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Tier 4 (General) visa application guide

Thank you for choosing to study at Ravensbourne.

As you are aware, you are required to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa in order to come to the UK to study at Ravensbourne.

Below please find some general information on the Tier 4 (General) visa application process. Please note that the information provided is intended to serve as a guide only. You should therefore refer to the UKVI’s Tier 4 Policy Guidance for detailed information on the requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for a Tier 4 (General) visa.

Meeting the requirements of Tier 4 (General)

To qualify for a Tier 4 (General) an applicant must meet the following main requirements:

  • You must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal (no criminal convictions, you must not have an adverse immigration history and/or breached the conditions of your UK immigration permission if applicable).
  • You must have been issued with a valid Certificate for Confirmation of Studies (CAS). As Ravensbourne has issued a valid CAS to you, you will obtain 30 points.

  • You must have attained 10 points for maintenance. Before we assign you a CAS, you must provide us with evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of your living expenses in the UK for at least 9 months. The current ‘maintenance’ funds you are required to show is £11,385.

  • If required by UKVI to attend a visa interview you must do so and be able to demonstrate to the Entry Clearance Officer that you are able to communicate in English at the standard of proficiency confirmed by us in your CAS.

  • You must demonstrate to the Entry Clearance Officer that you are a genuine student.

Applying for your Tier 4 (General) visa from outside of the UK

You must submit your Tier 4 (General) entry clearance/visa application to a British Diplomatic Post in your country of origin or lawful residence.  Below please find the documentation you will need to provide for your visa application and the procedure involved.

Application process - steps

  • complete the online visa application form online by visiting: https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome;

  • take and obtain a Tuberculosis (TB) test certificate, if applicable. To find out if you are required to obtain a TB test for your visa application and for a list of UKVI approved test centres in your home country, please go to: https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa/countries-where-you-need-a-tb-test-to-enter-the-uk;

  • pay the required visa application fees;

  • complete your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) registration and pay the appropriate fee. The IHS is currently set at £150 per year for each year of your visa. If your visa includes part of a year that is six months or less you will be charged an additional £75 for this period.  If your visa includes part of a year that is more than six months, you will have to pay £150 for this period. Check how much you will be required to pay by visiting the UKVI site to see how much you are required to pay;

  • once you have completed your application form you must submit the form online and pay the necessary fees and book your biometric enrolment appointment. You are required to provide your biometric data as part of your UK visa application;

  • print your online application form and biometric confirmation sheet;

  • enrol your biometric data at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) close to where you live, you may need to make an appointment in advance;

  • submit a printout of your online application form, endorsed biometric confirmation sheet, evidence of the payment of your application and IHS fees along with your required supporting documentation (see below) to the VAC in person or a British Diplomatic Post by mail.

Supporting documentation required for your visa application

You must ensure that you provide all the required original documents listed below to the VAC/British Diplomatic Post as you are unlikely to be contacted if any of these documents are missing:

  • completed and signed printout of your online application form with IHS reference number written on the front page;

  • your original passport and other passports for the last ten years showing previous overseas travel/travel history;

  • one recent passport sized photograph of you in line with UKVI’s guidance with your full name written in bold on the reverse. Please refer to the UKVI photographic guidance;

  • biometric appointment booking confirmation printout for you, endorsed to confirm that you have submitted your biometric information;

  • evidence of payment of the application fee online;

  • originals of all documents use to obtain your CAS from Ravensbourne (e.g. academic qualifications, evidence of funds to cover the cost of your studies and living expenses, English language test results etc.). Please refer to your CAS statement and CAS document for this information;

  • your original TB test certificate, if applicable.

Please note that you must submit the same bank statement(s) you provided to Ravensbourne to evidence your finances with your visa application. If you submit a bank statement that is different from the one that was assessed by Ravensbourne, and is detailed on your CAS, your visa application will be refused. If you need to submit a different bank statement please contact the International Development Department at Ravensbourne before submitting your application to UKVI. If you are using your parent(s)’ bank statement you must also provide original evidence of your relationship (eg original birth certificate) and a letter from them confirming that they will finance your studies in the UK. If you are being financially sponsored by a government or an international scholarship agency you must submit an original official letter from them confirming the details of your sponsorship. Please refer to the UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance and our Tier 4 (General) student visa guide on IAP for more information on what the letter should include.

