locations in major cities during office hours on a free to use basis or take advantage of enhanced user-pay service in 50 local libraries with process starting from £60. Appointments are available at evening, weekends and on short notice (on the day/next day) with pricing starting from £100.
All appointments must be pre-booked before you attend a Service Point. Standard free appointments and other appointment types/times; fee starts from £60 depending on location and time.
You can book an appointment:
- Up to 28 days in advance
- The same day
- The next day
- Outside of standard hours
Are there any other services available?
Sopra Steria can also provide the following additional services. Please note there is an additional charge of any additional services you wish to use. The most up to date charges can be found directly on the UKVAC website.
- Document Checking- Service to check supporting documents are correctly uploaded.
- Interpretation- Arrange for an Interpreter over the phone for customers who require language assistance.
There are also value added services provided by Sopra Steria partner BLS which have additional charges.
- Document Translation- Professional Translator who translates documentation within 3-4 days.
- Premium Lounge- This is a Service for customers who desire a service with added comfort and privacy, hi speed wifi, scanning and printing.
- VIP Service- The VIP Service is a mobile service where trained team members visit customers in their home and complete the same process. You would need to call UKVCAS to obtain a quote.
- On Demand –Pop Up- Provides application facilities for organizations with 10 or more customers.
How quickly will you obtain a UKVCAS Appointment?
You will be offered an appointment within 5 days of submitting your online Tier 4 visa application.
What happens during your UKVCAS Appointment?
At your appointment your ID will be checked and you will be able to submit your biometric information including photos, fingerprints and signatures at one single appointment. If you have not already done so; you can upload any supporting documents that you require to submit in support of your Tier 4 visa application digitally at your appointment. You will then leave the UKVCAS centre with your original documents and your passport.
IMPORTANT TRAVEL INFORMATION
It is important to note that although you will retain your original documents and passport you will be unable to travel outside of the UK and the Common Travel Area while your visa application is in-progress, as doing so will automatically withdraw your visa application and this may affect your ability to continue your studies and/or re-enter the UK.
Your Nearest UKVCAS Centre (Service Point):
Ground Floor, T3, Trinity Park, Bickenhill Lane, Birmingham, B37 7ES
Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY
What to do if you have any difficulties with this process
If you have any difficulties with this process then please log a query online by visiting www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk