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Rules for Company New Visa Clearance

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					      Entry Clearance – Student Visa Applications in your Home Country
                under Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Please be aware that this information is for guidance purposes only and does not intend to be a full representation of the immigration rules. For full details
please see the UK Border Agency (UKBA) website; www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/studyingintheuk/ and see paras 245ZT to 245ZZD of the immigration rules
for requirements of the general student category; www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/

These guidelines are always subject to change, so please ensure that you download relevant guidance/application forms at the time of applying.

Issued by International Advice and Support (IA&S), International Office, University Union, Queen’s Road, Bristol BS8 1LN
Tel: (0117) 9545849 Fax: (0117) 954 5770 Email: os-as@bristol.ac.uk


Contents

1) I have a student visa that was granted before PBS, what will happen to me?
2) What is the role of the University of Bristol under PBS and what is a CAS?
3) I need to obtain Entry Clearance (student visa) before I travel to the UK, am I eligible, how long will I be given and when
   will my Entry Clearance start?
4) FAQs regarding the Entry Clearance (student visa) application process and documents required
5) Conditions of the student visa under PBS
6) I want to stay in the UK to attend my graduation, but my student visa expires before my graduation date. How can I stay
   in the UK to attend graduation?
7) Other related immigration questions
8) Dependants




1)        I have a student visa that was granted before PBS, what will happen to me?
Is my current student visa, granted before PBS, still valid?
Yes, but if you need to extend your visa your application will be subject to the new immigration rules.

I have a student visa, granted before PBS, can I extend my visa to complete my course?
Yes, but any new visa extension you now make will be subject to the new immigration rules.


2)        What is the role of the University of Bristol under PBS and what is a CAS?
Is the University of Bristol a ‘licensed sponsor’?
Yes, the University of Bristol is a licensed sponsor. This means that we are an education provider on the UKBA’s Tier 4
register of sponsors and are able to issue you a CAS ‘confirmation of acceptance of studies’.

What is a CAS and where can I get it?
A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) is an electronic reference number and accompanying electronic virtual
document containing information about your course of study as well as your personal details. Therefore, it is not a paper
document. The CAS number will be unique to each student.

If you are a new student your CAS number will be automatically e-mailed to you when you meet the conditions attached to
your offer. If you are a continuing student you can request your CAS number from your Faculty Office and it will be e-mailed
to you. If you are a continuing student, you are advised to request your CAS at least 6 weeks before your visa expires.
The e-mail giving your CAS number will include the information that will be contained in your CAS virtual document. You will
not need to print a copy of this e-mail for your visa application, you just need to write the CAS number in the appropriate
section on your visa application form. When they receive your application, UKBA immigration staff will enter the CAS number
into their computer system to retrieve the virtual document. Therefore, you do not require a letter from the University of
Bristol to accompany your visa application.

Having a CAS does not gurantee your application will be successful as you must still also meet all other requirements for
applying for a student visa.

For full details regarding the CAS please see paragraphs 26-29 in the ‘Tier 4 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance’;
http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/Tier4migrantguidance1.pdf

My CAS e-mail lists some of my previous educational documents/certificates/transcripts, do I need to send these
with my application?
Yes, you MUST send these original documents with your application. Send ONLY those educational documents listed on
your CAS. These will be documents such as your previous school certificates and/or transcripts. If any of these documents
are not in English, the original must be sent with a fully certified translation by a professional translator/translation company.
This translation must include; the translator/translation company’s credentials, confirmation from the translator/translation
company that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the translator/translation company contact details, the
date of translation and the full name and original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation
company.

My CAS e-mail does not list my previous educational documents/certificates/transcripts, but does state that that I
have been assessed by my satisfactory progress on my continued course of study, do I need to send anything to
prove this with my application?
No, as long as your CAS states that you are progressing on your continued course of study you will not need to provide any
additional educational documents.

How long will my CAS be valid for?
Your CAS will be valid for 6 months. Therefore, any visa applications you make must be made whilst this is still valid. If your
CAS is older than 6 months, your student visa application will be refused.

