Important things to consider

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Immigration matters

For UK Government information on general requirements for visa applications, application forms and official guidelines, visit the UK Government website.

When planning your studies in the UK, you need to investigate what type of entry clearance or visa you need to obtain before you travel. You can check this on the UK Government website.

If you are a 'Visa National' then you will have to apply for a visa before you travel to the UK. This information can be found on the UK Government website.

Students on courses of six-month duration or less

A category of Short Term Study Visa (previously called student visitor visa) has been introduced for students who wish to come to the UK to study on courses of six-month duration or less. Entry to the UK on a Short Term Study visa means that you will not be permitted to work in the UK (even if you need to work as part of your studies) nor will you be able to extend your visa from the UK.

If you want to come on a Short Term Study Visa you must show:

  • That you have been unconditionally accepted on a course (by proof of an unconditional offer letter)
  • If you are aged under 18 then you will need to provide additional information. Please see the UK Government website for more details.
  • You have the financial resources to accommodate and maintain yourself during your studies
  • You intend to leave at the end of your stay and be able to meet the cost of your return journey home

Visa nationals who wish to enter the UK under this category must apply for entry clearance prior to arrival in the UK. Non-visa nationals do not need entry clearance prior to arrival but will need to declare their intentions to the Immigration Officer on arrival. Make sure that the Immigration Officer marks your entry stamp as a Short Term Study Visa.

Further information about making an application for a Short Term Study Visa is available at on the UK Government website.

How to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

You should contact your nearest British Mission who will be able to provide you with details of when, where and how you need to submit your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application.

They can also help with things like processing times, documents required and any latest updates. The actual procedure used by the British Missions can vary from place to place.

If you are a registered traveller, do not use the e-gates but make your study intentions known.

If applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa you will need your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number (which will be sent to you via email once you have met all academic and financial conditions of your offer).

Please note that under current immigration regulations you cannot apply more than 3 months before the start date of your programme. Applications will be refused if the CAS number is more than six months old. You can only use a CAS number once. If your application is refused you cannot use the same CAS number to make a new application; if you do, your application will be refused. If you want to make a new visa application, you must request a new CAS number from the International Admission team email: international@herts.ac.uk.

What are the legal requirements for obtaining entry clearance as a Tier 4 (General) Student?

Requirements for leave to enter as a student are laid down in the Immigration Rules and can be found at gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa. Please make sure that you read and understand these legal requirements. If you have difficulties in understanding them then contact your local British Mission for further advice.

What documents do I need to provide?

The United Kingdom operates a points based immigration system, where you need to obtain 40 points in order to obtain a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. You are required to show evidence of how you meet this points requirement in your application form, as well as provide proof.

The Tier 4 Policy Guidance contains full eligibility details for Tier 4, including financial conditions and what will be accepted as proof.

30 points are obtained for the CAS number issued by the University and the documents used to obtain it. You must produce evidence of all your original qualifications used by the University in order to provide you an offer of a place. This information is outlined on your CAS email under the heading ‘Documents used to obtain an offer of a place’. You must submit original certificates and documents, as photocopies are not sufficient.

10 points are awarded for meeting financial conditions, i.e. having enough money to cover your course fees for the first year and monthly living costs up to a maximum of 9 months (also known as maintenance). You must be able to prove that the money has been available in your account for 28 consecutive days before the date you apply for your visa.

Your CAS number must be used within six months of its issue. The date you are applying means the date you submit your visa application.

Checking your visa

Once your visa is issued you should make sure that you check your visa is the right type of visa for you, and has the correct length of time. You should report any errors to the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) as it may not always be possible to correct any mistakes once you have left your country.

