Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Point Based System


 
 

Questions
What is the points-based system?
What are the age limits on (General) Student and (Child) Student?
Do I need a sponsor?
What is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)?
How can I find out more about sponsorship?
Can I do a pre-sessional (foundation) course under PBS?
Can I undertake extra studies?
What study related routes remain outside of PBS?
Do I still need a visa if I have a CAS?
How do I apply for a visa?
What do I need to make my application?
How are the points calculated?
What supporting documents should I include with my application?
Courses requiring Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Clearance Certificates
Which are the Inner London Boroughs?
How long will I be able to stay in the UK?
Are any special care arrangements required for persons under the age of 18?
Can I appeal if my application is refused?
What is Administrative Review?
Can I work whilst I am in the UK?
Can my dependants join me in the UK?
Can my dependants work in the UK?
What do my dependants need to make an application?
What supporting documents should my dependants include with their application?
What fee will my dependants pay?
Do dependants have a right of appeal?
More advice and information
 

Further information
 See other guidance information Appeals – visa application guide EEA and Swiss nationals – visa application guide Overseas domestic workers in private households – visa application guide Permit free employment – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 1, General Migrant – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 1, Investor – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) – visa application guide Points-based system Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) – visa application guide Returning residents – visa application guide Right of abode – visa application guide Settlement – visa application guide Transit – visa application guide UK Ancestry – visa application guide Visitors – visa application guide 
What is the points-based system?
The points-based system (PBS) is a system for managing migration for those wishing to enter the UK for work or study.

Tier 1 (General) Migrant of the points-based system was launched for foreign nationals living in the UK on 29 February 2008 and replaced the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). On 30 June 2008 three additional sub-tiers were rolled-out and the programme was extended to include applicants resident overseas. The four sub-tiers are Tier 1 (General) Migrant, Tier 1 (Investor), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Post-Study Work). Tier 2 for Skilled Workers and Tier 5 for Temporary Workers and the Youth Mobility Scheme were launched worldwide on 27 November 2008. The first stage of Tier 4 (General) Student and Tier 4 (Child) Student rolled-out on 31 March 2009. See the guides in this series for the other points-based system routes.
 
What are the age limits on (General) Student and (Child) Student?
Tier 4 (General) Student is for people coming to the United Kingdom for their post-16 education.  Tier 4 (Child) Student is for children between the ages of 4 and 17 to come to the UK.  Those aged between 4 and 15 may only be educated at independent fee-paying schools. Applicants aged 16-17 years studying on courses at National Qualification Framework level 3 or above have a choice of making an application either in the Tier 4 (General) Student category or the Tier 4 (Child) Student category.  16 and 17 year olds studying English language courses at level B2 of the Common European Framework of reference for Languages must apply under the Tier 4 (General) Student route.  For any applicants under the age of 18, suitable arrangements must have been made for their travel, reception and care whilst in the United Kingdom.

 
Do I need a sponsor?
Yes.  All applicants under Tier 4 (General) Student and Tier 4 (Child) Student need a sponsor. The sponsor is an education provider offering the applicant a place on a course of study in the United Kingdom. An education provider will need to have registered with the UK Border Agency as a licensed sponsor. They will need to meet the requirements for the particular category within Tier 4 and accept certain responsibilities to help with immigration control.
The new Highly Trusted Sponsor category was introduced from 6 April 2010. Highly trusted sponsors have to demonstrate the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor duties and in return are able to offer a wider range of course levels and work placement opportunities. 

Sponsors will either be marked as having Highly Trusted Sponsor status or they will be rated as either A (Trusted) or B (Sponsor). The B (sponsor) rating is a transitional rating and means that the sponsor is working with the UK Border Agency to improve their systems.

You can check whether your education provider has a licence and the status that they hold on:

 Register of Sponsors Licensed Under the Points-Based System (Tier 4 only).

With the launch of the new Highly Trusted Sponsor category, applications made on or after 6 April 2010 will only be able to study the following courses if they have a sponsor that holds (or is deemed to hold) a Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor licence.:

Courses at level 3 on the National Qualifications framework (NQF), or its direct equivalents in the devolved administrations, and
Courses below degree level (excluding foundation degrees) which include a work placement.
There are some time-limited transitional arrangements for students in the process of applying during the changeover period.  Please see the table in the Tier 4 Guidance .
You should also check the Tier 4 guidance for what happens if your sponsors status changes from Highly Trusted to either A (Trusted) or B (Sponsor).
New requirements for Tier 4 Sponsors from 21 April 2011
All Tier 4 Sponsors must apply for Highly Trusted Sponsor status and apply for accreditation under the revised system by a date to be specified in due course. All current Tier 4 sponsors who do not meet these requirements presently will stay on the Tier 4 Sponsor Register but will be limited in the number of students they may sponsor. Full details of these new requirements are available on our website at Points-based system: guidance for sponsors page.

 
What is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)?
A CAS is an electronic document that is created by a UK Border Agency licensed sponsor to demonstrate that they have accepted an applicant to join one of their courses in the UK. Under Tier 4 an applicant must have a CAS before making an application. The CAS must demonstrate that the applicant has an official, unconditional offer from the sponsor for the course of study he / she wants to undertake. The applicant must note the unique fourteen digit reference number for their CAS on the appropriate field on their application form.

The CAS must be issued no longer than 6 months before the date of application, otherwise it will expire. Having a valid CAS will not guarantee entry clearance as the applicant will still need to demonstrate that they meet all the Immigration Rules for the category.

You may obtain several CAS from different licensed sponsors, but you should only apply for a visa with the one from your chosen institution. The others will automatically be made obsolete once your application is made.
 
 
How can I find out more about sponsorship?
The Tier 4 Guidance contains information about what to do and what may happen if:

Your sponsor’s licence is suspended;
Your sponsor’s licence is withdrawn;
Your sponsor is taken over by another organisation;
Your sponsor’s licence changes from Highly Trusted to either A (Trusted) or B (Sponsor).
You will also find information about:

Sponsor’s record keeping duties;
Sponsor’s reporting duties;
What to do if you think your sponsor is not complying with their duties; and
Account manager or compliance officer visits
Find more information for sponsors on our website at:
Sponsorship under points based system

You should also consult the Tier 4 Guidance for information regarding changing courses whilst in the United Kingdom, either with an existing sponsor or a new sponsor.
 
Can I do a pre-sessional (foundation) course under PBS?
(GENERAL) STUDENT
Yes, if your pre-sessional course is an intensive English language course or any other course which prepares you for your main course of study in the United Kingdom.

