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Visa documents guide

A guide for Loughborough University students extending a Tier 4 visa

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Transcript of Visa documents guide

General points
to remember !!!!
- originals
- translations You must provide two recent identical passport-size photographs of yourself with your full name written on the back of each one. If anything is wrong with your photographs your application may be rejected as invalid.

The photographs must comply with the up-to-date UKBA photograph guidance for applications made in the UK, which is available from the Home Office website. The guidance includes 21 requirements, you need to check your photographs meet each of the requirements. The guidance includes examples of acceptable and unacceptable photographs. The photographs need to be attached to the relevant section of the application form in a small envelope. The Student Support Centre can send your application on your behalf to the Home Office under the ‘student batch scheme’. As part of the scheme we will check your application to make sure it is complete, when your application has been decided the Home Office will return your documents to the Student Support Centre, we will then contact you to let you know that your documents can be collected from our office. There is no charge for this service. If you want us to send your application to the Home Office then you must pay the Home Office application fee by postal order.

Postal orders are available from any Post Office. You will need to purchase postal orders made payable to ’Home Office’ for £394. The maximum value of a single postal order is £250. Therefore the Post Office will need to draw up two postal orders of £250 and £144. There is a fee of £12.50 for each postal order. You cannot buy the postal orders by cheque or by card, therefore, you will need to pay £419 in cash.

Write your full name and date of birth in BLOCK CAPITALS on the back of each postal order. If you are required to register with the police this will be clearly stated on your visa or residence permit. If so, make sure you have done so and make sure you have kept your police registration up to date by reporting any changes to details recorded on your certificate e.g. address or visa details.

If you have been required to register with the police you need to include your up to date police registration certificate with your application. You need to include your current passport with your application. If your current immigration permission is in a previous passport which you have used to travel or stay in the UK then you should include the previous passport as well.

The application form gives further instructions on what to do if you are unable to provide a required passport e.g. including a police report for a passport that has been lost or stolen. Certain students are required to submit an ‘ATAS’ certificate with their application to extend their student permission. This depends on the subject of your studies and level of qualification. Studies that lead to a Master’s degree or other postgraduate qualification in certain engineering, science and technology subjects require you to have ATAS clearance before you can be issued a visa.

Your original offer and CAS details should indicate whether ATAS approval is required. If your offer or CAS details do not require you to obtain ATAS approval you do not need to apply to ATAS.

The ATAS website (http://www.fco.gov.uk/atas) indicates an application may take 20 working days but sometimes this can take significantly longer. Therefore if you are required to obtain a certificate we recommend that you apply for ATAS clearance as soon as you can.

The ATAS clearance certificate is sent to you by e-mail, you will need to print the certificate and include this in your application to the Home Office.

If you have already obtained an ATAS certificate, for example for a previous visa you will still need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if;

• you have changed to a different programme that requires ATAS clearance
• the subject area of your research or modules have changed from those in your original application
• you move to study at another institution, or
• you need to increase the length of your studies You must check the ‘evidence provided’ section of your CAS details. This confirms the evidence the University has taken into account when issuing your CAS.

If you are a new student the CAS will usually list qualifications you used to gain your offer, for example a previous degree, Secure English Language Test (SELT) scores.

For any qualifications listed in your CAS you will need to provide either;

•An original certificate showing: your name, title of the award, date of award, name of the awarding institution. The Home Office will not accept provisional certificates, or

•An original transcript of results showing; your name, name of the academic institution, course title and confirmation of the award.

If you are a continuing student and need extra time to complete your programme the CAS will likely confirm your academic progress on your programme to date and that no documentary evidence is required to prove this. ...write in BLOCK CAPITALS and black ink... This is a guide to making sure you have the right documents for your Tier 4 (General) visa extension application. For more information on Tier 4 see our other on-line information or contact us direct for individual advice.

It is important to have the right documents within your application. If something is wrong with your documents your application could be refused or delayed.

We recommend you start to prepare your application 2 to 3 months in advance so that you have enough time to prepare everything correctly.

You must use the most recent version of the Tier 4 (G) application form. Follow the links in our on-line PDF guide to download and print the form from the Home Office website. But before you can complete the form you also need to have the right documents... The Tier 4 Policy Guidance sets out the requirements for extending your visa. It is available from the Home Office website. It is quite a lengthy document but you only need to read those parts which are relevant to your application and circumstances. The Policy Guidance sets out when documents are required, the acceptable format for documents and what information needs to be within a certain document.

The Tier 4 (G) application form and help text include requirements for other documents, such as; passports, photographs, application fee payment, police registration certificate, biometric residence permit.

Our guide only covers the most common requirements. If you have any doubts about which documents you need or whether they will be accepted by the Home Office you should refer to the Policy Guidance, application form and help text as required. The Policy Guidance and forms are frequently changed; download the current versions via our PDF guide. You must have a CAS issued by the University to apply to extend your student visa. New students will normally be issued a CAS as part of the admissions process. If you are a continuing student and need to extend your visa to finish your studies you need to request a CAS from the Academic Registry. Undergraduate students and taught postgraduates can request a CAS from the Student Office. Research students can request a CAS from the Research Student Office.

