Student Visa ( previously Tier 4)

Who needs a Student Visa, how do you apply, what are the financial requirements.

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This information is provided by the
Student Support & Advice Team

Before You Apply

Do not take advice about any aspect of your Student immigration application from your friends, from online forums or communities, or from anyone else who is not regulated to offer immigration advice. Following bad or misinformed advice from non-professionals can mean your Student immigration application will be refused.

The International Advice Team are the only people who are legally allowed to give Immigration Advice at the University of Lincoln.

If you would like to speak to an International Adviser in confidence please email: or call 01522 837080.


Most students from outside the UK beginning a full-time course of six months or longer at the University of Lincoln will require a student visa.

For courses or study periods of less than six months, you may require a Standard Visitor visa instead of a student visa.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are now included within the Student route and will require a student visa unless they have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or another valid right to reside in the UK.

If you are a UK national, UK citizen or permanent resident, or if you already have permission in a different immigration category which permits study, such as a student dependant visa, you may not need to apply for a student visa.

Students from Hong Kong who have a ‘British national (overseas)’ nationality may be eligible for the UK’s new BNO visa. Find out more on the UK government website.

Please contact the International Advice Team for further advice if you are unsure about your immigration options.

How long you can stay and study depends on the length of your course and what study you’ve already completed in the UK.

If you apply for your visa under the new Student Route from the 5 October 2020 there is no limit for time spent studying with Student permission at postgraduate level (RQF level 7) and above.

Studies at Undergraduate level, (RQF level 6), is still subject to the 5 year time limit

Studies below degree level, (RQF level 3, 4 or 5),  are subject to a 2 year time limit.

Further guidance can be found on UKCISA showing exactly how long you can stay.

You can apply for Student immigration permission whilst in the UK if you meet ALL of the following three requirements:

1.    You can apply in the UK if you are not in the UK on immigration bail, and if you currently have any type of immigration permission except:

• visitor
• short-term student
• parent of a child student
• seasonal worker
• domestic worker in a private household
• permission outside the Immigration Rules

It is extremely important that you do not apply in the UK if you hold one of the types of immigration permission listed above because the Home Office will treat your application as invalid. This means that they will not consider your application and you will have no right of appeal or administrative review against their decision.

2.    The start date of your new course of studies (as stated on your CAS) can be no more than 28 days after the end of your current visa. If the start date is later, you cannot apply in the UK and must leave and apply from your home country.

3.     If you currently hold Tier 4 (General) or Student immigration permission, the “Evidence Used” field of your CAS statement must confirm that your new studies show academic progression in order for you to extend in the UK.

You cannot submit your application until you have been issued a CAS by the University of Lincoln.

You will need to make your application online and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee, biometric enrolment fee and the application fee before being able to complete and submit the application.

*You cannot travel outside the UK before you have a decision on your visa application. If you travel before you receive a decision, your application will be withdrawn, and you must make a new application before being able to return to the UK*

Click here to start your student visa application inside the UK.

As part of your application you will be asked to prove your identity.

If you have previously submitted your biometrics (photograph and fingerprints) to the UKVI before, you may be invited to use the Identity Verification (IDV) app to complete your application. If eligible to use the app, you will be instructed to download this following submitting your application. The app works on most Android and iPhone smartphones and means that the biometrics that you submitted previously will be re-used.

If you are instructed to use the app, you will be asked to take a photo of yourself and your travel documents and upload your mandatory and optional documents using your smartphone. The UK government have provided guidance about uploading evidence as part of the visa application 

If eligible to use the app, you will not be required to attend a UKVCAS centre.

If you are not eligible to use the IDV app, you will be directed to Sopra Steria’s website to book an appointment at a UKVCAS service point centre. A combination of free appointments and chargeable appointments are available at all service points across the UK. The only exception to this is if you book an appointment at the Premium Lounge which will always incur a fee.


The earliest you can apply is 6 months before the start date of your course.

Make sure you allow enough time for your application to be processed so that you can arrive in the UK in time for the start of your programme of studies.

You cannot submit your application until you have been issued a CAS by the University of Lincoln.

Making an Application

Click here to start your student visa application from outside of the UK

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has detailed information and links to help you make a Student Visa application from outside of the UK.

The University of Lincoln cannot assist you to complete an application being made outside of the UK but the International Advice Team is happy to answer any questions you may have about the process or sections of the application that you may be unsure about.  Please email if you require assistance.

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or ‘CAS’ is an electronic document that the University of Lincoln will issue when they make you an unconditional offer. It is stored on a database the Home Office can see.