You can be given permission to stay to cover both your pre-sessional and main course, where your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies is:

Issued by a UK Higher Education Institution to cover both a pre-sessional course of no longer than three months’ duration; and
You have an unconditional offer of a place on a course of degree level study at that UK Higher Education Institution; and
The course of degree level study commences no later than one month after the end date of the pre-sessional course.
* For a definition of Higher Education Institution see our page on Sponsoring Adult students under Tier 4 (General).

You should also consult the Tier 4 Policy Guidance if your pre-sessional course is below the levels specified for Tier 4.
(CHILD) STUDENT

You can be given permission to stay to cover both your pre-sessional course and your main course where the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies is:

issued by an independent school to cover both a pre-sessional course and a course at an independent school; and
you have an unconditional offer of a place on a course at that independent school; and
the duration of the pre-sessional course and the main course does not exceed maximum length of permission to stay that a Tier 4 (Child) student can be given.
For other types of pre-sessional courses, you must make a separate application for each course. Both courses must satisfy the Tier 4 criteria including English language testing requirements (where applicable) and the minimum course level.

 
Can I undertake extra studies?
As a child or adult student you are allowed to do extra courses, for example evening courses, as well as your main studies.  Please refer to the Tier 4 Guidance for further information.
 
What study related routes remain outside of PBS?
The following routes remain outside of PBS:

Prospective Students – for those coming to the UK to finalise arrangements for their course.
Student Visitors – for those coming to the UK for up to 6 months who do not intend to work and/or extend their stay.
Student Visitors: English language – for those coming to the UK for up to 11 months to study English language courses only, who do not intend to work and/or extend their stay.

Child Visitors – for under 18s coming to the UK to undertake a short course of study as part of a visit of up to 6 months.
Parents of children at school – for parent carers accompanying child students under the age of 12 to the United Kingdom.
 
 
Do I still need a visa if I have a CAS?
Yes.  All applicants wanting to travel to the United Kingdom under Tier 4 of the points-based system will need prior entry clearance (a visa).  They will need to submit the CAS reference number with their entry clearance application.  On any course where its duration is 6 months or more, and for pre-sessional courses of less than 6 months, the applicant will be able to enter the United Kingdom up to I month before the date he/she starts the course of study.  On any other course where its duration is less than 6 months the applicant will be able to enter the United Kingdom up to 7 days before the date he/she starts the course of study.  We will take the start date as the date given by the sponsor on the CAS.  See also below under ‘How long will I be able to stay in the UK?’

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How do I apply for a visa?
You should complete application form VAF9 with your personal details.

 Application form VAF9 – PBS Migrant
 PBS Migrant guidance notes

Depending on which country you are making your application from, you may be able to complete this online.  You will also need to complete Appendix 8 for (General) Student or Appendix 9 for (Child) Student. This is only available as a PDF document and must be completed manually and sent in with your supporting documents. Check our Visa application centres overseas page to see if you need to apply through a visa application centre (VAC) or the British mission in your country.

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What do I need to make my application?
 Application form VAF9 – PBS Migrant
 PBS Migrant guidance notes
 PBS Appendix 8 (General) Student (all mandatory sections completed)
 PBS Appendix 9 (Child) Student (all mandatory sections completed)

You will also need the following:

Your passport or travel document;
The fee as published on the visa fees page on this website.  This cannot be refunded and you must pay in local currency;
Your biometric details;
A recent passport sized photograph, see the instructions on this in our Photograph guidance. (If the application is successful, the photographs provided will be reproduced on the visa vignette);
All documents as specified in the Tier 4 Guidance as stated in the Immigration Rules.  If you do not submit relevant documents, your application is likely to be refused as we will be unable to award the relevant points.

Important for (General) Students and (Child) Students aged 16 or 17 years living independently

To qualify for Tier 4 of the Points Based System you must be able to demonstrate that you have the tuition fees and funds to support yourself and any dependants. The maintenance amount for the main applicant is calculated at £800 per month if you intend to study in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and £600 per month if you intend studying elsewhere. For courses of up to 9 months duration you will be required to show that you have the full tuition fee plus the appropriate monthly amount for each month you intend to be in the UK. On a course of more than 9 months you will be required to show that you have the first year of the tuition fees plus either £7200 or £5400 depending on whether you intend to study inside or outside of the Inner London Boroughs (see below). These amounts must be held in your personal bank account or your parent(s) / legal guardians bank account for a consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance) ending no more than 1 month before your application.
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How are the points calculated?
Points are awarded for having a valid CAS issued by a licensed sponsor which is worth 30 points. In addition 10 points are given for fulfilling the Maintenance (Funds) requirement.  Entry Clearance Officers will only award points where you have indicated that you wish to claim them, and for which you have supplied the required supporting evidence.

Claiming Points for a CAS

Applicants can claim 30 points for a CAS provided:

The CAS meets all the requirements of the Immigration Rules; and
All the required specified documents have been included with the application.
(GENERAL) STUDENT

Courses for which a CAS may be issued

Full-time study in the United Kingdom
A CAS should only be issued for full-time study in the United Kingdom. To be considered a full-time student, an applicant must be undertaking either:

A full-time United Kingdom degree level course or above at a Higher Education Institution; or
An overseas higher education course which is recognised as being equivalent to a United Kingdom higher education qualification at an overseas higher education institution; or
A course of study below United Kingdom degree level that involves a minimum of 15 hours a week organised daytime study (0800 hours to 1800 hours, Monday to Friday).
Applicants who have a Highly Trusted Sponsor

If you have a Highly Trusted Sponsor you can get a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies for courses that lead to an approved qualification and are:

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 or above;
In Scotland, accredited at Level 6 or above in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) by the Scottish Qualifications Authority;

In addition, if you have a Highly Trusted Sponsor you can study a course which includes a work placement.  Work placements must be an assessed part of the course and must not exceed 50 per cent of the length of the course in the UK. 
Applicants with a sponsor that has a standard licence and is rated either A (Trusted) or B rated
If you have a sponsor that has a standard licence (A or B rated) you can get a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies for courses that lead to an approved qualification and are:
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications at the National Qualifications Framework, (NQF) level 4 or above;
In Scotland, accredited at Level 7 or above in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
You cannot study a course below degree level (excluding foundation courses) that contains a work placement if you do not have a Highly Trusted Sponsor.

Higher Education courses at Overseas Institutions – All students (with or without a Highly Trusted Sponsor)
If you are enrolled on a higher education course at an overseas higher education institution, you can do a short-term study programme in the United Kingdom as part of your qualification.  This is provided the qualification is validated as the same level or above as a United Kingdom degree by UK NARIC.  You can find contact details for UK NARIC on their website at: www.naric.org.uk
English language courses – All students (with or without a Highly Trusted Sponsor)
You can come to the United Kingdom to study an English language course. The minimum level of study is set at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2.
If you are applying to study an English language course in the United Kingdom using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies assigned on or after 12 August 2010 and before 21 April 2011, and you are not from a majority English-speaking country, you will need to be competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1. It is your Tier 4 sponsor’s responsibility to make this assessment and the Tier 4 sponsor must decide how best to do this. 