A CAS is an electronic document, the details of the CAS are issued to you by e-mail. You will need to refer to the CAS information when completing your application. The CAS statement includes; the University’s sponsor licence number, your unique CAS number, your details, programme details, tuition fees and any academic evidence relied upon to issue you your CAS. You must check that the content of the CAS statement is correct. If anything is wrong or there are any changes before you make your application you must notify the University so that the CAS can be amended or reissued; contact the office which issued your CAS. There are limits on using a CAS. A CAS can only be used once; a new CAS is required for each application, you cannot reuse the details of a previous CAS that has already been used in a visa application. A CAS is valid for up to 6 months and can only be used within this time. A CAS will not be accepted by the Home Office if it is used more than 3 months before the course start date.

The Home Office does not require you to include a printed copy of your CAS in your application but it is useful to have a print out to help you check you have everything correct. If you require advice about your CAS details or want to have your application checked then you must have a copy of your CAS details. If your CAS indicates you need an ATAS certificate, you need to pay attention to the next section.... Aside from your CAS details (and ATAS certificate if needed) all of your documents must be originals.

Generally the Home Office will not accept photocopies, fax copies or scans of required documents. Any document that is not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a professional certified translation. Where a document is in more than one language including English, for example a bank statement that is in Mandarin Chinese and English, if all of the information is given in English you do not need to have the document translated.

If you need to have a document translated refer to the information in our on-line PDF guide, this explains the requirements of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance and gives contact information for some suitably qualified translators. If your CAS confirms a SELT (Secure English Language Test) is required make sure you include the certificate for that test. Most students rely on their own bank statement to show they have held enough money throughout a 28 day period ending no earlier than 31 days before the application. Bank statements must show; the account holder's name; account number, date of the statement, the financial institution's name and logo and amount of money available.

You can rely on a letter from your bank or a financial institution confirming the availability of funds but you will probably find it easier to obtain bank statements in the correct format. If you use a bank letter it needs to be on the bank’s letter headed paper and include the same information as a bank statement to clearly show the amount of funds you have held for a consecutive 28 day period ending no earlier than one month before you apply.

You can rely on money held by a parent or legal guardian but not any other family member. However, this is more complicated as in addition to your parent’s bank statements you also need to include your birth certificate naming your parent and a letter from your parent (and certified translations of any documents not in English).

The details and value of any funding received from the University should be reflected in your CAS details. If any information is missing you should contact the person who has issued your CAS details. If your CAS confirms the University is paying for all your tuition fees and living costs of more than £800 per month you do not need to provide any further financial evidence with your application. Some students have an 'official financial sponsor', i.e. the UK government, the student's home government, the British Council or another international organisation, international company, University or an independent school. You cannot rely on funding from any other organisations or companies.

If you receive official financial sponsorship from anywhere other than Loughborough University you need to provide a letter. The letter must be on official headed paper and include; the organisation’s stamp, your name, contact details for your financial sponsor, the date, the duration of sponsorship and amount of money that is being given for tuition fees and/or living costs.

In some circumstances, even if official sponsorship has finished you may still be required to provide a letter. If you have been officially sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency who paid for all of your tuition fees and living costs within the previous 12 months you still need to provide a letter giving the sponsor's permission for you to stay in the UK. Even if the government or scholarship agency is no longer providing financial support they must confirm they have no objection to you continuing with your studies in the UK. ...then get a black pen... If you have previously been granted an extension to your visa as a Tier 4 student whilst in the UK this will usually have been issued on a Biometric Residence Permit. Biometric Residence Permits were previously called Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals (ICFN). If your current immigration permission is on a Biometric Residence Permit you must include it in your application. Your Biometric Residence Permit will not be returned so keep a copy for your own records. When you have your documents you are ready to complete the form, start with this... If you have made any payments towards your tuition fees or University accommodation costs this may be recorded on your CAS or you can use a receipt from the Finance Office which shows the type and amount of payment. Only the first £1,000 of accommodation payments can count towards the living expense requirement This won't help your application but it can help you to relax. How much money? You can only use the types of documents that are allowed by the Tier 4 Policy Guidance, you must also make sure that any evidence is in the format stated in the Policy Guidance.

You can use more than one type of evidence to show you have access to enough funds.

It is simpler to use funds held in pounds in the UK but you can use funds held overseas in a foreign currency, the closing balance must be converted to pounds sterling using www.oanda.com/convert/classic

Different students will rely on different documents. It all depends on your circumstances and how you are funded. If you rely on funding from more than one source you will need to use more than one type of evidence. You will need to show you have enough money to pay for your current or next year’s course fees as confirmed in your CAS details and a set amount of £800 per month for living expenses.

The amount of living expenses will depend on the length of your course and whether you are a continuing student who has an ’established presence studying in the UK’.

‘Established presence’ is explained in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance. Most continuing students who have recently completed 6 months studies in the UK will have an ‘established presence’ and only need to show they have 2 months living expenses, i.e. £1,600 in addition to any outstanding tuition fees.

If you do not have an ‘established presence’ of studying in the UK you will need to show you have £800 for each month of your course up to a maximum of 9 months, i.e. £7,200 in addition to any outstanding tuition fees.
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