You must meet all the Student requirements and be able to provide evidence in the required format in order to make a successful application. Your documents may be copies or originals.

Many Student sponsors offer their students help in checking documents. Make sure you submit only the documents your Student sponsor has approved, as other formats may result in a refusal. If in doubt, go back to your Student sponsor before submitting a different document, even if the difference is very small.

See our July 2017 series of blog posts about common myths and misunderstandings about evidence of your money for a Tier 4 application.

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Passport

Your Student application must normally include your valid passport and all the documents listed in the application forms and guidance. Your passport must contain at least one full page that is blank on both sides.

Unlike many other countries, the UK does not require that a passport is valid for any particular period of time after arrival in the UK, but it must be valid when you make your application and when you arrive in the UK. UKVI web information for people arriving in the UK does say that your passport must remain valid for the full length of your stay, but this has no basis in any law or guidance and we do not know of any student who has been refused entry to the UK on this basis. It would be very common for someone's passport to expire during a long stay in the UK. We have asked UKVI to amend this information which we feel is causing confusion.

However, if your passport will expire very shortly after you arrive in the UK, it is advisable to renew it before you apply for your Student visa, if there is time to do so.  If your passport will expire at any other point during your time in the UK, you should check with the passport issuing authority in your home country if you will be able to replace it in the UK. This is possible for most nationalities, but not all.  

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Low-risk applicants

Some Students do not need to submit evidence of their qualifications or that they satisfy the financial requirements with their applications. The Home Office calls this the 'differentiation arrangements' for 'low-risk applicants'.

You are a low-risk applicant if you apply for Student immigration permission (inside or outside the UK), and you have a passport issued by one of the countries or territories listed in paragraph 22 of Appendix ST of the Immigration Rules.

Nationals from the EU,EEA and Switzerland were added to this list from 5 October 2020. EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can benefit from these provisions from 1 January 2021 when making Student applications in the UK. Such nationals can also benefit from these provisions from 5 October 2020 when making Student applications from outside the UK for entry to the UK from 1 January 2021. 

In our guidance, we provide specific information for low-risk applicants where appropriate. If we do not refer to low-risk applicants when talking about a specific matter, this means the requirements are the same for all applicants, including low-risk ones.

It is very important that as a low-risk applicant you still obtain the evidence of your qualifications and your money, even though you do not need to send them. This is because the Home Office can request this evidence as part of its decision-making process and will refuse your application if you are unable to provide it by the given deadline.

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Your qualifications

Send the certificate or transcript of results for all qualifications listed in the 'Evidence used to obtain offer' section of your CAS. You also have the option of submitting print outs of your qualification or transcript results from the awarding body’s online checking service. The print outs must clearly show your name, the title and date of the award, and the name of the awarding body. If you submit a print out of your qualification or transcript, the Home Office reserves the right to request the certificate of qualification, or transcript of results.  

If you submit any certificates or transcripts that are not in English (or Welsh), you must also include a translation of each. Read the section on Translations for more details.

Low-risk applicants do not need to submit these documents, but should have them available in case the Home Office asks to see them.

For applications made from 9.00 am on 5 October 2020, you will also not be required to submit these documents if you are studying at degree level or above, and are sponsored by a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.

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English language evidence

Your Student sponsor must confirm on your CAS that it has either assessed your level of English language in reading, writing, speaking and listening, or that it is not required to do so. 

Whether and how you need to provide evidence of English language in your Student application depends on what your Student sponsor has entered in this field of the CAS.  

National of a majority English-speaking country  
Evidence: your passport 

You have a degree-level qualification taught in a majority English-speaking country
Evidence: certificate or results transcript plus a statement of comparability from UK ENIC (formerly UK NARIC) confirming that the qualification meets or exceeds the level of a UK degree.

You have completed a degree in the UK
Evidence: certificate or results transcript

Study abroad student
Evidence: confirmed on the CAS, plus a statement of comparability from UK ENIC (formerly UK NARIC) confirming that the course of studies overseas will lead to an academic qualification at UK Bachelor's degree level or above.

