Apply for a visa outside the UK

Apply for a visa outside the UK

Any student who is a national of a country outside the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland, and coming to the UK for longer than 6 months, must obtain Entry Clearance as a Tier 4 (General) student before travelling to the UK.  Students must obtain Entry Clearance from their home country or the country in which they are normally resident.

A student coming to the UK for a course lasting 6 months or less may have the option to apply for a Short-Term Study visa.

This page provides information on obtaining a Tier 4 (General) or a Short-Term Study visa from outside the UK. Please see below for further information.

Applying for a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK

You will need to apply for the Tier 4 visa in enough time to allow you to undertake the following:
• Receive your 30-day visa sticker to travel to the UK with (this will be placed in your passport)
• Collect BRP (has full Tier 4 visa on it) within 10 days of arriving in UK. It is easy to choose to collect the BRP from the University – see our Video Guide below!
• Complete Registration (including registering your new Tier 4 visa) before the course start date on your CAS.

Find out more:

Tier 4 Entry Clearance FAQs Information Sheet
Tier 4 Entry Clearance Video Guide (please see below)
Tier 4 Policy Guidance
Tier 4 Entry Clearance online application form

UKVI's guides to applying for a Tier 4 visa
UKVI Tier 4 guide to supporting documents
UKCISA information

Glossary of UKVI terms

If you have any questions, please contact us. Please read on for more information about the application process.Picture of EC video guide to add link to and click on.

Application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge

When you submit your application, you will need to pay a non-refundable visa application fee and in most cases you will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The application fee will normally be paid in the currency of the country in which you are applying. The IHS is calculated based on how long your visa will be, if your application is successful. You can normally get the IHS refunded if your application is refused.


Find out more:

NHS Services and the IHS
IHS overview and how much you'll need to pay

Appointments, Biometric Information & Credibility Interviews

Appointments: At the time of submitting your visa application fee(s) online, you will also book an appointment at your local Visa Application Centre. This is where you will submit the required documents for your application.

Biometric information: Most people obtaining a visa for the UK will need to provide biometric information, which involves giving fingerprints and having a digital photograph taken at your appointment.

Credibility interviews: You may be asked to attend a credibility interview. The interview will be short (around 5 minutes) and should also be conducted during your appointment by video link with UK Visas & Immigration staff based in the UK. The questions will be about your immigration, education and/or employment history, study and post-study plans and financial circumstances.

Find out more:

UKCISA website

Tuberculosis tests

In some countries, if you are applying for a visa to stay in the UK for more than 6 months, you may need to be tested for active tuberculosis and submit your test certificate as part of your visa application.

Find out more:

Find out if you need to be tested for tuberculosis

Tier 4 (General) visa: supporting documents

Common documents required to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa are:
• Your passport or travel document
• The application fee and IHS payment
• 1 recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm) colour photograph of yourself meeting the UK Visas & Immigration guidelines
• ATAS certificate (if applicable – check your offer letter and CAS). ATAS is required for students who are applying to study certain sensitive subjects.
• CAS. This will come via email from the University.
• Original documents stated in the 'evidence used to obtain the offer' section of your CAS
• Financial documents to show evidence of how you will fund your studies and living costs in the UK

Find out more:

Tier 4 Policy Guidance

ATAS information

Differentiation arrangements

Certain nationals who are applying for Tier 4 entry clearance in their country of nationality do not need to provide evidence of their finances or their qualifications used to obtain their offer with their visa application. The UKVI term for these regulations are the 'differentiation arrangements'.

You qualify for the differentiation arrangements if you are applying to study at University of Glasgow and:
• You are a national of any country listed in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules (and you are applying for entry clearance in your country of nationality) or
• You are eligible for the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme (please see 'Tier 4 Pilot Scheme' section below)

However, you must ensure that you collect the documents, even if you do not need to submit them with your application, because UK Visas & Immigration have the right to request your documents at any time. When submitting your application, you will complete a declaration stating that you already have the required documents and will provide them if they are requested.

Biometric Residence Permits

Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) are issued to Tier 4 (General) students and their dependants coming to the UK with permission to stay that exceeds 6 months. If your Tier 4 (General) application made outside the UK is successful, you should receive:
• An Entry Clearance vignette/sticker in your passport which is valid for 30 days (you must ensure that you travel to the UK within the dates specified on your vignette)
• A Decision Letter which confirms the application has been successful and specifies the address from which you will need to collect your BRP after arrival in the UK.

You must collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK. It is convenient to collect your BRP from the University's main campus (for details on how to choose to collect your BRP from the main campus, see here). The Decision Letter confirms the location from which you will need to collect your BRP – please ensure you retain your Decision Letter and bring it to the UK with you!

