Pre-Arrival Guide 2013 - Overseas Students'
This Overseas Students Pre-Arrival Guide provides a summary of some of the key information needed to help in your preparation to come to the University.
Overseas Studentsâ€™ Pre-Arrival Guide 2013 Pre-Arrival Guide â€“ Key Information This Overseas Students Pre-Arrival Guide provides a summary of some of the key information needed to help in your preparation to come to the University. Further information can be found on our website Welcome Weâ€™re really pleased that you have chosen to continue your education with us. With over 27,200 students, including more than 2,800 from overseas, representing more than 85 countries, the University of Hertfordshire is a truly international community. Studying abroad is both exciting and challenging and there is lots of preparation required before you start your studies. Within these pages you will find useful and practical information to help you prepare for starting your studies with us and to help you settle into life at the University and in the UK as quickly as possible. Contents 1. 2. Immigration matters Legal Matters 3. Finance 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Travelling to the UK Checklist Living in the UK - Accommodation and Leisure Time Student Support Key dates and contacts 3 1. Immigration matters Key web links: Applying for a UK visa Home Office For UK Government information on general requirements for visa applications, application forms and official guidelines please visit the Home Office Website When planning your studies in the UK, you need to investigate what type of entry clearance or visa you need to obtain before you travel. You can check this on the Home Office under the section ‘Do you need a visa?’ If you are a Visa National then you will have to apply for a visa before you travel to the UK. This information can be found on the Home Office website: Visa requirements for the United Kingdom Students on courses of six-month duration or less A category of student visitor has been introduced for students who wish to come to the UK to study on courses of six-month duration or less. Entry to the UK as a Student Visitor means that you will NOT be permitted to work in the UK (even if you need to work as part of your studies) nor will you be able to extend your visa from the UK. If you want to come as a Student Visitor you must show: • That you have been unconditionally accepted on a course (by proof of an unconditional offer letter). • You are 18 years old or more. • You have the financial resources to accommodate and maintain yourself during your studies. • You intend to leave at the end of your stay and be able to meet the cost of your return journey home. Visa nationals who wish to enter the UK under this category must apply for entry clearance prior to arrival in the UK. Non-visa nationals do not need entry clearance prior to arrival but will need to declare their intentions to the Immigration Officer on arrival. Further information about making an application as a Student Visitor is available here How to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa You should contact your nearest British Mission who will be able to provide you with details of when, where and how you need to submit your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application. They can also help with things like processing times, documents required and any latest updates. The actual procedure used by 4 the British Missions can vary from place to place. Addresses and telephone numbers for local British Missions are available here If applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa you will need your Notification of Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number (which will be sent to you via email once you have met all academic and financial conditions of your offer). Your CAS number must be used within 6 months of its issue. The date you are applying means the date you submit your visa application. Please note that under current immigration regulations you cannot apply more than 3 months before the start date of your programme. Applications will be refused where the CAS number is more than six months old. Note you can only use a CAS number once. Therefore if you make an application which is subsequently refused you will need a new CAS number before you can make a fresh application. What are the legal requirements for obtaining entry clearance as a Tier 4 (General) Student? Requirements for leave to enter as a student are laid down in the immigration rules and can be found here. Please make sure that you read and understand these legal requirements. If you have difficulties in understanding them then contact your local British Mission for further advice. What documents do I need to provide? The United Kingdom operate a points based immigration system, where you need to obtain 40 points in order to obtain a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. You are required to show evidence of how you meet this points requirement in your application form, as well as provide proof. The Tier 4 Policy Guidance contains full eligibility details for Tier 4, including financial conditions and what will be accepted as proof. 5 30 points are obtained for the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number issued by the University and the documents used to obtain it. You must produce evidence of all your original qualifications used by the University in order to provide you an offer of a place. This information is outlined on your CAS email under the heading ‘Documents used to obtain an offer of a place’. You must submit original certificates and documents, as photocopies are not sufficient. 