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Coventry University

International Office

A Guide to Obtaining Your Visa

Contents Introduction.............................................................................................. 3 Visa Requirements

EEA Student.................................................................................. 4

Overseas Students........................................................................ 5

Other types of visas................................................................................. 7 Health checks before your arrival in the UK............................................. 8 Successful visa applications.................................................................... 9 Unsuccessful visa applications.............................................................. 10 Families ................................................................................................. 11

Introduction Congratulations on receiving your Certificate of Acceptance to study at Coventry University. You are now able to apply for your visa so that you are able to join us to study. We are the Welfare team of International Student Advisors and provide help and assistance to International and European students on a range of areas including immigration. We hope that the following information helps you through the process of successfully obtaining your visa. If you feel confused about anything you read in this document or are unsure of your next steps remember we are here to help. Please contact us by email at We look forward to welcoming you to Coventry in September.

Welfare Team

International Student Welfare Team Back row: Left to right: James Moran, Laura Nicholas, Kavita Cassidy Front row: Left to right: Pav Thind, Michelle Allden, Jennie Sharp


Visa (Entry Clearance) Requirements European Economic Area (EEA) Students

Nationals of Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovak Republic:

Depending on your nationality you may be required to obtain

As your country is part of the European Union you no longer need

“entry clearance� before you will be allowed to enter the UK as

to apply for entry clearance to come to the UK to study. However,

a student. These pages will provide you with guidance on all

you may have to register as a worker if you have a job while you

aspects of this part of your journey to Coventry.

are studying.

Visa nationals: All non EEA nationals must apply for entry clearance before travelling to the UK if coming for a course lasting more than 6 months. You can find more information at:

EEA, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Swiss nationals: You do not need entry clearance to enter the UK to study. There may be a brief passport/ID check when you arrive in the UK for security purposes.


Overseas Students If you do need a visa we understand that this can be an intimidating prospect. Just remember that we are always here to help with any queries that you may have about the process. We want to make sure that your application is successful so please do not hesitate to contact us about your application.

You can only apply for your visa within 3 months of your intended course start date. However, you should make sure that you meet all of the requirements in advance to prevent any problems arising. You should contact your nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission to find out how early you can submit your application, or check the UK visas website

Study below degree level (including a combined offer of pre-sessional English of 12 weeks or less with an unconditional offer of study above degree level). You need to have achieved at least CEFR B1 in all components (reading, speaking, writing and listening) of a secure English Language test.

Study above degree level You need to have achieved at least CEFR B2 in all components (reading, speaking, writing and listening) of a secure English Language test, or as a higher education institution Coventry University can make its own assessment to ensure you are at level CEFR B2 in all components. You should also be aware that the UKBA can check your English

To apply for your visa you need to complete:

language conversation upon arrival at any UK airport.

Application Form VAF9-PBS Migrant and PBS Appendix 8 General Student Self-Assessment. Both forms can be found at

Once you have met all of the conditions of your offer including

deposit/proof of financial sponsorship, we confirm our Tier 4 visa sponsorship to the UKBA through an online system. You are then

Please check the visa applications centres overseas page for

given a CAS reference number. You use your CAS statement

details of how to submit your application in your country.

confirming your CAS reference number to make your student visa


To be granted a visa (leave to enter the UK) as a full time student,

NB - Obtaining a CAS is no guarantee that you will be granted a

you must pass a points based assessment and score 40

visa. This is just one element of the procedure.

points to be issued with a visa. The points are broken down like this: • 30 points for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from Coventry University, which includes a valid CAS reference number. Please note: Each CAS is only valid for 6 months and can only be used once. If you apply using a used CAS you will be automatically refused your visa. • 10 points for showing that you have enough money to cover the cost of your course, and your monthly living expenses in the UK for up to 9 months. • From April 2011 all students are required to show their English Level proficiency before the University is able to issue a valid CAS reference number.


Your finances The UKBA has specified the amount of money that you will need to show before they grant you the 10 points for this section: Length of course

Funds needed

9 months or less

Course fees AND £600 for each month of the course

More than 9 months

First year of course fees AND £5,400 to cover 9 months in the UK

The UKBA will ask to see proof of the above in the form of bank statements, a letter from your bank or a passbook showing amounts held on your bank account. This account must be in your name or your parents/ legal guardian’s name and funds must have been in your account for 28 days. If using your parents/legal guardians account, you need to show evidence that you are related to them and that you have permission to use their money. This is usually by showing an original birth certificate and signed letter confirming your parents are willing to sponsor you and that you are their son or daughter. The statement or letter should be dated no more than 28 days before the date of application. If you have an established presence for studying in the UK you are only required to show £600 for 2 months, totalling £1200. You have an established presence if you already have a valid student visa for the UK; have completed a course of at least 6 months while using this visa or are applying to continue on a course of which you have completed at least 6 months.