Will the University of Bristol inform UKBA if I do not start my course, withdraw, defer or suspend my studies?
The University of Bristol has been granted a licence by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) to sponsor students and
is required to comply with its general and specific sponsor duties. Sponsor duties include duties such as informing the UKBA
if a student has any unauthorised absences, fails to enrol on their course or stops their studies. Further details of these
duties can be found on the UKBA website at;
www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employers/points/sponsoringmigrants/sponsorshipduties/tierspecificduties/studentspecificduties
/

I have an unpaid debt to the University of Bristol e.g. fees from last semester, will this appear on my CAS?
Yes, unpaid debts to the University of Bristol may appear on your CAS.


3)      I need to obtain Entry Clearance (student visa) before I travel to the UK, am I eligible, how
        long will I be given and when will my Entry Clearance start?
What type of study must I undertake to be eligible for Entry Clearance (student visa)?
UKBA policy guidance states that you must study courses that lead to an approved qualification – either;
   1) a full-time course at NQF Level 3 or above. University of Bristol degrees and postgraduate courses meet this
       requirement; OR
   2) a pre-sessional English Language course - University of Bristol pre-sessional courses run via the Language Centre
       meet UKBA requirements for English courses; OR
   3) a short-term study abroad programme in the UK as part of your qualification (if you are enrolled on a higher education
       course at an overseas higher education institution).



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When will my Entry Clearance (visa) start?
If you apply as a Tier 4 (General) Student;
      If you are studying a course at degree level or above for 6 months or more, your entry clearance will start a month
         before the course.
      If you are studying a pre-sessional course of less than 6 months, your entry clearance will start a month before the
         course.
      If you are studying a ‘study abroad’ programme or another course at degree level or above of 6 months or more, your
         entry clearance will start a month before the course.
      If you are studying a ‘study abroad’ programme or another course at degree level or above of less than 6 months,
         your entry clearance will start 7 days before the course.

When will my Entry Clearance (visa) end?
You will be granted a student visa for the full length of your course and at the end of your course you will be given extra time
to finalise your affairs and leave the UK, or apply to extend your stay as a student or switch into another category.

       If you are studying a course at degree level or above for 12 months or more e.g. BA, BSc or PhD you can expect an
        additional 4 months after the end of your course.
     If you are studying a pre-sessional course of less than 6 months you can expect an additional month after the end of
        your course.
     If you are studying a ‘study abroad’ programme or another course at degree level or above of 6 months or more, but
        less than 12 months e.g. MSc or MA you can expect an additional 2 months after the end of your course.
     If you are studying a ‘study abroad’ programme or another course at degree level or above of less than 6 months you
        can expect an additional 7 days after the end of your course.
However, if you have official sponsorship and your sponsor limits the time you may study in the UK the student visa will be
given for the same length of time.

Can I apply for an extension of my student visa to resit an examination or repeat my studies?
You may be able to apply for an extension to your student visa to resit examinations or repeat any part of your course,
however, there are certain restrictions to this. You should speak to your Faculty Office, if they can issue a CAS then you can
make an extension to your student visa. If they are unable to issue you with a CAS to support your studies you will be
expected to return home. In this case please contact the International Advice and Support office for assistance.

I want to study a pre-sessional course followed by a degree, will I be given a visa for both courses?
You will only be given a visa long enough to study both courses if you have an unconditional offer to study the degree course.
If you have a conditional offer to study the degree course you will only be granted enough time to study the pre-sessional
course. Provided the gap between your visa end date for the pre-sessional course and the degree course start date is less
than one month you will be able to extend your student visa in the UK. If the gap between your visa end date and the start of
your new course is more than one month, you will be expected to return overseas and apply for a new visa from outside the
UK. Your new application must be made in the country where you made your original student application. If you apply from
within the UK your application will be refused.


4)       FAQs regarding the Entry Clearance (student visa) application process and documents
         required
How much will a student visa cost?
The fee is currently the equivalent of £255 plus £255 for each dependant applied for at the same time.