You cannot make a student visa application without first receiving your CAS.

The University of Lincoln will send you a unique CAS reference number which you will need to enter onto your online Student visa application form. The University should also provide you with the information used to generate your CAS, usually called the ‘CAS statement’. The CAS statement itself is not required for your Student visa application, but it gives you all of the information about your course and Student sponsor (University of Lincoln), and some of the information about money that you need to be able to complete your Student visa application form.

Your application may be refused if there are any discrepancies between the information used by your institution to generate the CAS and the information on your visa application form, so contact the University before you apply if you notice any details which might cause a problem.

If you currently have a Student visa for the UK, or if you previously had one (including a Tier 4 visa), or a pre-Tier 4 student visa, your CAS needs to confirm that you are making academic progress in your studies.  For information about this, see the UK government Student and Child Student guidance.

Your partner and children (‘dependants’) may be able to apply to come to the UK or stay longer in the UK.

You must be one of the following:

Full time students on an Undergraduate level course (RQF level 6 or below) cannot bring dependants to the UK whilst they are studying.

Your partner and child must each have a certain amount of money available to them. This is in addition to the money you must have to support yourself. (Please see ‘Financial Requirements for a Student Visa application’ below)

The website has further information for students wanting to bring their dependants to the UK whilst they study.

There are 3 payments that have to be made before a visa application can be submitted.  These payments are the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), the Biometric Enrolment fee and the Visa Application fee.

  • You will need to pay a Visa Application fee for each person included on your visa application. The most up to date fee figures can be found on – Student Visa fees
  • You will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee for each person included on your visa application.  The most up to date IHS fees can be found on – IHS fees
  • You will need to pay a Biometric Enrolment fee for each person included on your visa application.  The most up to date fee figure can be found on – Biometric fees

You will need to provide supporting documents with your Student immigration application. The documents for you will depend on your individual circumstances.

Further information about supporting documents can be found on – Documents you will need

Documents required for all students

  • Passport and previous passport(s) or travel document.
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Documents some students may need to provide (depending on your situation)

  • Qualifications and English language assessment.
  • Evidence of your finances showing you have enough funds to pay your tuition fees and support yourself whilst studying in the UK, unless you are applying in the UK and have held permission to be here for 12 months or longer, or if you are from an exempt country. If you are from an exempt country, you still need to prepare the documents, but only need to provide them if later requested by UKVI.
  • Additional evidence if you are showing funds in your parent’s or partner’s account, unless you are applying in the UK and have held permission to be here for 12 months or longer, or if you are from an exempt country. If you are from an exempt country, you still need to prepare the documents, but only need to provide them if later requested by UKVI.
  • TB test certificate if applying from overseas and resident in an applicable country
  • Official translation of any documents not in English or Welsh.
  • ATAS clearance if studying an applicable course.
  • Letter of permission from your parents if you are 16 or 17
  • Legal documents as evidence of a name change if you have changed your name (an affidavit would NOT be acceptable)
  • Evidence of permission to be in third country if you are applying in a country other than your country of nationality
    • (you CANNOT apply in a country that you are visiting)
  • Current BRP card (if you have one)
  • Current up-to-date Police Registration Certificate (if applicable)
  • Additional documents if you are planning to bring family members with you as your dependants
  • Letter of consent if you are currently in the UK and are financially sponsored by a government or an international scholarship agency or if you have been financially sponsored by a government or international organisation within the last 12 months. The University of Lincoln is not a government or international scholarship agency and so you will not need a letter of consent if you have been sponsored by us.
  • Any other documents relevant to your application

The required documents for an application can be original or high quality copy. UKVI reserve the right to see the original documents or contact the issuing authority to verify any documents submitted in support of an application.

There are financial requirements placed on any Student Visa application by the UK Home Office.

You must show that you have enough money to pay the tuition fees for your course and to support yourself and any other people (called dependants) who are included on your visa, unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application.

You will need to provide evidence showing that you have had the required funds for at least 28 consecutive days and the evidence cannot be more than 31 days old when you make your application.

For example; If you submit your application on 1 January 2021, you’d have to show that the funds were in your bank account for at least the 28-day period ending on 1 December 2020.

Further information about financial requirements can be found on the UKCISA website.

Course (Tuition) Fees

You must have enough money to pay for the course fees for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year long. If your CAS has been issued for further study on a course that you are already partway through, the ‘first year of study’ means the first year of this new period of study. The Home Office will use the details in your CAS to confirm how much money you need for your course fees.

If you have already paid some or all of your course fees, your CAS will confirm this. If you pay some or all of your course fees after you have received your CAS you do not need to ask for an updated CAS and can use the receipt of payment provided by the University of Lincoln as evidence for the Home Office.