If you were issued a CAS before 21 April 2011, you can study an English language course at any level, if you are a Government Sponsored student.

For CASs issued before 21 April 2011, you can study an English language course at any level, where it is a pre-sessional course before a degree course.

For CAS issued on or after 21 April 2011, you will need to provide a Secure English language test, unless you meet one of the English language exemptions.  See below for more detail.
Postgraduate doctors and dentists – All students
You are allowed to do a recognised Foundation Programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in the United Kingdom in the (General) Student category provided you meet all the requirements for the category.

Additional requirements you must meet are as follows:

You must have successfully completed a recognised United Kingdom degree in medicine or dentistry from:

An approved education provider who has a Tier 4 licence to bring in students;
A United Kingdom publicly funded institution of further or higher education; or
An institution on the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills list of recognised bodies or listed bodies list, which keeps satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance.
You must have been given permission to stay in the United Kingdom as a student under the Immigration Rules in place before 31 March 2008 or as a (General) Student.  This permission must have covered your final academic year and at least one other academic year of your studies leading to the above degree. You will also need to provide additional documents (see Tier 4 Guidance).
 
Work placements
You are allowed to do a work placement if you are:

A Tier 4 (General) student studying a course of degree level study or above, or
A Tier 4 (General) student studying a foundation degree course, or
A Tier 4 (General) student studying a course below degree level with a Highly Trusted Sponsor, or
A Tier 4 (Child) student who is 16 years old or over.
An applicant will be allowed to do a work placement as part of his/her course, as long as the work placement is no more than 50 per cent of the length of the course unless the student is doing a course where there is a legal (statutory) requirement for it to contain a specific period of work placement.  For example, it will be acceptable if the course is five years long and the first three years of the course involve full-time study, with the last two years in a work placement.

If a CAS has been issued for a course which involves a work placement, your approved education provider will remain responsible for you throughout the period of the work placement and must continue to comply with all their sponsor duties throughout this time.

Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers
A Students’ Union sabbatical post is a full-time, salaried, elected executive union position.  This post may be taken up during a course of study or in the academic year immediately after graduation.  Students are allowed to take up such a post while in the United Kingdom under the Tier 4 (General) Student category.  If this occurs while the student has leave to remain as a Tier 4 (General) Student, the sponsor will need to notify UKBA of the change in the student’s circumstances.  If the student wants to take up such a post at the end of his/her course and has no more leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student, he/she will have to apply again with a new CAS from the licensed sponsor detailing the post.  The term of office is normally one academic year and leave to remain in the Tier 4 (General) Student category may be granted to cover this period. If the student is re-elected after one year, he/she will have to re-apply with a new CAS from the licensed sponsor detailing the post.

The requirement that a work placement be no more than 50 per cent of a student’s overall course in the United Kingdom does not include any period that a student is in post as a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer.

Note: Whilst the sponsor is not exempt from their reporting duties, the levels of contact between a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer and their sponsor is likely to be different owing to the nature of the Sabbatical Officer’s work.

A student may hold the position of Sabbatical Officer for a maximum of two years. Employment that is additional to Sabbatical Officer duties is restricted to part-time work during term-time (no more than 20 hours a week) and full-time work during vacations, if the officer is not working full-time for the Students’ Union in the vacations.

English language assessment
The level of English language ability you must have and how your sponsor is allowed to assess your competency is dependant on:

when your CAS was assigned;
the type of course you are following; and
the type of institution at which you will be studying
You may sometimes be required to attend an interview with UK Border Agency officials as part of your application.  From 21 April 2011, if you are required to attend an interview and you cannot show at the interview that you have the English language ability required, your application may be refused.

Courses where the CAS was assigned before 21 April 2011
If you are applying to study in the United Kingdom, using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies assigned before 21 April 2011 and you are coming to study a course that is below NQF Level 6 (except for students on Foundation Degrees) your Tier 4 sponsor must ensure that you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1.

If you are coming to study an English language course with a CAS assigned after 21 August 2010 and before 21 April 2011, and you are not from a majority English speaking country, your sponsor must decide how to assess your English language competency.

If you are coming to study a non-English language course with a CAS assigned after 21 August 2010 and before 21 April 2011, your sponsor must  assess your English language competency in one of the following ways:
You are from a majority English-speaking country; or
You have passed an English language test from the list of approved tests for Tier 4 that  is still within its validity date, and has achieved at least CEFR level B1 in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) or,
You have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student (or under the student  rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, where you were granted permission stay whilst you were under 18 years old) which was:

at least six months in length; and
ended within two years of the date the sponsor assigned the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.
Further details, including the list of majority English language speaking countries and a list of the approved English language tests for Tier 4 is available in the Tier 4 guidance. If you take an approved English language test you must inform your Sponsor of the result and include confirmation of the results with your visa application.

Courses where the CAS was assigned after 21 April 2011

Courses below degree level
If you were assigned a CAS on or after 21 April 2011 and you are studying a course below NQF Level 6, including foundation degrees, English Language courses and pre-sessional courses, your Tier 4 sponsor must ensure that you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1. Your sponsor must  assess your English language competency in one of the following ways:

You are from a majority English-speaking country; or
You have completed an academic qualification at least equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree which was taught in English in a majority English-speaking country; or

You have passed an English language test from the list of approved tests for Tier 4 that  is still within its validity date, and has achieved at least CEFR level B1 in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) or,
You have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student (or under the student  rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, where you were granted permission stay whilst you were under 18 years old) which was:

at least six months in length; and
ended within two years of the date the sponsor assigned the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.
Courses above degree level at a Higher Education Institution
If you were assigned a CAS on or after 21 April 2011 and you are studying a course at NQF Level 6 and above, and you are studying at a Higher Education Institution, your Tier 4 sponsor must ensure that you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B2.  Your sponsor must  assess your English language competency in one of the following ways:

You are from a majority English-speaking country; or
You have completed an academic qualification at least equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree which was taught in English in a majority English-speaking country; or
You have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student (or under the student  rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, where you were granted permission stay whilst you were under 18 years old) which was:

at least six months in length; and
ended within two years of the date the sponsor assigned the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies; or
your sponsor has chosen its own method of assessing your English language ability to determine that you are proficient at CEFR level B2 in each of the four components of language learning (reading, writing, speaking and listening).  Your sponsor must state how they have assessed you on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
If you are a Tier 4 (General) student, who is considered by your Tier 4 sponsor to be a gifted student, and you are enrolling on a course at NQF level 6 and above at a UK university, the English language requirement can be waived. The Academic Registrar at the Higher Education Institution will need to personally authorise the issue of the CAS for you, which must confirm that the Academic Registrar has approved the waiving of the language requirement

