Apply for a visa

To study at the University of Surrey, international students require a Student visa.

Applying for a Student visa outside the UK

The Student Visa is part of the Points Based System for immigration (PBS), operated by the Home Office.

It costs £348 to apply for a Student visa from outside the UK. You will also pay £348 for each dependent applying with you.

To apply for a Student visa you must: 

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

If you require a Student visa you must pass a points-based assessment and score 70 points when making a visa application:

  • 50  points for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University of Surrey
  • 10 points for meeting the financial requirements
  • 10 points of meeting the English language requirements
  • Submit your online application form
  • Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre
  • Attend your appointment
  • Submit your documents
  • Give your fingerprints and photograph
  • Take a competency/credibility interview (at the discretion of UKVI).

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 your Student visa up to six months before the start of your course, but no earlier.

These include:

  • Submitting the correct application form
  • Paying the application fee (paying the fees is the responsibility of the applicant, not the University)
  • Paying the correct Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee - IHS is charged at £470 per academic year of study. You pay the full amount for your course as part of the application
  • A valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) 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 meet the financial requirements (see below for further details)
  • Original academic and English language documents as listed on your CAS.

You may also require:

If you’re from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ 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’re from a country listed under the differential evidence requirement but applying for your visa through an Embassy/High Commission in a country other than the one that has issued your passport, you will need to provide all the required documents at the point you make your application.

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 to cover living costs (maintenance)  whilst in the UK. As the University of Surrey is situated outside London, the monthly maintenance requirement is £1,023 and you would need to show maintenance for up to nine months, giving a total of £9,207.

If you require a visa extension for a period of less than nine 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 at least one of the accepted types of financial document as stated in the Points Based System: Student Route 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 31days.

The account can be a joint account as long as your name appears as one of the account holders on the statement.

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

  • A bank statement in their name(s)
  • An original signed and dated letter from your parents confirming 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).

You cannot show money in the account of other relatives, including your spouse, or friends.

If you are not sure which type of document to use or whether it meets the requirements please email  internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk

You will need to make sure that you or your parents’ bank is a financial institution which meets Home Office financial requirement regulations.

Currencies other than GBP (£)

If the currency shown on the bank statements are not in Pounds Sterling (GBP £), you will need to use the following currency conversion website. Check the amount on the day you submit your visa application as this will be the amount used by the Home Office when deciding your application. Please remember that exchange rates can rise and fall dramatically, so try to ensure that you have a slightly higher amount than required

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.

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 does not cover all your or your dependent’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

Low-risk or differential evidence requirements

If you’re from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ you do not need to prove you have enough money to support yourself at the point you make your visa application. However, you might be asked to provide this evidence before you get a decision on your application and therefore we recommend that you prepare it in advance.  If you do need to provide it, you’ll be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after you’ve submitted your application.

The Home Office interviews most Student visa applicants before granting them immigration permission to come to the UK. Therefore you might be sent an email asking you to attend an interview as part of the application process. You should check your email (including the 'junk' folder) regularly as your application is likely to be refused if you are asked to attend an interview and you do not do so without providing a reasonable explanation. During your interview a member of Home Office 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 caseworker who makes the decision on your visa application. They must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise you might be called for a further interview and/or your application may be refused.

For further information on what to expect if you are called for a credibility interview please read our guidance on MySurrey.

When your visa is granted, you will be issued an Entry Clearance 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 should contact internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk

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 Confirmation 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 on the Royal Mail website.

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.

*as a result of the disruption caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic the Home Office are currently issuing Entry Clearance vignettes with a validity of 90 days.

**as a result of many students need to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in the UK, the Home Office has confirmed that you will not face any consequences for not collecting your BRP within 10 days. You should aim to do so as soon as your self-isolation is completed.

Applying for a Student visa inside the UK

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

  • Extend your existing Tier 4 or Student visa
  • Switch to this visa from another visa.

Once you have completed the online application form, paid the application fee of £494 per person and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £470 per year of study (all fees payable by the applicant not the University)  then and registered your details on the UKVCAS site (available at the end of the application form) then it is likely that you will be invited to submit your supporting documents and biometrics via the IDV app. Please note you must wait to be invited to use the app before downloading it. Most applicants will receive an invitation to do so within 2 weeks of completing the application form.

