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Student Advice and Support Service

Extending your student visa

July 2013


This guide briefly explains how to extend your stay in the UK as an international student with a Tier 4 visa. This guide gives general information but does not cover every situation or question you may have. While every effort is made to ensure that our information is up-to-date, accurate and complete, Loughborough University does not accept responsibility for any omissions or errors. For advice relating to your individual circumstances we strongly recommend that you make an appointment to see one of our advisers in person. August – October is a busy time for visa renewal. During this period we may only be able to offer each student one appointment. Therefore you should make as much progress as you can with starting the application and gathering your documents beforehand.

Applying to extend a student visa in the UK If you are studying at Loughborough University you would normally apply to extend your stay as a Tier 4 (General) student. Tier 4 was introduced on 31 March 2009 as part of the Points-Based System. If you do not already hold permission to be in the UK under Tier 4 or the old student rules then you should first check whether you are allowed to switch to student status while in the UK. Here is a link to the Home Office web page that lists the categories from which a switch is permitted: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/applying-inside-uk/#

You need to check the relevant parts of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to make sure your application and supporting documents comply with the policy requirements. The Policy Guidance can be downloaded from the Home Office website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/applying-inside-uk/

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) You must have a CAS issued by the University to apply to extend your student visa. New students will normally be issued a CAS as part of the admissions process. Undergraduate students and taught postgraduates can request a CAS from Student Enquiries in the Rutland building. Research students can request a CAS from the Research Student Office. The information in a CAS is held on a Home Office database and is used to decide your application. When a CAS is issued the University will send you a CAS statement by email confirming the content of the CAS; you will need to refer to this information when completing your application. The CAS statement includes; the University’s sponsor licence number, your unique CAS number, your details, course details, tuition fees, confirmation of your English language ability and any academic progress, etc. You must check that the content of the CAS statement is correct; if anything is wrong or there are any changes before you make your application you must notify the University so that the CAS can be amended or reissued.


A CAS can only be used once; a new CAS is required for each application. A CAS is valid for up to 6 months and can only be used within this time. A CAS will not be accepted by the Home Office if it is used more than 3 months before the course start date. If the CAS statement lists previous qualifications that were relied upon to offer a place on your course you should include the originals (and certified translation if necessary) in your application. If you need a CAS to continue studies on your current course and your CAS statement confirms it has been issued on the basis of satisfactory progress to date then you should not need to include additional evidence of previous studies. When a CAS is issued the University may have to enter the course start date as a date in the future. Therefore if you have already started your course the start date according to your CAS statement may be wrong, it may be given as the day after your current immigration permission expires. The actual course start date should be confirmed in the ‘evidence provided’ section of your CAS statement. A CAS will normally be issued to a student studying on a full-time degree course, this can include resit and writing up periods provided the University is able to monitor your continued participation. Some students are unlikely to be issued a CAS, for example those just taking re-sits without attendance, people on leave of absence; if this applies a CAS may be issued for when you are due to resume attending your studies and return to the UK. Students on courses of less than 6 months are unlikely to be issued a CAS but may apply to enter the UK as a student visitor. If you have previously studied in the UK with Student or Tier 4 (General) permission a CAS cannot be issued for a new course of study unless it represents academic progress. You cannot be issued a CAS if the proposed studies would take you over the time limit allowed for degree level study under Tier 4 (usually 5 years, subject to the exceptions explained in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance). Resit students The University will normally agree to issue a CAS to a student taking resits with tuition. You are not likely to be issued a CAS if you are registered to resit without tuition, you would then be expected to return home and come to the UK as a student visitor to attend examination (the University can provide a student visitor letter to support your visa application). Writing–up students A CAS will normally be issued to cover time needed to submit your thesis, attend your viva examination and up to 3 months for thesis corrections.

When to apply You should make any application before your current permission expires. If you currently hold Tier 4 permission to study elsewhere obtained from an application made on or after 5 October 2009 you must apply to extend your permission to study at Loughborough University before starting studies here. If you apply by post, e.g. by ‘print and send’ the date of application is the date you send your application, you should use recorded or special delivery and keep proof of postage. If you apply in person using ‘print and send’ your application is made on the date of your appointment, you must ensure this is before your current permission expires. If you use 2


the ‘on-line application’ procedure currently being tested by the Home Office the date of application is when you make payment. We recommend that you begin preparing your application around 3 months before your current permission expires or changing your place of study. However, do not apply too early. If you submit your Tier 4 application more than 3 months before the start of your course as stated on your CAS your application will be refused. It is not usually advisable to wait until the last minute to apply. If you are moving to a new course at a new college or university you should not apply too early, when your application is granted you would have permission to study the new course but not your current course.