You should check the vignette in your passport as well as your immigration decision letter. If you have applied for a Tier 4 (General) student visa you will need to check the following:

  • The visa stamp states you are a “Tier 4 (General) Student,” not a “Visitor” or a “Tier 4 (Child)”
  • No working prohibition
  • Police registration; if your visa/immigration decision letter states that you must register, then speak with the University’s Student Immigration Team when you arrive in the UK and they will advise how and when to do this
  • The Sponsor Licence Number (SLN) is correct; you can find this number on your CAS. Sometimes the ECO will write the CAS number instead of the SLN; this is okay as long as it is the correct CAS number
  • Start date – in most instances the earliest your visa will be valid from is one month before the start date of the course (as stated on your CAS). If your course is less than six months (excluding pre-sessional courses) then the earliest date your visa will start is 7 days before the start date of your course
  • Expiry/end date: If you are coming to study on a course for more than six months then the vignette in your passport will be valid for 30 days only. Once you arrive in the UK you will then be able to collect your visa which  should cover the full length of your programme of study. Your immigration decision letter will tell you what the full length of your visa will be. There are Home Office guidelines which determine how much leave a Tier 4 student should be given.

If these guidelines have not been followed then ask the ECO to amend your leave. For further details about collecting your visa on arrival to the UK please see our Ask Herts page.

If you use the CAS we have issued to obtain your visa then you will be tied to this University. If you therefore decide to change education providers, you will need to apply for a new visa before you will be permitted to start your studies (and in some instances you need to actually be in receipt of your new visa before you can start with another institution). This is still the case even if you have time left on your current visa.

CourseEnd of immigration permission

12 months or more

4 months after the end of the course

6 months or more, but less than 12 months

2 months after the end of the course

Pre-sessional course, less than 6 months

1 month after the end of the course

Other course, less than 6 months

7 days after the end of the course

What happens if my visa is refused?

If your application has been refused, you will have been given a written notice detailing the reasons for the refusal. If you think that the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) has made a mistake then you can request an administrative review.

Please inform the University of your refusal before you submit an Administrative Review, so we can provide you with the best possible advice. Send a copy of the refusal notice to SITcompliance@herts.ac.uk.

Your request must be made within 28 days of the date you receive the refusal notice. You may only ask for one administrative review for each refusal decision.

If you have been studying elsewhere in the UK on a Tier 4 visa and you are now applying to study at the University of Hertfordshire, you will need to make a new Tier 4 visa application using the CAS issued to you before you will be permitted to register. This is still the case even if you have time left on your current visa.

If you think you will need to extend your visa whilst you are in the UK, (for example, to do a new course of study, or you are studying on a pre-sessional or preparatory course), then it is important that you are aware of the application procedure. For information on this, visit the UK Government website.

Under new Home Office rules, if you are starting a new course of study, even with the same education provider, you will need to apply for a new visa (with a new CAS) before you can start the course. This is still the case even if you have time left on your current visa.

Note that if you are already in the UK and your existing permission to stay runs out more than 28 days before the start date of your new course of study, you will have to return home to apply from outside the UK. You will not be able to apply to extend your visa from the UK.

Bringing your family to the UK 

Useful information about eligibility for family members to apply as dependants can be found here.

If you are applying for entry clearance for dependants then a separate application will need to be made for each dependant.

Guidance and policy on making applications for dependants is available here.

Please note that the University does not have accommodation suitable for families.

Health screening

Pre-screening for tuberculosis (TB) has been introduced in areas which are considered to be high risk. If you are applying for a visa from certain countries for over six months you will need to obtain a certificate, from an accredited clinic, showing that you are free from infectious TB. If you do not have a certificate your entry clearance application will normally be refused. To find out if you are required to be screened for TB visit the UK Government website.

Biometric finger scans and digital photographs

All visa applicants, irrespective of nationality, will need to provide ‘biometric’ information as part of the visa application process. This biometric information consists of scans of all 10 of your fingers and a full-face digital photograph. You will have to go to the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC) in person to provide this biometric information. In countries where there is no VAC, you will need to go to the British Mission. Your visa application will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

If you will be studying in the UK on any type of time limited leave (visa) and you are planning to undertake postgraduate studies and/or research which leads to a Doctorate or Master's degree in certain designated subjects (usually science and engineering), you will have to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before you apply for your visa. Your CAS will indicate whether or not you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate. Applicants have to obtain ATAS before they are given a CAS.

Full details about this scheme can be found here.

Credibility Interviews

Any Tier 4 applicant may be required to undergo a short interview as part of their visa application. The purpose of the interview is to ascertain that a student’s intentions to study in the UK are genuine. More information can be found here.