Courses above degree level  – NOT at a Higher Education Institution
If you were assigned a CAS on or after 21 April 2011 and you are studying a course at NQF Level 6 and above, with a sponsor who is not a Higher Education Institution, your Tier 4 sponsor must ensure that you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B2 in one of the following ways:

You are from a majority English-speaking country; or
You have completed an academic qualification at least equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree which was taught in English in a majority English-speaking country; or
You have passed an English language test from the list of approved tests for Tier 4 that is still within its validity date, and has achieved at least CEFR level B1 in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) or,
You have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student (or under the student  rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, where you were granted permission stay whilst you were under 18 years old) which was:

at least six months in length; and
ended within two years of the date the sponsor assigned the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies; or
You have passed an English language test from the list of approved tests for Tier 4 that  is still within its validity date, and has achieved at least CEFR level B1 in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Note: For a definition of Higher Education Institution see our page on Sponsoring Adult students under Tier 4 (General).

(CHILD) STUDENT
Tier 4 (Child) Student sponsors may only issue CAS for courses that are:

taught in line with  the National Curriculum; or
taught in line with the National Qualification Framework (NQF); or
accepted as being the same academic level as the National Curriculum or the National Qualification Framework by Ofsted (England), the Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (Scotland) or Estyn (Wales); or
taught in line with existing (prevailing) independent school education inspection standards.
Claiming Points for Maintenance (Funds)

One of the requirements of Tier 4 is that an applicant coming to the United Kingdom must be able to support himself/herself for the entire duration of his/her stay in the United Kingdom without use of public funds.  An applicant who is unable to do so could face financial hardship because he/she will not have access to most state benefits.

You can demonstrate that you have the required maintenance either by providing evidence of official financial sponsorship or Government sponsorship, or that you have cash in a bank account or loan facilities.  A combination of sponsorship and own funds is also acceptable.

(GENERAL) STUDENT AND (CHILD) STUDENT AGED 16 OR 17 YEARS LIVING INDEPENDENTLY

To meet the maintenance requirement (without sponsorship) you must be able to show you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and to support yourself for up to a maximum of 9 months.  You must provide evidence of any fees paid and then show that you have funds for the difference. The British Council estimates you will need a minimum of £800 per month, for basic living costs in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and a minimum of £600 per month for living costs elsewhere. The funds requirement, therefore, depends on the length of the course and location of study.

We will use the address given in your CAS as the main study site, to assess whether the majority of your study time will be spent in or out of the Inner London Boroughs (see below) (that is, more than 50% of your study time).   If you want to check the address, you can put the education provider’s postcode into ‘About my vote’ website: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk 

Initial applications: On a course of 9 months or less we will need to see evidence of the full tuition fees plus £800 per month for study based in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and £600 per month for study elsewhere.  Part months will be rounded up to the next month.  On a course of more than 9 months we will need to see the first year of tuition fees plus 9 months of maintenance at the rates given above.  This would mean £7200 for studying in the Inner London Boroughs (see below) and £5400 for studying elsewhere.

Extension applications (see Tier 4 Guidance): On a course of 9 months or less we will need to see evidence of the full tuition fees plus £800 per month for study based in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and £600 per month for study elsewhere (up to a maximum of 2 months).  Part months will be rounded up to the next month.  On a course of more than 9 months we will need to see the first year of tuition fees plus 2 months of maintenance at the rates given above.  This would mean £1600 for studying in the Inner London Boroughs (see below) and £1200 for studying elsewhere.  You cannot apply for the lower amount of living costs if you finished your course more than 4 months ago or the course you finished was less than 6 months’ duration.

Additional sums will be required for accompanying dependants – see the Dependant Guidance on:  Working in the UK

(CHILD) STUDENT (OTHER THAN 16 OR 17 YEAR OLDS LIVING INDEPENDENTLY)

To meet the maintenance requirement the parent/legal guardian must show that they have enough money to pay the fees for the course the child will study and to support him/her (up to a maximum of 9 months).

There is no maintenance concession for these (Child) Students applying for extensions.  They must provide the same evidence of fees and maintenance as they would for initial applications.  There is also no difference in the level of maintenance for students whose primary site of study is inside or outside of the Inner London Boroughs (see below).

The maintenance requirements for a Tier 4 (Child) Student depend on:

Their care arrangements; and
The location of the school at which the applicant will study.
We will assess maintenance requirements according to one of the following scenarios (whichever is the most relevant):

The applicant will be studying and boarding in a Residential Independent School; or
The applicant will be staying in the United Kingdom with a resident British citizen or other United Kingdom resident who has entered into a private foster care arrangement with the applicant’s parent/legal guardian; or
The applicant will be staying with a parent/legal guardian who will be accompanying them to the United Kingdom (under 12 year olds only).
Child studying and boarding in a Residential Independent School
The applicant or parent/legal guardian must show that he/she has enough funds to cover:

The tuition fees for one year plus
Board/lodging fees for one year.
Child staying with an intended carer (resident British citizen or other United Kingdom resident in a private foster care arrangement)

The applicant or parent/legal guardian must show that:

He/she has enough funds to cover the school fees for one year plus;
The intended carer has agreed to look after and accommodate the child in the United Kingdom for the duration of the course and has at least £500 per month to cover this (for up to 9 months);
Confirmation that the intended carer is a resident British citizen or other legal United Kingdom resident.
Child staying with a parent/legal guardian who will be accompanying them to the United Kingdom (under 12 year olds only)
The money needed depends on how many children are coming with the parent or guardian.

The tuition fees for one year and
Evidence of maintenance for parent/legal guardian and child for each month up to a maximum of 9 months.
The level of funds required, in addition to the tuition fees, will depend on whether this is the first or second or subsequent child.

We will need to see the full school fees plus £800 per month for the parent/legal guardian and £533 per month for each child, up to a maximum of 9 months.
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What supporting documents should I include with my application?
You should include originals of all documents specified.  They must be on the official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisation and have the official stamp of that organisation. You should also provide a copy of each document. Where a document is not in English or Welsh, the original must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by the UK Border Agency. The original translation must contain confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the date of the translation, the translator’s full name and signature, and the translator’s contact details.  You must show that you have held the money in your personal bank account or your parent(s) / legal guardians bank account for a consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance) ending no more than 1 month before your application.

You should provide full contact details for each document supplied.  You should also provide any information/explanation of the documentation submitted, that may assist us in our consideration.

