Tier 4 visa Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

If you are a national from the EU, EEA and Switzerland, you do not need a visa to study in the UK. All other nationalities do.

I’m only going to be studying for 1 semester – do I still need a visa?

Yes. However If your course is less than six months and you do not wish to work or extend your stay, you can apply for a Short Term Study visa.

Can I study part-time or as a distance learner?

Not on a Tier 4 General visa. Part time study is permitted on a Short Term Study visa.

I already have a Tier 4 visa for another institution.  Can I use this visa to study at the University of Hertfordshire instead?

No. A Tier 4 visa ‘ties’ you to study at the institution whose Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) you used to make your visa application. If you want to study at the University of Hertfordshire you will need to make a new Tier 4 (General) visa application first – even if you have current time left on your visa.

As part of your application to the University you will need to provide details of any previous study in the UK on your Immigration History Questionnaire (IHQ). In most situations you should be able to switch although there may be situations where this is not possible if you will exceed your permitted time limit on a Tier 4 (General) visa or you fail to meet the academic progression rules.

When should I apply for my visa?

If you are making your application from your home country you apply for your visa as soon as possible, but you cannot apply more than 3 months before the course start date as stated on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

If you are eligible to apply from the UK you should normally apply within the last 3 months of your visa validity. You must submit your new Tier 4 visa application before you register at the University, even if you have time left on your current visa.

Don’t leave it too late to apply as you will not be permitted to register after the given University deadline for registration, which is stated on your CAS.

How long will it take me to get my visa?

Processing times vary so you should check the Home Office website for the latest times.  Please note that during the summer months (June, July, and August) processing times may be longer due to the volume of applications received by the Home Office.

Do not leave it to the last minute to apply for your visa. Most countries have a minimum 15 working day processing time although some offer a fast track service (at an additional cost).

For application made in the UK standard processing times are approximately 8 weeks although there are options for a premium same day service and a 10 day priority service. Further details can be found here.

Can the University help me speed up my application?

The University is not in a position to speed up the processing of your application nor can we influence a positive outcome for your application.

Will I be interviewed as part of my visa application?

All Tier 4 (general) applicants applying from overseas are likely to have an interview. Those applying from within the UK may also have to attend an interview.

The purpose of the interview is to ascertain that a student’s intentions to study in the UK are genuine. During the interview you will also be expected to demonstrate that your English language ability is sufficient to follow your chosen course and level of study. We strongly recommend that you start to do some research in preparation for your interview as early as possible.

Further details can be found on our Credibility Interview page.

What documents do I need to make a Tier 4 application?

Details of the documents needed can be found here. Please note that all documents should be originals and if not in English should be accompanied with a certified English translation.

What is a CAS?

CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.

The CAS is a unique reference number that confirms that the University has agreed to be your Tier 4 Sponsor (this is not the same as financial sponsorship) and that we have made you an unconditional offer of a place to study with us, and that you have accepted this.

The CAS will be sent electronically via email.

The CAS is the unique number that you have to include on your Tier 4 visa application. Whilst you are not required to submit the CAS statement with your Tier 4 visa application, you do need the information contained in the CAS statement. Make sure you check it carefully when you receive it.

If you use a CAS issued by the University your visa will only be valid for study at the University of Hertfordshire.

Can I use a CAS more than once?

You cannot use a CAS more than once as part of a visa application.

A new CAS is required every time you apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

If your visa application is refused, do not use the same CAS again, as you will receive another refusal. Send a copy of your full refusal notice to the Tier 4 Compliance team for advice on what you should do next.

I haven’t received my CAS yet – who should I contact?

A CAS will only be issued once you have met all academic, non-academic and financial conditions of your offer and you have accepted that offer. Have you returned all of your documents and met all of the conditions attached to your offer?

If you have any queries with your CAS you should contact the International Admissions team. This includes if you are a current UH student moving up to a new course, e.g. undergraduate to Masters.

If you are a current UH student staying on the same course, and you need to extend your visa, contact the Tier 4 Compliance team.

Do I need a UK address for my visa application?

Yes. As part of the application you need to include a UK address. If you have applied for University accommodation but haven’t yet been told which halls of residence you will be staying in you, should enter your main address as The University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB.

What is a BRP?

BRP stands for Biometric Residence Permit. All non-EEA nationals who come to the UK for longer than 6 months will need a BRP. The BRP is your visa.

The BRP can only be collected after you arrive in the UK.

You will have 10 days to collect your BRP from the location you specified on your visa application form. You will either collect it from the University, or from a local Post Office.

If you apply for your Tier 4 (General) visa from inside the UK, your BRP will be delivered to the address provided in your application.

How do I collect my BRP from the University?

To request delivery to the University you have to request this on your visa application.

