Apply for a visa

To study at the University of Surrey, international students require a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Applying for a visa outside the UK

Tier 4 (General) is the student tier of the Points Based System for immigration (PBS), operated by the Home Office.

As from 6  April 2018 it costs £348 to apply for a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK. You will also pay £348 for each dependant applying with you.

To apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa you must: 

For more details and to apply, visit the government visas and immigration website

If you require a visa under Tier 4 (General) student visa (i.e you are over 16 years of age), you must pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points when making a visa application:

  • 30 points for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University of Surrey
  • 10 points for documents showing the required finances (tuition fees and living costs)

As from 6 April 2018 the cost of a Tier 4 (General) student application will be £348 (presently £335).

  • Submit your online application form
  • Booking an appointment at a VAC
  • Attend your appt
  • Submit your documents
  • Give your fingerprints and photograph
  • Competency/credibility interview (at the discretion of UKVI)

Please note that the Home Office is changing the online application form for entry clearance (visa) applications made outside the UK. The new online application system will make the application process easier.

The current application system (Visa4UK) and the new system (Access UK) will both be available for a while. However, if you have not yet started your visa application, you might want to use Access UK in case the changeover happens before you submit your application. Learn more about the new application system here.

Application times can vary according to where you live and the time of year, so make sure that you apply as early as possible to avoid any delays. You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa up to three months before the start of your course, but no earlier.

Once your visa has been approved, you can arrive in the UK before your course starts: 

  • Up to one week before, if your course lasts six months or less
  • Up to one month before, if your course lasts more than six months
  • No later than the latest registration date as per your CAS.

Application times can vary according to where you live and the time of year, so make sure that you apply as early as possible to avoid any delays. You can apply for a Tier 4 visa up to three months before the start of your course, but no earlier.

There are required documents you will need at the point of making your application:

These include:

  • An application fee – in local currency (non-refundable)
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee - IHS will be charged at £150 per academic year of study, please visit this link for further details: UKVI website
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from the University of Surrey
  • Current passport or travel document – details of your current passport must be included on the CAS. If these details have changed in any way since your CAS was issued you will need to send a scanned copy of your new passport to cas@surrey.ac.uk
  • Documents to show you have the correct finances (fees and maintenance)
  • Colour passport photograph (no older than 1 month old)
  • Original academic documents listed on your CAS

You may also require:

Please note that all the documents must be original as photocopies or scanned documents are not acceptable.

If you are a national from a low-risk country and applying for your visa from that country, you do not have to provide certain documents with your application (e.g.bank statements or academic certificates). You will need to keep these documents to hand in case the UKVI request to see them at any time during the visa application process. If you are a low-risk national but applying for a Tier 4 (General) student visa through an Embassy/High Commission in another country, you will need to provide all the required documents. For example a US citizen applying in the United States of America would be considered ‘low risk’ but a US citizen applying in Malaysia would not be considered to be ‘low risk’ and would therefore have to submit all required documents.

All students are expected to show that they have paid or have evidence of money to pay the first year’s tuition fees or next period of study (for extending students).  

Students also need to show that they have enough money (maintenance) to cover living costs whilst in the UK. As the University of Surrey is situated outside London, the monthly maintenance requirement is £1,015 (you would need to show maintenance for up to 9 months, giving a total of £9,135).

If you require a visa extension for a period of less than 9 months, please contact International Student Support by emailing internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk

Students must sign a declaration on the visa application form that states that the money shown at the time of the visa application is available to them for living and studying in the UK and should not be used for anything else.

Documents required

You must provide one of the accepted types of financial document as stated in the Tier 4 guidance.

If you use bank statements from an account in your name, you must provide a statement which covers a period of at least 28 consecutive days. The full amount of money required must have been in the bank for at least 28 days and the bank statement you use must be no older than one month. The Immigration Rules now require that the end of the 28-day period for which funds must be held will be taken as the date of the closing balance, not the date that the statement is produced.  The date of the closing balance must be no more than one month before the date of your visa application.