If you are coming to the UK with a Tier 4 (General) or Short-Term Study visa lasting 6 months or less, your entire permission to stay will be printed on your Entry Clearance vignette (sticker) in your passport - you should not receive a BRP.

Find out more:

Read more about BRPs here
UKCISA: When your visa is issued
Do you need to register with the Police?

Important – as soon as you receive your vignette, Decision Letter and BRP, check the details below carefully to ensure that any errors are reported within the UKVI timeframes:
• Your personal details are correct
• The type of visa granted is correct and that
• It is valid for the date on which you want to travel and for the correct duration.


Short-term study visa

If you are coming to the UK to study for 6 months or less, it may be possible for you to apply for a Short-term Study visa. Students coming to do a medical elective at the University of Glasgow can now also apply using this route. Non-EEA students coming to study in the UK for less than 6 months using the Short-term Study visa route to study full time do not have to pay the IHS, but are entitled to free NHS treatment if in Scotland.

Visa Nationals

Visa nationals are nationals of countries listed in Appendix 2 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules.  Visa nationals must apply for a visa before travelling to the UK (see below). 

Non-visa Nationals

If you are a non-visa national, it is possible to travel to the UK without a visa and apply to enter under the Short-Term Study route on arrival. If you do this, you must show the Border Force officer that you meet the requirements of that category by carrying the relevant documents listed below. If you are a non-visa national and would prefer to obtain the visa before travelling to the UK, this is also acceptable (see below).

When applying as a short-term student, you must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your study (if it is before the date your immigration permission ends). If your study continues until the date that your immigration permission ends, you must leave the UK no later than the date your immigration permission ends.

Please also note that anyone who wishes to enter the UK on an 11-month Short-Term Study visa (only applicable for an English language course) must obtain the visa before travelling to the UK; non-visa nationals can only apply to enter at the UK for a visit of 6 months or less.

Applying for a Short-Term Study visa from your home country

You should apply for a Short-Term Study visa in the country of which you are a national or where you are normally resident. The application form is completed online in all countries (except for North Korea, where you must complete the VAF1A paper form).

Remember that a Short-term Study visa:

  • does not permit employment - paid or unpaid
  • does not allow you to do a work placement (even if it is part of your course)
  • has a maximum duration of 6 months (11 months - if you’re 18 or over and taking an English language course)
  • cannot be extended
  • does not permit 'switching' into another visa category from within the UK

Find out more:

Short-term Study visa

Entering the UK via Dublin

If you are a non-visa national, you cannot apply to enter under the Short-Term Study route at the UK border if you travel to the UK via Dublin, as you will not pass through immigration control. If you intend to travel to the UK via Dublin, you should obtain a Short-Term Study visa from home before travelling to the UK. 

If you do decide to travel without first obtaining entry clearance you will be deemed to have three months permission to stay in the UK.  The three months' permission allows you to study, but it may not be enough time to complete your short course.  You cannot extend your stay in the UK; if you need to be in the UK for more than the three months, you will need to leave the UK within the three month period after you arrive, then re-enter asking for immigration permission to enter as a short-term student. 

In either of the above scenarios, you must keep your tickets and evidence of date of entry to the UK safe as you may need to produce these in the future.

Find out more:

UKCISA webpage 

Information on eGates

If you are a non-visa national applying to enter the UK under the Short-term Study immigration category on arrival, and, you are normally eligible to use the eGates as a Registered Traveller member, please note that you must see a Border Force officer at Passport Control.  Do not enter the UK via the eGates if your period of study in the UK is for more than 30 days.  This is in order that the Short-term Study visa annotation is noted in your passport.

Electronic Visa Waiver

If you are a national of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, you may be able to obtain a Short-Term Study visa (lasting 6 months or less) by using the Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW). You should still ensure that when travelling to the UK, you carry the relevant Short-term Study visa documents below.

Find out more:

Electronic Visa Waiver

Supporting documents

Common documents required for a Short-term Study visa application are listed below. Students entering as non-visa nationals or under the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme should be prepared to show the documents (except for the fee and the photograph) to the Border Force Officer on arrival.

  • Your passport or travel document
  • The application fee: This cannot be refunded and you must normally pay it in the local currency of the country where you are applying.
  • 1 recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm) colour photograph of yourself meeting the UK Visas & Immigration guidelines
  • Visa Letter from university with details of your unconditional offer
  • Financial evidence showing how you will fund your studies and stay in the UK
  • Other supporting documents relevant to your application

Find out more:

When you get your visa check it to ensure that:

  • Your personal details are correct,
  • The type of visa granted is correct and that
  • It is valid for the date on which you want to travel and for the correct duration.

If you are a non-visa national, check the stamp in your passport to ensure that you have definitely been admitted under Short-Term Study.

 


Tier 4 Pilot Scheme

Tier 4 visa pilot: applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa to study a one-year masters course commencing in session 2018/19.