GCSE, A Level or Scottish equivalent qualification 
Evidence:  certificate or transcript

Met in a previous application

Evidence: although the Appendix English language and the Student and Child Student guidance do not specify how this will be evidenced, it seems logical that confirmation on the CAS/self-declaration on the Student application form should be acceptable.

'Gifted' degree student at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance
Evidence: confirmed on the CAS, letter from your institution you must carry with you when you enter the UK.

Your Student application is for degree-level study at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, and you don't meet any of the previous provisions
Evidence: your CAS confirms that your Student sponsor has assessed your English language ability to be at a minimum of CEFR level B2 in each of the four components. Your CAS must also state the method of assessment that your Student sponsor used. If a SELT was used to determine your English language ability, enter the test reference number on your Student application form so that the Home Office can verify your SELT results online.

You Student application is for degree-level study at an institution that is not a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, and you don't meet any of the previous provisions
Evidence: your CAS confirms that your Student sponsor has assessed your English language ability to be at a minimum of CEFR level B2 in each of the four components, using one of the Home Office's approved secure English Language tests (SELTs). Enter the test reference number on your Student application form so that the Home Office can verify your SELT results online. No further evidence is required.

Your Student application is for study below degree level and you don't meet any of the previous provisions
Evidence: your CAS confirms that the Student sponsor has assessed your English language ability to be at a minimum of CEFR level B1 in each of the four components, using one of the Home Office's approved secure English language tests (SELTs). Enter the test reference number on your Student application form so that the Home Office can verify your SELT results online. No further evidence is required.

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Evidence you meet the maintenance requirements

If you are a 'low-risk' applicant, you should obtain the evidence of your money in the format explained here, but you do not need to include it with your initial application. All other applicants (except those who are exempt from meeting the financial requirements - see Financial requirements) must include this evidence with their application.

Evidence of your money must meet specific requirements. If it does not, your immigration application is likely to be refused.

If you have already paid money to your institution for your course fees or accommodation, submit paper receipts with your application as evidence of this, unless this information is included in your CAS.  See Deductions for more information.

As evidence of your money, you can use any one or more of these forms of evidence:

  • personal bank statements
  • certificate(s) of deposit [see below]
  • letter from your bank, or a regulated financial institution
  • letter from an official financial sponsor [see below]
  • letter from a regulated financial institution confirming that you have a loan [see below] from the national government, the state or regional government, or a government-sponsored student loan company
  • letter from a regulated financial institution confirming that you have a loan [see below] that is part of an academic or educational loans scheme
  • statements of a passbook from a building society

Certificate of deposit

This is a certificate issued by a bank to confirm that the named person has deposited or invested a specific amount of money. Certificates of deposit are not listed as acceptable evidence in the Immigration Rules but the Home Office's Financial requirement casework guidance confirms that a certificate of deposit is accepted if it meets the following requirements:

  • the certificate of deposit must have been issued by a bank that confirms that an individual has deposited or invested a sum of money
  • the funds have been held for the required 28 day period
  • the applicant can access the funds at any time

There are no further requirements for the certificate. For example, there is no maximum time limit on how long you have held the funds, and a certificate is acceptable even if it has wording that says the funds are frozen or inaccessible. 

Loans

If you are applying for your visa from overseas the loan must be available to you before you travel to the UK, unless it is a loan from your country's national government in which case it must be made available to you before you begin your course. Alternatively, the funds must be paid directly to your Student sponsor before you travel to the UK. In this case, the living costs part of the loan, must be made available to you by the time you arrive in the UK. Any other type of loan will not meet the Student route requirements.  If you wish to use money from any other type of loan, you need to transfer the funds to a bank or building society account in your name (or a parent's name) and use one of the other forms of evidence listed above.

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Check your financial documents carefully

It is very important that your financial documents contain all of the required information. Appendix Finance and paragraph ST 12.6 of Appendix ST,  list all the information that must be included in any financial document that you use to support your application.

Maintenance must be in the form of cash funds. You cannot use evidence of other types of finances, such as shares, bonds, or a pension fund. You also cannot use an overdraft facility or a credit card.

Unless you are using a loan letter, your financial documents must show that the full amount of money that you need has been in the account for 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. This means that the account must not have dropped below the amount that you need to show at any time during the 28 day period. If it does your immigration application is likely to be refused. In addition, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you submit your application.