If any of your documents is not in English, you must submit the original and a fully certified translation by a professional translator or translation company. This includes your financial documents.

You must provide originals together with a photocopy of each document that you submit (including a photocopy of your passport details page containing your photograph). Your original documents might not be returned to you if you do not provide photocopies of the originals with your application. Please also keep a scan copy of all the documents you submit with your visa application.

‘Low Risk’ nationals

Nationals of certain countries are not required to submit their financial or educational documentation with their Tier 4 visa application because they qualify for a ‘differentiation arrangement’. Please note that this exemption only applies where the national of a low risk country is applying for UK entry clearance in his/her country of nationality (which is considered low risk] or leave to remain in the UK, otherwise you will be treated as a national of a ‘high risk’ country and be required to submit all required documentation with your Tier 4 visa application. Where an applicant is a dual national, and only one of their nationalities is considered ‘low risk’, s/he will be able to apply using the different documentary requirements that apply to these nationals, provided s/he is applying either for entry clearance in his/her country of nationality listed above or for leave to remain in the UK.

Please also note, if you are from a ‘low risk country’ although you are not required to submit the documents with your application you may be asked for them at any time during the application process. If you cannot provide documentation when requested, your application could be refused and you could be barred from entering the UK for up to 10 years. We strongly advise you to read the details of the financial and educational documents detailed in your CAS letter and collect all supporting documents as if you had to submit them by the date that you submit your Tier 4 application. To check if your country is considered low risk, please see Appendix H of the Immigration Rules.

Tips on completing the online application form

  1. Go to www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk to register your account;

  2. Once you have registered your account, you will need to complete your person and contact information as required. You should then receive an email from UKVI asking you to verify your account;

  3. Log into your account and click Apply For Myself in the top left of the screen for your application;

  4. Ensure the auto-filled information in the personal details section is correct and complete the remaining personal details;

  5. Select ‘Study’ as your reason for visit;

  6. Select ‘PBS Tier 4 student’  as your visa type;

  7. Select ‘Tier 4 (General) student' as your visa sub type;

  8. Click on Create Application’ then click on Go to Application’ on the right of the screen;

  9. You will then be asked to complete several sections of the form with your personal information;

  10. When answering the question about the main address where you will be staying in the UK. Please enter the following details if your residential address in the UK has not yet been confirmed: Insert:Ravensbourne, International Development Department, 6 Penrose Way, Greenwich Digital Peninsula, London SE10 0EW, telephone number: +44(0)203 040 3667, email contact: international@rave.ac.uk;

  11. The 'Tier 4 Student' section of the form requires details of your study in the UK. You should answer the questions below as follows:

  • give your Tier 4 sponsor licence number– D6JMMF0A4;

  • what is the name of your sponsor? – Ravensbourne;

  • what is the full address of your sponsor? – 6 Penrose Way, Greenwich Digital Peninsula, London SE10 0EW, telephone number: +44(0)203 040 3667, email contact: international@rave.ac.uk;

  • what is your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies number? Please insert the CAS number we provided to you on the CAS letter;

  • What is the title of your course? Please insert your relevant course details, this can be found on the Offer letter you received from us;

  • What is the level of course and qualification? Please insert the course level (ie NQF letter 3/6/7). You can find this information on your Offer letter from Ravensbourne;

  • Start date of course? Please enter the start date of your course which is detailed on the CAS letter we provided to you;

  • End date of course. Please enter the relevant date which can be found on the CAS letter we provided to you;

  • Have you already started studying on the course? – 'No';

  • What is the address of the main site of study? – enter the address and contact details of your sponsor as detailed above;

  • Confirm which of the following options apply– Select ‘Studying’;

  • Please indicate how you meet the minimum English language requirement relevant to your course– Select the option that is relevant to your circumstances. Please refer to your CAS letter if you are unsure;

  • When completing the ‘Maintenance and Fees’ section of your online application you should refer to the information provided on the CAS letter you received from Ravensbourne and answer the questions below as follows:

    • How much are the fees for your course of study?– insert the exact amount which is  detailed on your CAS letter’;

    • Have any of your course fees been paid? Select ‘Yes-Paid to UK Education Provider’;

    • Please enter the amount GBP(£)– insert the amount that is detailed on your CAS letter (ie 50% of your course fees);

    • What document has been provided as evidence of payment? Select ‘Shown in the CAS’;

    • Are you applying under the Doctorate Extension Scheme? – 'No';

    • Have any of your accommodation fees been paid to your sponsor? – 'No';

    • Do you receive support from a financial sponsor that meets the UK Visa and Immigration definition of a financial sponsor? – Please confirm your answer;

    • Do you have any remaining fees and maintenance still due for payment? – Select Yes’ then enter the amount that you have remaining for your course fees and maintenance. Please refer to your CAS letter for this information;

    • Do you have money in your own name? – Confirm your answer.  If you select ‘No’ please enter the details of the source of your funds e.g. your parents’ bank statement(s);

  • points claimed section:
    • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies– 30;

    • Maintenance10;

    • Total 40

Please also note that when completing the question in the form indicating your intended date of travel to the UK. Please enter the earliest date you may wish to travel to the UK as you may not be permitted to enter the UK prior to the date detailed on your short term-visa. Please note that you cannot enter the UK more than one month before the start date of your course. You should plan to arrive in the UK at least a couple of days before the enrolment period at Ravensbourne. Please refer for our Offer Holder’s page on our website for specific enrolment dates.

When you have completed and submitted your online application form, you will be requested to select a location to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from, which should be the Post Office nearest your residential or study address in the UK.

Once you have complete your application form and signed the declaration page you should be directed to book an appointment to enrol your biometric data at a Visa Application Centre close to where you live. You should them be directed to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge Fee (IHS) and the application fee.

Once you have submitted your biometric data, your appointment confirmation should be endorsed. You must then submit this with your supporting documentation (listed above) for your visa application at the VAC as directed.

Home Office Credibility Interviews for Tier 4 visa applicants

You may be asked to attend an interview as part of your application in the UK. However, if you are a low risk national you may not be called for interview.

  • There are two types of credibility interview. The first type will take place at the same time as your biometrics are taken at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) or British Diplomatic Post. This initial interview should last for a few minutes and is usually conducted via video link with the UKVI/the Home Office in the UK. The purpose of the interview is to check your credibility as a genuine student and the focus of this interview will be your reasons for choosing the UK, Ravensbourne and your course/programme of study as well as questions on the content of your course and how this fits into your career aspirations. Please note that you may also be asked about how you will fund your studies in the UK (although this is usually asked if you are required to attend a second UKVI interview).

  • UKVI expects most applicants to be able to prove they are genuine at the first stage and that this will in fact speed up the decision process on applications because fewer documentation checks will be required.

  • UKVI will record the interview and send a summary to the Entry Clearance Officer reviewing your application who will decide if a second more detailed interview at the Embassy is needed.

Typical questions may include:

  • Why did you choose Ravensbourne? / why did you choose your programme?/ How do your studies fit into your career plans? Ensure that you visit Ravensbourne’s website, especially your course page to have a better understanding about the course and why you have selected it.

  • If the costs of pursuing your course of study are higher in the UK than in your home country, why have you decided to incur the extra costs involved with studying in the UK?.

  • You have previously studied in the UK - why have you chosen to return?

  • You have had a long break in your studies, why are you returning to study now? Think about how the course fits into your long term career plans etc.

  • Do you plan to work in the UK? Remember you cannot rely on funds from working in the UK to pay for your studies and typically you are only allowed to work 10 hours if studying at foundation level or 20 hour for undergraduate and postgraduate study during term time.

  • How will you fund your studies? The purpose of this question is to check that your funds are genuinely available to you for your studies. As part of your application you will have submitted proof of your finances - ensure that you are very clear about the source and availability of these funds (e.g. your parents/official sponsor/ your employer) and the amount of money available to you, also how you plan to pay for subsequent years fees if your programme is more than a year in duration.

