Student Visa Guidance Last updated on 2/12/2015 Print this page Contact us Undergraduate Admissions T: +44 (0)1482 466100 Postgraduate Admissions T: +44 (0)1482 466850 Quick links International students website English language requirements Responsibilities of students The UK Visa process is operated by the Home Office. Please read the following questions and answers carefully. These should answer many of the questions you have about the student visa process. (Click on the question to reveal the answer) Please note that this information may be subject to change as and when UK immigration policies are and procedures are revised. You should also read the further information regarding the responsibilities of students before and after enrolment. What is a Tier 4 general student visa? Tier 4 of the points-based system is the primary immigration route available to students who want to study full-time in the UK. They must be sponsored by an education provider that has a sponsor licence. The University of Hull is a Tier 4 (General Student) licence holder and currently has the Highly Trusted Sponsor status. The University of Hull does not sponsor Tier 4 (Child) students. Can I use a student visitor visa? The student visitor route is available for students to come to the UK for short periods of study. You can find out more about the visitor route on the Home Office website. Can I get a visa as a 'Gifted Student'? From April 2011 the Home Office has a 'Gifted Student' category within the Tier 4 route. The University of Hull is not using that route for any student. What is a CAS? Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a ‘virtual’ document which provides a CAS number and a CAS statement. You will only need a CAS if you are planning to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa or visa extension under Tier 4 of the PBS. What is a CAS number? A CAS number is a combination of letters and numbers and has 14 digits, for example, “E08GLO90RT7P2”. Each CAS number is unique for an international student studying at a specific Tier 4 sponsor for his/her chosen course(s) in the UK. What is a CAS statement? A CAS statement consists of all the information required by the Home Office for generating your CAS. The University of Hull will deliver your CAS number and CAS statement by email only. You will need the information provided on the University email to complete your Tier 4 (General Student) visa application correctly. Please note it is your responsibility to check your CAS statement to ensure all the information it contains is accurate. You must keep the CAS email securely as it contains your personal data. Do I need a CAS? Not all international students studying at the University of Hull need a CAS. This will depend on each student’s personal circumstances. You will only need a CAS if you are applying for your visa or visa extension as a Tier 4 General Student. If you are not sure whether you will need a CAS, please contact our Immigration Advisers by email or by using the online immigration enquiry form. Can I apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa or extension without a CAS? No. If you want to start or continue your study at the University of Hull under the Tier 4, you MUST obtain a CAS from us in order to apply for your Tier 4 General Student visa. When can I get CAS from the University of Hull? A CAS will be issued, normally within 5 working days, when - 1. You have accepted your offer 2. You have provided proof of all qualifications as requested and your offer is unconditional 3. You have provided a copy of your passport you intend to use to gain a visa 4. Your start date is no more than 4 months ahead 5. If your course requires you to have an ATAS certificate the University will need to see the certificate before a CAS is issued. 6. If you have applied for a programme which requires a deposit, you will need to have paid this. Will my CAS be issued on University headed paper? No. We have been assured by the Home Office that it is not necessary for you to receive a hard copy of the CAS notification from the University. The University will issue an email to you as official notification that your details have been processed to the Home Office. You should print the email (and any following CAS email updates if relevant) to use with your visa application. When am I expected to arrive? Students are required to attend from the formal start date shown on the offer. For international students there are also important welcome activities on or before that date – see the International web pages for details. View standard semester dates. What happens if I cannot arrive by my start date? Arrival and formal registration must be completed no later than the dates shown in this document. If you arrive after the formal start date you will miss important welcome activities and teaching/research time and will not be given extra tuition to catch up and are therefore strongly advised to be at the University for the formal start date. If you are not able to arrive and register by the latest allowed registration date, you must inform the Admissions Service at least one week before this date to explain the reasons why you are unable to arrive by the date and the University will then explore any options available. It may be that your application will be deferred to the next intake. If you have not formally registered by the latest allowed registration date, the University will notify the Home Office of this. Will my CAS have information about how much I have paid to the University for my tuition fees? Yes. If your payment has been fully recorded by the University when the CAS is issued it will be included. If you pay fees after your CAS has been issued your CAS will be updated and you will receive notification (normally by email) to confirm this. If you have any queries you should contact Student Financial Services, asking them to update your CAS, quoting your applicant code and CAS number. What if I overpay the University for the tuition and/or accommodation fees, can I get the balance reimbursed to me for my living expenses? Any fees paid above your tuition fees will be used to pay for any accommodation fees. If you have paid for your accommodation fees, but not