How long will it take my application to be processed?
Please check the UKVisas website for processing times for the Visa Application Centre/British embassy where you will be
submitting your application; www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/processingtimes

Can I send supporting documents to the UK immigration authorities late e.g. after I have sent my application?
You must send all supporting documents with your student visa application as the UK immigration authorities will not use any
evidence sent in after they have made a decision. Further, they will not contact you if you do not send the correct
documents. Therefore, if you fail to send the correct documents your visa may be refused.

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My CAS e-mail lists some of my previous educational documents/certificates/transcripts, do I need to send these
with my application?
Yes, you MUST send these original documents with your application. Send ONLY those educational documents listed on
your CAS. These will be documents such as your previous school certificates and/or transcripts. If any of these documents
are not in English, the original must be sent with a fully certified translation by a professional translator/translation company.
This translation must include; the translator/translation company’s credentials, confirmation from the translator/translation
company that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the translator/translation company contact details, the
date of translation and the full name and original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation
company.

My CAS does not list my previous educational documents/certificates/transcripts, but does state that that I have
been assessed by my satisfactory progress on my continued course of study, do I need to send anything to prove
this with my application?
No, as long as your CAS states that you are progressing on your continued course of study you will not need to provide any
additional educational documents.

Do I need an ATAS certificate to apply for a student visa?
If you are studying/will be studying a course that requires you to hold an ATAS certificate you will need to send the ATAS
certificate with your student visa application. Your CAS will state if you require an ATAS certificate. If you are required to
hold an ATAS certificate and you do not include it with your student visa application your visa will be refused. Obtaining an
ATAS certificate can take several weeks, so ensure that you apply early. You can apply for an ATAS certificate even if you
only have a conditional offer of a place on a course.

This applies to postgraduate students studying particular subject areas; Subjects allied to Medicine, Biological Sciences,
Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects, Physical Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Sciences,
Engineering, Technologies, Materials Science, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and
Materials Technology/Materials Science not otherwise specified. Please see our website for further details;
www.bris.ac.uk/international/studentsupport/immigration/extendingvisabatch.html#atas

Will I have to have my biometric details taken?
Yes, you will be required to provide your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph).

When my Entry Clearance (student visa) is issued, what should I do?
You should check the following details are correct;
    Your name
    That you are a ‘student’ (e.g. not ‘student visitor’)
    It starts on or before you date you want to travel to the UK
    It does not end earlier than you expected (see above; ‘When will my Entry Clearance (visa) end?’); ALSO
    Check if you must register with the police on arrival (see below; ‘Will I be required to register with the police when I arrive
        in the UK?’) and;
       Make a note of the expiry date of your Entry Clearance (visa) and make a note in your diary four months before this
        date to start the process of extending it if you wish to stay in the UK longer. DO NOT REMAIN IN THE UK AFTER
        THE DATE SHOWN IN YOUR PASSPORT and
       Please photocopy all pages of your passport (including the entry clearance sticker) ready to give to International
        Advice and Support on the second floor of the Students' Union when you arrive in Bristol. After you have arrived in
        the UK, please also copy the stamp bearing the date of your arrival into the UK to give to International Advice and
        Support along with the copy of your passport.

If anything is incorrect, ask to have it changed immediately, before you travel. If there is not enough time for this, please see the
IA&S team when you arrive as the University of Bristol operates the Entry Clearance Correction Scheme and we may be able to
have your visa changed for you. Please see our website for further details;
www.bris.ac.uk/international/studentsupport/immigration/correctionscheme.html

What happens if my visa is refused?
You have no full right of appeal. Instead you can ask for an ‘Administrative Review’ of the decision to refuse your application.
There is no fee for this. You have to make your request for this review within 28 days of the date you receive the refusal


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notice. The process is explained in Annex 4 of the Policy Guidance;
http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/Tier4migrantguidance1.pdf
However, please be aware that this means that they will check to see if the correct decision was made based on the evidence
you submitted with your form and, therefore, does not usually result in a change in decision as you are not allowed to
produce new documents in support of your application. In most case a new application with correct documentation will
probably be the most suitable course of action, please contact the IA&S office for advice is your visa is refused.

