Autumn term 2020: advice for international students
- From 5 October 2020, the Student Route will replace the Tier 4 route.
- The Student Route, which falls under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, improves the previous Tier 4 route making a more streamlined experience for both sponsoring institutions and students.
- Visas that have been issued through the Tier 4 route are still valid and those eligible will still be able to apply for the Graduate Route when it opens in summer 2021.
- The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Student (or Tier 4) visa at the time of application.
- More information about the UK’s new points-based immigration system can be found here. Further guidance for EU, EEA and Swiss students, who from 1 January will need to comply with the new system can be found here.
- EU, EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK before 31 December should apply to the EU settlement scheme.
Can I return to my home country?
Yes, the University will be moving to online learning at the start of the Spring term on 6th April 2020. Providing you are engaging with your studies online you are able to do this from anywhere in the world, whether this is from your home country or from your accommodation in Buckingham.
How long can I spend outside the UK?
Currently, we expect to provide online learning during the Spring term and you will not be required to return to the University Campus during this term. However, it is extremely important that you continue to engage with your studies in the manner the University requires, which is online during this term.
We expect that face-to-face teaching will resume in the Summer term on 13th July 2020 and you will be required to return to campus, unless you have completed your studies. However, we will be reviewing the situation and update our web page regularly with information about the resumption of face-to-face teaching.
Will I be able to return to the UK?
Yes, provided your visa is still valid you will be able to use this to return to the UK.
Do I need to inform anyone before I leave the UK?
You need to inform your school of study so that for welfare reasons, we know that you are safe. Please note that some countries and specific provinces/regions of countries require notice prior to you returning home. Please check with your country’s embassy in the UK prior to travelling.
Do I need to do anything before coming back to the UK?
No, you will be able to return to the UK using your current visa as long as it is still valid.
If you have further questions or for more information please contact the Visa Office at email@example.com
I’m an international student and my visa is about to expire and I’m going to overstay – what do I do?
If you have any questions about attendance with regard to visa rules, contact the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline on: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – calls are free of charge if made from within the UK). Alternatively, you should email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Please read the following questions and answers carefully. These should answer many of the questions you have about the student visa process. If you are applying for a Tier 4 General Student Visa in the UK please see the list of Student Visa requirements and our step by step guidance to fill in a Tier 4 online application in the UK.
A useful resource is the UKCISA Student immigration: the basics page which includes information about the Tier 4 Online Application Form.
Please note that this information may be subject to change as and when Tier 4 policies are revised.
Is the University of Buckingham a Tier 4 licence holder?
Yes, the University of Buckingham is a Tier 4 (General Student) licence holder.
What is a CAS?
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a ‘virtual’ document which provides a CAS number and a CAS statement. You will only need a CAS if you are planning to apply for a student visa or visa extension under Tier 4 category of the Points Based Immigration System. A CAS can only be generated by the University using the Sponsor Management System (SMS) of the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).
What is a CAS number?
A CAS number is a combination of letters and numbers and has 14 digits, for example, “E08GLO90RT7P2”. Each CAS number is unique for an international student studying at a specific Tier 4 sponsor for his / her chosen course(s) in the UK.
What is a CAS statement?
A CAS statement consists of all the information required by UKV&I for generating your CAS. The University of Buckingham will send your CAS number and CAS statement by email only. You will need the information provided on the email to complete your Tier 4 (General Student) visa application correctly. Please note it is your responsibility to check your CAS statement to ensure all the information about yourself, your course(s) information, etc. is accurate. You must keep the CAS email securely as it contains your personal data.
Do I need a CAS?
Not all international students need a CAS. This will depend on each student’s personal circumstances, e.g., your study profile, current immigration status, etc. You will only need a CAS if you are applying for your visa or visa extension as a Tier 4 General Student. If you are not sure whether you will need a CAS, please contact our International Office.
Can I apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa or extension without a CAS?
No. If you want to start or continue your study at the University of Buckingham under Tier 4, you MUST obtain a CAS from us in order to apply for your Tier 4 General Student visa.
How can I get a CAS from the University of Buckingham for a new course?
