You will need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa if you are an international student from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you want to study a full-time course of more than six months.
To apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa you will need to meet specific criteria. Tier 4 is part of the points based system of immigration in the UK, meaning that you have to obtain a certain number of points to be eligible for the visa. Tier 4 requires 40 points made up from:
- A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from Royal Holloway, University of London (30 points)
- Documents demonstrating the required finances (living costs and tuition fees) (10 points)
A Tier 4 (General) visa will cost £348 in your local currency but this fee may rise if you apply for the visa using your country’s premium/fast track services. As part of the visa application you will need to:
- Submit your online application form (unless you are applying from North Korea, where you will need to complete a paper application form)
- Submit all of the relevant documentation for your application
- Provide your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph)
- Decide where you would like your BRP to be delivered
What is a CAS?
A CAS is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. It is an electronic document that is used in your Tier 4 (General) visa application. The document will have a number on it which you will write in your online visa application. This will allow the Home Office to match up the information in your visa application, to the information on your CAS which Royal Holloway has created for you.
Your CAS will list key details about you and your place at Royal Holloway such as:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your passport number
- Your programme name
- Your start and end dates
- Royal Holloway’s sponsor licence number: WP5GJEXT0
- Your tuition fees due
- Your tuition fees paid
- The documents the College has seen to make an academic assessment (usually academic certificates)
- Your English Language proficiency
- If the programme requires ATAS
It is extremely important that all of the details on the CAS are correct and up-to-date, and that you complete your visa application online with the exact details from your CAS. If you have any questions about your CAS, please contact the Admissions team (new students only).
Applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa
To be ready to apply for your Tier 4 (General) visa, follow the steps below:
Step one - You need to hold an unconditional offer to study at Royal Holloway
Step two – You must have paid all deposits due for your programme, and you must have firmly accepted your offer
Step three – You will be issued a CAS for your visa application. Please note that you may only apply for a Tier 4 visa within three months of your programme’s start date shown in your CAS (this means if you are starting in September your CAS will not be issued to you until June at the earliest)
Step four - Applications can be made online through either one of two links: Visa4UK or Access UK. The Home Office is currently phasing out Visa4UK, however for the meantime both systems remain available to use.
There are certain documents that are required for your visa application to be successful. These documents will be needed at the point of making your visa application:
- A current, valid passport or travel document
- A CAS from Royal Holloway, University of London
- Documents to show you have the correct finances (living costs + tuition fees)
- Two colour passport photographs (no older than 1 month old)
- Academic documents listed on your CAS (including English Language certificate if applicable)
There are also documents that won’t apply to all applicants, but will be required under specific circumstances:
- ATAS certificate (if applicable – your offer details and CAS should state if you require ATAS)
- Sponsor letter (if applicable – if you are sponsored for living costs and/or tuition fees then you will need a document proving this)
- Consent letter from your parent(s)/guardian(s) if you are under 18 (if applicable)
- TB test certificate (if applicable – the list of countries requiring this and the conditions are found here)
- Original translations (if applicable – all translations must be officially undertaken, and the documents must also display the translator’s credentials, contact information, date, and signature)
If you are a national from a low-risk country applying in that country (and with that national passport), then you do not have to provide certain documents as part of the differentiation agreement. Details on this can be found here. You must still have the documents available in case you are asked for them, but you will not need to directly submit them.
You must provide documentary evidence demonstrating the required funds for the Tier 4 (General) visa in one of the accepted formats listed in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.
You must be able to demonstrate:
Living costs of £11,385 (£1,265 per month up-to a maximum of 9 months) + 1 year tuition fees
The document you use to demonstrate your funds can be no older than 1 month old when you submit your immigration application. If your evidence is in a currency other than GBP, please use the currency conversion website OANDA to make sure the funds are at the correct level. We have created a couple of examples of acceptable documents for you that you can see here: example bank statement and example certificate of deposit. To help you provide financial evidence, we recommend that you ask your bank to send you monthly postal bank statements. This way you will hopefully have a statement that will meet the necessary criteria each month.
