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Applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa in the UK

Latest news: We have updated some of our guidance documents including the Tier 4 (General) online visa application form completion guidance. Please view the links on the right hand side of the page for more information.

We offer immigration workshops and personal appointments for current and new international students who are already in the UK and need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Our advice is free and not prejudiced.

Starting your course in September 2018?

We will start to issue CAS from the end of June 2018, so you should make sure you firmly accept your offer and pay your deposit by this date, or as soon as your offer is Unconditional, to ensure we can issue your CAS without any delays. The next step is making sure you are ready to receive your CAS, by clearing all the “pending actions” on your account in myHub. This could be one or more of the following:

  • Legible copy of a valid passport
  • Copy of your final certificate (original and/or translation)
  • Copy of your final transcripts (original and/or translation)
  • Copy of IELTS certificate, or equivalent English language qualification (if applicable)
  • Academic and / or professional references
  • Personal statement
  • Confirmation of any previous UK study
  • Copy of any previous UK visas

If you are a new BU student who is are already in the UK and you need to apply for a BU Tier 4 (General) student visa to be able to start your new BU course, please read the guidance at the bottom of this page. This explains how we can help you with your visa application. We strongly advise that you use our service to avoid any unnecessary problems.

For more information, please contact your IAT administrator (this is the person who has been in contact with you about your offer).

Current BU students

If you already have your BU Tier 4 (General) student visa but it is not long enough to finish your studies, you will need to extend your visa. This may be because you have been given an academic extension to the end date of your course, you have failed some units or changed to a longer BU programme. You can extend your visa in the UK or in your home country. First, you must follow the guidance below in order to receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from AskBU.

Important: All current BU students must apply for their visa extension before the end date of their course. We will not be able to give you a CAS and help you extend your Tier 4 (General) student visa after you have handed in your dissertation or submitted your last piece of coursework.

Bournemouth University International College students

Students currently on our Pre-Sessional English for University Study Programme (PSEUSP) or other Pathway course who have a conditional offer for their BU degree course will receive visa information and personalised advice as part of their pre-sessional programme. If you are one of these students, it is not necessary for you to attend the general AskBU visa workshops or follow the below guidance.

Further information

What do I have to do, if I need to extend my Tier 4 (General) student visa for my BU studies?

  • Attend a Tier 4 (General) student extension workshop (you should do this about 4 months before your visa expires) and you will be emailed a CAS request form after the workshop
  • Take or email your completed CAS request form to AskBU with your passport(s) and UK visa(s)
  • We will assess, if you are eligible for a new CAS statement. If you are, we will email your CAS (without its number) to you normally within 5 working days. If you are not eligible for a new CAS, one of our experienced immigration advisers will advise you further
  • Start collecting and preparing all the required documents for your visa extension
  • When you have everything ready, contact AskBU to book your 1-2-1 visa checking appointment and attend your appointment (please arrive on time for this)
  • Post your application to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI in the Home Office).

Things to do and remember before you make your application

  • Take good quality copies (preferably electronic ones e.g. scans, digital photos) of all your documents. Please remember to make copies of all your UK visas, not just your most recent one, in your passport(s) and even your photos
  • Before your application is sent, please ensure that you update all your contact details, especially your personal email address and personal telephone number. We will only communicate with you about your visa via your BU student email address, your registered personal email address and phone number
  • If you are currently working during your studies, let your employer know that you are making a visa extension application and you will provide evidence of the application soon
  • We advise you not to book any travel outside the UK until you have received your visa. Your visa application could take a long time. Please note that AskBU cannot speed up the application process for you at all. If you must travel within the next six months, you should use the Home Office premium service, which will cost more but is quicker
  • If you would like your documents to be insured, you should use the Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed service to send your documents (including a Special Delivery return envelope with your address on it) to the Home Office
  • The Home Office will return your documents using Royal Mail Signed for service
  • Your Tier 4 (General) student visa is not going to be in your passport. Instead, it is going to be issued in the form of a plastic card. This is called the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

What happens after you have made your application?