10 points are awarded for meeting financial conditions, i.e. having enough money to cover your course fees for the first year and monthly living costs up to a maximum of 9 months (also known as maintenance, the maximum maintenance required is £7,200). You must be able to prove that the money has been available in your account for 28 days before the date you apply for your visa. Checking your visa Once your visa is issued you should make sure that you check your visa is the right type of visa for you, and is of the correct length of time, as it may not always be possible to correct any mistakes once you have left your country. It is up to the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to grant leave, and the amount of time given will vary from student to student, depending on their particular circumstances. If you have applied for a Tier 4 (General) student visa you will need to check the following: • The visa stamp states you are a “Student,” not a “Visitor”. • No working prohibition. • Start date – in most instances the earliest your visa will be able to start is one month before the start date of the course (as stated on your Notification of Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)). If your course is less than 6 months (excluding pre-sessional courses) then the earliest time your visa will start is 7 days before the start date of your course. • Police registration. If your visa states that you must register, then the International Support Team will advise how and when to do this following arrival at the University. • Expiry/end date – and make a note of it. • The Sponsor Licence Number (SLN) is correct. You can find this number on your CAS notification. Sometimes the ECO will write the CAS number instead of the SLN; this is OK as long as it is the correct CAS number. There are immigration guidelines which state how much leave a student should be given, depending on the type of course. See website for full details. If these guidelines have not been followed, then ask the ECO to amend your visa. If you use the CAS we have issued to obtain your visa then you will be tied to this University. If you therefore decide to change education providers you will need to apply for a new visa before you will be permitted to start your studies (and in some instances you need to actually be in receipt of your new visa before you can start with another institution). What happens if my visa is refused? If your application has been refused, you will have been given a written notice detailing the reasons for the refusal. If you think that the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) has made a mistake then you can request an administrative review. Your request must be made within 28 days from the date you receive the refusal notice. You may only ask for one administrative review for each refusal decision. 6 Please note that HIC (Hertfordshire International College) has a different SLN to the University of Hertfordshire. This means that if you have previously studied at HIC you will need to demonstrate that you have made a new visa application before you can enrol at the University of Hertfordshire even if you have time left on your visa. If you think you will need to extend your visa whilst you are in the UK eg to do a new course of study, or you are studying on a pre-sessional or preparatory course, then it is important that you are aware of the application procedure. To do this, visit the Adult Students â€“ Tier 4 General webpage Note that if you are already in the UK and your existing permission to stay runs out more than 28 days before the start date of your new course of study, you will have to return home to apply from outside the UK. You will not be able to apply to extend your visa from the UK. Bringing your family to the UK Useful information about eligibility for family members to apply as dependants can be found here If you are applying for entry clearance for dependants then a separate application will need to be made for each dependant. Guidance and policy on making applications for dependants is available here Please note that the University does NOT have accommodation suitable for families. If you are planning on bringing your family please see Section 4 Living in the UK - Accommodation and Leisure Time for more details. Health screening Pre-screening for tuberculosis (TB) has been introduced in areas which are considered to be high risk. If you are applying for a visa from certain countries for over six months you will need to obtain a certificate from an accredited clinic, showing that you are free from infectious TB. If you do not have such a certificate your entry clearance application will normally be refused. To find out if you are required to be screened for TB visit the Home Office Website Biometric finger scans and digital photographs All visa applicants, irrespective of nationality, will need to provide â€˜biometricâ€™ information as part of the visa application process. This biometric information consists of scans of all 10 of your fingers and a full-face digital photograph. You will have to go to the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC) in person to provide this biometric information. In those countries where there is no VAC, you will need to go to the British Mission. Your visa application will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information. Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) If you are a non-EU/EEA (including Switzerland) national and you are planning to undertake postgraduate studies and/or research which leads to a Doctorate or Masters degree in certain designated subjects (usually science and engineering), you will have to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before you apply for your visa. Your Notification of Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will indicate whether or not you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate. Full details about this scheme can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website 9 2. Legal Matters The laws in the UK may not be quite the same as in your own country. If you break the law and are found to be guilty of a crime, a successful prosecution could result in a fine, a prison sentence or even being deported from the UK. You would also be subject to the University’s disciplinary procedures and liable to be excluded from the University. Immigration matters - during your studies The International Student Advisers are here to help students with any queries they may have about student visas, and to help, where necessary, to extend their time in the UK. The advice we give is free. If you have a Tier 4 visa it’s important that you act in a way which protects your immigration status, find out how to do this here As a Tier 4 sponsor the University has a legal duty to report to the UK immigration authorities those Tier 4 visa holders who: • Fail to enrol for their course within the enrolment period • Leave their studies (permanently or temporarily) • Are absent without permission • Leave their course earlier than expected • Raise suspicion that they may be in breach of the terms of their visa We also have a legal duty to keep copies of a student’s passport and visa and keep a record of contact details. Bringing items into the UK There are strict laws governing what you can bring into the country. If you are unsure what you can bring into the UK, you can check with your local British Mission before you leave or look at the Home Office website Working in the UK During your studies (or after completion) you may wish to work. There are strict laws’ governing who is permitted to work, what type of work they can do and how many hours they are permitted to work. The International Student Advisers are here to help students with any queries they may have about working in the UK. Although we have a careers service and an employment bureau, the University cannot guarantee work to students or graduates. 10 If you wish to work, either during or after your studies, then you are strongly advised to visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs website Further advise on working after your studies is also available at the UK Council for International Student Affairs website Driving in the UK There are very strict laws in the UK about driving – these may be very different from laws in your own country. For details about driving please visit the Driver and vehicle Licensing website Registering with the police Certain nationals are required, by law, to register with the police within 7 days of arriving in the UK. If your entry clearance stamp or visa contains the words ‘police registration within 7 days of UK entry’ then you are required to do so. The International Student Support Team can advise you on the correct procedure for registering with the police, and tell you which documents you will need to provide. If you are attending the Overseas Students’ Orientation we will help you make an appointment to register, otherwise you need to make your own arrangements at Hatfield Police Station. 11 3. Finance Key web links: International Tuition fees Paying your fees Coming to the UK involves a considerable financial commitment. It is essential that you understand all the costs involved, and ensure that your funding is secure before you begin your studies. As an international student you are not entitled to any financial assistance during your time in the UK. You should ensure that you bring sufficient funds to cover the cost of all your fees – where possible, this should be paid in advance (to take advantage of the early payment discount, to ease immigration and for safety reasons). If you want to pay your remaining fee on arrival, you should do so in the form of a banker’s draft and not in cash. Remember, the banker’s draft should be in the name of the University, not your own name. It can take 3-4 weeks from registration at the University before you can open a bank account. For the latest information on fees, discounts and bursaries available to international students, please see our website Tuition fees that you will pay depend on the course you are going to study. Please make sure you read and understand the financial terms and conditions which are available via an online link in your Notification or Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or can be found on our website If you have any questions about the fees you will be required to pay, please contact the University before you arrive. Details of university accommodation charges are available on our website In addition to tuition fees, you will need money to cover accommodation and living expenses. The amount of money you need will vary a great deal, depending on your lifestyle and personal tastes. Remember under the new immigration rules you will be expected to demonstrate, when applying for your visa, that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and any dependants coming with you to the UK for your first year of study. For study outside London this figure is currently set at £800 per month (up to a maximum of 9 months) for the student and £450 for each dependant. 