Advice for UK students:
Tier 4 student visa interviews
13 May 2013
The UK Government intends to interview most Tier 4 student applicants before granting them immigration permission to come to the UK. Following a pilot scheme it has introduced, or will soon introduce, immigration interviews in the following countries:
- China, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand from 7 May
- Nigeria from 9 May
- Russian Federation from 10 May
- Ghana from 28 May
- Ethiopia and Uganda from 31 May
The intention is to interview Tier 4 applicants from most countries by the end of 2013. This requirement will not apply to you if you are a national or a passport holder of one of the "low risk" countries.
Interviews take place when you attend a visa application centre to give your biometrics and submit documents. A Home Office member of staff will ask you about your course, 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. If you attend a visa application centre on or after the relevant date from the list above, you might be interviewed as part of the application process, and you should prepare for this before you attend.
TB testing from 30 April 2013
1 May 2013
If you are applying for a visa to come to the UK for longer than six months, it is already a requirement for you to have a test at an approved clinic to show that you do not have active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) if you are a resident of certain specified countries. You need to submit the TB certificate with your immigration application. From 30 April 2013, this requirement has been extended to include some visa categories where immigration permission of just six months may be granted, such as fiancé(e)s or proposed civil partners applying under the family rules that apply to non-points based system migrants.
If you are required to take a TB test and apply in India on or after 30 April 2013, the only clinic in Chennai that you can be screened for TB at is the The Apollo Heart Centre.
TB testing in India (includes list of acceptable test centres)
'Print and send' applications
5 April 2013
From 6 April 2013 the UKBA are encouraging applicants who are applying for a Tier 4 visa from within the UK to use the 'Print and send' method of applying. As the name suggests, this involves completing a 'print and send' application form online, printing it out, and then submitting it and the necessary supporting documents to the UKBA either by post or in person.
However, the UKBA have informed us that the 'print and send' application will not be available from 7:00pm on Friday 5 April until 6:00am on Monday 8 April due to a system upgrade. Therefore if you wish to submit a Tier 4 application during this period you will have to print out a Tier 4 paper application form and then submit this to the UKBA either by post or in person.
It is important to be aware that the Tier 4 application fee will increase on 6 April 2013 to £406 for applications made by post and £781 for applications made in person. We are expecting the Tier 4 application form to be updated on 6 April to reflect these changes (the current form is dated 1 October 2012). The current application form (showing the lower fee) can be used for applications submitted up until 26 April 2013, however you must pay the higher fee if you apply on or after 6 April 2013, otherwise your application will be rejected as invalid.
It is important that you apply before your current leave expires. If you apply by post then the date of application is the date that you send your application to the UKBA. If you apply in person at one of the UKBA's Public Enquiry Offices then the date of application is the date of your appointment. This is the same if you are using the paper application or the 'print and send' application form.
22 March 2013
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have informed us that in the absence of a Syrian embassy in the UK, Syrian nationals who need a new passport should contact the Syrian embassy in Paris.
The website for the Syrian embassy in Paris contains information (in Arabic and French) about renewing passports as well as contact details.
Students contacted by Capita
3 January 2013
We are hearing reports of students being contacted by email, text and telephone by Capita and being asked to provide evidence that they have made immediate plans to leave the UK since they no longer have leave to remain here.
This is not a 'scam'; as reported in the Guardian in September 2012 Capita have been employed by the UKBA to locate people who do not have valid leave to be in the UK. However, it seems that in some instances Capita have received incorrect or incomplete information from the UKBA and are contacting people who are not required to leave the UK.
If you are contacted by Capita and advised to leave the UK even though you have valid leave to be here then we suggest that you contact Capita directly, using the contact details that they provide, and provide evidence of your leave to be in the UK.
If you have difficulties resolving the situation, or you have any questions or concerns then we suggest that you speak to an adviser at your institution. If your situation is particularly complicated, or you are unable to contact an adviser at your institution, you may wish to seek help from an immigration solicitor.BBC news article
Accessing advice when your institution is closed
20 December 2012
If you require legal advice during the Christmas holiday period and your International Student Adviser is unavailable, you may need to seek assistance from someone else. If you are instructing a solicitor you should ensure that they belong to the appropriate professional body in
Depending on your financial circumstances, you may qualify for free legal help; you can search for a legal aid provider in
If you seek immigration advice from an adviser who is not a solicitor you should check that they are regulated by the OISC.
Temporary concessions for Syrian nationals
18 October 2012, updated 8 May 2013
The UKBA has extended the temporary concessions for Syrians who are in the UK. Concessions have applied from 15 October 2012 and will be extended to 28 February 2014.
The concessions apply to Syrian nationals who are normally resident in Syria, but who are currently in the UK.
From 28 February 2013, the requirement to have limited leave in the UK on 15 October 2012 no longer applies. In order to apply under these concessions you must currently have limited leave (immigration permission) to be in the UK, or you must apply within 28 days of your current visa expiring. Under these concessions the following time limits on study (or 'caps') which currently appear in the Immigration Rules do not apply:
- the 3-year cap that applies to Tier 4 students studying below degree level
- the 5-year cap cap that applies to Tier 4 students studying at or above degree level
- the 3-year limit that applies to Tier 4 applicants who have previously been granted leave as a Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist, or as a Tier 4 (General) student to undertake a course as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
- the 6-month limit that applies to general visitors and child visitors
- the 12-month limit that applies to someone who is accompanying an academic visitor as a general visitor or as a child visitor
The concessions also allow applicants to 'switch' into a different immigration category while in the UK, rather than having to leave the UK in order to change immigration categories. In particular, applicants applying for further leave to remain as a general visitor or as a child visitor do not have to already have leave in these categories.
Likewise, Tier 4 applicants do not have to have, or have last been granted, leave in one of the categories specified in the Immigration Rules. However, applicants must meet the requirements for the category that they want to switch into and they must pay the associated application fee.
There are still some restrictions upon switching between categories, for example switching into settlement routes is not allowed.
Dependants of PBS migrants can switch in line with the main applicant who they are dependent upon, (as long as the category the main applicant is switching into permits them to have dependants – see Your family's immigration for information about Tier 4 dependants). Dependants can also switch to become a main applicant in their own right, as long as they meet the other requirements for the category that they want to switch into.
It is important to note that applicants who want to apply to remain in the UK under Tier 4 need to meet the other Tier 4 requirements, meaning that they need to have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (a 'CAS') from an institution that has offered them a place on a course of study. See Making a Tier 4 (General) application for more information about the Tier 4 requirements.
However, if you are unable to provide any of the expected documents with your application (for example your previous qualifications, or evidence of your finances) as a result of the conflict in Syria then your application should include a covering letter explaining this.
If your application for further leave is successful you will be granted the length of time normally allowed under that category. For Tier 4 applicants (and their dependants) this depends upon the length and type of course, as explained in our information sheet.