The specified documents required for points scoring are as follows:

(GENERAL) STUDENT AND (CHILD) STUDENT AGED 16 OR 17 YEARS LIVING INDEPENDENTLY

You must send us the documents you used to obtain the CAS from the sponsor as listed in the CAS.  You will need to know what evidence your sponsor has included on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies so you can include it with your application. You must get this information directly from the Tier 4 sponsor before making the application. The UK Border Agency will not provide this information to you.
Where qualification certificates have been used as the basis of the offer or part of the basis of the offer we must see the original certificate(s) of qualification and/or original transcript of results.

If your course is at NQF Level 3 or equivalent or above and you have been assessed by the sponsor by other means: for example, references, progress made on an existing course or a portfolio of artwork, this does not need to be submitted. The sponsor will need to explain in the CAS how they have assessed you to be satisfied that you are suitable for the proposed course of study.

(GENERAL) STUDENT

If you have a CAS assigned before 21 April 2011 and your course of study is English Language that is at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and you have been assessed by means of reference(s), you must provide the original reference(s) which must include your name, confirmation of the type and level of study undertaken and details of the period of study. References must also be dated and include contact details of the referee.

If you are unable to provide the original reference, you can provide a copy, together with a letter from your Tier 4 sponsor confirming it is a true copy of the reference they assessed.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Clearance Certificate – (General) Students only
Please refer to the Tier 4 Guidance for directions on what to do if your intended study subject falls into one of the categories described.

STUDENTS UNDER 18 YEARS OLD

All students under 18 years old will need to get their parent(s) or legal guardian’s written consent to the care arrangements for their travel to, reception and care whilst in the United Kingdom, before permission to enter will be given.  See the Tier 4 Guidance for details of what the written consent should include.

16 and 17 year olds have the legal right to live independently in the United Kingdom, and so make their own arrangements for accommodation.  In these circumstances the letter should confirm that the parent(s) or legal guardian consent to the 16 or 17 year old living independently and also to their independent travel to the United Kingdom.

Maintenance (Funds)

CAS: Fees/Maintenance

Your CAS must show the cost of the fees.  This should also show what fees you have already paid, otherwise you should send an official, original receipt confirming some or all of the fees (and accommodation, if applicable) have been paid.
If you are using a bank loan as your evidence, the bank must be regulated by an official regulatory body and you must provide a document from the bank confirming the loan.  If you do not get the bank loan until you have your visa, you must provide the original document confirming the loan.  The loan should be dated no more than 6 months before the date of the application.

The loan funds must be available to you before you travel to the United Kingdom. There must be no conditions placed upon the release of the loan funds to you, other than you making a successful Tier 4 application.

You must show that you have enough money to pay your fees and monthly living costs for at least the first year of studies (or the length of your course if it is shorter than 9 months).

We cannot accept unsupported online receipts.  We will use the closing balance of the document you provide as the level of funds available to you.  This is also the date we will use to check the value of your money in pounds sterling.

(GENERAL) STUDENT AND (CHILD) STUDENT AGED 16 OR 17 LIVING INDEPENDENTLY: OWN FUNDS 

This must be in the form of cash funds in the bank (this includes savings accounts and current accounts even when notice must be given, loan or official, financial government sponsorship available to you. Other accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, pension funds, etc., regardless of notice period are not acceptable.  If you wish to rely on a joint account as evidence of available funds, you must be named on the account along with one or more other named individual.  If you wish to use money held in an account owned by your parent(s) / legal guardian, you must show evidence that you are related to your parent(s) / legal guardian and that your parent(s) / legal guardian has given permission to use this money.  If you have an offer of a bank loan confirmed that will be available on the issue of your visa, you must provide the original document confirming the loan.  There must be no conditions placed upon the release of the loan funds, other than you making a successful Tier 4 application.
All evidence, except for loans, must show that the money has been in your personal bank account or your parent(s) / legal guardians bank account for a consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance) ending no more than 1 month before your application.

Overseas funds must be converted into pounds sterling so that we can assess them. The official exchange rate we use is the one produced by OANDA.  You should use the exchange rate on the OANDA website for the date the document was issued. This is an independent website, for which we are not responsible.

Only the following documents will be accepted as evidence:

Personal bank or building society statements;
Savings account/building society pass book/s;
Letter from your bank or building society;
Letter from a financial institution regulated by the home regulator (official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located) confirming funds or loan.
Personal bank or building society statements
These should clearly show:

Your name/the name of your parent(s) or legal guardian, if applicable;
Your account number;
The date of the statement;
The financial institution’s name and logo;
The level of funds available.
Ad hoc bank statements printed on the bank’s letterhead are allowed as evidence, but not if they are mini-statements from cash points. If you wish to send electronic bank statements from an online account they must have all of the details listed above. You will also need to send a supporting letter from your bank, on company headed paper, confirming the authenticity of the statements provided. An electronic bank statement bearing the official stamp of the bank will be accepted. This stamp should appear on every page of the statement.

Savings account/building society pass books
These should clearly show:

Your name/the name of your parent(s) or legal guardian, if applicable;
Your account number;
The financial institution’s name and logo;
The level of funds available.
Letter from a bank confirming funds
These should clearly show:

Your name/the name of your parent(s) or legal guardian if applicable;
Your account number;
The date of the letter;
The financial institution’s name and logo;
The funds held in your account;
That there is enough money in the account to cover your tuition fees and living costs.
Letter from a regulated financial institution confirming funds or loan
These should clearly show:

Your name/the name of your parent(s) or legal guardian if applicable;
Your account number (unless for a loan);
The date of the letter;
The financial institution’s name and logo;
and either
The funds held in your account; or
The funds available to you as a loan.
Students using money held by his / her parents
If you are relying on money held by your parent(s) / legal guardian, you must show that you are related to your parent(s) / legal guardian. You must provide either:

1.your birth certificate showing names of your parent(s);
2.your certificate of adoption showing names of both parent(s) or legal guardian;
3.a court document naming your legal guardian.
The document must be the original legal document or a notarised copy.

If you are relying on money held by your parent(s) / legal guardian, you must also show that your parent(s) / legal guardian has given their permission for you to use this money. You must provide:

1.a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian.
The letter must confirm:

the relationship between you and your parent(s) or legal guardian; and
that your parent(s) or legal guardian have given their consent to you using their funds to study in the UK.

