Please note it is your responsibility to check visa requirements and apply for a visa. Any information we provide is for guidance only.
It is important to check all immigration requirements regularly and before travelling, as they can change. Students without the necessary visa will be refused entry to the UK. You should allow plenty of time to organise your visa and ensure you are aware of all your responsibilities under the terms and conditions of your visa. Please note that the advice given below relates primarily to the Tier 4, General Student category of the UK's Points Based Immigration Scheme. For further information, please visit the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) website.
Tier 4: Immigration Information for International Students Leaflet
Tier 4: A pledge of support for international students in Scotland (Produced by Universities Scotland)
Tier 4: What Does the Points Based System Mean for Our International Students?
All international students planning to study full-time in the UK will need to apply for their VISA under Tier 4.
The information given on this webpage is based on details of the Points Based System currently published by UKBA. The information is continually updated, so it is important that you visit this page and the UKBA website at regular intervals to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
From the 6th April 2012 a number of changes to the Tier 4 visa have been implemented. You can find more details by visiting the British Council website.
Applying for a VISA under Tier 4
Any international (except European Economic Area and Swiss nationals) student planning to study full-time in the UK for more than six months will need to apply for their visa under Tier 4. The visa application is based on a points based assessment - 40 points are needed to be granted a visa. You score:
- 30 points for Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), which is a number generated when a licensed immigration sponsor enters your data into the relevant Home Office electronic system; and
- 10 points if you can show that you have enough finances to cover your course fees for the first 12 months and monthly living expenses for up to 9 months (known as maintenance).
For further information visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/
Who is my Licensed Immigration Sponsor?
All applicants under the Tier 4 (General) Student category need a sponsor - your sponsor will be the University which you are planning to study at therefore, in your case, it will be the University of Aberdeen. The University of Aberdeen is on the 'Register of Sponsors Licensed under the Points Based System'. Our sponsor number is 1GF1B20B2 and we have a Highly Trusted Status (HTS) rating, the highest level that can be awarded.
For further information, see the UK Border Agency Register of Sponsors
What is a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) and how do I get this?
You must have your CAS before you can make a visa application. The CAS is an electronic number provided to you by your sponsor. This number cannot be issued by anyone other than your sponsor. The number is generated by your sponsor once you have accepted an unconditional offer of a place. The University cannot issue a CAS before this. The number is created when the University enters your details, which would include your name and course of study in to the Home Office database. The University of Aberdeen will issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance which will include a note of your CAS number which you will need in order to apply for your visa once you have completed the following:
- Met any conditions attached to your offer (as detailed in your offer letter)
- Returned your financial guarantee form (and sponsor letter if applicable)
- Returned your acceptance form
- Paid any deposit if applicable (this will be detailed in your offer letter)
- Returned your deposit agreement if applicable (this will be detailed in your offer letter)
Please note, if you have not completed any of the steps listed you will not be issued with a CAS or Certificate of Acceptance. Your Certificate of Acceptance will be sent to you by email as a pdf. For the University to be able to issue you with a CAS you must first supply the Admissions Office with your passport number, your nationality, place of birth and country of birth.
When applying for your visa you will need to quote your CAS number and in addition, you will need to provide evidence of the reasons you have been given an offer as laid out in your Certificate of Acceptance e.g. by submitting your original degree certificate/transcripts and English Language qualifications with your qualifications. Do not provide certificates not mentioned on your CAS.
If you had deferred your offer you must NOT use the old documentation supplied to you by the University as the CAS and Certificate of Acceptance must be issued no more than six months before the date of the application. Any visa application submitted using old documentation or without a CAS will be automatically refused.
You may obtain several CAS numbers from different licensed sponsors, if you are applying to institutions other than the University of Aberdeen but you should only apply for entry clearance - a visa - with the CAS from your chosen institution. Your visa will then be linked to your immigration sponsor, therefore if you are studying at the University of Aberdeen, your visa will be granted to study at the University of Aberdeen only. It is important that you make this decision carefully. If you change your mind subsequent to receiving your visa, you will need to apply for a new visa and your new institution may not allow you to register which may have implications for your ability to register for your chosen degree programme in a timely manner.