The Home Office have confirmed that the usual 28 day rule between your current visa ending and your new course starting will not apply for any course that is due to start on or before 27 September 2021. Most courses at the University of Surrey are due to start on the 20 September 2021 (please check your CAS). Therefore if you are in the UK and currently hold a General Tier 4 or Student Visa or a Child Tier 4 or Student Visa then it is likely that you will be able to apply from within the UK providing you meet all other criteria below and you are able to submit your visa application before your current visa expires.

Please note that the Home Office have released a number of other concessions to applying for leave to remain in the UK as a student. We recommend that you discuss these with International Student Support before submitting your application

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 (if applicable - please see evidence of finances heading below)
  • Academic documents as stated on the CAS (if you are unsure please contact International Student Support)  

You may also require:

If you’re from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ 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.

The International Student Support team can assist you in preparing the necessary documents and completing the application form. It’s recommend that you approach International Student Support at least 3 months before needing to submit an application to extend or switch your visa. internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk

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 one of its advisors before being submitted to the Home Office.

Please note, the standard processing time for applications is 8 weeks and on some occasions this process can take longer. While your application is being processed, you will be able to retain your passport and other documentation. However, you must not leave the UK until you receive your new BRP card. If you leave the UK before you have received your BRP card your application will automatically be cancelled and you will not be able to return to the UK to continue your studies. If you have any travel plans close to your time that you need to make a visa application we suggest that you contact an International Student Support advisor

Whether you need to evidence your finances and how much money you need to show will depend on your individual circumstances.

You do not need to prove the financial requirement if you’ve had a UK visa for 12 months prior to the date of your Student visa application, you are currently in the UK and you are planning on applying for your new visa from within the UK

All other 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 £1,023 (you would need to show maintenance for up to 9 months, giving a total of £9,207).

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 Points-based system: Student route.

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 31days.

The account can be a joint account as long as your name appears as one of the account holders on the statement.

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

  • A bank statement in their name(s)
  • An original signed and dated letter from your parents confirming 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).

You cannot show money in the account of other relatives, including your spouse, or friends.

If you are not sure which type of document to use or whether it meets the requirements please email  internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk

You will need to make sure that you or your parents’ bank is a financial institution which meets Home Office financial requirement regulations.

Currencies other than GBP (£)

If the currency shown on the bank statements are not in Pounds Sterling (GBP £), you will need to use the following currency conversion website. Check the amount on the day you submit your visa application as this will be the amount used by the Home Office when deciding your application. Please remember that exchange rates can rise and fall dramatically, so try to ensure that you have a slightly higher amount than required

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.

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 does not cover all your or your dependent’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

Low-risk or differential evidence requirements

If you’re from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ you do not need to prove you have enough money to support yourself at the point you make your visa application. However, you might be asked to provide this evidence before you get a decision on your application and therefore we recommend that you prepare it in advance.  If you do need to provide it, you’ll be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after you’ve submitted your application.

You may be asked to attend a credibility interview as part of the application process. Interviews are normally carried out by a secure telecommunications system (similar to Skype), although some are face-to-face interviews at Home Office centres across the UK.  The invitation letter will explain where your interview is, and will offer an opportunity to change to a different centre if it is closer to your home.

During a credibility interview a Home Office member of staff will assess whether you meet the English language requirements, and also if you are a 'genuine student.'  If you are asked to attend such an interview you must do so (unless you have a good reason as to why you cannot), otherwise your application is likely to be refused.

For further information on what to expect if you are called for a credibility interview please read our guidance on MySurrey.

Applying for a Student dependent visa

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

  • You are studying a course at Postgraduate level (NQF7) or higher which is 12 months or more in duration, or
  • You are a Government-sponsored student and your course is over six 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 dependents under UK immigration rules.

The application fee for a dependent visa is the same as a Student visa. Please see relevant prices above.

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

  • 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 dependent child.

You can either:

  • Apply for your dependents’ visas at the same time as making your Student visa application

or

  • Apply for your dependents to join you in the UK once your Student visa has been granted.

Your dependents 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 dependents must not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period of your student visa.

In most circumstances, a child dependent visa will only be granted when both living parents are planning on travelling to the UK.

Fees

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

Whether your dependents need to evidence their finances and how much money they need to show will depend on their individual circumstances.

They do not need to prove the financial requirement if they’’ve had a UK visa for 12 months prior to the date of their dependent visa application, they are currently in the UK and they are planning on applying for their new visa from within the UK.