A CAS will be issued once you have accepted an unconditional offer, paid the required fees and bond and supplied a copy of your passport, and once you have provided us with a copy of your Tier 4 compliant bank statements. You can apply for your visa within 3 months prior to Registration.
What does “compliant bank statements” mean?
It refers to the requirements that the bank statements must meet under Tier 4 regulations. The bank statements must show enough funds to cover your maintenance funds, which are tuition fees for the first year of your course and the living expense impose by the Tier 4 regulations.
The total amount required has to be in your bank account for a minimum period of 28 days prior to applying for a visa. The amount must be in a personal current or savings account. Please note that accounts in the name of a company or business are not allowed, neither are allowed accounts of investments, such as shares or bonds).
Can I use my parents’ bank account statements?
Yes, but you will also have to provide a birth certificate to prove the relationship between you and the account holder, and a consent letter from the account holder confirming the financial support and that the funds held in the bank account will be available to you while you study in the UK.
What are maintenance funds?
It is the amount of money you need to demonstrate that you possess to cover the tuition fees for the first year of your course and living costs.
How much money is needed for living costs?
If you study outside London you need to show you have £1,015.00 per month up to a maximum of 9 months. So you need at least £9,135.00 in total. If you study in London you need to show you have £1,265.00 per month for up to a maximum of 9 months. So you need at least £11,385 in total. Buckingham is outside London.
What changes in living costs came into place on 12 November 2015?
On 12 November 2015 the “Established Presence” provision was removed, thus students no longer are eligible to demonstrate the lower amount for living expenses and they have to demonstrate the full 9 months’ worth of funds if the course is 9 or more months in duration. The living costs have increased to £1,015 per month up to 9 months. So Tier 4 students have to demonstrate they possess a total of £9,135 if they study outside London. (The living costs have increased to £1,265 per month up to 9 months, so Tier 4 students will have to demonstrate they possess a total of £11,385, if they study in London.)
What are the living expenses requirements for dependants?
The living expenses / costs that each of your dependants are required to demonstrate they are in possession of is £680 per month up to 9 months, a total of £6,120.00 if the Tier 4 student’s studies are outside London. If your studies are based in London, the living costs each of your dependants are required to demonstrate they are in possession of is £845 per month up to 9 months, a total of £7,605.00) ESTABLISHED PRESENCE FOR DEPENDANTS WAS ALSO REMOVED ON 12 NOVEMBER 2015.
Do I need to pay for the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge?
Yes, this is a new mandatory requirement. From 6 April 2015 all students and their dependants applying for a new Tier 4 Visa or a Tier 4 Visa extension will have to pay an extra £300 per year of studies for healthcare charges. For more information please visit this website: https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/pay.
Will my CAS be issued on University headed paper?
No. We have been assured by UKVI that it is not necessary for you to receive a hard copy of the CAS notification from the University. The University will issue an email to you as official notification that a CAS has been assigned to you. You will have to input the CAS number in the appropriate section of your visa application form.
Will my CAS have information about how much I paid to the University for my tuition fees?
Yes, when the CAS is issued it will be included. If you make further payments after your CAS has been issued your CAS will be updated and you will receive notification (normally by email) to confirm this. If you have any queries you should contact the Admissions Administrator who issued your CAS quoting your application number
When and how can I apply for my Tier 4 visa?
New students can apply for their visa no more than 3 months before the start of their course. Visa applications can take at least 3-4 weeks for processing so allow as long as possible. Continuing students are advised to apply early, usually any time within three months before their current visa expiry date. For more information please read our guide: Applying For A Tier 4 Visa Outside The UK.
What documents do I need to provide with my visa application?
You must provide original documents for the qualifications listed on your CAS statement. This includes documents to show that you have the required level of funds in place for a consecutive 28 day period prior to your application, as required required by UKV&I. Our Visa checklist page contains all of the information you need.
Will the UKV&I test my English language ability?
The University has responsibility to check that anyone who is not a national of an English speaking country (from a list provided by UKV&I) or who has not recently graduated from an honours degree in one of those countries, meets the minimum English language standard for their course.