How Much Money Do I Need to Have?
As of April 2012 the finances you need in order to pass the points-based assessment if you are coming to study at the University of Aberdeen are:
Length of Course
Where will you Study?
Maintainance (Funds) Needed
|9 months or less
||Course fees plus £800 per month, up to a maximum of 9 months (£7,200), or 2 months if the applicant has an established presence (£1,600)
|More than 9 months
||First year of fees plus £800 per month, up to a maximum of 9 months (£7,200), or 2 months if the applicant has an established presence (£1,600)
You must show that you have held the required amount of money in your bank account for a consecutive 28-day period. This period should finish on the date of the closing balance (as shown on your bank statement) which should be no more than 31 days before the date of your application.
Please check the UKBA website for the latest information. For information on course fees please go to: www.abdn.ac.uk/international/finance.php
The Certificate of Acceptance will state the amount of tuition fees that you are required to pay for your first year.
How Long Can I Apply to Stay For?
If you are studying at degree level or above, you can stay for the full duration of your course
What Do I Need to Apply?
To apply for your visa, once you have received your CAS, you should complete the application form - for further information visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/
It is essential that you complete all of the required fields in the application form. Please note, the University of Aberdeen cannot provide individual advice on completing the visa application form and you should refer to the UKVisas website should you have any questions regarding the visa application form. In addition, you will need to include the following:
- Your passport or travel document;
- Your CAS number as provided by a licensed sponsor
- The fee as published at http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/fees// This cannot be refunded and you must pay in local currency;
- Your biometric details
- A recent passport sized photograph - it is important that this is inline with UKBA guidance
- All documents as specified in the Tier 4 Guidance as stated in the Immigration Rules. This would include documentation to prove you meet the maintenance requirements. You should also provide original certificates of qualification and/or original transcripts that are detailed in your Certificate of Acceptance under the section entitled 'Documents Used to Make the Offer':
- Evidence 1 Academic Standing (e.g. academic transcript & degree certificate)
- Evidence 2 English Language (e.g. TOEFL/IELTS score)
Please refer to UKBA guidance for up-to-date information on what needs to be included. If you do not submit relevant documents, your application is likely to be refused so it is really important that you are confident at the point of submission that you have checked that you have completed all the required documents and included the necessary evidence documentation in accordance with UKBA guidelines.
How Much Will It Cost?
The VISA application fees are listed on the UKBA website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/fees/
Can I Work?
Generally speaking you should be granted permission to work part-time (no more than 20 hours a week) during term-time while studying and full-time during vacations, in line with previous VISA rules. (Note: postgraduate students are not permitted to work full-time during the summer vacation if they have not completed their writing-up or submitted their dissertation or any aspect of their course of study).
Key Points for Students
- All international students will require an immigration sponsor under the new Points Based System. A student's immigration sponsor is the institution they are studying at, therefore if you are coming to study at the University of Aberdeen, we will be your immigration sponsor.
- Your VISA will be linked to your immigration sponsor, therefore if you are studying at the University of Aberdeen, your VISA will be granted to study at the University of Aberdeen only. If you decide to switch institution your VISA would no longer be valid and you would be required to apply for a new VISA.
- All UK universities will be required to monitor students' attendance under the Points Based Systems. It is therefore very important that you ensure you arrive and register at the University on the dates as written in your VISA letter and attend classes in accordance with University regulations. Failure to register by the given deadline or attend classes may result in you being reported to the UKBA.
Study Abroad and Exchange Students
All international (except European Economic Area and Swiss nationals) students will be required to apply for entry clearance. If you are studying for less than 6 months you can either apply for 'Student Visitor' entry clearance which is aimed at those short term students who wish to undertake a short course of up to six months and have no interest in full student visa entitlements (i.e. the ability to work part-time, extend their stay whilst in the UK, or provide the opportunity for multiple entry) or for a full student visa under Tier 4. For more details including eligibility and restrictions please see the Student Visitor pages of the UKBA website.