The account can be a joint account as long as your name appears as one of the account holders on the statement. You cannot show money in the account of other relatives, including your spouse, or friends.

If you show money in your parents’ bank account then you will need to show:

  • a bank statement in their name(s)
  • an original signed and dated letter from your parents showing that they will support you during your studies
  • your original full birth certificate (or notarised copy) naming yourself and your parents (or certificate of adoption or legal document confirming a legal guardian).

If you are not sure which type of document to show please let us know. All documents should be in English or translated.

You will need to make sure that your or your parents’ bank is a financial institution whose statements are accepted by UKVI.

Sponsored students

If you are fully funded by an official financial sponsor (British Government, government in your home country or international scholarship agency) you will require an original letter from your official financial sponsor confirming the duration of your sponsorship, that they will cover your full tuition fees and how much they will be paying to cover your living costs. Please make sure the sponsor letter meets the University guidelines.

If the official sponsor is covering all your tuition fees and maintenance, you do not need to submit your own bank statements.  If the sponsorship letter does not cover all your or your dependant’s financial requirements, you will need submit bank statements to cover any shortfall.

Translations

Bank statements must be provided in English. Check with your bank whether they can provide bank statements in English if you are using statements from your home country. If your bank does not provide translated statements then you will need to have them translated by an official translator. The translation must include details of the translator’s credentials, contact details, date and signature.

This applies also to academic transcripts and degree certificates.

If the currency shown on the bank statements are not in pound sterling, you will to use the following currency conversion website.  Check the amount on the day of submission of the application and attach a note to the bank statement. Please remember that currency conversion rates can rise and fall dramatically, so try to ensure that you have a slightly higher amount than required, just in case.

You may also be required to attend a credibility interview. This will be conducted by video link with a UKVI officer in the UK.

During this 5-10 minute interview, the officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student and that your English language is at the correct level. If you are unable to answer simple questions in English, your visa application may be refused. You may also be asked questions about your visa and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances.

Further details can be found on the UKCISA website.

When your leave is granted, you will be issued a temporary visa (vignette) in your passport. This will be valid for 30 days from the date you said you will be arriving in the UK, even if you later change your travel plans.  If, for some reason, you are unable to travel within the 30-day period, you will need to apply for another 30-day visa.  Once in the UK, you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which will show the visa for your complete study period as determined by your Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS).

You will also receive a decision letter which will tell you when your BRP will be available to collect and where you can collect it from once you arrive in the UK (please make sure you bring this document with you to the UK).  All University of Surrey students will be able to collect their BRP card from the main  Post Office in Guildford. Full information including a map and opening times can be found here.

You must visit the Post Office within 10 days of your arrival in the UK and you must take with you your passport, 30-day visa and your decision letter. If you are under 18, you will need to be accompanied to the Post Office by a member of University staff.  You should aim to collect your BRP card before you register at the University where possible.

If you lose your passport or decision letter on arrival in the UK, you can find information on what to do next on the UKVI website.

Applying for a visa inside the UK

Tier 4 applications must be made online, using the Tier 4 (General) Student visa application form available on the GOV.uk site. There are two types of applications:

  • extend your existing Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa

You are required to submit a cover sheet of your application together with your original documents to the Home Office, either by post or in person before the expiry date on your current visa.

If you are applying for a visa for a new course at Surrey, you cannot apply in the UK if the new course starts more than 28 days after the expiry date of your current Tier 4 visa. In this case, you will need to leave the UK in time and apply for a new visa in your home country. This also applies if you wish to return home for a holiday before starting your new course and decide to apply for the new visa from home.
 

You will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from the University of Surrey
  • Current passport or travel document (and any expired passports you have used to travel to the UK with)
  • Documents to show you have the correct finances (fees and maintenance)
  • Two passport-sized photographs (taken in the UK and within one month of your application) of yourself and any dependants (with names written on the back). Photograph guidance is available from the UKVI
  • Original academic document as stated on the CAS (if you are unsure please contact International Student Support)  
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee - IHS will be charged at £150 per academic year of study, please visit this link for further details: UKVI website.