For degree courses the standard is defined by UKV&I as at least CEFR Level B2 (normally at least IELTS 5.5 in each element (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or other accepted tests).
The University sets its own English language requirements for each course, which are normally higher than the UKV&I standard.
The University cannot admit any student who needs a Tier 4 visa who is below the UKV&I standard.
The University will record on the CAS the evidence used and if there is a formal English language test stated on your CAS you must include the original certificate and full statement of results with your visa application.
UKV&I will not ask you to take another English test. However, if you are interviewed by an Entry Clearance Officer during your visa application or on arrival in the UK they need to know that you can hold a normal conversation with them. If they have concerns about your English skills they have the power to refuse entry to the UK.
What do I need to do if I believe there is a mistake on my CAS statement?
You will receive a pre-CAS email which will ask you to check all of the information which will be contained in your CAS. The Admissions Administrator will not issue your CAS until confirmation is received from you that the information is correct.
What if my passport is renewed before I apply for my visa?
You should send a clear copy of your new passport to the Admissions Administrator who will update the CAS information held by UKVI.
If you are a registered student you should ensure you inform the Visa Office.
Will I receive a new CAS if my original needs to be amended?
No. Any changes made will be notified to the UKV&I and you will receive an email informing you of those changes reported to UKV&I.
Can my CAS cover the MPhil and PhD stages of my programme?
Yes, if your offer is for ‘PhD’. Students may be registered from the start for the PhD with a progression review after approximately one year. If, however, your offer is for MPhil only or MPhil / PhD, a CAS will be issued for the MPhil (2 years) only. A new CAS will be issued if your progression is satisfactory after 2 years.
What happens if I do not register by the latest start date?
The CAS shows the latest date by when you must formally register for your course. If you do not register by the latest date UKV&I is notified, the University may refuse registration if you try to register and/or start later.
It is very important that you inform the Admissions Administrator before the latest start date, if you are no longer able to attend the course. It is sometimes possible to defer a CAS, provided we receive sufficient advance notice. This can only happen as a result of a ‘significant change in circumstances’.
I already have a Tier 4 visa for the University of Buckingham and I wish to study a new course, can I apply for a visa extension after I start a new course?
If you have successfully completed a programme at our University for which you currently have a valid visa, you may enrol in a new course at our University on the same visa as long as the new course is at a higher level than the previous course and you agree to submit a new visa application within 6 weeks from the start date of the new course.
Can I use a CAS issued by another University to apply for a Tier 4 visa to study at the University of Buckingham?
No. If you need a Tier 4 visa and would like to study at the University of Buckingham, you must use a CAS issued by the University of Buckingham to apply for your visa.
I have a Tier 4 visa that was issued to study at another University. Can I use it to study at the University of Buckingham?
It will depend on when you applied for your last Tier 4 visa.
If you applied for your current Tier 4 visa on or after 5 October 2009, you must apply for a new Tier 4 visa using a CAS issued by the University of Buckingham before you can register with us.
If you applied for your current Tier 4 before 5 October 2009 and this visa is still valid, you must apply to UKVI for a permission to change your University before you can register with us.
You must tell the University as soon as your new visa application has been decided (approved or refused) or as soon as you receive permission to change your University and provide evidence to Visa Office.
What happens if UKV&I changes its policy before I apply for my visa?
UKVI may revise its policies at any time. The most recent changes were implemented with effect from November 2018.
UKV&I policy may change at short notice. The University will be required to review its policies accordingly and may need to revise offer conditions in order to sponsor some students for a Tier 4 visa. The University will give as much notice as possible of changes.
Helpful information on the conditions of your Tier 4 Student visa and your duties as a student
The Visa Office provides information and advice about immigration related matters to all our international students. We also ensure that students who hold a Tier 4 student visa are aware of the conditions their visas and your duties as Tier 4 students. Download our Helpful Information on Tier 4 Visas Duties and Conditions document.
Travelling outside of the UK on a student visa
If you leave the UK , make doubly sure you qualify for re-entry when you return. Information about travelling abroad is available from the UKV&I website. You will also need a letter, issued by Registry, confirming your status as a registered student (please give at least one week’s notice).