(CHILD) STUDENT (OTHER THAN 16 OR 17 YEAR OLDS LIVING INDEPENDENTLY)

Child studying and boarding in a Residential Independent School
The applicant or parent/legal guardian must send:

The CAS from the sponsor showing the cost of the fees for one year and any additional accommodation fees (if applicable) needed by the school; and
Evidence to show sufficient funds to pay tuition and boarding fees as described under (General) Student/(Child) Student aged 16 or 17 living independently
Child staying with a resident British citizen or other legal United Kingdom resident who is a close relative or in a private foster care arrangement
The applicant or parent/legal guardian must send:

The CAS* from the sponsor showing the cost of the fees for one year and giving the name, address and contact details of the parent(s) or legal guardian of the child; and
A written undertaking* from the intended carer confirming the care arrangement; and
A letter* from the applicant’s parent/legal guardian confirming the care arrangement; and
Evidence* to confirm the intended carer is legally allowed to reside in the United Kingdom; and
If staying in a private foster care arrangement, a copy of the letter* of notification from the child’s parent(s), legal guardian or intended carer to the local authority and the local authority’s confirmation of receipt; and
Evidence to show sufficient funds to pay fees, as described under (General) Student/(Child) Student aged 16 or 17 living independently.
*See the Tier 4 Guidance for details of what the documents referred to above need to contain/examples.

Child staying with a parent/legal guardian who will be accompanying them to the United Kingdom (under 12 year olds only)
The applicant or parent/legal guardian must send:

The CAS from the sponsor showing the cost of the tuition fees for one year; and
Evidence to show sufficient funds to pay tuition fees and evidence of maintenance for parent/legal guardian and child for each month up to a maximum of 9 months.  The evidence required for own funds is the same as for (General) Student and (Child) Student aged 16 of 17 living independently.

(GENERAL) STUDENT AND (CHILD) STUDENT

Official financial sponsorship or Government sponsor (for all or part of the fees and maintenance)

Only the following specified document will be accepted as evidence of an official financial sponsor or Government sponsor who will pay for ALL of your fees and maintenance and these must accompany your application:

Letter of confirmation from the official financial sponsor or Government sponsor.  The letter must be sent with your application and must be on official, letter-headed paper or stationery of the official, financial sponsor organisation and have the official stamp of that organisation on it.  It must show:

Your name;
The name and contact details of the official financial sponsor;
The date of the letter;
The length of the sponsorship; and
The amount of money you have or a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all of your fees and living costs..
If you have official financial sponsorship or Government sponsorship that only covers part of your money needed you must provide a letter which shows:

Your name;
The name and contact details of the official financial sponsor;
The date of the letter;
The length of the sponsorship; and
The amount of money they will give you; and
Evidence that you have the balance of any money needed.
If you are receiving official financial sponsorship from your Tier 4 licensed sponsor (for example a scholarship), your sponsor may choose to include details of the financial scholarship on the CAS.

This official financial sponsorship may also include the costs of any family member(s). You will need to provide a letter from the sponsoring organisation confirming this. (See Dependant Guidance for details of what this letter must contain).

Additional evidence for sponsored students

If you had permission to be in the UK in the last 12 months as a student, Tier 4 Adult (General) or (Child) Student, student nurse, student re-sitting an examination, student writing up a thesis or postgraduate doctor or dentist, you may have been sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency.  If you are currently sponsored by one of those or that sponsorship ended within the past 12 months of this application being made, you must provide us with your sponsor’s unconditional consent in writing giving you permission to re-enter the UK.  Without this we will refuse your application.  The evidence must be original, on the official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisation and bear its official stamp.  It must have been issued by an authorised official of that organisation.  If you have received private sponsorship, for example from an employer or relative we do not need the sponsor’s consent.

For more advice on sponsored students, see chapter 3, section 3 of the Immigration Directorate Instructions on our website: Chapter 3 – Students.

See our Supporting documents page for further guidance.

We will refuse your application if we find any documents are false.
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Courses requiring Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Clearance Certificates
You must obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Clearance Certificate if you are applying for leave to take one of the following:

postgraduate studies leading to a Doctorate or Masters degree by research in one of the subjects listed in paragraph 1 of Appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules; or
postgraduate studies leading to a taught Masters degree in one of the subjects listed in paragraph 2 of Appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules; or
study or research in the United Kingdom of longer than six months which is part of an overseas postgraduate level course, in any subject listed in Appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules.
If you are applying for an extension to stay for the sole purpose of writing up your thesis and your previous visa did not require ATAS clearance and was issued before 30 November 2007, ATAS certificate is not required.  If your Visa was issued on or after 30 November 2007, ATAS clearance is required for writing up a thesis.
Applications for an ATAS clearance certificate must be made online on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/atas. This site also contains information about the scheme and the list of designated subjects.

Following an extensive review of the ATAS application processing times it has been recommended that the current advertised processing times of 10 working days should be extended to 20 working days. The review recommended that ATAS extend the processing time to be more realistic for their customers, as well as finding ways to improve the internal processes. 

IT enhancements which have been implemented have allowed ATAS to speed up their procedures.  However carrying out a proper vetting procedure is not always quick, although ATAS do recognise the stress this may put on the students when expecting a response.  Therefore ATAS are going to change their advertised processing time to 20 working days to accurately reflect the processing times.  Prospective applicants should consider the extended processing time when planning to submit a Tier 4 application that requires an ATAS clearance certificate

The extended processing times were introduced on 1 January 2010.

If you are applying to study a course which required an ATAS certificate, you must provide:

a print-out of the ATAS clearance certificate.
If the ATAS clearance certificate is not provided your application will be refused.
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Which are the Inner London Boroughs?
The Inner London Boroughs are Camden, City of London, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.
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How long will I be able to stay in the UK?
(GENERAL) STUDENT

If you are in receipt of official financial sponsorship and your sponsor places a limit on the period you may stay in the UK, the grant of leave will be limited in line with your official financial sponsor’s requirements.

Degree level or above

On a course of 12 months or more: the full length of the course plus 4 months after the end of your course;
On a course of 6 months or more, but less than 12 months: the full length of the course plus 2 months after the end of your course;
On a Pre-sessional course of less than 6 months: the full length of the course plus 1 month after the end of your course;
On a course of less than 6 months (non pre-sessional): the full length of the course plus 7 days after the end of your course.
Below degree level

On a course of 12 months or more: the full length of the course (up to a maximum of 3 years if you are 18 years old or above) plus 4 months after the end of your course;
On a course of 6 months or more, but less than 12 months: the full length of the course plus 2 months after the end of your course.
No further or subsequent grants will be made under Tier 4 (General) Student if you have already completed 3 years studying for courses below degree level since the age of 18, if you apply for further leave for below degree level courses. The 3 year time limit will not include time spent studying below degree level under the student rules that were in place before 31 March 2009. The restriction is only applied to permission to study that is given under Tier 4.
Postgraduate doctors and dentists on a recognised foundation programme