You may also require:

The International Student Support team can only send complete, valid applications so please make sure you give yourself enough time to collect all the original documents, particularly if you need something to be sent from your home country or to obtain an official translation of your documents into English.

You will need a debit or credit card to make the online payment - there is an application fee of £475 for a postal application , £952 for a priority service application, and £1085 for a premium application (in person). If you book an in person appointment and fail to attend, the UKVI will retain £100. Visa fees are charged per person.

There will be new application fees as from 6th April 2018: 

  • Postal visa application: £475
  • Priority service application: £952
  • Premium ( in person): £1085.

You must mention to the International Student Support team if you have ever:

  • Had a UK visa application refused (please provide as much detail as possible - refusal date, reason, and reference number; these can be found on your refusal notice)
  • Have overstayed on a UK visa
  • Have any other circumstance that you believe may affect the outcome of your visa application (e.g. criminal record/offences)

The International Student Support team strongly recommends that all applications are checked by an advisor and submitted to the Home Office. If you wish to make a premium appointment, we still recommend that all information is checked carefully before you make the appointment. Any mistakes made on the online application form cannot be corrected once the application is completed and payment made.  If an error is spotted at a later stage, a new form would have to be completed and you may lose the original application fee.

Please note, the standard processing time for applications is 8 weeks and on some occasions this process can take longer. This means that all your documents will be retained by the Home Office for this period of time. We advise you to not make any travel arrangements that cannot be altered easily until you have received your passport and new Biometric Residence Permit (your visa).

How much money you need to show will depend on individual circumstances.

All students are expected to show that they have paid or have evidence of money to pay the first year’s tuition fees or next period of study (for extending students).

Students also need to show that they have enough money (maintenance) to cover living costs whilst in the UK. As the University of Surrey is situated outside London, the monthly maintenance requirement is £1,015 (you would need to show maintenance for up to 9 months, giving a total of £9,135).

If you require a visa extension for a period of less than 9 months, please contact International Student Support by emailing internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk

Students must sign a declaration on the visa application form that states that the money shown at the time of the visa application is available to them for living and studying in the UK and should not be used for anything else.

Documents required

You must provide one of the accepted types of financial document as stated in the Tier 4 guidance.

If you use bank statements from an account in your name, you must provide a statement which covers a period of at least 28 consecutive days. The full amount of money required must have been in the bank for at least 28 days and the bank statement you use must be no older than one month. The Immigration Rules now require that the end of the 28-day period for which funds must be held will be taken as the date of the closing balance, not the date that the statement is produced.  The date of the closing balance must be no more than one month before the date of your visa application.

The account can be a joint account as long as your name appears as one of the account holders on the statement. You cannot show money in the account of other relatives, including your spouse, or friends.

If you show money in your parents’ bank account then you will need to show:

  • a bank statement in their name(s)
  • an original signed and dated letter from your parents showing that they will support you during your studies
  • your original full birth certificate (or notarised copy) naming yourself and your parents (or certificate of adoption or legal document confirming a legal guardian).

If you are not sure which type of document to show please let us know. All documents should be in English or translated.

You will need to make sure that your or your parents’ bank is a financial institution whose statements are accepted by UKVI.

Sponsored students

If you are fully funded by an official financial sponsor (British Government, government in your home country or international scholarship agency) you will require an original letter from your official financial sponsor confirming the duration of your sponsorship, that they will cover your full tuition fees and how much they will be paying to cover your living costs. Please make sure the sponsor letter meets the University guidelines.

If the official sponsor is covering all your tuition fees and maintenance, you do not need to submit your own bank statements.  If the sponsorship letter does not cover all your or your dependant’s financial requirements, you will need submit bank statements to cover any shortfall.

Translations

Bank statements must be provided in English. Check with your bank whether they can provide bank statements in English if you are using statements from your home country. If your bank does not provide translated statements then you will need to have them translated by an official translator. The translation must include details of the translator’s credentials, contact details, date and signature.

This applies also to academic transcripts and degree certificates.