Please note that the interviewer will also be checking your ability to converse well in English so speak clearly and naturally. If there is any issue with hearing them clearly e.g. via the video link, you should ensure that you raise this so that they are aware that it is a technical issue not one of comprehension. Honesty is also very important.

Please research and prepare your answers to these or similar questions in the event that you are interviewed by UKVI. Try practising your answers with your family/friends over a period of one or two weeks before the submission of your visa application. However, do not memorise your answers or try to read from your notes during the interview.  

If you are required to attend an UKVI interview please contact the International Development Department as soon as you have been informed of the date. Please also feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Tier 4 (General) visa approval

Once your visa application is approved you should receive your documents and your short term visa from UKVI within a few days. Please provide us with a copy of your short term visa and the decision letter from UKVI by uploading them to the IAP.

Visa refusals

In the event that your visa application is refused. Please inform the International Development Department immediately providing us with a copy of the decision letter. Please refer to the Tier 4 (General) visa guide on the IAP or the International website for more information on what to do in the event of a refusal.

Travelling to the UK

To ensure that you have everything you need to get through the UK border as efficiently as possible, please sure that you carry the following in your hand luggage for easy access:

  • your current passport with your short term visa;

  • your completed landing card;

  • the CAS letter you received from Ravensbourne with your CAS number and details about your course/programme of study;

  • your TB test certificate, if applicable, and any other medical documentation, the bank statement you submitted with your visa application and details of where you are staying in the UK as the Immigration Officer may ask to see this information.

Please note that you must not enter the UK before the ‘valid from’ date detailed on your short term visa endorsement.

Please inform us once you have confirmed your date of travel to the UK.

Entry to the UK

On entry to the UK, you must present your original short term visa endorsement in your passport to the Immigration Officer. The Immigration Officer should then stamp your passport with the date of entry. Please ensure that the date of entry is accurate and that it is placed on the page in your passport which contains your short term visa endorsement.

As mentioned before, you are required to attend a designated Post Office once you arrive in the UK to obtain your BRP. The BRP should detail the period you are allowed to remain in the UK to study at Ravensbourne. You must collect your BRP from the relevant Post Office, detailed in the decision letter from the Home Office, within 10 days of your arrival in the UK as failure to do so may result in you being subject to a financial penalty or cancellation of your leave. We would also advise that you call ahead to confirm that your BRP is ready for collection before attending the relevant Post Office. You must also take your passport containing your short term visa/vignette and your decision letter when you attend the post office to collect your BRP. Please note that relevant Post Office will retain your BRP for up to 60 days before returning it to the Home Office however if you fail to collect your BRP within 10 days you will be deemed non-compliant and will be subject to the administrative process in place to deal with such delays.

Please note that if your travel to the UK is delayed by more than 30 days after your short term visa endorsement has been issued, you will be required to apply for a new short term visa in order to travel to the UK. Currently the fee is £189 and may take three weeks or more to be processed.

Please upload a copy of your BRP and UKVI decision letter to the IAP to enable us to confirm that you have been granted the correct leave.

Enrolment and Tier 4 International Student Orientation

You will be sent details about Ravensbourne’s online enrolment process and the date for the International Orientation programme closer to the relevant time.

Police Registration

Nationals of certain countries with UK immigration permission valid for more than six months are required to register with the UK police and obtain a Police Registration Certificate (PRC). If required to do so, you must register with the UK Police within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. Your visa/BRP or decision letter from the Home Office/UKVI should state if you are required to register with the police. In any event you should check to see if you are required to register with the UK police by looking at the list of countries in Appendix 10 of the Immigration Rules.

If you are required to register with the police and will be residing in the area of London covered by the Metropolitan Police, you will be required to register at the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO). For full details on registering, visit the OVRO website. 

For more information on the requirement to register with the UK police please refer to the Tier 4 (General) information guide on the IAP or the International page on our website.  

For more information on the Tier 4 (General) visa application process and your responsibilities as a Tier 4(General) student, please refer to our Tier 4 Visa and Immigration page and the Home Office/UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance. Please contact the Admissions team if you have any questions by emailing: international@rave.ac.uk.

We look forward to meeting you soon, all the best and safe journey!


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