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More in this section Immigration and Visas

Applying from outside the UK

apply for a visa

The Points Based Immigration regulations from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) require all international students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who wish to study in the UK for six months or longer to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

Students who are nationals from the EEA and Switzerland do not need a student visa. 

What do I need to apply?

To apply for a student visa, follow the steps below:

  • Step one First you will need to hold an unconditional offer to study at Royal Holloway and must have paid your deposit and firmly accepted this offer. You can find out more information on our course tuition fee deposit web pages.

  • Step two You will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from Royal Holloway. This is a unique reference number that will be sent to you by the Admissions Office in an email, together with other important information which you may need when making your visa application. When receiving the CAS, make sure you check it carefully and inform our Admissions Office if there are any errors. You may only apply for a Tier 4 visa within three months of the degree start date, which will be shown in your CAS.  

  • Step three You will need to apply for your visa using the online application form available on the Visa4UK website.

On 6 April 2012 the UKVI introduced a new five year cap on international students studying at degree level or above in the UK whilst on a tier 4 (General) student visa. You can find out more on the Gov.UK website.


I've applied for Pre-sessional English, what do I need to know?

If you've applied to any of our Pre-Sessional English language courses, you will receive a CAS from Royal Holloway as soon as you have met the conditions for the Pre-Sessional, as well as your main programme of study. 

There are two options when issuing a CAS:

(1)  A joint CAS, which covers both the degree programme and Pre-Sessional English Language programme.  

(2)  A single CAS which covers the Pre-Sessional English language programme only. It is issued when an applicant cannot provide evidence of meeting the academic condition of the degree programme before applying for a Student Tier 4 Visa. On successful completion of the PELP, the applicant would then have to apply for a further single CAS for their degree programme before they could enrol on their degree.

 A joint CAS can be issued when an applicant has:

  • met the academic requirement for the degree programme  AND

  • paid the deposit(s) for the degree programme AND

  • paid the full tuition fee for the Pre-Sessional English language programme AND

  • achieved all IELTS subscores of 5.5 or above OR taken a UKVI approved test* with one of the subscores below 5.5.

*This is known as a SELT – Secure English Language Test

Please note Royal Holloway can only issue joint CAS to four week Pre-Sessional English Language programme applicants. You will not be issued a single CAS for a standalone four week Pre-Sessional English language programme.

A single CAS covers the Pre-Sessional English language programme only. Royal Holloway can issue a single CAS to both 12 week and eight week Pre-Sessional English language programme applicants, when applicants have:

  • a UKVI approved test i.e. IELTS for UKVI  AND

  • paid the deposit(s) for the degree programme AND

  • paid the full tuition fee for the Pre-Sessional English language programme.

If you would like to request a single CAS for your eight week Pre-Sessional English language programme, please email us at study@royalholloway.ac.uk.



Visa checklist and a step-by-side guide for the tier 4 visa application

To check if you have all the supporting documents to apply for a Tier 4 visa please download and read this visa checklist carefully. 

Showing financial evidence 

To avoid problems with the suitability of bank statements, you are advised to request monthly postal bank statements. This is because some ad hoc bank statements provided by some banks do not contain all of the information required by the UKVI. . We have produced a sample bank statement  and a certificate of deposit that you may find helpful and is considered acceptable by the UKVI.

You can also download a step by step guide to help you with the online application. 


Credibility interviews: guidance

It is likely that the Home Office will require you to have an interview before granting you a visa to come and study in the UK. Therefore you might be sent an email asking you to attend an interview as part of the application process. You should check your email (including the 'junk' folder) regularly as your application is likely to be refused if you are asked to attend an interview and you do not do so without providing a reasonable explanation. 

Interviews take place when you attend a visa application centre to give your biometric information. A Home Office member of staff will ask you about your degree, where you want to study and your reasons for studying in the UK. The report of the interview will be sent to the Entry Clearance Officer who makes the decision on your tier 4 application.

The Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise you might be called for a further interview and/or your entry clearance application may be refused. 

We have set out general information and guidance to help you prepare here.



What if my visa is refused?

If you think the refusal was incorrect, based on the evidence you submitted with your application, you can ask for an 'administrative review' of the decision to refuse it.

There is no fee for this but you must request the administrative review within 28 days of the date you receive your refusal notice. Please note that you cannot produce new or different documents for an administrative review. You can read Home Office guidance to administrative reviews online.

Please contact the International Student Support Office and Admissions Office as soon as possible with details of your refusal. 


How do I get my new visa in the UK and what is a BRP card?

When you apply for a visa from outside of the UK you will be granted a 30 day short-term entry clearance vignette (sticker) in your passport. You will also be given a decision letter which will advise you where you can collect your new visa, which will be a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and is a separate card. You must collect this card within ten days of arriving in the UK. When you apply for your visa online you will be asked where you want to collect your visa. We recommend you collect your visa from the university and details of how to do this will be in your individual CAS letter.

You must collect the card by taking your passport and entry clearance decision letter to the designated place in person. Only the named individual on the card, or a family member who is 18 years or older may collect the BRP, provided they travelled to the UK with you, and the family member will need to provide evidence that you travelled together. 

To ensure delivery of the BRP to the university (rather than the post office), you should enter our Alternative Location Collection (ALC) code onto the relevant section of your visa application form.  Our ALC code is 2HE482.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    backtotoppurple

Will I be required to pay the London maintenance rate at Royal Holloway?

In November 2015 the Home Office concluded all University of London institutions, which includes Royal Holloway, must demonstrate a higher level of funds when applying for their tier 4 visa. The revised amount is £11,385 (£1,265 per month for nine months).

This means if your degree course is nine months or more you must show a total amount of £11,385 of living costs with the addition of your tuition fees for 28 consecutive days. Please use the visa checklist to assist you with the application and supporting documents.


I'm a current student applying from outside the UK, how do I get my CAS?

If you already have a student visa to study at Royal Holloway and need to apply for a Tier 4 to continue your studies you need to apply for a new CAS - Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies.

You should request a CAS online here. We recommend you request your new CAS three months before your current visa expires.

Once a CAS is produced it will be sent to your Royal Holloway email address. It is important that you attach a scanned copy of your passport photo page, you also need to provide evidence that you have left the UK by providing an exit/arrival stamp or flight details , and your most recent UK visa to the email otherwise this may result in a delay in processing your request.

The CAS will be sent to you via email and we recommend that it is printed and included in your application.The CAS will be emailed to you as soon as possible.



You may find the following videos about students from China and India as they prepare to make their visa applications for study in the UK interesting.




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