Living Costs (Maintenance)

The Home Office uses fixed amounts, but please bear in mind that these amounts will not reflect your actual living costs whilst studying in the UK.

Further information about actual living costs, including accommodation costs whilst studying in Lincoln can be found on our ‘Living in the UK‘ page.

  • To study at the University of Lincoln, you will need to show the Home Office that you have £1,023 available for your living costs for each month of your course, up to a maximum of £9,207 for a course lasting nine months or more.
  • In addition, you will need to show the Home Office that you have an additional £680 available for the living costs for each dependant for each month of the course, up to a maximum of £6,120 for each dependant for a course lasting nine months or more.

Use the course start and end dates on your CAS to calculate the length of your course and therefore how many months’ maintenance you will need. If the length of your course includes a part of a month, round it up to a full month.  For example if your course dates are 30 May until 1 October, this is four months and two days so you would need to show five months’ of funds.


You can deduct the following from the total amount of money that you need as part of your immigration application:

  • money that you have already paid to the University of Lincoln towards your course fees, and
  • up to £1,334 that you have already paid to your Student sponsor for your accommodation fees, if you are going to be living in university accommodation.

You cannot deduct any advance payment for any other type of housing, nor can you adjust the amounts if you will have no housing costs (for example if you will be living with a relative free of charge).

Your CAS may include details of any money paid to your institution. If not, you will need to provide a paper receipt confirming how much you have paid towards your course fees and/or your accommodation fees.

When your visa application is approved evidence of your permission to be in the UK will be issued to you as a biometric residence permit (BRP), separate from your passport. A BRP is a plastic card similar to a credit card which contains your personal information, your biometric information (photograph and fingerprints) and states your immigration status and some of your conditions.

Further information can be found on the University of Lincoln’s Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) page.

If you applied for your visa from outside the UK, you’ll need to collect your BRP once you’re in the UK.

You must usually do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.

Do not collect your BRP if you’re self-isolating because of COVID-19. The Post Office will keep your BRP for 60 days. Collect it when you finish self-isolating.

When you are completing your Student Visa application form, you will usually be prompted to choose a location to collect your BRP (biometric residence permit). The form will normally default to the Stonebow Centre Post Office, which is the nearest Post Office to the University of Lincoln campus.

You can enter an “Alternative Address Postcode” to select a different Post Office if the Stonebow branch is not the most convenient Post office branch for you.

You should choose the most convenient Post Office branch for where you are living or studying.

If you want to pick your BRP up from a different Post Office branch once you are in the UK you will need to go online to do this and you will required to pay a fee. Check that the Post Office branch you want to use offers a ‘BRP collection service’.

When your Student immigration permission is granted, you will also be issued with a visa decision letter explaining the student visa conditions. Normally, this letter will also confirm the date and Post Office location where you can collect your BRP.  Keep this letter safe for your reference.

If your visa decision letter does not confirm the Post Office where you can collect your BRP, you should check the payment section of your visa application form for the Post Office location. If you do not have a copy of your completed application, you should be able to log in to your UKVI account and access a pdf.

You will need to have a Tuberculosis (TB) test if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and you are resident in one of the listed countries on the UK government website.

If your test shows that you don’t have TB, you’ll be given a certificate which is valid for 6 months. You will need to apply for your visa within this 6 month period and include the certificate with your Student application.

You do not need to take a TB test if:

  • you are applying for your visa in the UK; or
  • you are coming to the UK for less than six months; or
  • you lived for at least 6 months in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK, and you’ve been away from that country for no more than 6 months

If you do not need to take a TB test because you have lived for at least 6 months in a country which does not require TB screening, and you have been away from that country for no more than 6 months, then it would be a good idea for you to highlight this in a cover letter and the ‘additional information’ section of the Student immigration application form. You may also wish to provide evidence of your immigration status in the third country (e.g. a residence permit for this country) and evidence about what you were doing in this country (e.g. a letter from your School or Employer in the third country).

For more information about Tuberculosis testing, visit the UK Government website.

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to all international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study or research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects. If you are applying to study an undergraduate course with an integrated masters year you may also need ATAS clearance.

The subjects and research areas are those where knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery. Researchers and students in these sensitive subjects must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study or start research in the UK.

Students and researchers who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate.

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate

Guidance on how to apply for an ATAS certificate

If you follow this advice guide and the resources it mentions you should be able to make your Student application by yourself. However, if you do feel that you need some help or if you have a specific question about your application, here are your options;

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