  • When you have submitted and paid for your visa application online, you have 15 days in which to send your documents
  • Once you have posted your documents, the UKVI will then check that you submitted all the relevant documents and that these are valid and genuine (this could take 2-3 weeks)
  • After this the UKVI will send a biometric notification letter (the letter could take another week to arrive). The letter should come to us as we would be your correspondence address and we will contact you by email as soon as the letter is ready to be collected from AskBU at The Base
  • When you have received this biometric notification letter, you must read it carefully as it will tell you how, when and where you need to have your biometric details registered and how much it will cost. If you would like to know more about biometric enrolment before you receive your letter, please go to the UKVI website and the Post Office website (there is also a video clip on this website showing exactly how the registration is done). Please note that you must enrol your biometric details every single time you make a Tier 4 (General) student visa application
  • Once you have successfully registered your biometric details (please keep the receipt you get from the Post Office as evidence), you do not usually need to do anything else but wait for the UKVI's decision. Please note that it could take between 4-8 weeks after the date you register your biometric details to make a decision on your visa
  • When the UKVI has made a decision on your visa application, your documents and BRP are returned either to you or to AskBU. Please note that your documents and the BRP are sent separately from each other and there could be a 2 week difference between receiving both of them. If these documents are returned to your address instead, please bring and show them to AskBU at The Base. If you do not receive anything from either the UKVI or from us within 8 weeks of your biometric enrolment, please contact AskBU immediately
  • When we have received all your documents including your BRP and they are all in order, and we have saved them for our records, we will contact you via email to let you know how you can collect them (this should not take longer than 2 working days).

What happens, if I am told that I can only get a new visa from my home country?

  • It may happen that after you have been to a visa workshop, requested your new CAS and attended your 1-2-1 appointment with one of our AskBU International Student Advisers, you will be told that your visa extension cannot be successful in the UK
  • The BU Immigration and Compliance Officer may also inform you, if you needed to leave the UK before you can continue your course
  • If you are in this situation, you will need to return to your home country as soon as possible
  • Once you are in your country, you will need to follow the visa application process that is specific to your home country. This is likely to be the same process that you had to follow the first time you applied for a visa to come to the UK. However, you must find it out yourself on the link above
  • Please note that in all cases when you are required to return to your home country to get your new visa, your CAS number will only be sent to you once you have shown us evidence that you have left the UK.

What can you expect from us?

After you have attended one of our Tier 4 (General) visa workshops, we will:

  • offer you an appointment to check, if your application is completed correctly, and
  • check, as far as possible, if you have the right documents, and
  • give you immigration advice based on your individual circumstances that you tell us about, and
  • advise you, if you cannot make a Tier 4 (General) student visa extension application in the UK and you have to go back to your home country to get your new visa, or
  • advise you, if your situation requires further advice from a trained immigration solicitor.

We will not:

  • complete your application for you, or
  • answer any immigration questions specific only to your situation during the visa workshop (however, we will do this during your 1-2-1 appointment), or
  • give you a CAS or offer an appointment until you have attended a visa workshop, or
  • release your CAS number until you have had your appointment, or
  • be able to represent you at any formal appeal, if your visa application is not successful – we are not trained to do this. To find a trained immigration solicitor, please visit the ILPA website or the OISC website.

What do we expect from you?

We expect you to:

  • arrive at the visa workshop on time, and
  • arrive at your appointment on time (we may not be able to see you if you are more than 5 minutes late), and
  • complete your Tier 4 (General) student visa application form before you come for your appointment, and
  • contact AskBU at least 48 hours before your appointment to cancel it, if you cannot attend
  • bring your new visa to AskBU once it is granted, if you sent your application yourself and/or received your visa at your address (not from AskBU), so that we could save it for our records
  • let us know immediately, if you sent your application yourself and/or received your visa at your address (not from AskBU) and:
    • your visa had been rejected as invalid (this means: the application has not been accepted by the UKBA for various reasons); or
    • your visa has been refused (this means: your application has not been successful).