Late applications If you do not submit a valid application before your current immigration permission expires you will be an illegal ‘overstayer’; this is a criminal offence and can potentially lead to removal from the UK. If your application is late and refused you will not have a right of appeal. If your permission has expired you should seek advice without delay from the Student Advice and Support Service.

Applying between courses If you are finishing one course and wish to extend your stay for another course, you can only be granted an extension of stay if your current immigration permission does not expire more than 28 days before the start date of the new course as confirmed on your CAS. If your new course start date is more than 28 days after your last permission expired your application should be refused. If there is a gap of more than 28 days you are expected to return to your home country and make an entry clearance application from there to get permission for your new course.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certain students are required to submit an ‘ATAS’ certificate with their application to extend their student permission. You can check the following University websites for details about whether the scheme covers your course or research area, and you can follow the relevant links on how to apply if the scheme applies to you: Research students: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/admin/ar/rso/students/atas/index.htm Taught PG students: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/admin/ar/admissions/pgt/student/ATAS/index.htm Undergraduate students: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/admin/ar/admissions/ug/atas/index.htm Your CAS statement should indicate whether ATAS approval is required. The ATAS website (https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme) indicates an application may take 20 working days but sometimes this can take significantly longer. If you are required to obtain a certificate we recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as you can. If you have problems contact the Student Advice and Support Service.

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Even if you have previously obtained an ATAS certificate for an earlier visa application you will need to apply for a fresh certificate if there are any changes to your course or your institution or you are applying to stay longer for the same course.

How to complete the application From April 2013 most students should apply on-line using the Tier 4 Student ‘print and send’ application on the Home Office website. You need to create an account with the Home Office or log in to your existing account. Take time to carefully read and follow the information provided by the Home Office. The Home Office provides a guide to completing the online application. If you have a problem with a question you can click on it for guidance, sometimes you can click again for more guidance. You can also follow the link to the Tier 4 and Dependants policy guidance and check the relevant section for further information. The ‘check application’ and ‘check this section’ functions merely check that you have given information in the required boxes, they do not check that your answers are correct for your circumstances. Confirmation that your application is complete does not necessarily mean it will be successful. If you cannot complete all the application you can save it and resume another day. Your draft application will be saved for up to 56 days before it is permanently deleted. If you want to have your application checked by an adviser DO NOT proceed beyond the ‘read declaration’ stage. After this stage changes cannot be made to your application. In addition to temporarily saving your draft application on the Home Office website you can save a pdf copy or print a copy of your application at any time before it is completed. At the end of the application process you have an opportunity to print and save it. Your documentary evidence is just as important as completing the application correctly. Include all the documents that are relevant to your application. All documents must be originals and all must be fully in English (or Welsh). If any documents are not fully in English or Welsh you must also submit a certified translation of the documents. The translation must meet all the requirements listed in the Policy Guidance. Make sure your photographs comply with Home Office requirements: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/flr/photoguidance0409.pdf If you are required to register with the police make sure you have done so and that your police registration certificate has been kept fully up to date. The Home Office can reject your application if you fail to register or report changes in circumstances e.g. change of address. It is advisable to keep copies of your completed application form and all the documents you enclosed with it. It is also wise to retain any letters you receive from the Home Office and your responses, even after you have received your extension. Home Office letters will 4


usually include your ‘Home Office reference number’, which you should keep in case you need to refer to past correspondence, e.g. in a subsequent application or when seeking advice about an application you have already made.

How much money do I need to have? You will need to show you have enough money to pay for your current or next year’s course fees and a set amount of £800 per month for living expenses. The total will depend on your circumstances. Your tuition fee liability will be the outstanding amount as confirmed in your CAS. The amount of living expenses will depend on the length of your course and whether you are a continuing student who has an ’established presence studying in the UK’. ‘Established presence’ is explained in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance. Most continuing students who have recently completed 6 months studies will have an ‘established presence’ and only need to show they have 2 months living expenses, i.e. £1,600 in addition to any outstanding tuition fees. If you do not have an ‘established presence’ of studying in the UK you will need to show you have £800 for each month of your course up to a maximum of 9 months, i.e. £7,200 in addition to any outstanding tuition fees. If you are relying on personal funds to show you have enough money then you must have the required amount available throughout a 28-day period ending no earlier than 31 days before you apply.

What evidence of money do I need to have? You can only use the evidence that is allowed by the Tier 4 Policy Guidance, you must also make sure that any evidence is in the format prescribed by the Policy Guidance. Acceptable evidence can include: •

Your bank statements (or building society pass book) which cover a 28-day period ending with a closing balance dated no earlier than 31 days before your application.