allocated any accommodation you will be reimbursed. Anything above the combined amount (tuition and accommodation) will be reimbursed to you. You should not overpay your tuition (and accommodation) fees to the University in order to try to circumvent the requirement to have money in your account for 28 days. The University is not able to act as a clearance account for this purpose or provide evidence to the Home Office for any amount received over the fees due. Why does the CAS not mention my scholarship/bursary? If you have been awarded a University of Hull scholarship or bursary that is not reflected as a reduction in fee on your CAS you should contact Student Financial Services, quoting your applicant code, CAS number and provide evidence of the scholarship or bursary. When can I apply for my Tier 4 visa? New students can apply for their visa no more than 3 months before the start of their course. Visa applications can take at least 3-4 weeks for processing so allow as long as possible. Continuing students are advised to apply early, usually any time within three months before their current visa expiry date. If your course requires that you have an ATAS certificate you cannot apply for your visa until you have the ATAS certificate. What documents do I need to provide with my visa application? You must provide original documents for the qualifications listed on your CAS statement. As financial evidence for supporting your Tier 4 General Student visa application, you will need to provide the original documents required by the Home Office in accordance with Tier 4 (General) Policy Guidance. Please check which documents you must submit with your visa application. It is important that you have the original copies of all the required documents with you as the UKBA may request the full range of documents. Will the Home Office test my English language ability? Yes, the Home Office will check the level of your English. If you are not a national of an English speaking country (as defined by the Home Office) or you have not recently graduated from an honours degree in one of those countries, the University has responsibility to check that you meet the minimum English language standard for their course. For degree courses the standard is defined by the Home Office as at least CEFR Level B2 (normally IELTS 5.5 in each element (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or above or other accepted tests). The University sets its own entry requirements for each course, which are normally higher than this Home Office standard. Please refer to the further guidance on our English language requirements. For pre-sessional courses (including the University of Hull's Masters Foundation programme) and other below degree programmes (eg UHELP) the standard defined by the Home Office is at least CEFR Level B1 (normally at least IELTS 4 or above) and applicants must be taking one of the secure English language tests recognised by the Home Office and the University of Hull. Please check the list of Home Office approved English language tests although you should be aware that the University of Hull may not recognise all of the qualifications listed. The University cannot admit any student who needs a Tier 4 visa who is below the Home Office and/or University of Hull standard. The University will record on the CAS the evidence used and if there is a formal English language test stated on your CAS you must include the original certificate and full statement of results with your visa application. The Home Office will not ask you to take another English test. However, if you are interviewed by an Entry Clearance Officer during your visa application or on arrival in the UK they need to know that you can hold a normal conversation with them. If they have concerns about your English skills they have the power to refuse entry to the UK. Will I be required to be screened for tuberculosis (TB) before I am granted a visa? The Home Office has announced that migrants wishing to enter the UK for more than six months, from countries with a high incidence of tuberculosis (TB), will need to be screened before they are granted a visa for the UK. You are advised to refer to the information from the Home Office for further details. What do I need to do if I am given a CAS when I do not need one? You should contact the Admissions Service, explain why you believe you do not need a CAS and provide any relevant documents and we will look at your application again before contacting you further. What do I need to do if I believe there is a mistake on my CAS statement? Check your CAS carefully as soon as you receive it. You should contact the Admissions Service (or other issuing Service at the University) giving details of what information you believe to be incorrect, stating your applicant code, and we will investigate further. You will normally receive a response within 4 working days. Please only send the information to the address given here and not to other contacts you have at the institution – this can cause delays in resolving any issues. What if my passport is renewed before I apply for my visa? You should send a clear copy of your new passport immediately to the Admissions Service who will update the CAS information held by the Home Office. If you are a registered student you should ensure you inform the University's Compliance Team. Will I receive a new CAS if my original needs to be amended? No, normally any changes made will be notified to the Home Office and you will receive an email informing you of those changes reported to the Home Office. Why does my CAS only cover the period of my pre-sessional programme? If a pass in a pre-sessional course (English language or Masters Foundation) is a condition of your admission to the main degree programme, a CAS can only be issued for the pre-sessional programme. Can my CAS cover the MPhil and PhD stages of my programme? Yes, if your offer is for ‘PhD’. Students are normally registered from the start for the PhD with a progression review after approximately one year. If, however, your offer is for MPhil only or MPhil/PhD, a CAS will be issued for the MPhil (2 years) only. A new CAS will be issued if your progression is satisfactory after 2 years. Do I need an