Tier 4 Visa Application

The information below is for applicants applying for their Tier 4 visa outside the UK. If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa from within the UK, you will need to make this application via the University’s Immigration & International Student Advice (IISA) team. Please email the team so they can help you.

When should I make my application?

You can start the application for a Tier 4 visa 3 months before the start of your course. We can issue your Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) statement up to 6 months before your course start date but it cannot be used until the correct time. Applications submitted earlier will be refused.

How do make my application?

The visa application can be broken down into 4 stages:

  1. Gather the documents needed for your application, and wait for your finances to mature.
  2. Complete the Tier 4 online form and pay all application fees due.
  3. Book and attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre.
  4. Post your documents to the Embassy.


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USW International student ambassadors

1. Gather the documents needed for your application

You will need to provide the following documents with your visa application. Please use the IISA guidelines for Tier 4 applications to help you to make sure all your documents meet UKVI requirements.

A list of all UKVI fees, including overseas application costs can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Evidence of finances

You must be able to prove that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and living costs during your studies. The amount you will need depends on the length of your course and the cost of your fees. 

For example: 

  • Programmes of 9 months or more are £9,135 plus any unpaid course fees for the first year 
  • Programmes of 9 months or less are £1,015 for each month of the course plus any unpaid course fees
Course fees - the exact amount will be shown on your CAS.

Financial documents

Proof must be in the form of original bank statements or a bank letter covering 28 days.

Bank statements

  • Original bank statements must show your or your parents name, the date, the name and logo of the bank, the balance and transactions for the full 28 day period and the currency
  • Bank letters must include the details above, and confirmation the balance hasn't dropped below the required amount for the 28 day period as well as being stamped by the bank
  • Statements should not be more than one month old on the date of your visa application
  • You may only use your bank statements or those of your parents/legal guardians

Please note, if you complete and pay for your visa application before the money has been in the bank for at least 28 days your visa application will be automatically refused.


Your parents / legal guardians bank statements

If you are using your parents’ or legal guardians’ bank statements, you must also provide: 

  • An original birth certificate to prove your relationship with them
  • Original signed and dated letter from them giving consent for you to use the money for your study in the UK

Translating a statement

You can use overseas statements, but if they are not in English, you must also send a fully certified translation by a professional translator. 

This must include: 

  • The translator’s qualifications
  • Confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • The date and translator’s signature

Overseas currency

If you are using overseas currency, you must write on the document the closing balance in pounds sterling. 

Use the official exchange rate on the OANDA website.


Minimising visa refusal

Make sure you also read the University information on Minimising risk of visa refusal-funding and finance.


Proof of progress / qualifications

You will need to include the original transcripts and certificates of any qualifications that are listed on your CAS statement that have been used to assess your suitability for the course.


Proof of English language proficiency

If you need to prove your English Language level (as stated on your CAS) you would need to provide evidence related to that. Please see the University information about English Language Entry Requirements.


Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Some postgraduate courses within science, engineering or technology may require you to get an ATAS certificate before you can be issued a CAS. 

Your offer letter from the University will state if you need to do this. If it is not listed on your offer you should not need one. Further information about how to apply for an ATAS.


Visa application and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees

The Immigration Health Surcharge is payable on all Tier 4 applications and allows the payer access to free National Health Services in the UK. The cost is £300 per year of leave granted. 

Periods of less than 6 months are charged at half the annual rate (£150). 

For further information on the IHS and to work out the fee that you can expect to pay, please see the IISA website.

You will have to pay the above fee as part of the online application process using a Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card- so make sure that the money is available for payment via that method.


Translations of any documents not in English 

The UKVI are very specific about what they will consider acceptable translations and will only accept fully certified translations by a professional translator. 

The translation must contain:

  • Confirmation from the translator or translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document. E.g. “I can confirm that this is a true and accurate translation of the original document”
  • The date of the translation
  • The full name and original signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company
  • The contact details of the translator or translation company.

Remember – to avoid any risk of refusal, you need to make sure that your translation contains all of the information listed above. 

Check translations

You can ask the Immigration & International Student Advice (IISA) team to check a translation before application if you are unsure if it meets all requirements. 

Scan a clear copy of the document and email to international.advice@southwales.ac.uk.


Tuberculosis test

Students from some countries will need to take a TB test before applying for their visa. You can find a full list of guidance and UKVI approved clinics on the Gov.UK website.


Passport (current and any previous)

You must provide your current passport and any other previous passports.


Important information

You must include originals of all documents as well as a copy of each. Make sure you keep copies of everything you submit for your own records. 

Further information is available about UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance.


Some nationalities are considered to be low-risk and do not officially need to provide all these supporting documents with their application. However, we strongly recommend that you prepare and have all these documents available to you on the date of your application as the UKVI can ask to see them at any point during the visa application process.



2. Complete the Tier 4 online form and pay all application fees

Register an account on the UKVI website and then complete the online application form. Guidance is available as you complete the form.

Make sure you read each question carefully and check that your answers are correct.

Remember you should not complete and pay for the visa application until you have all your documents ready and your money has been in your bank for at least 28 days.

Biometric Resident Permit

The form will ask you from where you wish to collect your Biometric Resident Permit and will ask for an Alternative Location Code (ALC). 

The University’s ALC code is: 2HE492. 


Visa card collection

Your visa card will be sent directly to the University for collection. This enables the University to help you should the card be delayed or missing.


Support

If you need support and guidance you can contact the University’s IISA team

Pay online

Once you have completed your application you will be asked to pay online. This payment will be for both the visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees.


If you can't make an online application

If you are not able to make an online application in your home country, you will need to print out and complete a VAF2 application form. You need to take this completed form to your appointment in stage 3 below. You can find the form and further guidance on the Gov.uk website.



3. Attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre

  • You can now book an appointment at your closest Visa Application Centre
  • At this appointment you will be asked to submit your biometric information (your photograph and fingerprints)
  • You may also have a short interview called a credibility interview
  • For more information, please do give this a read

Credibility Interviews

The UKVI undertake credibility interviews as part of the Tier 4 visa application process. This interview is to find out more about you, the University, your course, why you have chosen it and what you future plans are. 


Prepare for the interview

It is essential that you prepare for the interview. Questions can cover a wide variety of subjects. 

We have prepared some examples of credibility interviews questions

Please use these questions as a guideline and ensure that you are confident in answering similar questions before you attend your visa interviews. 


Second interview

Sometimes people are asked to attend a second interview. If you are asked - please contact the Immigration and International Student Advice (IISA) team so that they can offer you further guidance.



4. Post your documents to the Embassy

Once you have attended your appointment at the Visa Application Centre, you will be given confirmation of attendance and receive details of where to send your documents. Sometimes you may not have to send your documents as copies were made during your appointment.

  • Make sure you send all original documents required and that they meet all the requirements outlined above
  • Any documents that are not addressed to the UKVI will be returned to you but make sure that you take copies of all documents for your records
  • The quicker you send your documents, the quicker you will receive your application decision



Frequently asked questions

A standard application outside the UK usually takes around 3 weeks to process- although this is sometimes longer at peak times (September/October). You can check the current visa processing time for your country on the Gov.UK website.


Some countries also offer a Priority Visa Application Service that takes around 3-5 days. To see whether this service will be available to you, please check the information on the individual Visa Application Centres above.


You will receive your visa in the form of a vignette (or sticker) in your passport. 

If your length of leave is longer than 6 months, this vignette will just cover you to travel to the UK and then you will be expected to collect your Biometric Resident Permit (BRP- visa card) on arrival in the UK. 

If you put the Alternative Location Code (ALC 2HE492) in your application form, you will collect your BRP directly from the University. 

If you did not use the code, you will collect from a local Post Office. Further information on the Biometric Resident Permit collection process can be found here.


Make sure you check your visa vignette to make sure your name, date of birth and other details are correct and that it states you are . If not, you should contact the Visa Application Centre immediately so that they can correct this for you.


Please scan a copy of your new visa to the University’s Enquiries & Admissions team so that they can attach it to your record and make sure you familiarise yourself with the Tier 4: Student Responsibilities and University Reporting Duties.


It is important that you let the University’sEnquiries & Admissions team know as soon as possible if you have a visa refusal. Please scan all refusal letters over so that we can look at the refusal for you. 

If we agree that an evidenced mistake has been made, you will be referred to the IISA team so that they can support you in making an Administrative Review application.