I have made false representations and/or submitted false documents and/or not disclosed material facts in relation
to my application – what will happen to me?
If you use deception applying for a visa or Entry Clearance you could be refused your visa and face a ban on further
immigration applications for up to 10 years.


5)      Conditions of the student visa under PBS?
If I have a student visa, can I work?
Yes, you are free to seek employment provided your visa does not state that you are prohibited from working.
However, you are restricted to working part-time during term-time;

Type of student                 Term-time                                       Vacations
Degree                          20 hours maximum per week                       Full-time
Postgraduate                    20 hours maximum per week                       20 hours maximum per week all year
                                                                                round, as programmes do not include long
                                                                                vacations.

Pre-sessional                   10 hours maximum per week                       Full-time
International Foundation        20 hours maximum per week (for those            Full-time
Programme                       who applied for visas before 3 March
                                2010)
                                                                        Full-time
                              10 hours maximum per week (for those
                              who apply for visas on or after 3 March
                              2010)
 The University of Bristol recommends students work no more than 15 hours per week during term-time in order to
                                       leave sufficient time for academic study.

All students must not engage in business, be self-employed, provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer,
or pursue a career by filling a permanent vacancy. If you have immigration permission that extends for up to four months
beyond the end of your course, you can work full-time during that four months as long as you have completed all your
studies. If you stay in the UK and apply for a Post-Study Work visa, you can work full-time until your application is decided.

For full details please see page 50-53 of the Policy Guidance;
http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/Tier4migrantguidance1.pdf

UKCISA can provide further information on working during your studies in the UK:
http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/working_during.php

You do not need a work permit to work whilst holding a student visa, but you will need a national insurance number. Please
see our website for further details; www.bris.ac.uk/international/studentsupport/immigration/working.html

Will I be required to register with the police when I arrive in the UK?
Some nationals are required to register their stay with the police when they arrive in the UK/obtain new visas. If you need to
register/update your registration certificate, this requirement will be stated on your entry clearance sticker/ID card and you will
be required to register with the police within 7 days. Please see our website for details on how to register with the police;
www.bris.ac.uk/international/studentsupport/immigration/visaarriving.html



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Can I do a work placement whilst I have a student visa?
Yes, you can do a work placement providing that it is an assessed part of your course and that it is no more than 50% of the
total length of the course, for example, a two year degree course with one of the years doing a work placement. If your CAS
is issued for a course which involves a work placement, the University of Bristol will remain responsible for you throughout the
work placement.

I am enrolled on a higher education course at an overseas higher education institution, can I do a work placement?
Yes, if you are coming to the UK to do part of your course you may also do a work placement as part of your course as long it
is no more than 50% of your study in the UK. If your CAS is issued for a course which involves a work placement, the
University of Bristol will remain responsible for you throughout the work placement.

Can I change my institution?
If you want to study at a new institution and you made your last visa application for a Tier 4 visa on or after 5 October 2009;

You MUST apply for a new Tier 4 visa. You can start the new course if you are studying with a highly trusted sponsor (HTS),
have an existing visa and have been issued a CAS for your new institution. The University of Bristol is an HTS. You can
leave your current institute before the visa has been issued, but you do so at your own risk as your new Tier 4 visa may be
refused and then you may not be able to go back to the old course.

If you want to study at a new institution and you made your last visa application for a Tier 4 visa before 5 October 2009;

You MUST obtain permission from the UKBA, if you do not your visa may be curtailed. You should apply for permission
using the Tier 4 (Permission to Switch) application form. If permission is granted, the UKBA will issue a letter confirming this.
If you start the new course before you obtain permission from the UKBA, you do so at your own risk as permission may be
declined and then you may not be able to go back on the old course. If your new course end date goes past your visa expiry
date, you will need to make a new application.

For further details please see pages 53-55 of the Policy Guidance;
http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/Tier4migrantguidance1.pdf

Can I do a different course at the University of Bristol?
Yes and you will not need to obtain permission from the UKBA as long as you have enough time left on your current visa.
However, if the length of your new course is longer than the time you have left on your current visa, you will need to apply
with a new visa application to the UKBA. If your new course is shorter than the course you got your current visa for, you must
inform the UKBA by e-mailing migrantreporting@ukba.gsi.gov.uk.

