Applying for a Student Visa outside the UK
Please read the information below about how and when to apply for your Student Visa. You will need a valid UoG CAS for your forthcoming studies to use with the Student Visa application (issued within the 6 months before the date you make the Student Visa application).
We have offered an overview of the visa application process when applying for a Student Visa outside the UK on these webpages. However the visa application centre you will apply through will offer detailed (and often step-by-step) information and guidance about the visa application process for the country / region you are applying from.
- You must demonstrate you have the money required to meet the maintenance requirement when applying for a Student Visa (as discussed in our FAQs Guide, the "Documents and CAS" and "Application process" sections). In addition to making sure you have the money required for your visa application, it is also important to ensure you have enough money to cover your tuition fees and living costs for the duration of your studies in order to be able to continue with and complete your course as planned.
- Where your offer of study confirms an ATAS certificate is required for your course, you need to apply for and receive this in time to upload with your Student Visa application documents (see the "Documents and CAS" section).
- You must receive your Student Visa, travel to the UK on this and complete Visa Registration before the latest arrival date stated on your CAS to start (or resume) your studies at UoG - see the information in the "When to apply" section.
When to apply
"Date of application" and visa processing times
The "date of application" refers to the date you applied for the Student Visa. This is the date you submit the online Student Visa application form (after paying the IHS and visa processing fees).
The estimated visa processing time will start after you have submitted any required visa application documents and when you have given your Biometric details.
- Standard application service: 3 weeks
- Priority application service: 5 working days
- Super priority application service: end of next working day
Visa processing delays: Sometimes, especially during busy times of year (e.g. August - October), UKVI may not be able to process your visa application within their estimated visa processing time.
Where UKVI require longer than usual to process your visa application they may sometimes e-mail you and advise you to expect a potential delay. They will explain that you need to wait until they contact you again. They will not usually offer information about the specific reason for a delay in processing a visa application or when you can expect to receive a visa decision.
Unfortunately they will not usually offer a visa applicant or ISS any specific information about the reason for the delay, or when you can expect to receive a visa decision. Where you receive an e-mail like this, keep checking your e-mails (Inbox and Junk folders) while you wait for a visa decision or any further communications from the UKVI / your visa application centre.
If you are concerned you will not receive your Student Visa in time: See the information below under the sub-heading "If you are worried you will not receive your Student Visa in time" and contact Admissions and your School Office / Graduate School Office at UoG as soon as possible to explain your situation.
Unfortunately ISS have no influence over the time it takes UKVI to process a visa application and we are unable to ask UKVI to expedite your visa application decision.
Making your Student Visa application
You can submit your Student Visa application once you have received your CAS from Admissions and have prepared any other visa application documents required.
ATAS applications: If you need an ATAS certificate for your Student Visa application and to be able to start studying on your course at UoG, remember that you can apply for this before receiving your CAS. See the "Documents and CAS" section for information about Student Visa application documents, including applying for an ATAS certificate. You need to receive the ATAS certificate in time to submit with your other Student Visa application documents.
An ATAS application may take up to 2 months to process during busier times of year). Unfortunately ISS have no influence over the length of time it takes the FCDO to process an ATAS application and we are unable to ask the FCDO to expedite your application decision.
- You can pay for a priority visa application service to receive a faster visa decision. You will however need to pay extra money to use a priority or super priority visa application service and select this option at the time you apply for the Student Visa. It would not be possible to ask for your visa application to be considered under a priority service at a later date.
- All parts of the visa application process (e.g submitting the visa application form, submitting documents, giving your biometrics) must be undertaken in the country you are applying for the visa from. It is not possible to undertake any part of the visa application process inside the UK.
- Once you have undertaken all visa application process steps you would then wait to receive the visa application decision. You can travel to the UK once you have received your Student Visa (on or after the "valid from date" stated on the visa).
- Please do not travel to the UK before your Student Visa has been issued, even if you can normally visit the UK without a visa. As discussed on the Visa Registration webpages, you will not be able to complete Visa Registration and start your studies if you do this.