A loan letter must not be dated more than six months before the date on which you make your application. The loan must be in your name only.

A bank account can be in your name or in one or both of your parent's or legal guardian's name, and it can be a joint account you hold with someone else. You can use more than one account if necessary, and you can use a combination of your account(s) and your parent's or legal guardian's account(s).

You can use an overseas bank account. If your funds are not in British pounds (GBP), you should convert the closing balance into GBP using OANDA and the conversion rate on the date on which you make your application. Write this sum on the statement.

The format requirements for a bank statement (either printed or online) can be found in the Financial requirement casework guidance. The requirement for online statements to either be stamped on each page or to be accompanied by a supporting letter from the bank or building society has been removed. You cannot use mini-statements obtained from automatic teller machines (ATMs).

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Acceptable and unacceptable financial institutions

Using funds from an overseas bank account is permitted. Funds from an overseas account will not be considered by the Home Office however if any of the following apply:

  • The Home Office is unable to make satisfactory verification checks of the overseas bank; or
  • The overseas bank is not regulated by the appropriate regulatory body in the respective overseas country; or
  • The overseas bank does not use electronic record keeping

Please refer to FIN 2.1 of Appendix Finance of the Immigration Rules for further details.

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Using your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) funds

You may use a personal bank account in your parent's or guardian's name (or names). Business accounts are not acceptable because the Immigration Rules (Appendix Finance) specify that accounts must be personal.

If you wish to use a personal bank account in your parent's or guardian's name (or names), you must also include evidence of their relationship to you. (If you are a 'low-risk' applicant you should obtain this evidence, but you do not need to include it with your application.) This evidence of your relationship with your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) can be:

  • your birth certificate, or a copy, showing the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
  • if you are adopted, the certificate of adoption, or a copy, showing your name and the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
  • if you have a legal guardian, a court document, or copy, which shows the name of your guardian(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application

If you do not have any of the above, but you have a government-issued household register showing your name and your parent or parents' name(s), the Home Office's Financial requirement casework guidance confirms that this is acceptable evidence of your relationship, though this option is not listed on the application form.

The Student and Child Student guidance also identifies that 'regional variation' may occur when assessing proof of relationship documents. Home Office staff are instructed to accept documents that contain "the required information and is in English or is accompanied by a verified translation." Therefore you can use whatever official document your country of nationality issues as evidence of its nationals' birth and family relationships, even if it is not called a 'birth certificate'. However, this provision is only for people whose country of nationality does not issue birth certificates at all. If your country of nationality does issue birth certificates then you must submit this as evidence of your relationship to your parent(s).

You must also provide a signed letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s), confirming the relationship between you, and confirming that they consent to the funds being available to you for study in the UK.

Any other relative (or unrelated person) can pay money direct to your Student sponsor on your behalf, for example to pay your course fees or housing costs. If any other relative or unrelated person wishes to support you financially with your Student application, the financial evidence (such as a bank statement) must be in joint names – see Check your financial documents carefully. Alternatively, the money can be held in your partner’s name – see Using your partner’s funds

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Using your partner's funds

A ‘partner’ means either:

• your spouse;
• civil partner; or 
• unmarried partner provided that you have lived together in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years.

If your partner is applying for immigration permission at the same time as you, the evidence of the funds used in your Student application can be in your partner’s sole name. This applies regardless of whether or not you and your partner are making entry clearance or permission to stay applications.

Alternatively the evidence of funds used in your Student application can be in your partner’s name only, if your partner already has some form of immigration permission. The immigration rules do not specify what type of immigration permission your partner has to have.

Together with the financial document in your partner’s name, you will be required to submit evidence to confirm the proof of your relationship with your partner. This will mean either a marriage/civil partnership certificate or proof of cohabitation (utility bills in joint names for example) to prove you and your partner have lived together for two years when it comes to an unmarried partner.

According to FIN 5.1 of Appendix Finance, this means that financial documents can only be held by the following people in order to make an application under the Student route:

• Solely by you;
• In joint names with you and with someone else;
• In the name of your partner solely (if your partner is applying at the same time as you); or
• In the name of your partner solely if your partner has some form of immigration permission

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Official financial sponsors

Official financial sponsors are defined in Appendix Finance and in the Student and Child Student guidance. The guidance sets out the requirements for an official financial sponsorship letter. If your official financial sponsor is your university, you do not need a letter if the details of your financial sponsorship are on your CAS.  