Biometric Residence Permit

Any non EU/EEA national applying from overseas for permission to stay for more than six months will be given a 30 day vignette when they apply for a visa. Applicants will then need to collect their visas within 10 days of arrival in the UK. The visa will be in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

To ensure that you can collect your Biometric Residence Permit from the University of Hertfordshire you must enter the Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code: 2HE462, when you apply for your visa online. If you do not do this then your BRP will be sent to a Post Office. Arranging collection from a Post Office could cause delays in your registration. Ensuring your BRP is delivered to the University is essential if you are aged under 18.

Further information about Biometric Residence Permits can be found at on our Ask Herts page.

On campus BRP Card Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code: 2HE462

Immigration Health Surcharge

Many people who need immigration permission to come to or stay in the UK will be charged an additional sum as part of their immigration application. This will entitle them to receive free health services under the National Health Service.

The charge for students and their dependants can be found online. This sum is an annual amount and applicants will be charged the annual amount for each year of the maximum period of leave which could be granted under the immigration rules. If this period of leave includes part of a year that is six months or less, the amount payable for that part of a year is half the specified amount. If the period of leave includes part of a year that is more than six months, the full annual amount is payable. Find out more information about the health surcharge can be found here.

Legal matters

The laws in the UK may not be quite the same as in your own country. If you break the law and are found to be guilty of a crime, a successful prosecution could result in a fine, a prison sentence or even being deported from the UK. You would also be subject to the University’s disciplinary procedures and liable to be excluded from the University.

Immigration matters - during your studies

The Student Immigration Advisors are here to help students with any queries they may have about student visas, and to help, where necessary, to extend their time in the UK. The advice we give is free.

If you have a Tier 4 visa, it’s important that you act in a way which protects your immigration status, find out how to do this on the UKCISA website.

As a Tier 4 sponsor the University has a legal duty to report to the UK immigration authorities those Tier 4 visa holders who:

  • Fail to enrol for their course within the enrolment period
  • Leave their studies (permanently or temporarily)
  • Are absent without permission
  • Complete their course earlier than expected
  • Raise suspicion that they may be in breach of the terms of their visa

Bringing items into the UK

There are strict laws governing what you can bring into the country. If you are unsure what you can bring into the UK, you can check with your local British Mission before you leave or look at the Home Office website: gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Registering with the police

Certain nationals are required, by law, to register with the police within 7 days of arriving in the UK. If your entry clearance stamp, immigration decision letter or BRP contains the words ‘police registration within 7 days of UK entry’ then you are required to do so. The Student Immigration Team can advise you on the correct procedure for registering with the police, and tell you which documents you will need to provide.

Find out more information about registering with the police.

Working in the UK

During your studies (or after completion) you may wish to work; there are strict laws governing who is permitted to work, what type of work they can do, and how many hours they are permitted to work.

The Student Immigration Advisors are here to help students with any queries they may have about working in the UK. Although we have a careers service and an employment bureau, the University cannot guarantee work to students or graduates.

If you wish to work during your studies then you are strongly advised to visit the UKCISA website for more information.

Further advice on working after your studies is also available from UKCISA.

Driving in the UK

There are very strict laws in the UK about driving – these may be very different from laws in your own country. For details about driving please visit gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence.

Staying safe in the UK

  • Avoid displaying expensive items such as watches, jewellery or mobile phones in busy public places
  • Try not to carry large amounts of money with you
  • If you have lost a key or just moved to a new property, it is a good idea to change the locks after speaking with your landlord
  • Make sure your phone is charged when going out in case of emergency, or if you lose the people you are with
  • Always know how you're getting home, especially when going somewhere you don't  know - let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back
  • Register your belongings on immobilise.com, a free UK property register used by the police, insurers, and the second-hand trade - register items like your phone or your bike, anything that may be stolen, in order to assist the police.

Useful numbers

  • 999 - Emergency (police, fire, ambulances)
  • 112 - Emergency (UK mobile)
  • 111 - Non-emergency for health
  • 101 - Non-emergency for police
  • +44 (0) 1707 281010 - On-campus security
  • +44 (0) 1707 285555 - On-campus emergency