- It is best wherever possible to book travel to the UK after you have received your Student Visa (in case of any visa processing delays).
- Unfortunately the university has no influence over how long it takes UKVI to process a visa application.
Receive the Student Visa in time to start your course
You must apply for the Student Visa in enough time to undertake the following steps and start your course at UoG:
- Receive your visa sticker, or digital visa status (if you are issued a 90 day visa sticker you also need to collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving in UK)
- Travel to the UK on your Student Visa (on or after the 'valid from' date on your visa sticker or digital visa status)
- Complete Visa Registration on or before the latest course start date / latest arrival date stated on your CAS
It is unlikely that you will be able to start your course at UoG if you are unable to complete the steps above by the required date.
If you are worried you will not receive your Student Visa in time
If you think you may not receive your Student Visa in time to travel to the UK and complete Visa Registration before the latest arrival date, contact Admissions and your School Office / Graduate School Office at UoG as soon as possible and explain your situation. They can then advise you of any available options (for example, if you need to defer the date you can start your course, or if you can exceptionally be given a later, latest arrival date etc).
If it is confirmed that you will be offered a later, latest arrival date, and where your CAS is still marked as "Assigned", we understand Admissions will update your CAS with the new latest arrival date.
If your CAS is marked as "Used", you should print off the e-mail you have received confirming any new later arrival date agreed, and carry this in your hand luggage with your passport and a copy of your CAS when you travel to the UK. You can then show this to a UK Border Officer if you are asked why you are coming later than the latest arrival date stated on your CAS.
Student Visa application process
The webpages of the visa application centre you apply through will offer information on each stage of the visa application process for the region you are applying from. We offer an overview of this below.
Complete and submit the online Student Visa application form
The online Student Visa application form is linked from the UKVI's webpages. Some of the questions on the visa application form can be answered by copying information as it is stated on your visa application documents (e.g. from your CAS, passport etc).
Please also see our "FAQs Guide" on these webpages which discusses how to answer some of the questions on the visa application form.
Pay the visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge
Visa application fee: When you submit your Student Visa application form online, you will need to pay a visa application fee - this is £490 (when using the "Standard" application service). See the UKVI information on visa processing times.
You may wish to consider using a "priority" visa application service - this is where you can choose to pay more to get your visa decision quicker.
The amount you pay for IHS will depend on the length of visa you will be granted. Where your overall course is longer than 12 months you can expect UKVI to grant you a visa that expires 4 months after the course end date on your CAS. Your visa will usually have a "valid from" date that is 1 month before the course start date on your CAS.
From 6 February 2024, IHS will be charged at £776 for each period of visa applied for that is 6-12 months long and £388 for any period of less than 6 months.
A very limited number of people are exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge, including British Overseas Territory citizens who live in the Falkland Islands. UKVI discuss this on their webpages here.
Students receiving funding from a Chevening, Marshall or Commonwealth Scholarships who have chosen the relevant type of application at the beginning of the form, do not need to pay the IHS (but will still have to complete the IHS section of the application form; the form will calculate the IHS payment as '£0.00').
If your healthcare is paid for by an EU country or Switzerland see the UKVI webpages for information on when you may be able to receive a full or partial IHS refund.
The webpages of the visa application centre you will apply through will discuss how you submit your visa application documents. For example, if you will upload these at an appointment as part of the visa application process. See the "Documents and CAS" section of the ISS webpages and our FAQs Guide for information on preparing visa application documents.
You will need to have enough money to cover:
➢ any unpaid tuition fees (see your CAS / official tuition fee receipts), plus
➢ £1023 for each month of your course (up to 9 months (£9207) for living costs
Please note: You must demonstrate you have the money required to meet the maintenance requirement when applying for a Student Visa.
In addition to making sure you have the money required for your visa application, it is also important to ensure you have enough money to cover your tuition fees and living costs for the duration of your studies in order to be able to continue with and complete your course as planned.