Maximum of 3 years: the full length of the course (up to a maximum of 3 years) pus one month after the end of your course.
(CHILD) STUDENT

If the applicant is aged less than 16 years, we will grant the shortest of the following periods (up to a maximum of 6 years).  If the programme of education is longer than 6 years, the applicant will need to apply again before their permission to stay runs out.  In addition, 4 months will be added to the end of the course.
The period requested by the applicant;
The length of the programme of education that the applicant is following; or
The maximum time a child is allowed (6 years).
If the applicant is aged 16 or 17 years, we will grant the shortest of the following periods (up to a maximum of 3 years).  In addition, 4 months will be added to the end of the course.
The period requested by the applicant;
The length of the programme of education that the applicant is following;
Three years.
If the applicant turns 18 they can continue with their course until their permission to stay ends whilst they are still on a course.  If the 18 year old wants to apply again for more permission to stay to finish a course, they will have to apply under the (General) Student category (the date of the application is used to decide the age), and meet the requirements for this category.  If a child has official financial sponsorship, and their financial sponsorship is limiting the time they may study in the UK, the permission to stay will be for the same length of time.
On 6 April 2010 the maximum amount of time that a 16 or 17 year old could apply for as a Tier 4 (Child) student was extended from 2 to 3 years. To ensure that students given permission to stay before 6 April 2010 receive the same opportunity to stay for this longer period, 18 year old students can apply for additional permission to stay as a Tier 4 (Child) Student if he/she is currently studying in the UK as:
a Tier 4 (Child) student; or
as a student under the student rules that were in force before 31 March 2009,
where where the student was granted permission stay whilst he/she was under 18 years old.
Students must have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from their Tier 4 Sponsor for this additional period of study.  See the Tier 4 guidance for more details

Arrival in the UK
If you are doing a course that is 6 months or more, or if it is a pre-sessional course that is less than 6 months, you will be able to come to the United Kingdom up to one month before the date you start your course.  If you are doing a course that is less than 6 months which is not pre-sessional, you will be able to come to the United Kingdom up to 7 days before the date you start your course.
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Are any special care arrangements required for persons under the age of 18?
Yes.  All children studying in the UK must have suitable care arrangements in place for their travel, reception at port of entry and living arrangements whilst here.  ‘Children’ are all students under 18 years old.  If you are 16 or 17 years old and applying as an adult student, you must have the written consent of your parent(s) or legal guardian that you can live and travel independently.  Without this consent, you must make sure there are care arrangements in place.  All arrangements for children’s care and accommodation in the UK must comply with relevant United Kingdom legislation and regulations.  See the Tier 4 Guidance for further details and links to other websites.

Private foster care arrangements
Children (under 16 years old, or 18 years old, if disabled) are privately fostered when they are cared for on a full-time bass by adults, who are not their parents or a close relative, for more than 28 days.  It is the responsibility of the parent, carer and anyone else involved in making the private fostering arrangement (including the approved education provider), to notify their local council of the private fostering arrangement.

The local authority is responsible for safeguarding and protecting children.  They must ensure that private foster carers are suitable and that they get any support and guidance they may need to help them care for the child.  A close relative, parent or legal guardian cannot be a foster carer.
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Can I appeal if my application is refused?
Outside the United Kingdom a refusal of entry clearance under PBS does not attract a full right of appeal. You can appeal only on one or more of the following grounds referred to in Section 84(1)(b) and (c) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002:

that the decision is unlawful by virtue of Section 19B of the Race Relations Act 1976 (c.74) (discrimination by public authorities), and/or
that the decision is unlawful under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c.42) (public authority not to act contrary to Human Rights Convention) as being incompatible with the appellant’s Convention rights.
However, all applicants can apply for an Administrative Review, which is a mechanism for reviewing refusal decisions.  See separate question on ‘What is Administrative Review?’.
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What is Administrative Review?
If we refuse your application for entry clearance under the points-based system and you think that an error has been made, you can ask us to check our decision. This is known as an Administrative Review. The review will, for example, look at whether your claimed points were correctly assessed.

Please note that a decision to refuse any dependant’s application for entry clearance as the spouse / partner / child of a points-based system migrant attracts a limited or full right of appeal as opposed to an Administrative review. This is because an Administrative review is used to assess whether points have been correctly awarded and your dependants are not applying under the points system.

The Administrative Review is free of charge.  You must ask for an Administrative Review within 28 days from the date you receive the refusal notice (GV51). 

  Administrative Review Request Notice
  PBS Administrative Review Request Notice guidance notes

You must complete this in full and send it directly to the address stated on the Request Notice.

You MUST NOT send any additional documents such as passport/travel document or supporting documents with the Administrative Review Request Notice.  If the refusal is subsequently overturned, you will be asked to send in your passport/travel document. You may request only ONE Administrative Review per refusal decision.  Any further review requests for the same refusal decision will not be accepted and will be returned to you.

The Administrative Review will be completed within 28 days and you will be notified of the result in writing.  The result of the Review may be sent from a different Post to where the original decision was made, to ensure that the Review is independent.

If you are already in the United Kingdom you cannot apply for an Administrative Review.

For more information about this you should refer to the Tier 4 Guidance.
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Can I work whilst I am in the UK?
(GENERAL) STUDENT

Work placements
You are allowed to do work placement if you are:

A Tier 4 (General) student studying a course of degree level study or above, or
A Tier 4 (General) student studying a foundation degree course, or
A Tier 4 (General) student studying a course with a Highly Trusted Sponsor, or
A Tier 4 (Child) student who is 16 years old or over.
You are allowed to do work placement provided this is an assessed part of your course. The work is restricted to no more than 50 per cent of the full course length, unless you are enrolled on a course of study where there is a statutory requirement for that course to contain a specific period of work placement.
Employment
From 3 March 2010, if you are studying at foundation degree level or above, you can work part time during term time, which is no more than 20 hours a week.

If you are studying below foundation degree level you can work part time during term time which is no more than 10 hours a week.
The work you do must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme).  Work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist must be on a recognised Foundation Programme.  You must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor or dentist in training (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme) or work as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach) or as an entertainer. You may only hold a Student Union Sabbatical Officer position for up to two years.

However during vacations, you may fill a full time vacancy provided this is not a permanent full-time vacancy (other than a permanent full-time vacancy as a Doctor in Training on a recognised Foundation Programme).
(CHILD) STUDENT

Employment is not permitted for children under 16 years old. If you are 16 years old or older, you are allowed to work if is part-time, which is no more than 10 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacations.  The work you do must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy.  You may do work placement as part of your course, other than part time work during term time which is no more than 10 hours a week.  You must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor or dentist in training or work as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach) or as an entertainer. You may only hold a Student Union Sabbatical Officer position for up to two years.