All other dependents must show that they have the required maintenance in their account (or lead applicant's account) for 28 days consecutively. A dependent must demonstrate £680 for each month of immigration permission they have been/will be granted (up to a maximum of 9 months). Please see information contained under the evidence of finances sections noted above for the type of documents that can be used to prove this

If your dependents are from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ they do not need to prove they have enough money to support themselves at the point they make the visa application. However, they might be asked to provide this evidence before they get a decision on their application and therefore we recommend that they prepare it in advance.  If they do need to provide it, they’ll be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after they’ve submitted the application.

As well as financial documents, dependents must provide:

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of relationship with the lead applicant e.g. a marriage certificate or birth certificate
  • A valid BRP (if applying to extend in the UK)
  • An up to date Police Registration certificate (if you are from a country that requires Police registration and you are applying to extend in the UK).

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 dependents

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 internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk if you have any questions relating to this issue.

Visa compliance

As a Student Visa 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 or Student 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.

Please see our institutional policy on students subject to immigration control.

Study as a Visitor

If you are applying to come to the University for a period of study of 6 months or less, for example as part of an exchange programme, a summer school, a modular or distance learning programme or if you are a student returning to the University to complete exams or attend a viva then you may be eligible to apply under the Visitor route.

Please note that for students on courses longer than 6 months the Visitor route should not be used instead of the Student Visa route and it cannot be used for extended periods through frequent or successive use.

Find more details on the GOV website.

Whether you need to apply for a Visit Visa before you travel to the UK or whether you will be granted the immigration permission when you arrive at the UK border will depend on your nationality.

To check whether you need to apply before you travel or whether you will be granted immigration permission when you arrive at the border follow these step on the government website.

  • Select your nationality
  • Select 'study'
  • Select '6 months or less'.

 

I’ve been told I’ll need a visa to study in the UK

You’ll need to apply for the visa and wait for a decision before you travel to the UK

It costs £95 to apply for a Visit visa.

  • Submit your online application form
  • Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre
  • Attend your appointment
  • Submit your documents
  • Give your fingerprints and photograph

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 Short-Term Study visa up to three months before you need to come to the UK, but no earlier.

 

I’ve been told I do not need a visa to come to the UK

If you are from an EEA country, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America then you can use the UK/EEA immigration lanes and the automatic ‘e-gates’.

If you are not a national of one of these countries then you must go to a border control officer when you arrive in the UK to get a stamp in your passport.

You will need to bring supporting documents with you (see below) and you should carry these in your hand luggage to present to the border control officer.

Whether you can get the Visit visa at the border or whether you need to apply before you travel, all students should prepare the following documents:

  • A valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and at least one blank page
  • A letter from the University confirming your reasons for coming to the UK and details of your course
  • Evidence of where you will be staying while in the UK
  • Evidence that you can support yourself financially while in the UK – please note that there is no explicit criteria for how much money an applicant needs to show but we advise that you show you have income or savings of £1,023 per month for every month you plan to stay in the UK
  • If you are undertaking study or research on certain subjects you will require an ATAS certificate. You can check whether your course requires an ATAS certificate here
  • If you are under the age of 18 you will require a letter from your parents or guardians giving you consent to travel for the purposes of study.

If you need to apply for your visa before travelling you should also provide the following documents where possible (students who can get the visa at the border do not need to bring these documents). You may submit your application without these documents but they will help to show the Home Officer caseworker who will decide your application that you have ties with your home country and a genuine plan to leave the UK before the end of your visa:

  • Evidence of your home address in the country you are normally resident in
  • Evidence of any family members who still live in the country you are normally resident in
  • Evidence of any assets (houses, property, etc.) that you or your family members own in the country you are normally resident in
  • Evidence of return flight tickets – The University does not advise that you book flights before receiving a decision on your visa application.

Please note that the Visit visa has the following conditions:

  • You will not be eligible to work while in the UK, this includes paid or unpaid positions and any placement that is a part of your course
  • You will not be eligible for free medical treatment under the NHS and therefore you should consider taking out health insurance
  • The Visit visa cannot be extended nor can you switch to another visa type from within the UK.

If you feel that any of the above conditions may affect your plans while at the University of Surrey then we would recommend you contact internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk before arriving in the UK on a Visit Visa to discuss your options.