Appointments, Biometric Information & Credibility Interviews
Appointments: At the time of submitting your visa application fee(s) online, you will also book an appointment, for example at your local Visa Application Centre. Usually the visa application documents are uploaded or submitted at the appointment.
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.
Please note: it is not possible to undertake any step of the visa application process inside the UK.
Getting a decision e-mail from UKVI
If your Student Visa application made outside the UK is successful, you will receive a decision e-mail confirming this and your visa details. Please keep this safe. Check the decision e-mail to make sure:
- Your personal details are correct
- The type of visa granted is correct, and
- Your visa is valid for the date on which you want to travel to the UK, and for the correct duration.
Details about the work and study conditions for your visa, how to create a share code and access digital leave (if granted) or whether you need to collect a BRP are also usually stated in the decision e-mail.
Once you receive your visa you can travel to the UK on this - check the date your visa is valid for use.
Documents and CAS
Please see the "Your CAS" information on the ISS webpages. You need a valid CAS to use to make a Student Visa application - make sure the CAS details are correct before applying.
It is a good idea to start preparing the other visa application documents you need while you wait to receive your CAS. You will then be able to finish completing your visa application form using the CAS details once you have received this and submit your visa application as soon as you are able to after receiving the CAS.
It is best to apply for the Student Visa as soon as you are able to in case of any visa processing delays.
Documents and requirements
Your documents need to meet the UKVI's requirements discussed in the UKVI's guidance and Immigration Rules below:
Prepare the required documents before you submit your online visa application form.
See our where we offer an overview of the maintenance requirement, financial documents and the UKVI's document requirements.
Common documents to prepare when applying for a Student Visa
- Current passport
- CAS: make sure all details on your CAS are accurate. Contact Admissions to request a CAS update if changes are required. The CAS will state your latest course start date / latest arrival date. Check the "Sponsor Note" section for updates. Tuition fees paid after CAS is issued will not be shown - prepare tuition fees receipts from University of Glasgow as evidence of the amount paid. Note the latest arrival date stated on your CAS - you need to have received your Student Visa and completed Visa Registration by this date to be able to start your studies (also see "When to apply").
- Evidence used to obtain offer of study documents: usually stated in the English Language and Evidence Used to Obtain Offer sections of CAS.
- ATAS certificate: if offer letter / CAS from Admissions says ATAS certificate is required, apply for ATAS as soon as possible. It can take around 4-6 weeks for the FCDO to process an ATAS application. You must apply for the ATAS certificate and receive this in time to submit this with your other visa application documents, and to be able to start your course at UoG.
Contact your School Office / Graduate School at UoG for the course / research details, name of your supervisor etc to write on the ATAS application (Admissions can confirm the CAH3 code for your course).
- Financial evidence: See our FAQs Guide. Documents can be made outside the UK but must meet UKVI's document requirements and show you meet UKVI's maintenance requirements i.e. enough money to cover:
➢ any unpaid tuition fees (see your CAS / official tuition fee receipts), plus
➢ £1023 for each month of your course (up to 9 months (£9207) for living costs.
Where your CAS does not state the actual amount of tuition fees paid to University of Glasgow you would need to prepare tuition fees receipts as evidence of the amount paid.
Using financial evidence in a parent or legal guardian's name: We discuss this further along with the UKVI document requirements in our FAQs Guide - you will also need to prepare additional documents, i.e.:
➢Evidence of relationship to your parents (e.g. birth certificate), and
➢Letter of consent from your parents
Official financial sponsor letter: (e.g. if you will receive official financial sponsorship / scholarship money for your tuition fees and living costs). See UKVI's definition of who is an official financial sponsor and evidence requirements and the information in our FAQs Guide. Evidence will either be your CAS or official financial sponsor letter.
If official financial sponsorship / scholarship received via UoG, the details should be stated on your CAS. Otherwise you need to prepare an official financial sponsor letter. Your sponsor letter will need to state your financial sponsor's written consent to you applying for a Student Visa to stay longer in the UK where:
- you are continuing a course and will continue to receive financial sponsorship (or scholarship) money (that covers both tuition fees and living costs) from a government or international scholarship agency, or
- you completed a course in the UK within the 12 months before the date you applied for a Student Visa that you received financial sponsorship (or scholarship) money for from a government or international scholarship agency that covered both tuition fees and living costs.