Calculating Overseas Money: If you are using overseas currency, you will be expected to show the closing balance in pounds sterling. The UKBA use the official exchange rate on the OANDA website, which can be found at We recommend you print and enclose the currency conversion with your application.


We are expecting the UKBA to issue a list of non-approved banks

To apply for this visa you will need to make an application to your

in summer 2011. This list may include banks which do not issue

nearest British High Commission or Embassy. You can get more

statement of accounts. As such we strongly recommend the use

information from the UK visas website:

of nationally recognised Banks in your country, or check that your bank will issue a statement of account if requested by the UKBA.

Additional documents required for under 18 year olds: Letter of parental consent

If you do obtain a prospective student visa please do not hesitate to contact us so that we can meet with you when you are in the UK to discuss the courses we have available and give you a tour of our University and accommodation.

A 16 and 17 year old student has the legal right to live independently in the United Kingdom, and so may make their own arrangements for accommodation. However, he/she requires the consent of his/her parent(s)/legal guardian to do this and to travel to the United Kingdom (if they are applying from overseas). Students who are 16 or 17 years old and living independently must provide: A letter from their parent(s) or legal guardian, confirming: 1. the relationship between the parent(s) or legal guardian and the child; 2. that the parent(s) or legal guardian have given their consent to the application; 3. that the parent(s) or legal guardian have given their consent to the child student living independently in the United Kingdom; 4. that the parent(s) or legal guardian have given their consent to the child student’s independent travel to the United Kingdom. The letter must confirm if the parent(s) or legal guardian has

Student visitor visa: If you are coming to the UK to study a course for less than 6 months and do not need to work whilst in the UK you should apply for this visa. This visa cannot be extended and you must leave the UK when this visa expires. It is unlikely that this is the correct visa for you if you are going to apply to study an undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK.

Visa application document checklist: Here is a full list of documents that you will need to provide when you make your application at the High Commission or Embassy in your home country. Remember that all documents must be originals and translated into English by an authorised translator.

 Passport

custody or sole responsibility for the child. If they have sole

 CAS statement from Coventry University

custody they must sign the letter. If they do not, the letter must

 Proof of finances

confirm that each parent or legal guardian agrees to the contents of the letter and must be signed by each parent or legal guardian.

Other types of visas Prospective student visa: If you have not yet decided whether to accept your offer of studies, or need to attend an interview before your offer is made unconditional, you can apply to come to the UK on a prospective

 Documents assessed by Coventry University when issuing your CAS (Academic and English qualifications). See the “evidence used to obtain offer” section of your CAS

 Your biometric details; your fingerprints and full face photos will be taken at the High Commission or Embassy

 Fee for application

student visa. This visa will be issued for a maximum of 6 months.

 Passport sized photographs

If you do decide to accept your offer during this time you can

 Payment details for your visa

change your visa to a full student visa while you are in the UK.

 ATAS certificate (your CAS statement will state if you require this)


Health checks before your arrival in the UK As a part of your visa application you may be asked to take part in a medical examination. As such it may be wise to be aware of the following information:


Other Immunisations: The Department of Health has recommended vaccination against Meningitis C following outbreaks of the strain in university students in the UK. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction of the disease. The best time to have this vaccination is before coming to university to allow enough time for immunity to develop. You should approach your doctor at least two weeks, ideally one month, before you are due to arrive. It is important to note that this vaccination does not provide protection against other strains

If you are coming to study in the UK for more than 6 months

of Meningitis. If you choose to have the vaccination you should

and you are from a country where there is a high incident of TB

bring your vaccination certificate or card with you.

infection, and you have not had a vaccination, you should have a medical health check prior to entering the UK. You should bring a

If you are unable to have this done before you arrive you will be

doctor’s letter, and if required, a recent chest x-ray with you when

able to obtain the vaccination here, when you have registered

you travel.

with a doctor. Any questions you have about the vaccine are best

Embassies in: •


Ghana (which also takes applications from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Niger).