If you are sponsored for your studies, you will need to provide an official sponsorship letter. It must confirm your name, programme, university, and must include the level of the sponsorship clearly in the text (e.g. “X sponsor will be covering all of Miss. Y’s tuition fees and living costs”).
Guides and our Tier 4 visa checklist
We have produced this step-by-step guide to help you with applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa.
To check if you have all the supporting documents to apply for a Tier 4 student visa please download and read this visa checklist carefully.
Where will I collect my BRP from?
To ensure your BRP is delivered to the College, you should enter our Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code onto the relevant section of your visa application form. Our ACL code is 2HE482.
After submitting your immigration application
It is possible 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. This is what is referred to as a “credibility interview”.
Credibility interviews: tips and guidance
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 and are normally conducted by video link with a caseworker in the UK. The caseworker will ask you about your degree, where you want to study, why you chose Royal Holloway, and your wider reasons for studying in the UK. You may also be asked wider questions about your visa and education history, and/or financial circumstances. The report of the interview will be sent to the Entry Clearance Officer who will make 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.
After your visa has been granted
When you apply for a visa from outside of the UK you will have a 30 day entry clearance vignette (sticker) issued in your passport. You will also receive a decision letter which will advise you where you can collect your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) in the UK.
What is a BRP card?
A BRP is a plastic card, similar in size to a credit card. It will show your visa expiry date, as well as any restrictions/prohibitions on work and will allow you to enter and leave the UK without restriction.
You must collect your BRP within ten days of arriving in the UK. We recommend you state on your visa application to collect your BRP from Royal Holloway.
You must collect your BRP card by taking your passport and 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. A family member will need to provide evidence that you travelled together. It is very important to check the details are correct on your BRP when you collect it. If you are unsure, please contact the International Student Support Office.
Pre-sessional English Language Programme students
If you have applied for a pre-sessional English language programme, you will receive a CAS from Royal Holloway once you have met the conditions for both the pre-sessional programme, and your main programme of study.
We have two options when issuing a CAS:
1. A joint CAS, which covers both the degree programme and pre-sessional English language programme. We can issue a joint CAS if you have:
met the academic requirement for your 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 5.5 in each component of your IELTS test or above OR taken a UKVI approved test (SELT)* with one of the component scores below 5.5.
2. A single CAS which covers the pre-sessional English language programme (PELP) only. We will issue this if you cannot provide evidence of meeting the academic conditions of your degree programme before applying for your visa. On successful completion of your PELP, you would then have to apply for another CAS for your degree programme before you enrol on your degree programme. We will issue this if you have:
- A UKVI SELT (e.g. IELTS) AND
Paid the deposit(s) for the degree programme AND
Paid the full tuition fee for the pre-sessional English language programme
Please note that 4 week PELP students will always receive a joint CAS.
Current students (applying from overseas)
If you are a current student at Royal Holloway and you are needing to apply for a new Tier 4 visa from overseas (e.g. returning from interruption, changing course), you will need to apply for a CAS from Student Administration.
To do this, please follow this link and complete the online request form. Make sure you attach a scanned copy of your passport photo page in your CAS request. You also need to provide evidence that you have left the UK by providing an exit/arrival stamp or flight details, and giving details of your most recent UK visa.
We recommend you ask for your new CAS three months before your current visa expires. For further assistance, please contact the International Student Support Office.
What if my visa is refused?
If in the unlikely event your visa is refused by the Home Office please make sure that you notify the College as soon as possible. To do this, please email a copy of the whole refusal letter that you received along with your Royal Holloway student ID number to the Admissions team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the International Student Support Office (email@example.com). We will then take a look at your refusal and help advise you on what steps to take next.
Once we have spoken with you about your refusal, we will usually look for you to provide new documentation to us so that we can make sure you are ready to apply again. Only once we have reviewed new documents will a new CAS be issued. Please do not try to re-apply with your old CAS.