12 Insurance It is essential for you to take out travel insurance to cover you on your journey to the UK. A good policy should cover you for travel delays, cancellations, medical emergencies and loss of belongings whilst in transit. If you are coming to the UK on a course lasting for more than 6 months, then you will be entitled to NHS (National Health Service) heath care, (this includes all EEA students but you need to complete form EHIC in your home country first). However, if you are staying in the UK for less than 6 months, then, unless you are coming from a country with a reciprocal agreement, you will need to pay for any medical care you need. In this case you are strongly advised to take out health insurance. To find out if you country has a reciprocal agreement visit the NHS website. Students on short courses or exchange programmes. Students who are going to be in the UK for less than six months may have difficulty opening a bank account because banks require you to be studying on a course which will last more than six months. You may find it best to use cash point machines (ATMs) and draw money from a bank account in your home country; bring travellersâ€™ cheques or may wish to consider asking your family to set up a pre-paid MasterCard to cover the duration of your time in the UK. 13 4. Travelling to the UK Key web links: Preparation and Arrival Orientation UK Council for International Affairs British Council What to expect when arriving at UK airports European Union nationals • Nationals of EU countries are free of immigration restrictions on arrival in the UK – so you will just need to show your passport or national identity card on arrival. Non EU nationals • You will need to show a valid passport and visa • You may be required to show additional documents to the Immigration Officer. • You may be asked questions about yourself, eg where you will be staying and why you are coming to the UK. • If you provided your biometrics during the visa application process then you will have to undergo a fingerprint check on arrival to verify that the person entering the UK is the same person who applied for the visa. Lost Luggage If your luggage does not arrive at the airport at the same time as you go to the luggage enquires/ helpdesk and tell a member of staff that your luggage has not arrived. You must do this before you leave the airport. You will be given a reference number and contact details to help you find your lost luggage – keep these details safe. If you are living in University accommodation, let accommodation staff know what has happened when you arrive. How do I get to the University? At certain times of the year we arrange a free meet and greet service for all new students arriving at Heathrow Airport. Further information can be found on our website If you are travelling independently you can visit our web page – getting here for further information. In the event of any difficulty when you arrive in the UK, you can contact the University on the numbers below. Office hours Monday to Thursday 09:00 – 17:00 Telephone: 01707 284800 Student Centre Friday 09:00 – 16:00 Telephone: 01707 284800 Student Centre Out of office hours: Monday – Sunday Telephone: 01707 284010 Security Office 14 5. Checklist Make sure you have the following in your hand luggage: R Passport. R Student Visa or Entry Clearance, if applicable. R Tickets. R Medical certificates. R Travel insurance for the journey. R Heath insurance/European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if applicable R Notification of Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or your unconditional offer letter (for those applying for a Student Visitor Visa). R Original examination certificates and English language results, with certified translations. R Birth certificates/marriage certificates for any dependants with you. R Tuition and University accommodation fees. R Travellers’ cheques/sterling currency/pre-paid credit card to last for your first few weeks in the UK. R Proof of sponsorship if you are a sponsored student. R Proof of your parents finances, a signed letter of support and your original birth certificate (if your parents are supporting you). R A mobile phone handset that is enabled to work with any mobile network provider. As well as original documentation in your hand luggage you are advised to keep copies of all the above documents in your main suitcase, and leave additional copies with a relative at home. … make sure you have the following items in your hand luggage as well: • Any prescribed medication you are taking, plus a letter from your doctor explaining what the medicine is for. • Address of where you will be staying and a contact number in case of emergencies. • A pen/pencil and some paper. • Any fragile or valuable items. • A list of items in your main luggage. • Address book with contact details of your friends and family. Please keep your hand luggage with you at all times. If you leave it unattended, it could be stolen or taken away to be destroyed. What to pack Before you pack, find out: • What you are not allowed to bring to the UK. • Your airline luggage allowance. • If the electrical equipment you are bringing with you is compatible with UK standards. 16 Your main luggage • Luggage should be strong, secure and labelled with your name and destination on it. • Don’t pack too many heavy things – books, clothing, stationery, cooking utensils, towels, toiletries etc. can all be purchased very cheaply when you arrive. • Clothing – the British weather is very unpredictable. We advise you to bring light to medium weight clothing that is loose fitting to enable you to wear several layers at once. You should bring a waterproof coat or jacket and waterproof shoes. • Don’t pack lots of food – UK supermarkets offer a wide variety of food from all over the world. Remember also that certain food items you may wish to bring with you are banned from import into the UK. • If you are staying in University accommodation you do not need to bring bedding if at the time of accepting your accommodation offer you have opted to purchase a bedding pack. A bedding pack includes a single duvet, pillow, pillow case, single sheet and duvet cover. 