You will not need to provide the financial sponsor's written consent where:
- Money not received from a government or international scholarship agency
- Money received via UoG (e.g. where details of official financial sponsorship / scholarship are stated on the UoG CAS)
- Money received not for both tuition fees and living costs (where you are “partially funded”).
- Currency Conversions: made using oanda.com currency convertor on the day you submit the online Student Visa application form where the currency on your financial document is not GBP (£ pounds sterling). We discuss this further in our FAQs Guide.
- Translations: of any documents not in English language need to also be provided and meet the UKVI's Student Guidance reqirements:
"If a document is not in English or Welsh, the applicant must provide a fully certified translation from a professional translator or translation company that can be independently verified by the Home Office. The translation must include all of the following information:
• confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the document
• the date of translation
• the full name and signature of the translator or an official from the translation company
• the translator or translation company’s contact details"
- TB test certificate: residents of certain countries need a TB test if coming to the UK for more than 6 months
- Student Visa applicants who are under 18: See the additional documents to prepare in the "Students under 18" section.
Differential evidence arrangements and documents
Certain nationals applying for a Student Route visa do not need to provide evidence of their finances or their 'evidence used to obtain the offer' documents with their visa application. See Appendix Student, paragraph ST 22.1 for full details. It is a good idea to prepare all documents wherever possible as UKVI have the right to request these at any time while processing your visa application. You would still need to prepare and submit an ATAS certificate and evidence of receiving official financial sponsorship / written consent from your official financial sponsor where required as usual however.
FAQs Guide (applying for a Student Visa outside the UK)
See our FAQs Guide for answers to the most commonly asked questions about applying for a Student Visa from outside the UK!
Students under 18
If you are under 18 at the time you make the Student Visa application
You will also need to prepare additional documents for your Student visa application:
- a consent letter that confirms all points below (taken from the "Student Guidance", page 75) and is signed by your parents or legal guardians, and
- proof of your relationship to your parents or legal guardians, for example by providing a birth certificate, a certificate of adoption, or a court or government issued document naming your legal guardian(s).
Additional documents - requirements
Parental consent: Please see the UKVI requirements below.
"Parental consent for Students and Child Students under 18: Applicants who are under the age of 18, must provide written consent that demonstrates their application is supported by their parents or legal guardian, or just one parent if the parent has sole responsibility for the applicant. The caseworker must ensure the letter from the applicant’s parents or legal guardian:
• confirms the relationship between the parents or legal guardian and the child
• confirms that the parents or legal guardians consent to the application and the parent's or legal guardian's contact details
• confirms that the parents or legal guardians consent to the child’s living and care arrangements in the UK
• confirms that the parents or legal guardians consent to the child’s travel to and reception arrangement in the UK, if the application is for entry clearance
• is signed by both parents or legal guardians, or just one parent or legal guardian if they have sole responsibility for the child"
Proof of relationship: Please see the UKVI requirements below:
"The applicant must provide evidence of their relationship with their parents or legal guardian who have provided consent in support of their application. This can be in the form of a copy of one of the following documents:
• a birth certificate that shows the names of the applicant’s parents
• a certificate of adoption that shows the name of the applicant’s parents or legal guardian
• a court or government issued document naming the applicant’s legal guardian or establishing the sole responsibility of one parent.
Equivalent documents will not always be formatted in the same way, there is some regional variation in how these documents are presented. Provided the document contains the required information and is in English or is accompanied by a verified translation, the document can be accepted."
Admissions at UoG also require permission from your parents/guardians for you to study at UoG. Please complete the Under 18s Parental Consent letter and upload to the UoG Admissions Applicant Self-Service Portal.
Can I bring my dependants with me?
Please see the information on (Student) Dependants here.