The Home Office have selected University of Glasgow to take part in a pilot scheme.  This is for students applying for a Tier 4 visa to undertake a Masters course under 13 months in length.

Features of the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme

  • You will be granted six months leave after your course end date.
  • Visa processing times may also be slightly quicker.  The visa application process itself for Tier 4 Pilot applicants will be streamlined.
  • While you must still prepare your financial and academic documents for your Tier 4 visa application (e.g. evidence of meeting the maintenance requirements and qualifications used for entry onto your Masters course), you will not be required to submit these.  Please note that you are still required to meet the Tier 4 Immigration Rules and UKVI may still request all documentation. 

Eligibility

You are eligible for the pilot scheme if you will study at University of Glasgow from May 2018 onwards and you are applying for a Tier 4 visa to start a one-year masters degree (regardless of whether you apply for your Tier 4 visa from inside or outside the UK).

This includes combined pre-sessional and masters degrees where the duration of the masters is no more than 12 months. Please note, you are not eligible for the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme if you are applying for a one-year visa extension to complete an undergraduate exit masters qualification or the second year of a two-year postgraduate degree.

If your entry to the main course is conditional based on successful completion of your pre-sessional programme, you will get an initial visa for the pre-sessional programme. You will then benefit from the pilot when you make your visa application for your masters course.

If you apply under the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme and are incorrectly granted the standard four months from your course end date:

  • Outside the UK: contact visa application centre you applied through when you receive your Decision Letter and 30-day visa sticker.
  • Inside the UK: you must  email the Home Office within 14 days of getting your biometric residence permit to tell them about the error.  You must include your name, date of birth, nationality and UKVI reference number in your email. They will reply to your email to let you know if you can submit an administrative review and how to do this. 

Our Tier 4 Entry Clearance Video Guide explains that it is best if you note that you are eligible for the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme in the Additional Information section of the visa application form.  If you have any questions about the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme or the Tier 4 visa application process, please contact International Student Support.

Dependants

Dependants who are making a Tier 4 dependant visa application at the same time as you under the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme are also eligible to benefit from the reduced documentation requirements and longer visa.  If however they do not apply at the same time as you, they will be required to include full evidence of their finances with their visa application, but they will receive the same amount of leave as you.  

Find out more:

Tier 4 Policy Guidance, Annex 6.


Applying for a Tier 4 PBS Dependant visa from outside the UK

You may be able to bring dependants (partner/spouse, and children under 18) with you to the UK.Your dependant(s) should apply for their PBS Dependant visa in the country of which they are a national or where they legally live. The application form is completed online in all countries, except for North Korea (dependants applying from here must complete the VAF 10 paper form).

Only Tier 4 (General) students who meet the following criteria can bring their dependants to the UK:

  • Government sponsored students who are on a course which is longer than 6 months OR
  • Postgraduate students who are on a course of 12 months or longer at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution (the University of Glasgow meets this criteria) or a recognised body

Find out more:

UKCISA

PBS Dependant Policy Guidance

Apply for a dependant visa

Find your local Visa Application Centre

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Find out if your dependant(s) need to be tested for tuberculosis

PBS Dependant visa: supporting documents

You may find the PBS Dependant policy guidance useful in your preparations.

Common documents required to apply for a Tier 4 PBS Dependant visa are:

The Immigration Rules (paragraph 319H(f)) state that both parent's must lawfully be in the UK if a child is also applying as a dependant, unless:

(i) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant is the applicant’s sole surviving parent, or
(ii) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant parent has and has had sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing, or
(iii) there are serious or compelling family or other considerations which would make it desirable not to refuse the application and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the applicant’s care.

Maintenance

Paragraph (ba)(i)(2) of Appendix E of the Immigration rules states:

 (2) if the Tier 4 (General) Student is not studying in London (as defined in paragraph 12 of Appendix C), there must be £680 in funds for each month for which the applicant would, if successful, be granted leave under paragraph 319D(a), up to a maximum of nine months.

This means the PBS dependant's maintenance is £680 for each month of the length of the leave the Tier 4 student is applying for, up to a maximum of 9 months.  

Differentiation Arrangements and PBS dependants

Where you and your dependants hold the same 'low risk' nationality, and you are all applying for Entry Clearance together from your country of nationality, they are also able to apply using the 'differentiation arrangements' detailed earlier. 

Dependants who are making a Tier 4 dependant visa application at the same time as you under the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme are also eligible to benefit from the reduced documentation requirements and longer visa.  If however they do not apply at the same time as you, they will be required to include full evidence of their finances with their visa application, but they will receive the same amount of leave as you.  

Biometric Residence Permits

If your dependants are coming to the UK for longer than 6 months, they will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) on arrival in the UK. Please see above for more information.