When applying from overseas you need to enter our Alterative Location Code on your Tier 4 (General) visa application. Once the University receives your BRP, we will email you to say it has arrived. The email will then ask you to book an appointment to collect your BRP from the Student Centre.

How much money do I need to show?

You need to be able to demonstrate that you have enough funds to cover the first year’s tuition fees plus enough money to cover your living costs for nine months. Visit our Financial conditions page for further details..

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

It depends on your course of study.

Your offer letter will tell you if you need to apply for an ATAS certificate. If you do need an ATAS certificate then you must apply for this before you make your Tier 4 (General) visa application as the certificate must be included with your application.

Further details can be found on our ATAS page.

Do I need to take a TB test?

Applicants from some countries will need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test as part of their visa application. The test must be carried out at a Home Office approved clinic. If the test is clear, then you will be given a test certificate to confirm this - make sure you include the test certificate with your visa application. Check here to see if you need to take a TB test.

If your test result is not clear, please inform us of this by emailing the International Admissions team.

Do I need to do an English test?

All applicants must prove that they can speak English to a sufficient standard to study their programme.

When making a Tier 4 (General) visa application you will need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge must be paid by non-EEA nationals who apply to come, or extend their stay in the UK, for more than 6 months. Those who pay the Health Surcharge will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS), the same as a permanent UK resident.

It is paid at the same time you make your visa application.

Some people are exempt from paying the charge, for example students who enter the UK on a 6 month Short-term Study visa, however they will need to obtain private health insurance. Further details can be found on our Immigration Health Surcharge page.

Can I bring my family with me to the UK?

If you come to the UK as a Tier 4 student, and you are studying a postgraduate programme which is more than 12 months, you may bring dependants.

You may also bring dependants if you are sponsored by your home government, and studying any programme of more than six months in length.

Your dependants are your ‘partner’ and your ‘child’. Other family members, such as your parents, cannot come to the UK as your dependants, but they may visit you for up to six months, using a visitor visa.  For further details, including the definition of a partner or child can be found here.

Is there anyone at the University who can help me with my visa application?

Yes. The International Student Advisers can provide support to guide students through the visa application process. Their advice is free.

What should I do if my visa application is refused?

Do not submit another visa application without seeking advice from us first, so we can help to reduce the risk of a further refusal. Send in a copy of your full refusal notice to the Tier 4 Compliance team (with your applicant number) and we will get back to you.

Do I have to register with the police?

Depending on your nationality, you may be required to register with the police when you arrive in the UK. You need to do this within 7 days of your arrival in the UK.

What happens if I need more time to complete my studies?

If you need more time on your visa to repeat your studies, you may have to extend your visa from overseas.  You can only extend your visa in the UK in certain situations – contact the International Student Support team for more details.

If you have to repeat an exam and/or are not required to attend any classes or lectures for 60 days or more, you must return home until the exam period. You will have to apply for a new visa to return for the exam. Depending on your circumstances it may be more appropriate to return on a Short-term Study visa.

If I leave the UK after my studies can I return for my graduation ceremony?

Your Tier 4 (General) visa is granted to allow you to study. The Home Office do not consider graduation to be a part of your studies. This means that you may not be allowed to use your Tier 4 visa to re-enter the UK once you have completed your programme, as you will no longer be returning to study.

If you want to guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter the UK for graduation, you should apply for a visitor visa before returning.

Can I stay in the UK after my visa has expired?

You should plan to leave the UK or make an application to extend your visa before your visa expiry date. If you stay in the UK after your visa has expired and you have not made a new application, you will be classed as an ‘overstayer’.  You will not have legal permission to be in the UK, which means that you will not be allowed to study or work, and you may not be able to access other services, such as healthcare. You will also not be allowed to have a bank account. If you are living in private rented accommodation, your landlord must report this to the Home Office, which may result in action being taken against you.

You are also liable to be removed from the UK by the Home Office.

If you stay in the UK for longer than 90 days after your visa has expired, you will not be allowed to make an application to return to the UK for at least one year after you leave.

Students often wrongly believe there is a ‘28 day grace period’. There is no grace period.  Although you are permitted to make an application up to 28 days after your visa has expired, you will still be classed as an ‘overstayer’ with no legal permission to be in the UK until you have received a positive decision about your application.

Once you have left the University you should provide the Tier 4 Compliance team of evidence to show that you either transferred to/studying at a different UK institution, switched to another immigration category or that you have returned to your home country. This will show as evidence to the Home Office that the University is no longer acting as your Tier 4 sponsor.

Can I work during or after my studies?

Most students entering the UK on a Tier 4 student visa are permitted to work.

Your vignette or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) will tell you how many hours you are allowed to work each week.

Find out more about your right to work in the UK.