However during vacations, you may fill a full time vacancy provided this is not a permanent full-time vacancy (other than a permanent full-time vacancy as a doctor or dentist in training on a recognised Foundation Programme).
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Can my dependants join me in the UK?

(GENERAL) STUDENT

From 3 March 2010, if you will be studying in the UK for six months or less you cannot bring your partners and / or children (also known as dependants) to the United Kingdom with you.

If you will be studying in the UK for longer than six months you can bring your partners and / or children with you.
Your husband, wife, civil partner or eligible partner and children under 18 can join you as your dependants in the UK if:

you are studying in the UK for more than six months

they have a visa for this purpose and
you can support them without any help from public funds. If your primary site of study is in the Inner London Boroughs (see above), you will need £533 for each dependant accompanying you or joining you later in the UK, for each month they intend to be in the UK, up to a maximum of 9 months. You will need £400 for each month of stay for each of your dependants, if your primary site of study is outside the Inner London Boroughs. Different levels of maintenance apply if your family member is making an application to extend their stay (see Tier 4 Guidance).

If the Tier 4 (General) Student has official financial sponsorship (see above) this may also include the costs of the family member(s). You will need to provide a letter from the sponsoring organisation confirming this (See our Adult students – Applying section for details of what this letter must contain).
Your dependants will not be entering under the points-based system.  They are entering as the dependant of a points-based system Migrant.

Partners (married, unmarried, same sex) must intend to live together and the relationship must be subsisting.  They must be maintained and accommodated in accordance with the section on Maintenance (Funds) and your partner must not intend to stay beyond any period of leave granted to you.

If your dependent child is working full-time or earning enough money to support himself/herself, it is unlikely that he/she will qualify for entry to the UK as a dependant.  Dependent children must also be able to demonstrate that they have not formed their own independent family, are unmarried and not leading an independent life.  If a dependent child has previously been married or formed a civil partnership, or lived in a relationship that is similar to marriage or civil partnership, he/she will usually be considered to have formed an independent family and will not be eligible to enter the UK as the dependant of their parents. Although dependent children may seek employment whilst in the UK they must remain financially dependent on their parent to qualify as dependants.

(CHILD) STUDENT

Child students are not allowed to bring partners to the United Kingdom with them as dependants.  Child students must also not have any children under the age of 18 who are living with them or for whom they are financially responsible.

If a child student is married or has a partner who wants to come with them, the partner must make an application and qualify in their own right.  This could be in another immigration category.

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Can my dependants work in the UK?

From 3 March 2010, for family members of Tier 4 (General) Students only – if your grant of leave is for a course of study below degree level, that is not a foundation degree course, your family member will not be allowed to work whilst in the United Kingdom.
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What do my dependants need to make an application?

They will need to satisfy the conditions set out in Paragraph 319A to 319K and Appendix E of the Immigration Rules which can be found on the UK Border Agency website. They will need to make their application using form VAF10 either online or on paper depending upon the facilities available in the country in which they are applying. They will also need the following:

their passport or travel document;
a recent passport sized photograph, see the instructions on this in our Photograph guidance. (If the application is successful, the photographs provided will be reproduced on the visa vignette);

the visa fee. This cannot be refunded and they must normally pay it in the local currency of the country where they are applying;
their biometric details;
supporting documents relevant to their application.

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What supporting documents should my dependants include with their application?

Your dependants should include all the documents necessary to show that they qualify for entry to the UK as your dependant. If they do not, we may refuse their application.

As a guide, your dependants should include:

evidence of their relationship to you;
evidence that you can support them and live without needing any help from public funds; and
a copy of the pages from your passport/travel document showing your permission to stay, if you are already in the UK.
See our Supporting documents page for further guidance.
We will refuse their application/s if we find that any documents are false.
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What fee will my dependants pay?

They will pay the same fee as you.
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Do dependants have a right of appeal?

Dependants of points-based system Migrants have a limited right of appeal where the main applicant has had their entry clearance application refused. Where the main migrant has been successful in their entry clearance application, their dependants will have a full right of appeal, if their application is refused.

Administrative review is the process used to look at whether claimed points have been correctly assessed and therefore only applies to the main migrant. Applications for entry clearance made by dependants are not assessed on ‘points’.

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More advice and information

Please check other guidance on this website. The full list is accessible under ‘Further information’ at the beginning of this guide.

If you are outside the UK please contact your nearest visa application centre or where no visa application centre is available, your nearest British mission where there is a visa section.

For more advice and information about extending your stay once you are in the UK:

The UK Border Agency
Croydon Public Caller Unit
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 2BY
Phone: (+44) (0)870 606 7766 (general enquiries)
Phone: (+44) (0)870 241 0645 (application forms)
Email: indpublicenquiries@ind.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

For advice on bringing personal belongings and goods into the UK:

See information on our Customs page.

Contact:
HM Revenue & Customs
Dorset House
Stamford Street
London SE1 9PY
Phone: (+44) (0)845 010 9000
Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk

Public funds

Public funds are benefits, paid by the UK government, that are related to your income. To find out more about public funds, a list of public funds and whether you are able to receive help from them while you are living in the UK, visit the Public funds page on the UK Border Agency website. Claiming public funds when you are not entitled to them is known as ‘benefit fraud’, and is a criminal offence.
Requirement to register with the Police

Nationals of certain countries are required to register with the police if they are entering the UK for more than six months. Your visa will state if this is necessary.

In London, police registration is made at:

Overseas Visitors Registration Office (OVRO)
Brandon House
180 Borough High Street
London
SE1 1LH
Tel: 020 7230 1208

If you are not in London, you can register at the nearest police station specified as a registration office. You will be charged for the initial registration certificate.
Drugs warning
Anyone found smuggling drugs into the UK will face serious penalties. Drug traffickers may try to bribe travellers. If you are travelling to the UK, avoid any involvement with drugs.

False documents
It is better to explain why you do not have a document than to submit a false document with an application. Applicants will be automatically refused and may be banned from coming to the UK for 10 years if they use a false document, lie or withhold relevant information.  They may also be banned if they have breached immigration laws in the UK.

Travellers to the UK who produce a false travel document or passport to the UK immigration authorities for themselves and/or their children are committing an offence. People found guilty of this offence face up to two years in prison or a fine (or both).
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See Also
Interested in studying for an international qualification? – A British Council survey
 
Related links
Guide to UK student visa (YouTube video)
 

Quick guides to the points-based system
 
Register of sponsors
 
NARIC UK
 
Working in the UK during your studies – UKCISA website
 

Related Documents
Guidance for applicants on secure English language testing
Comfort Zone – A personal safety guide for international students
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