Kenya (which also takes applications from residents of Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo,

discussed with your family doctor. Usually by the time UK students have reached the age of 16 they will also have completed their immunisation against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and tuberculosis. It is best that you check your immunisation status against these diseases before arrival.

Rwanda, Uganda (visitor applications) and Tanzania) •


Sudan, and

Thailand (which also takes applications from Cambodia and Laos).

are already screening applicants who are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. If you are tested and are free from TB you will be issued with a visa confirming the same.

If you have any medical notes that your doctor considers relevant e.g. cervical screening, relevant past or family history, you may want to bring these with you to give to your new doctor. This will be confidential between you and your doctor.


Successful visa applications If your application has been successful you will be a given a certificate stamped in your passport giving you permission to enter and stay in the UK. This will include the type of stay granted (i.e. ‘student’), the length of stay, and any restrictions. It should include the wording ‘Work (and any changes) must be authorised’ this gives you permission to work subject to the restrictions applicable for students.

You should ensure that you are given the correct entry clearance as a ‘student’. If you are bringing family with you they should be given clearance as ‘dependants’. You should also ensure that you are given the correct length of stay according to the immigration rules in the table below. Type of course

Length of course

Length of stay allowed

Main course of Study (including Sabbatical Officers)

Twelve months or more

The full length of the course plus four months after the end of the course

Six months or more, but less than twelve months

The full length of the course plus two months after the end of the course

Less than six months

The full length of the course plus seven days after the end of the course

Twelve months or more

The full length of the course plus four months after the end of the course

Six months or more, but less than twelve months

The full length of the course plus two months after the end of the course

Less than six months

The full length of the course plus one month after the end of the course

Pre-sessional courses


Unsuccessful visa applications Do not travel to the UK if you have been refused entry clearance, as you will almost certainly not be allowed to enter. Unfortunately after the launch of Tier 4 in April 2009 there are no longer appeal rights against the refusal of a student visa. Any appeal rights have been replaced by a right to ‘administrative review’, which means that your case will be looked at by another Entry Clearance Officer. It is unlikely that any decision will be overturned, unless the entry clearance officer has made an obvious error.

In the unlikely event your application is refused, please scan or fax a copy of your written refusal notice with the reasons you think the decision was wrong, to the International Office for the attention of the International Student Adviser: Email: Fax: +44 (0)24 7615 2175 We will aim to get back to your email within 24 hours of receipt (not including weekend) and hope to be able to advise whether you should apply for administrative review or re-apply for your visa. Please ensure you have included your full name, course, applicant number and contact details (email is preferable) so that we can respond to you as soon as possible.

If you are refused and you have a CAS issued

Getting further help:

from us, the refusal is likely to be based on your

If you feel you need further assistance you could approach:

available funds. We strongly advise that if you decide to apply for another visa that you assess your available funds, and ensure you have enough, to meet the requirements of the UKBA as set out in the table on page 6.

• A lawyer in your home country with specific knowledge of the UK immigration system • The British Council in your home country: • Your representative/agent • A solicitor in the UK by looking at the Law Society website:, go to ‘Choosing a solicitor’


Families courses for longer than 12 months or; are sponsored by their

For more information about UK visas and living in the UK – websites and further reading:

government can invite their dependants to come into the UK

For further information about living in the UK and British

during their studies.

culture, please refer to the following websites:

From July 2011 only students who are: studying postgraduate It is important to plan well ahead if you are bringing your

family with you to the UK. You need to make sure that you

have organised:

• Dependant visa’s for your family members

• Accommodation for you and your family

• Nursery/school places for your children

If you would like any advice or information please contact an

The following books are also very useful on UK culture

International Student Adviser by email at

and life:

Lonely Planet: Great Britain David Else et al. (2011) Lonely Planet Publications The Rough Guide to Britain 7 Robert Andrews et al. (2008) Rough Guides Ltd Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour Kate Fox (2008) Hodder and Stoughton The English: A Portrait of a People Jeremy Paxman (2007) Penguin Books Notes from a Small Island Bill Bryson (1997) Black Swan

We hope that this information helps you to successfully obtain your visa and join us to study at Coventry University.

International Office Coventry University Priory Street Coventry CV1 5FB, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0) 24 7615 2152 Email: Fax: +44 (0) 24 7615 2175 Website:

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