The University would recommend any international student coming on a Study Abroad or Exchange programme to apply for the full student visa under Tier 4.
If you have an unconditional offer: If you have an unconditional offer for your degree programme, you can apply for one visa for both your pre-sessional English course and your degree course provided that you are studying at the same institution and it is no later than 1 month before the start of your degree after your pre-sessional course ends.
If you have an offer which is conditional on completing an English Language course: If you only have a conditional offer to do your full-time degree programme, and are first planning on studying one of the summer school options at the University, you will need to apply for a visa to do the summer school course first. If you successfully finish that course, as long as you had a student visa under Tier 4, you can apply for a visa extension from within the UK to continue with your full-time degree course.
Foundation English Course: You are advised to apply for a full student visa under Tier 4. When you have successfully completed your Foundation English Course, you can then apply for a visa from within the UK to do a full-time degree course.
How Will PBS Affect Me When I Arrive in the UK?
Under the immigration rules all licensed immigration sponsors are required by law to keep the following information on students in possession of a Tier 4 visa:
- Up to date contact information for all students studying at the University
- Contact history for all students studying at the University
- A copy of the passport, including the visa page and the biometric card (if applicable) for all students studying at the University
- Monitor attendance and progress of all students studying at the University
When you arrive, it is important that you register with the University at the designated time. Registration staff will ensure that you have undertaken electronic registration (eRegistration), and that you have entered a term time address (i.e. a local address in Aberdeen), that you have met with your academic Adviser, or equivalent person. Take a copy of your passport and your original passport with you to registration. Each copied page will be checked against your original passport. You do not need to photocopy any blank pages of your passport (ie pages that contain no information). If all is in order, the copy of your passport will be stamped, dated, signed by the Registry official and retained on file. You will then be issued with a University ID card (as long as you have previously mailed in your photograph). Under the new Points Based immigration system, the University is obliged to keep copies of your passport and you must ensure that your contact details in the UK are up-to-date at all times. After you have registered as a student you will be able to keep your address details up-to-date through your Student Portal.
If you fail to register with the University during the normal registration period, as stated on your Certificate of Acceptance, or if you are found not to be at the address you have provided, we are obliged to report you to the UK immigration authorities - UKBA.
You should expect to register in this way at the beginning of each academic term during your studies (in September, January and April each year). It is important that you register promptly each year so that the University knows that you are present and attending, otherwise you will be reported to the UKBA.
How Will PBS Affect Me During My Studies?
The immigration authorities require the University to report you to them if you do not comply with the terms of your student visa. To avoid us having to do this:
- You must let the Admissions Office know if you are deferring the start date of your studies.
- You must inform the Admissions Office if you want to transfer your studies to another university or, if you have started your studies, you must formally withdraw by reporting to the InfoHub, in The Hub and completing the appropriate Withdrawal Form.
- You must keep good attendance.
- You must ensure that you have written permission to take any time off from your studies.
- You must keep your address up to date: keep it correct through your Student Portal.
- You must let us know immediately if you shorten the duration of your studies.
- You must not change your status from full-time student to part-time student
- You must have written permission from your School if you decide to go home to write-up your dissertation or thesis
- You must not re-take any course module assessment more than 2 times (one original attempt plus two further attempts at the assessment).
It is important that you make every effort to pass each stage of your studies, and progress well. If you need a visa extension because you have spent longer than usual finishing your studies this will be expensive for you and the UKBA will require an explanation as to why you were unable to complete your studies during the expected enrolment period. You must have University support in order to request an extension. In this instance, the University will issue you with a new CAS number so that you can apply for your extension.
If you need to discuss your immigration status, please go to our Student Advice and Support Office, based in The Hub, to make an appointment to speak with an International Student Adviser.