A parent’s bank statements as long as you also include your birth certificate naming your parent and a letter from your parent (and certified translations if necessary).

Confirmation on your CAS or University receipts for the payment of tuition fees or accommodation fees (no more than £1000 of paid University accommodation fees can count towards the maintenance requirement).

A letter from an ‘official financial sponsor’ e.g. Her Majesty’s Government, your home government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company or university.

A letter from your bank or a financial institution confirming the availability of funds.

You can use more than one type of evidence to show you have access to enough funds. You can use funds held overseas in a foreign currency, the closing balance must be converted to pounds sterling using www.oanda.com at the date of application.

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Supporting evidence – ‘low risk nationals’ The Tier 4 Policy Guidance explains that certain ‘low risk’ nationalities do not have to provide certain supporting documents, e.g. previous qualifications or financial evidence. The ‘print and send’ and on-line application procedures automatically recognises low risk nationals and does not request supporting documents, however the Home Office may later ask for these to be provided and will only give you limited time to comply, this can cause you problems especially if you have to get original documents from abroad at short notice. We strongly recommend all students prepare all relevant supporting documents in accordance with the normal guidance and include them in the application to ensure everything is complete and correct from the outset.

How to apply You can apply; by post using ‘print and send’, in person, or use the ‘online application’ process. If you have more than 10 dependants or wish to use the ‘super premium service’ you apply using the paper form. Applying in person It will cost you more to apply in person (£781) but you might do this if your application is urgent and you need a quicker decision, e.g. you want to travel or change your Tier 4 sponsor. For more information see: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/applyinginperson/ Applying by post including ‘print and send’ or the ‘online application’ The application fee is £406. It is advisable to keep copies and use Special Delivery when sending documents to the Home Office and retain proof of postage.

How long will it take the Home Office to deal with my application? We can only give a general indication of how long an application may take to be decided. We recommend you do not make any firm travel plans to leave the UK until after your application has been decided. If you apply in person you will normally receive your Biometric Residence Permit giving new permission within a week or so. Most postal applications take between 5-12 weeks but it can take significantly longer depending on whether there are any problems with your initial application, how quickly you make your biometrics appointment and any delays or errors at the Home Office. If you make a valid application before your visa expires you can legally remain in the United Kingdom for as long as it is being considered by the Home Office. Even if the expiry date of your visa passes while the Home Office has your application your previous permission is automatically extended on the same conditions you previously held until you are granted new permission. If your application is refused you will be allowed to stay to pursue any right of appeal.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) From 25 November 2008 anyone applying for an extension of stay as a student must also apply for a ‘biometric immigration document’ at the same time. The Biometric Residence Permit is like an ID card, it includes; biometric information, your personal details, the details and conditions of your immigration permission, e.g. the type and length of permission, whether you are allowed to work, whether you have to report to the police. If 6


your application is granted your immigration permission is issued on the Biometric Residence Permit, you will not receive a sticker inserted into your passport. You will need your BRP to prove your immigration status, e.g. in order to re-enter the UK you will need your BRP and passport. If you submit your application in person at one of the Public Enquiry Offices you will have your photograph and fingerprints taken on the day of your appointment. If you apply by ‘print and send’ or on-line you will be sent a letter by the Home Office telling you how to ‘enrol your biometrics’, you are given 15 working days from the date of the letter to comply. For further information see the Home Office website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/applyinginside-uk/biometric/

How long will my new visa be? You will normally be given permission for the full length of your course as confirmed in your CAS plus some extra time. If your course is 12 months or longer you should be given an extra 4 months. If your course is between 6 and 12 months long you should be given an extra 2 months. If you have an ‘official financial sponsor’ the Home Office may limit your permission in accordance with any time limit set out in your sponsor’s letter if this is shorter. You cannot obtain immigration permission just to stay for graduation. If you do not have enough permission to stay for your graduation ceremony you will need to consider returning to the UK as a visitor at the relevant time. Otherwise you may attend graduation if you are extending your stay for another course or other purpose.

What if my application is rejected or refused? If your application or payment is not correctly made the Home Office may reject your application and return it as invalid. This means you have not made an application. Often your immigration permission will have expired before you find out about this, therefore if you apply again your application will be made late and you will not have a right of appeal against refusal. It is important to check why your application is invalid and that any subsequent application is corrected and your supporting evidence is brought up to date. We strongly recommend you seek advice. If your application is refused the Home Office will give reasons in the decision letter. Most often, if you applied to extend your stay prior to the expiry of your previous permission you should be entitled to appeal against the refusal. Any appeal should be made before the deadline stated within the Home Office decision letter i.e. within ten working days of receipt of the decision. If your application has been refused you should seek advice immediately. July 2013

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Extending your visa 2013