ATAS certificate? Please visit the ATAS pages for further details. Do I need a new CAS if I change my programme/start date? This depends whether you have used the CAS to obtain your Tier 4 visa. The University will decide how best to inform the Home Office about the change and will keep you informed. Normally a move to a later start date will require the CAS to be withdrawn and a new one issued. If you have already been issued a CAS and you request a change of programme we may not change the CAS but wait for you to arrive and register before informing the Home Office of a change. I already have a Tier 4 visa for the University of Hull, can I save my CAS to use later? A CAS expires 6 months after it is issued. If you register using a current visa (from a previous programme at the University of Hull) you should follow guidance from the University's Compliance Team or the Immigration Advisers. You will need to request a new CAS to extend your visa if the one given to you for the new programme expires before your visa application. Can I use a CAS issued by another University to apply for a Tier 4 visa to study at the University of Hull? No. If you need a Tier 4 visa and would like to study at the University of Hull, you must use a CAS issued by the University of Hull to apply for your visa. I have a visa that was issued to study at another University. Can I use it to study at the University of Hull? It will depend on whether it is a Tier 4 visa or not. Please contact our Immigration Team by email or by using the online immigration enquiry form for further information. I have a Tier 4 visa that was issued to study at another University. Can I use it to study at the University of Hull? It will depend on when you made your last Tier 4 application. If you made your latest Tier 4 application on or after 5 October 2009, you must apply for a new Tier 4 visa using a CAS issued by the University of Hull before you can register with us. If you made your latest Tier 4 application before 5 October 2009 and you are now in the UK, you must apply to the Home Office for a permission to change your University before you can register with us. Please contact our Immigration Advisers for further information if needed. You must tell the University as soon as your new visa application has been decided (approved or refused) or as soon as you receive permission to change your University and provide evidence to Student Administrative Services. If my Tier 4 General Student visa application is refused by the Home Office can I use my CAS again for the next application? No, your CAS can only be used once and will no longer be valid. If you decide to make a new Tier 4 application you must obtain another CAS from the University. You should contact the Admissions Service, (or the University's Compliance Team if you are a continuing student) providing a copy of your refusal notice. What happens if my visa is refused? The University will decide whether it can issue another CAS. If the refusal is due to fraudulent documents being submitted a new CAS will not be issued and the offer of a place on the programme will be withdrawn. If the refusal is due to a credibility interview it is unlikely we will issue a second CAS except in exceptional circumstances. In most other circumstances a second CAS will be issued but we may require you to seek advice from the Immigration Advisers before it will consider issuing a further CAS. We may require you to provide the financial evidence you intend to use to make a new visa application so our Advisers can help to ensure it is likely to meet the visa process specifications. If your second visa application is unsuccessful it is unlikely we will issue a third CAS. If my visa application is rejected do I need to apply for a new CAS? No, if your visa application is rejected you can use the same CAS as long as all of the information is correct and matches the information on your visa application. How long can I stay in the UK as a student? Read the Home Office rules on the maximum length someone can be in the UK on student visas. The maximum period depends on the type of study. The University will not provide a CAS for anyone whom it believes would exceed the cap on the allowable time and requires all applicants to provide full and correct information of all previous periods of stay on a student visa as part of the application process. I have a UK degree, can I have a CAS for another degree at the same level? When the University sponsors a student for a Tier 4 visa the University must confirm to the Home Office that the new programme represents academic progression from previous studies in the UK. The Home Office normally expects this to mean that the new course is at a higher level than the previous one (for example, Bachelor degree followed by Masters). So, if you have already studied for a Masters degree and have applied for another Masters we need to be sure we can say that your new studies represent progression. Before we can make an offer we will ask you provide a statement, in your own words, of the reasons for you wanting and needing to take another Masters programme, for example showing clearly your career aims that the study will support. Once we have your statement this will be considered by a University officer with responsibility for Tier 4 sponsorship compliance matters to decide if the University would be able to sponsor a further Tier 4 visa for you for the duration of the new programme. In deciding whether we can sponsor you we will also consider the results from your previous study and will expect a good performance. What happens if the Home Office changes its policy before I apply for my visa? You must make your Tier 4 visa application in accordance with the immigration rules valid at the time of your application. The Home Office may revise its policies at any time. Home Office immigration rules, application forms and fees may change at short notice. Therefore, it is very important to check these before making your visa application. The University will be required to review its policies accordingly and may need to revise/add offer conditions in order to sponsor some students for a Tier 4 visa. The University will give as much notice as possible of changes.