If the currency shown on the bank statements are not in pound sterling, you will to use the following currency conversion website. Check the amount on the day of submission of the application and attach a note to the bank statement. Please remember that currency conversion rates can rise and fall dramatically, so try to ensure that you have a slightly higher amount than required, just in case.

You may be asked to attend a credibility interview as part of the visa application process if the caseworker needs further information from you. This might be an in person interview but more likely by telephone or Skype. For further information regarding credibility interviews please visit the UKCISA website.

Applying for a dependent visa

You can bring your family (spouse and children) to the UK whilst you study if:

  • you are studying a course at a Higher Education Institution at postgraduate (NQF7) level which is 12 months or more, or
  • you are a Government-sponsored student and your course is over 6 months long

In addition you must be over 18, must have sufficient money to support them and the members of your family must be classified as your dependants under UK immigration rules.

As from 6 April 2018 the cost of a Tier 4 (General) student application is £348. 

The following people can come into the UK as your dependants:

  • Your husband or wife (age 18 or over)
  • Your civil partner, same-sex partner, or unmarried partner (age 18 or over).
  • Your children aged under 18 or a child of 18 years old or more, but already in the UK with immigration permission as a dependant child.

You can either:

  • Apply for your dependants’ visas at the same time as your Tier 4 application
  • Apply for your dependants to join you in the UK once your Tier 4 visa has been granted

Your dependants must always make their applications in their home countries (unless it is an extension of an existing visa).

You must intend to live together as a family and your children must not be leading an independent life (for example married themselves or living away from home and working full-time) and your dependants must not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period of your student visa.

Fees

The fee for each dependant will be the same as for the student, £348 for an out of country online application or £475 for an in the UK postal application and £1085 for the premium, in-person, application.

These fees will change as from 6th April 2018: 

  • Out of country application: £348
  • Application made in the UK: £475 
  • Premium ( in person) application: £1085.

Access UK visa portal.

Further information is available here.

As part of any application a dependant must show that they have the required maintenance in their account (or lead applicant's account) for 28 days consecutively. As of 24 November 2016 the rules changed regarding the calculation of maintenance for dependants with immediate effect.

A dependant must demonstrate £680 for each month of immigration permission they have been/will be granted (up to a maximum of 9 months). For example:

Student A

  • Student A has two dependants and is applying for a 12 months MSc
  • Student A must show £12,240 in maintenance total for their two dependants (£680 x 9 for each dependant).

Student B

  • Student B is already in the UK and is applying to extend their Tier 4 visa for 4 months to complete a PhD; they have two dependants
  • Student B must show £10,880 in maintenance total for their two dependants (£680 x 8 for each dependant taking into account the 4 months that will be granted at the end of their visa).

Dependant C

  • Dependant C is applying overseas to join their partner who is already studying in the UK; the student has 5 months of their course remaining and has 4 months leave at the end of their study as part of their Tier 4 visa
  • Dependant C must show £6,120 in maintenance total for their application (£680 x 9 months).

For further information, please visit the UKCISA website.

Permission to work

Your spouse will usually be granted permission to work in the UK without limits. Check the visa carefully to ensure there is no prohibition to work.

Citizenship for dependants

Being born in the UK does not automatically make a baby a British citizen. The baby needs to have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK in order to be born British.

It is legal for a baby born in the UK to remain without making an immigration application. However the baby will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad.  We suggest you contact ISS if you have any questions relating to this issue.

Visa compliance

As a Tier 4 Sponsor, the University of Surrey is responsible for monitoring students during their studies. We will check your passport and valid leave to remain/enter to ensure that you have a visa linked to the University. If you are a holder of a Tier 4 visa currently linked to another University, you will not be able to register. You will need to make an application for a new visa linked to the University of Surrey before registration can take place.

The University has a duty to report to UK Visas & Immigration if you fail to arrive for the start of the course, withdraw from a course, defer or suspend your studies, complete your course before the expected end date or fail to attend without authorisation from your Faculty. This may lead to your visa being curtailed. You must therefore keep in touch with your Faculty, the Visa Compliance team and the International Student Office at all times, particularly if you encounter any problems before or during your studies.