If your official financial sponsor is a government and they have sent you a sponsor letter by email, a print of this letter should be acceptable as evidence of the sponsorship. The entry clearance officer can still ask for an original letter, so it is a good idea to ask your government sponsor for a paper copy too.    

The list of acceptable official financial sponsors includes an 'international company'. The Home Office has not defined this but means a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country.

If you are a 'low-risk' applicant, you should obtain the sponsor letter and keep it safe, but you do not need to include it with your initial application.

If your official financial sponsor is not covering all of your course fees and maintenance, you must show that you have the rest of the money required.  You can use any combination of the forms of evidence listed above.

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Consent of current or previous official financial sponsor

Your evidence of funds letter, if provided by a government or an international scholarship agency, must also specifically state that your financial sponsor consents to your Student application.

This consent letter is also required if you have previously received financial sponsorship from a government or international scholarship agency and the sponsorship ended less than 12 months ago.

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Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

For Student applications made from 9.00 am on 5 October 2020, nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, are exempt from obtaining ATAS clearance for postgraduate study in relevant subjects. Please refer to Appendix ATAS for further details.

If your course leads to a qualification at Master's or doctorate level, or a postgraduate qualification abroad, ask the university whether you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate for the course. This is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which gives you security clearance to study certain subject areas where the knowledge gained may have application in the development of weapons of mass destruction (for example, certain science subjects, mathematics, engineering, technology or medicine). You can check the list of subject areas that require an ATAS clearance certificate in the Applicants' criteria section of the ATAS website.

Your institution must confirm on your CAS whether you require an ATAS clearance certificate. If you do, you must apply to the FCO and obtain your ATAS clearance certificate before you submit your Student application.

When your ATAS clearance certificate is issued, it is valid for 6 months to use in a Student application. Once you have used it in your application, it gives you security clearance for the whole proposed period of study on your CAS. You will not need to apply again unless your original course end date is delayed or postponed by more than three months or your course contents or research proposal change. 

Students who apply to study a course of any length in a relevant subject area require ATAS clearance. This includes short-term students - see Short-term student visa.

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Parents' consent if you are under 18 years old

If you submit an application as a Student when you are 16 or 17 years old, you must include a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to show that they support your application. This letter must confirm all of the following:

  • their relationship to you
  • that they consent to your application as a Student
  • that they consent to your living arrangements in the UK
  • if you are applying for entry clearance, that they consent to your independent travel to the UK

If one parent (or legal guardian) has legal custody or sole responsibility for you, the letter must confirm this and be signed by that parent (or legal guardian). If not, then both parents (or legal guardians) must give their consent and the letter must be signed by both parents (or legal guardians).

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Translations

If your application includes any documents which are not in English or Welsh, you must also include a translation of each document. Each translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator / translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the full name and signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company
  • the contact details of the translator or translation company; and
  • (if you are already in the UK and are applying for further leave) certification by a qualified translator and details of the translator or translation company’s credentials

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Police Registration Certificate

If your most recent immigration permission has the condition to register with the police, you must send your police registration certificate with your Student application.

Make sure your police registration certificate is up to date and shows your current address and current immigration status.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

If you have been unable to attend or make an appointment with the police through Coronavirus related illness, implementing social distancing measures or due to your local police force's services not being in operation at this time, you will not be penalised for failure to do so. This includes people who have left the UK without registering, and who will need to re-enter in the future.

You should check your local police force's services to see whether it is possible to register with the police at this time. You will be expected to register when your local police force resumes service.

Home Office guidance states that from 20 March 2020 you are not required to register with the police or report a change of circumstances if social distancing measures prevent this. Registration and updating will resume once police services re-open - see Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students and Student conditions.

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Syrian applicants

Syrian nationals applying for Student immigration permission in the UK, who are not able to obtain the required documents should explain this and refer to the concession for Syrians. If you need to rely on this concession, you should speak to an immigration adviser before you apply.

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