What happens if my course ends early?
The UKBA will limit your visa to 60 days if your course ends earlier than expected. If you have less than 6 months left on
your visa the UKBA will not limit your permission and you can stay until your permission runs out.

Can I claim state benefits (public funds)?
No, the conditions of the student visa prohibit you from claiming public funds.


6)      I want to stay in the UK to attend my graduation, but my student visa expires before my
        graduation date. How can I stay in the UK to attend graduation?
Can I extend my stay in the UK as a student?
You cannot extend your student visa if you have finished your course and you only want to stay in the UK to attend
graduation. You can only extend your student visa if you are going to study another full-time course.

Can I extend my stay in the UK from a student visa to a visitor visa whilst I am in the UK?
No, unfortunately, you cannot switch onto a visitor visa whilst you are in the UK. If you would like to attend your graduation
on a visitor visa you will have to return to your home country to apply using a VAF1A General Visitor application form, please
see the UKVisas website for details; www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/vafs/

Can I extend my stay in the UK from student visa to Post Study Work (PSW) to attend graduation?
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Once you have your results and have successfully passed your qualification you can apply for PSW. However, it is a two
year visa granted to allow you the opportunity to work in the UK. It is not intended as a way to stay in the UK to attend
graduation only. Please note, PSW will close in April 2012. If you wish to apply for PSW please see our website for further
details; www.bristol.ac.uk/international/studentsupport/immigration/poststudy.html.


7)      Other related immigration questions
Can I switch from Tier 4 student visa into Post Study Work (PSW) or other working categories, within the UK?
Yes, you can switch from Tier 4 to Tier 1 (PSW) and Tier 2 (skilled work) within the UK. If you wish to apply for PSW please
see our website for further details; www.bristol.ac.uk/international/studentsupport/immigration/poststudy.html.

I currently hold a PSW/Tier 2 visa, can I switch into Tier 4 student visa in the UK?
Yes, you can switch from Tier 1 and Tier 2 into Tier 4 within the UK.


8)      Dependants
I want to obtain a student visa, can my dependants make an application to come with me?
Yes, but only if;

     1) You are financially sponsored by your government AND your course is over six months long OR
     2) You are studying a postgraduate level course that is 12 months or longer OR
     3) You had Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student leave for your previous course where the course was over six months long AND
           a. your visa is current or it expired no more than three months before this new immigration application AND
           b. your new immigration application is for a course over six months long AND
           c. your dependants already have Tier 4 dependant or "student" dependant leave AND
           d. you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant

You should submit any dependant applications at the same time as your own application. They should apply using the VAF10
PBS Dependant application form; www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/vafs/. There will be a charge of the equivalent of £255
in your local currency for each dependant’s application.

How much extra maintenance (funds) will I need to show for my dependants?
If you, as the student, qualify for the reduced maintenance level i.e. £1,200, then your dependants (partner/children) will also
be allowed to show a reduced maintenance level of £800 per dependant. However, if you do not qualify for the reduced
maintenance level you must show an additional £400 (as you are studying outside London) for each month of your studies for
each dependant up to a maximum of 9 months. Please see pages 11 - 14 of the Dependants Policy Guidance for further
information to help you determine if you qualify for the reduced maintenance level;
www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/pbsdependantspolicy1.pdf

Can my dependant work?
Yes, but only if;
   i)       they have been given a student dependant visa for 12 months or more AND
   ii)      the student is studying a course at degree level or above, or a foundation degree course OR
   iii)     you are financially sponsored by your government

I am a dependant/student, can I switch into the student visa/dependant visa category myself?
You cannot switch categories within the UK. If you wish to switch, you must leave the UK and make an application for entry
clearance from overseas.

For further information regarding dependants please also read the dependant’s policy guidance prior to making an
application; www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/dependants and the UKCISA website;
www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/your_family.php

International Advice and Support offers guidance only. The International Student & Staff Advisers should not be viewed as legal representation,
                            and the guidance offered is to be viewed strictly as guidance and not as legal advice.


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