Entering UK via Ireland / Dublin
You can travel to and enter the UK via Dublin / Ireland using the Student Visa sticker in your passport (this would be the 90 day visa sticker where your decision letter says you will receive a BRP), or where you have been granted a digital status, with your share code and passport.
Please note: your entry date will not be recorded if you enter the UK via Dublin / Ireland, as you will not pass through immigration between Dublin / Ireland and the UK. Ireland and the UK are part of the Common Travel Area therefore there are no immigration borders between these countries.
If you travel to the UK via Dublin, you should keep evidence regarding the dates of travel and date you entered the UK in case your date of entry ever becomes important or relevant. You would also take this evidence to Visa Registration. Please see the link to the UKCISA webpages with further information in our "Useful links" section on this webpage.
BRPs and Digital Visa Status
Please see your decision e-mail for details of your visa and whether you will be issued a BRP or digital visa status
From 01 January 2025 UKVI intend to issue all visa holders with an online digital visa status which they will be able to access with a share code. They have announced that they do not intend to issue BRPs after this date.
Your decision e-mail from UKVI (that you will receive once they have made a decision on your Student Visa application) will confirm wjhether you will be issued your Student Visa as:
- a digital visa status, or
- a BRP (you would also be issued a 90 day visa sticker in your passport to use to travel to the UK and collect the BRP).
Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) are issued to most Student Visa holders and their dependants coming to the UK who have been granted leave of more than 6 months in length. It is a plastic card with your Student Visa details stated on it, including your visa expiry date. Where you are granted your visa on a BRP, the BRP is your full visa (not the 90 day sticker in your passport - this is only granted to you to use to travel to the UK and collect the BRP).
If your visa is for less than 6 months in length
Your whole visa will be on a visa sticker in your passport (or granted as a digital visa status). You will not receive a BRP.
If your visa decision says you will get a BRP
You will travel to the UK on the 90 day visa sticker placed in your passport and collect your BRP after arriving in the UK. You would then collect the BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK, or before the expiry date on your 90 day visa sticker in your passport, whichever date is soonest.
Once you collect the BRP you must keep it safe, and take it with you whenever you travel outside the UK. Please read the UKVI's information about receiving a BRP when you have applied for your Student Visa outside the UK.
You can choose to collect your BRP from either a Post Office in the UK (e.g. in Glasgow) when completing the Student Visa application form, or from the University of Glasgow. See the Immigration Compliance team's Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) webpages for details of how to collect your BRP from UoG.
If you have been issued a Student Visa on a BRP that expires 31 December 2024, but the visa expiry date on your visa decision e-mail is a later date: UKVI say you will be issued with a digital visa status for the remainder of your leave and e-mailed regarding this early in 2024.
If your visa decision says you will get a digital visa status
Follow the link in your decision letter or e-mail and check you can generate a share code before travelling to the UK.
You will need to be able to show your digital visa status when entering the UK if asked by a UK Border Officer to do so, to prove your rights to work and study in the UK and as part of Visa Registration at UoG.
You will not receive a visa sticker or BRP where you have been granted an online, digital visa status.
Report any errors with your BRP or digital visa to UKVI
Errors on your visa should be reported as soon as you notice them, otherwise UKVI say you would need to apply for a new visa which could disrupt your studies and be very expensive.
- 90 day visa sticker: if the error could prevent you from entering the UK (e.g. your name, nationality or 'valid from' date), contact the International Enquiry Service to request the error be amended in order to travel to the UK (you will be charged or asked to make payment to use this service).
- BRP error: Contact International Student Support with a copy of your BRP, decision e-mail and CAS, and explain what the error is so we can advise you. See the UKVI webpages for how to report errors where you have applied for the Student Visa outside the UK. UKVI say that errors must be reported within 10 days of receiving the BRP. If the error on a BRP relates to the length of leave or conditions of leave you have been granted, UKVI say you need to apply for an Administrative Review.
- Errors on a digital visa: to report the error before travelling to the UK, contact UKVI's Settlement Resolution Centre as soon as possible. If you notice the error after arriving in the UK please contact International Student Support for advice.
