It is extremely important that you find out about UK immigration procedures and how they may affect you. If you prepare all of the necessary documentation in good time, you are less likely to experience problems. Please see the relevant section below.
The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the European Union countries, (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Note that Switzerland is not part of the EU or EEA but does have a bilateral agreement with the EU which provides certain rights to students.
Make sure you have one of the following documents:
If you are an EEA national and have been accepted onto a programme of study, you are entitled to enter the UK freely and have the right of residence for the duration of your programme. You may also want to apply for a residence permit during your stay in the UK.
A residence permit is advisable but not compulsory, it will be particularly useful if:
Residence permits are issued free of charge. Even if you do not intend to marry or work in the UK, the permit can be useful as evidence that you have the right to reside in the UK. To obtain a residence permit, you can complete the application form EEA1, available from the UK Border Agency website.
If your partner and children are EEA nationals they are free to join you in the UK. If they are not EEA nationals then your partner and dependent children under the age of 21 years will usually be able to join you but will need to apply for an EEA family permit from the British Embassy or High Commission where they are living.
All nationals from EU member states are free to work in the UK without restriction. This is because the Worker Registration Scheme ended on 30 April 2011. If you would like any more information on this, please visit the UK Border Agency website, Worker Registration Scheme page.
For further information refer to the UKCISA EEA and Swiss students page.
All non-EEA students are required to obtain entry clearance to enable them to enter the UK and, in most cases, you will have to get this before you travel.
A visa national is an individual who needs a visa to come to the UK. You can find out if you are a visa national by consulting appendix 1 on the Visa requirements for the United Kingdom page of the UK Border Agency's website.
If you are a visa national then you and any dependants must apply for a visa at your nearest British Embassy or High Commission before you travel to the UK. As a visa national you need to make sure that you obtain entry clearance as a general student. If you mistakenly obtain entry clearance in a non-student visitor category, you will have to return to your country to apply for entry clearance as a student before being allowed to begin your studies.
If you wish to stay in the UK for more than six months you will need to apply for entry clearance (a visa) prior to entering the UK. If you do not do this, you may be refused entry and forced to return home to obtain the required entry clearance. If you wish to stay in the UK for less than six months see below for how to apply for a student visitor visa.
If you definitely only want to come to the UK for less than six months, do not wish to work while you are in the UK and you are aged 18 or over then you have the option of applying for a 'student visitor' visa. However you cannot extend this visa or undertake employment while in the UK, so you need to be absolutely sure you will not want to stay in the UK for longer than six months. Refer to the Visitors - visa application guide page on the UK Border Agency website, to find out more about coming to the UK as a student visitor.
Visa nationals will need to apply for this visa before coming to the UK. However, if you are a non-visa national and are intending to stay in the UK for less than six months, you are not obliged to apply for student entry clearance before coming to the UK. Refer to the UK Border Agency website, to find out more about coming to the UK as a student visitor and for details on the documentation you will need to show on arrival in the UK.
You should apply for a Tier 4 general student visa if you intend to work while you are in the UK, or your programme will last longer than six months. To be able to travel to the UK on a Tier 4 general student visa (also known as an adult student visa), you must pass a points based assessment by scoring 40 points before you arrive. You score:
Our admissions office will email you with your CAS number after your offer is unconditionally confirmed. CAS' are valid for 6 months from the date of issue, but you cannot apply for your visa more than three months before your course start date. If your visa application is refused you need a new CAS number each time you apply.
Please contact the relevant office if you have questions concerning when your CAS will be issued:
Undergraduate applicants: email@example.com
Postgraduate applicants: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visiting & Exchange students: email@example.com
English Language students: firstname.lastname@example.org
Continuing students: email@example.com
International Summer School: firstname.lastname@example.org
You should contact your nearest British Embassy or High Commission and explain that you would like to apply for student entry clearance, or refer to the Adult Student Tier 4: (General) - visa application guide page on the UK Border Agency website, where you can download the application form and other information. Some countries allow visa applicants to apply online. Refer to the Visa4UK web pages for details of how to do this.
Make sure you apply in plenty of time (you can apply up to three months before your programme is due to start), as certain commissions get very busy prior to the start of the academic year and you may miss the start of term if you have to wait for your application to be processed. You will need to provide the documents listed below but check the procedure with the commission as these can vary. Your application for a general student visa will cost £289 in local currency (and for each dependant). If you are bringing your family with you, you should apply on their behalf at the same time. Dependants need to complete application form VAF10 available from the UK Border Agency website.
You also need to refer to the 'PBS Dependant Guidance notes' on the same web page. Please also see below for more information on bringing your family to the UK.
Check your visa is correct as it is difficult to alter it once you have left your home country. If you are successful in obtaining a visa you should still bring the documents listed below with you as you may need to show these upon entry.
You will need to complete the application form VAF9 – PBS Migrant. Depending on which country you are applying from you may be able to complete this online. You will also need to complete Appendix 8 for (General) Student. This is only available as a PDF document and must be completed manually and sent in with your supporting documents.
We have produced an interactive version of the Appendix 8 [PDF] form to help answer any questions you might have when completing it. You can download the latest versions of all the forms from the UK Border Agency website.
IMPORTANT Please make sure you are using the most up to date versions of the application forms by visiting the link above. Please also make sure you refer to the UKBA guide to supporting documents when completing your application. It is important you also read and refer to the Tier 4 policy guidance [PDF] when completing your application, as this document sets out the exact requirements for a Tier 4 visa application.
You will also need to include the following with your application:
a current passport or travel document
a CAS number from a licensed sponsor (see above for more details on this). If you have confirmed your place at Sussex we will provide you with a CAS number, if you require one.
documents that show you have adequate funds (maintenance) available. For universities outside London (like Sussex), you will need to show the following:
|Length of Programme||Money needed – programme fees and living costs|
|Nine months or less||Programme fees and £800 for each month of the programme|
|More than nine months||First year of fees and £7,200 to cover your first year in the UK|
Please note, from July 2011 students of designated low-risk nationalities attending courses at Highly Trusted Sponsors will not routinely have to present the specified documents at the visa application stage in respect of their maintenance funds or educational qualifications. Refer to the University's International pages for more information on this and other recent changes to the immigration rules.
you need to show evidence that this money has been in your account for 28 days before you submit your application and your evidence needs to be less than one month old at the time of application. You will also need to sign a declaration stating that the funds are genuinely available for the purpose of funding your study and upkeep in the UK. The UKBA reserve the right to check that these funds continue to be available to you, if they have concerns regarding your ability to support yourself.
You may wish to pay some or all of your fees and university accommodation in advance, which reduces the total amount you need to show in your account. Details of these payments (if made) should be including on your CAS statement. If they are not, you will need to request an updated CAS statement from the relevant office. Please note, a maximum of £1,000 paid to the University for accommodation can be deducted from the amount of maintenance required.
Acceptable evidence of maintenance includes: personal bank or building society statements; building society passbook; letter from a bank; letter from a regulated financial institution confirming funds or loan will be released to you when you get your visa; letter of official financial or government sponsorship.
documents used by your Tier 4 sponsor when they accepted you onto the programme. You will need to show your original qualification certificates or any other education documents you used to obtain your offer of a place at Sussex. When we produce your CAS we will include the list of qualifications used for admission, which you will need to show when applying for your visa.
your biometric details.
non-EEA postgraduate students who intend to study in certain science or technology-based subjects are required to obtain a clearance certificate through ATAS before they can apply for a visa or a visa extension. If this applies to you, and you are a new student, details about this UK Government scheme will be sent with your offer letter. In order to obtain the certificate, you will need to complete a short online application form prior to submitting a visa application (at no charge). For more information about ATAS, refer to the University's Student and Academic Services website and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
May 2012 presentation to ISC students – How to apply for your Tier 4 visa from overseas [PPT]
Here is a copy of the presentation which was made to International Study Centre students on Friday 25th May 2012, it may also be useful to others who wish to understand more about applying for a Tier 4 visa from overseas. As this information is directly relevant to ISC students, if you are NOT an ISC student you may wish to clarify points with an immigration advisor. Please contact us at email@example.com if you need to.
The UK Border Agency has published its lists of financial institutions that do not verify financial statements to the satisfaction of the UK Government. They are in India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The UK Border Agency has also published lists of institutions in those countries that do satisfactorily verify financial statements. If your money is with a financial institution in a different country, this information does not apply to you.
The lists of institutions whose accounts cannot be relied on for Tier 4 immigration applications become effective on 24 November 2011. If you apply on or after this date with financial documents issued by these institutions, the UK Border Agency will refuse your application. However, you should be aware that if you use documents from these institutions before 24 November 2011, your application runs a higher risk than usual of refusal because the UK Border Agency is likely to have problems verifying your documents. You should try to ensure that your funds are in an account with one of the institutions that is acceptable to the UK Border Agency before you make your immigration application.
For a programme of 12 months or longer your visa should be the length of the programme plus four months. If your programme is six months or longer but under 12 months your visa should be the length of your programme plus two months. For pre-sessional courses, which are under six months long your visa should be the length of your course plus one month.
You should email firstname.lastname@example.org with your notice of refusal/rejection. We will then be able to advise on whether it might be possible to request an 'administrative review', where your application is reconsidered.
If the refusal is a valid one, you will need to apply again. We can advise you on the reasons for your first refusal and assist you with your next application.
From July 2011 you will not be able to bring family to the UK with you unless you are taking a postgraduate course which lasts 12 months or more, or you are a government-sponsored student taking a course of more than 6 months. You should complete the correct application forms and ensure the maintenance criteria is met. For a definition of who qualifies as your dependent, and for a more detailed look at the rules surrounding dependent applications, please see the UKCISA guidance.
In order to bring children with you as Tier 4 dependants, both parents must be lawfully living in the UK, rather than abroad. There are only a few exceptions to this such as one parent has died or if you have sole responsibility for the child's upbringing. If you think this situation will affect you, please contact an immigration advisor on email@example.com to discuss the implications further.
As your application progresses, we may email you from time to time with important information relating to your admission to Sussex and visa arrangements. If you have any immigration questions you should contact the immigration advice team at: T +44 (0)1273 67 8179 or +44 (0)1273 67 3840 E firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also publishes a range of information for international students, including immigration advice, which you may find helpful. Refer to the UKCISA website - their information sheet 'Making a student immigration application in your home country' gives a detailed description of the visa application process and required documentation.
Please be aware that under our obligations as a Tier 4 sponsor, the University has a duty to keep records of your passport, visa and ID/biometric cards. Consequently, when you arrive at Sussex you will be asked to bring your passport or ID card for copying. If you apply for a visa extension during your studies, the University will need to take another copy of your new visa. You must also ensure that you keep your contact details up-to-date on Sussex Direct.
The University also has a duty to report to the UKBA:
Health screening is now a prerequisite for some students applying for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK for six months or more. Students from the following countries will be required to show a certificate stating they are free from infectious tuberculosis (TB) at the time of making an application to the embassy or High Commission:
This certificate is obtained by visiting an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) clinic in your home country and having a chest x-ray. Details of these clinics are available on the website of the British Mission for your country. Nationals of other countries may be required to undertake this compulsory screening at a later date. If you are not a national of one of the countries mentioned above and you have been screened for TB, you are advised to bring your certificate or x-ray with you. For more information, refer to the UK Border Agency website Visa Services pages.