17 6. Living in the UK - Accommodation and Leisure Time Accommodation University accommodation is offered (subject to availability) to all new international students for the first year of study. Details about the types of accommodation, prices and the application process can be found here Bringing your family to the UK The University does not have accommodation suitable for families. If you are bringing your family or you would prefer to live off campus we can provide you with information of approved letting agents and guidance on arranging your accommodation. View our approved letting agents here. You may also benefit from reading our guide to living off campus Leisure time Throughout your time in the UK, and especially during the first few weeks here, you will receive lots of information about living in the UK, ways in which you can spend your leisure time and the laws and customs which will affect you. The following is a list of links to organisations dedicated to helping international students to settle in and make the most of their time here. Key web links: Host UH Arts Hertfordshire Sports Village University of Hertfordshireâ€™s Studentâ€™ Union Join UHSU on Facebook Twitter 18 7. Student Support Getting Settled Key web links: English Language Support Overseas Students Orientation programme Arrival Form Overseas Students Orientation Programme To help you settle into life at the University, we run a free Overseas Students’ Orientation Programme. In order to take part in the orientation programme you need to complete the Overseas Students’ Orientation Programme Arrival Form before the deadline date otherwise you may be restricted in terms of the events and talks you will be able to attend. View here for more information. Once we receive your form we will confirm whether you’re eligible for the airport meet and greet and provide you details of where to go and what to expect, please make sure you provide a valid e-mail address so that we can contact you. If you have any queries regarding the orientation programme or the airport pick up service please contact: International Student Support Team tel +44 (0) 1707 281299 fax +44 (0) 1707 284738 email@example.com Support Services The University of Hertfordshire offers a wide range of student support facilities from additional help with your English to on campus childcare provision. We have a dedicated International Student Support team on hand to advise you on a variety of subjects from work permits to financial and personal matters as well as access to support and counselling services. Details of all the student support services available to you can be viewed here and will be provided to you on arrival. Academic English Skills Assessment and follow-on support – In-sessional provision To ensure the best possible academic support for our international students, we assess the Academic English Skills competence of all our international (including European) students on arrival. This takes the form of a 90-minute assessment which all new international students are required to sit. The purpose of this assessment is to identify which students would benefit from the additional in-sessional language and skills support sessions we have established at the University. All of our classes and workshops are free and attendance is voluntary. 20 The comments from students below highlight the usefulness of our sessions: • “classes improved my essay writing skills” • “the sessions were targeted and tailored to each subject” • “ [it] helps me on several cases, eg presentation, references, how to summarise”. • Comments from lecturers include: • “The results for many of the students were better this year and I know that your support really helps” • “As a result of your sessions this Semester, the grades of the seminar presentations on this Module have increased by 20%”. Further details can be viewed on our website 21 8. Key dates and contacts Pre-sessional English Standard (for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with an entry grade requirements of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent) 11 week course – 1 July 2013 6 week course – 5 August 2013 Pre-sessional English Higher (for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with an entry grade requirements of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent) 14 week course – 10 June 2013 11 week course – 1 July 2013 6 week course – 5 August 2013 Pre-sessional English Advanced (for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with an entry grade requirements of IELTS 7.0 or equivalent) 14 week course – 10 June 2013 11 week course – 1 July 2013 6 week course – 5 August 2013 Pre-LLM 7 June 2013 Graduate Certificate in Business 28 May 2013 2 September 2013 Semester A (all Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees) 23 September 2013 Semester B (please see for details of courses with a January start date) 20 January 2013 For more information about term and semester dates and UK bank holidays please see our website Contact us: University of Hertfordshire College Lane Hatfield Hertfordshire AL10 9AB tel +44 (0) 1707 281249 firstname.lastname@example.org Main switchboard telephone (out of hours) tel +44 (0) 1707 284000 International Students www.herts.ac.uk/international 22 University of Hertfordshire College Lane, Hatfield Hertfordshire AL10 9AB Admissions +44 (0)1707 284800 Fax +44 (0)1707 284870 www.herts.ac.uk/international GA13259/4_13