Student Visa conditions
Student Visa conditions
See Appendix Student for your visa conditions, including for work and study while you are in the UK on a Student Visa, under "Period and conditions of grant for a Student".
You should also read the information on the Immigration Compliance Team webpages about your responsibilities as a Student Visa holder, including the attendance and engagement requirements you need to meet to avoid your Student Visa sponsorship being affected.
This information also discusses permitted periods of absence from studies, where you need consent first from your School Office / Graduate School and when taking time away from studies or spending time outside the UK during term time may affect your Student Visa sponsorship.
Changes to your studies may affect your Student Visa validity / expiry date, or require you to make a Student Visa application. See our webpages for information on common scenarios.
Travelling on your Student Visa (during or after studies)
Travelling outside the UK
You need to show evidence of having a valid Student Visa whenever you re-enter the UK along with your passport. Evidence of your Student Visa will be your BRP, or, your digital visa status (you should prepare a share code before travelling back to the UK).
Make sure you do not spend more than the permitted time outside the UK during your course / in term time, and that you have any relevant consent where required to be outside the UK in term time from your School Office / Graduate School, as discussed in the "Your responsibilities" and "Attendance and Engagement" sections on the Immigration Compliance Team webpages.
Some changes to studies reported to UKVI by the Immigration Compliance Team would affect your Student Visa validity or expiry date (e.g. early course completion, absences longer than permitted period in term-time, withdrawal from studies etc). Check with the Immigration Compliance team if you are unsure whether they have made a report to UKVI / the Home Office that would affect your Student Visa validity / expiry date.
You can also see the ISS webpages for information how some of the most common changes to studies may affect your Student Visa.
Returning to the UK on your Student Visa after completing your course
If you leave the UK after completing your UoG course, UKVI say you can still return to the UK using your Student Visa, so long as your Student Visa is still valid, and you re-enter the UK before your Student Visa expiry date.
If you are unsure whether a report was made by the Immigration Compliance Team that would affect your Student Visa validity and where you have reason to understand a report may have been made in your case (e.g. early completion of your course, a period of absence in term-time where you no longer met the attendance and engagement requirements, the withdrawal from your studies etc) please contact the Immigration Compliance Team to check. Where a report has made to UKVI to end your visa sponsorship, or to report an early course completion date, your visa expiry date would be affected as a result.
It is always at the discretion of a UK Border Officer whether to allow entry to the UK. So you should be prepared to explain why you are coming back to the UK if asked to do so by a UK Border Officer. You may wish to prepare documents to help you explain this and carry these in your hand luggage.
See the examples below:
Student is returning to the UK to resume their course following an authorised absence of less than 60 days (or other permitted duration) during term time, or, after spending time outside the UK during vacation period for their course. You could print off a Certifying Letter to demonstrate you are a current, registered UoG student.
Student left the UK after completing their course and is returning to the UK...
...to apply for a Student Visa for a new course. You could print off the CAS for your new course and explain you will make a Student Visa application on or before your current Student Visa expiry date.
...to apply for the Graduate Visa. You could print a Certifying Letter for Former Students . You can also explain a Graduate Visa application can only be made in the UK while your Student Visa is still valid, how you meet the requirements to apply for a Graduate Visa, and that you will apply for a Graduate Visa either on before your current Student Visa expiry date.
...to attend their graduation ceremony. You could print a Certifying Letter for Former Students . You may also include any other evidence you may have from enrolling for graduation at UoG, as well as evidence you plan to leave the UK again on or before your Student Visa expiry date (e.g. flight tickets).
Useful links and resources
- UKCISA Student Route visa information
- UKVI's Student Route visa information
- UKVI's Student Guidance
- UKVI's Financial Evidence for Student Route Applicants guidance
- UKVI: How to Apply for your Student Visa (leaflet)
- Electronic Online Digital Visa Status
- UKCISA: Arriving in the UK via Ireland / Dublin
UKVI's Immigration Rules: