Manchester Metropolitan University

Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

Tier 4 visas are regulated by a points based system. There are several requirements that must be met before a Tier 4 visa can be issued to you. The requirements to obtain the visa are the same whether you are applying within the UK or from overseas. However, only certain students who hold a valid Tier 4 visa are permitted to apply for an extension from within the UK.

The UK government website and Tier 4 policy provide full guidance on Tier 4 visas for students. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also provides in-depth advice for international students on a variety of topics, including Tier 4 visas.

► How to Request a CAS Number and Apply for a Tier 4 Visa

Work Entitlements

Students granted a Tier 4 visa are typically given the following work permission:

Study Type

Work Permission

Foundation

Up to 10 hours per week term time, full time outside of term time

Undergraduate

Up to 20 hours per week term time, full time outside of term time

Postgraduate Taught

Up to 20 hours per week, full time during the Christmas/Easter holiday period

Postgraduate Research

Up to 20 hours per week

For more information about working whilst a student at Manchester Met please refer to our Your Visa Your Responsibility booklet.

 

Time limits

Maximum time limits for studying in the UK apply to Tier 4 students over the age of 18. Students on courses below degree level, for example on a foundation programme, have a maximum time of two years. Those studying at degree level or higher usually have a limit of five years, however there are exceptions for those on specific courses such as architecture or PhD students.

When you request your CAS, Manchester Met will assess whether you will reach a maximum time limit. If you have concerns about reaching the time limit, please see UKCISAs website or the UK government’s Tier 4 policy.

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Requirements

Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

A CAS is a unique reference number for your visa application that is obtained by the University from the UK Home Office. The CAS is generated by inputting your information into a shared database with the UK Home Office; this informs them that you are holding an unconditional offer to study at Manchester Met, or are an enrolled student with us.

A CAS is valid for six months from the date it is generated and you cannot make a Tier 4 application more than three months before the start of your course. A CAS will automatically expire if it is not used within six months of being generated. You can hold several CAS numbers from different institutions, once you use one CAS number, any other CAS numbers you possess will automatically become invalid.

Before you start your CAS application, please read the CAS Policy for students joining a new course of study or CAS Policy for enrolled students for information on who can and cannot be issued with a CAS.

In order for us to be able to issue you with a CAS, you must submit a CAS Request Form and all supporting evidence listed on the form. Please complete and submit the relevant form for your circumstances:

*Who is a Low Risk National?

The list of countries considered low risk by the Home Office are confirmed in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules. Students who are nationals of countries considered low risk do not have to submit certain supporting evidence to us in order to be issued with a CAS, and are not required to include this information in their immigration application. You will find more information about this on the CAS Request Form.

Please Note, the request forms are not compatible with mobile devices and should be viewed and completed using a desktop computer.

When we have received your CAS number from the Home Office, we will produce a CAS statement, which provides all the information you need to complete your visa application form. When you receive your CAS statement, please check the information very carefully to ensure that the contents are correct. If there are errors, you should email details to internationalapplication@mmu.ac.uk and we will make any necessary amendments to the CAS on your behalf via the Home Office. You will then be sent a screen print to confirm that the amendments have been made. You do not need to submit the CAS Statement with your application.

Financial Requirements

Please refer to UKCISA for information on how much money you need to show evidence of to meet the Home Office's requirements. Remember that if the financial evidence you supply is not in English or Welsh you will need to submit an official language translation. We typically require a copy of your financial evidence before issuing your CAS.

Qualifications

Your CAS Statement lists the documents that we used to make you an offer. You must submit original versions of these documents with your visa application.  If you are unable to submit the stated documents please contact the Immigration & Welfare Team for advice.

Photographs

You must submit recent photos (less than one month old) that comply with the Home Office's photo guidance. Additionally, even if the photos are less than one month old but you have used them for any other application, e.g. passport or driving license, we would also recommend that you purchase new photos. An entry clearance application (an application submitted outside the UK) requires one passport sized colour photograph, and a leave to remain application (submitted in the UK) requires two.

Tuberculosis Testing

Residents of some countries are required to have a tuberculosis (TB) test prior to applying for a visa to come to the UK for longer than six months. This test must be carried out at an approved clinic, where you will receive a medical certificate. This certificate must be used as part of your visa application. More details are available on the government website.

You won’t need a TB test if any of the following apply:

  • you are a diplomat accredited to the UK
  • you are a returning UK resident and haven’t been overseas for more than two years
  • you lived for at least six months in a country where TB screening is not required and you’ve been away from that country for no more than six months. For example, you have moved from a foundation programme in the UK to an undergraduate degree, and have returned home in the summer to apply for your new visa

ATAS

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (referred to as ATAS) is compulsory for all non-EEA nationals studying specific postgraduate subjects. We will inform you on your offer letter and CAS statement if you need to obtain an ATAS certificate. All the necessary information you need to apply for ATAS will be on your offer letter.

It can take approximately four weeks for your ATAS application to be processed. ATAS certificates are valid for six months from the date of issue, therefore you must be in a position to use the certificate in a Tier 4 visa application within six months from the date of your application. Please see the ‘how to make an application’ section for details of when you are permitted to apply for a Tier 4 visa. If your course requires ATAS clearance, an ATAS certificate will be a mandatory document for your visa application.

Apply online for your ATAS certificate at the Foreign & Commonwealth website.

I already have an ATAS certificate, do I need a new one?

An ATAS certificate is issued for a specific course at a specific University. It remains valid as long as you stay with the named University and your course details do not change, including the length of the course. You will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if:

  • you change course, or
  • you change the area of research or your modules, or
  • you move to another institution, or
  • your course length has been extended and you need to extend your visa to complete your course

Translations

If your immigration application includes any documents not written in English or Welsh, you must also include an original certified translation of each document. Each translation must be carried out by a professional translator and must contain:

  • details of the translator’s credentials
  • confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company
  • the translator’s contact details

Credibility Interview

If applying for a Tier 4 visa from outside of the UK you will be interviewed via video link and asked basic questions regarding yourself and your study plans, this interview typically takes a few minutes.

Whether you make the visa application in your country of residence or in the UK, you may be asked to attend a more detailed interview with the Home Office, this is known as a credibility interview. The interview is your opportunity to show the Home Office that your intentions to study in the UK are genuine. 

We recommend all applicants refer to our credibility interviews leaflet for information on the questions you may be asked at an interview.

Police Registration

If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa from within the UK and your current visa states that you require police registration, you must submit a police registration certificate with your application. Please ensure that your police registration certificate is up to date.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) applies to students coming to the UK for 6 months or longer. The surcharge entitles you to National Health Service (NHS) treatment in the same way a UK resident receives it. The IHS is charged at £150 per 12 months of leave granted and £75 for part of the year up to six months; the full £150 is charged for periods between 6-12 months in length. The online application form includes processing of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

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How to make an application from outside the UK

When to apply?

You can apply for your Tier 4 visa up to three months prior to your course start date. You should apply as soon as possible so that you are able to arrive in time for our welcome events and your course start date.

How to apply

After receiving your CAS number you should complete and submit the online application form. At the end of the online application you will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC) to submit your documents. Depending on the country you are applying in, the appointment may be booked through the FCO website or directly with the VAC. View details specific to your country.

Are you a low-risk national?

The list of countries considered low risk by the Home Office are confirmed in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules. Students who are nationals of countries considered low risk do not have to submit certain supporting evidence to us in order to be issued with a CAS, and are not required to include this information in their immigration application. However, the supporting evidence could be requested after your application has been submitted, so you must meet the requirements and be able to provide the evidence if requested to do so.

How Long will the Application take

The usual processing time for a Tier 4 visa is 15 working days, however it can take longer during busy periods (August-September) and can vary depending on your nationality and UK immigration history.

It is often possible to pay for an express service (24 hour service, 5 day service or your application put to the front of the queue) depending on your country of residence. View details specific to your country.

Important information for all applicants

If you have ever overstayed and/or breached any of the conditions of your immigration permission during a previous stay in the UK, you must disclose this on all applications you submit to the Home Office. Failure to disclose could lead to a lengthy ban, details of which can be found under Part 9 of the Home Office’s Immigration Rules.

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How to make an application in the UK 

Who can apply in the UK?

You can make a visa application from within the UK if at least one of the following points applies to you:

  1. You have successfully completed a previous course of study as a Tier 4 student at a university, embedded college or independent school in the UK, and are moving to a higher level qualification, for example Bachelors to Masters
  2. You have successfully completed a previous course of study as a Tier 4 student at a university, embedded college or independent school in the UK and are moving to a course of the same level. The new course must be related to your previous course (same subject group, deeper specialisation or connected) or, your previous and new course combined support your career aspirations
  3. You have a current visa as a Tier 4 (Child) Student
  4. You are making a first application to complete an existing course commenced at a Tier 4 sponsor that had its licence revoked
  5. You are an enrolled student at Manchester Met and have taken, or will take re-sits/repeat of study
  6. You are a PhD student
  7. You will work as a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer or have been a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer at Manchester Met and need to extend your visa to complete your course
  8. You are applying under the Doctorate Extension Scheme

Please note, if there is more than one month between the end of your current Tier 4 visa and the beginning of your new course you will not be able to apply in the UK and must return home to make a new Tier 4 visa application.

Students who are in the UK currently and need to switch from a different type of visa to a Tier 4 visa should read the Tier 4 policy to see if the visa they currently hold permits them to switch whilst in the UK. 

How to apply?

After receiving your CAS, you should complete and submit the application form on the UK government website. We have produced a useful guide to completing the form.

The ‘date of application’ is the date you submit and pay the application fee online. Your date of application must be before your current visa expires to ensure you do not become an overstayer.

If you would like the Immigration & Welfare Team to check and send your application please attend a drop-in session (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30-11.30am and 1.30-3.30pm at the Business School Hub, Manchester Campus) or if you are unable to attend the drop-in, please e-mail visaextension@mmu.ac.uk requesting an appointment to meet with an adviser.

At the end of the online application you will be offered a choice of how to submit your application, either by post using the standard/priority service or the premium (in person) service. Information on pricing and processing times is available on the government website.

Postal applications: after submitting online, the process is:

  1. Download and print the checklist
  2. Post the checklist and supporting documents to the address listed on the checklist, Manchester Met will do this for you if you use the check and send service. You have 15 working days (two days if you chose the priority service) to do this from the date you submit your online form
  3. You need to download your biometric invite letter asking you to attend a post office to provide your biometric information (photograph, signature and fingerprints). You have 15 working days from the date on the letter to provide your biometric information. There is a £19.20 charge.
  4. Wait for a decision, if you do not hear about your visa application within 8 weeks of attending the post office to provide your biometric information, please contact the Immigration & Welfare Team for advice

Premium (in person): when submitting online, you will need to choose an appointment at a Premium Service Centre (the closest to Manchester are Liverpool and Sheffield). At the appointment, the officer will take your biometric information and process your application. You will likely receive a decision the same day, however, the visa itself (issued as a biometric residence permit) will typically be issued and posted to you within 10 days.

Are you a low-risk national?

The list of countries considered low risk by the Home Office are confirmed in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules. Students who are nationals of countries considered low risk do not have to submit certain supporting evidence to us in order to be issued with a CAS, and are not required to include this information in their immigration application. However, the supporting evidence could be requested after your application has been submitted, so you must meet the requirements and be able to provide the evidence if requested to do so. 

Important information for all applicants

If you have ever overstayed and/or breached any of the conditions of your immigration permission during a previous stay in the UK, you must disclose this on all applications you submit to the Home Office. Failure to disclose could lead to a lengthy ban, details of which can be found under Part 9 of the Home Office’s Immigration Rules.

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After your visa is granted

Applications made in the UK

If you applied in the UK your visa will be granted on a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card and sent to you at the address you provided on your application form.

Applications made outside the UK

Visas granted outside the UK are issued as a sticker in your passport called a ‘vignette’. If your visa is for six months or less the full length will be stated on your vignette.

If your visa is for longer than six months, your vignette will be valid for 30 days and a decision letter from the UK embassy will confirm the full length of visa granted. The start and end date of the 30 day vignette will be based on your planned travel date and course start date. Find out more.

On arrival in the UK, you will need to take your decision letter and passport when collecting your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the location you chose when you submitted your application. Find out more.

Do you need to register with the police?

Some students studying for longer than six months are required to register with the police as part of their visa conditions. Your visa and/or decision letter will tell you if you need to register. Find out more.

Police registration is required within seven days of entry to the UK. Find out about booking a police appointment through Manchester Met.

It is very important to keep a note of your visa expiry date. You will find this on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Place a note in your diary three months before your visa is due to expire to remind you to make the necessary preparations to either extend your visa under Tier 4, switch into another immigration category, or make plans to return home.

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If your visa is refused

Applications made in the UK

Rejected as invalid: You have not provided the information needed for a decision to be made. For example, your biometric information or your photographs were incorrect. You should contact the Immigration & Welfare Team immediately to discuss your options.

If you receive notification after your visa has expired, you will have become an overstayer. We will be able to advise you on which day the overstay began and will inform our Compliance Team of the Home Office’s decision. Our Compliance Team will take the necessary steps to protect your student record, this will include a temporary suspension of studies whilst you obtain new immigration permission. In order to re-join your course you will need to provide a new visa that permits you to study in the UK. Your options will be to submit a new application at a premium in-person appointment with the Home Office within 14 days of your overstay beginning, or return to your country of residence to apply for Entry Clearance.

Leave to remain refused: If the Home Office return your application as refused you should contact the Immigration & Welfare Team immediately to discuss your options. You should have been given the right to an administrative review (similar to an appeal). We will guide you on whether you will be able to submit a successful administrative review application. The Immigration & Welfare Team will inform our Compliance Team about the Home Office’s decision, and what actions you are taking. 

If you do not submit an administrative review you will need to apply for, and be issued, a new CAS from the University. Our Compliance Team will take the necessary steps to protect your student record and assess whether you can submit a successful visa application. You may be temporarily suspended from studies whilst you obtain new immigration permission to study at Manchester Met. The Immigration & Welfare Team will inform you whether you can make a new application in the UK or if you must return home to do this.

If you receive notification that your immigration application has been rejected or refused, and/or you overstay your visa, you will have to declare this each time you apply for a UK visa.

Remember that Manchester Met has a two CAS policy per applicant for each academic year, so you must ensure that you submit a fully-completed application that meets Home Office requirements.

Applications made outside the UK

If your application for entry clearance is refused you should inform the Immigration & Welfare Team immediately, provide a copy of your refusal notice, and seek advice on your options. It is likely that one of the following options is suitable:

If you receive notification that your immigration application has been rejected or refused, and/or you overstay your visa, you will have to declare this each time you apply for a UK visa. 

When you are enrolled

All enrolled students should review our Your Visa, Your Responsibility booklet for information about being a Tier 4 sponsored student at Manchester Met.

If your circumstances change after you have enrolled on your course, for example you wish to change courses or need to suspend your studies, you should seek advice from the Immigration & Welfare Team at a drop-in session - Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30-11.30am and 1.30-3.30pm at the Business School Hub, Manchester Campus. Alternatively, you can contact the team by email visaextension@mmu.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)161 247 1022 (option 3).

Monitoring your attendance

Manchester Met is required to monitor your attendance to ensure you are engaging with your studies. Most Tier 4 students studying with us will be required to log their attendance through Attendance Self-Registration Application (ASRA), this is your proof that you are meeting the conditions of your visa and engaging as required. Some students, such as research students, will have a different method of engagement monitoring. For more information, please see our ASRA frequently asked questions.

If you lose your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

For information on what to do if you lose your BRP, either in the UK or overseas, please visit UKCISA’s website.

If you would like a member of the Immigration & Welfare Team to check and send your replacement BRP form, please attend a drop-in session or contact the team by email visaextension@mmu.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)161 247 1022 (option 3).

Please remember to bring your new BRP to a student hub, this will be passed onto the Compliance Team so that your student record can be updated. If you are required to register with the police, you will need an appointment to update your new BRP on your police registration certificate, please contact internationalwelcome@mmu.ac.uk to request an appointment.

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Visas & Immigration