How To Apply for a student visa to UK in your home country

If you are currently in your home country and need to apply for an entry clearance visa to come back to the UK to resume your studies e.g. to take re-sit examinations or after taking an interruption of study, then you will need to provide specific documents as evidence of your studies and finances in order to make a successful application.
You can apply for an entry clearance visa up to three months before the start date of the course on your CAS statement. Please note if the course start date on your CAS statement has passed when you apply, your application will be refused.

Useful resources

Before making your application for entry clearance as a student there are various information resources available to help you. It is advised that you read the Making an immigration application as a Tier 4 (General) student in your home country guidance leaflet which has been produced by UKCISA: the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

You should also read the UKBA student visa application guide.
It contains links to a number of documents that you also need to refer to:
  • Tier 4 Policy Guidance
  • Application Form VAF9- PBS Migrant
  • PBS Migrant Guidance notes
  • PBS Appendix 8 (General) Student

Step by step guide to applying for entry clearance

Step 1
Take time to read all the documents referred to under the “Useful resources” subheading above. They contain a lot of very detailed instructions about the documents that you must provide. If your documents do not exactly match the requirements set out in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance, your application will be refused and you will have wasted your application fee and a lot of time.
Step 2
Find your country on the UKBAs A-Z list to find your nearest visa application centre. This will tell you how to start the process of applying in your country. For example, whether you need to make an appointment or complete an online form, or have a tuberculosis test first (this only applies to nationals from Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania and Thailand). 
To help you work out when to apply, you should check the visa processing times for your local visa application centre.
Step 3
Complete the Application Form VAF9— PBS Migrant and PBS Appendix 8 (General) Student, which you can download from the UKBA website.
Please note the forms will ask you how many points you are claiming. To qualify for a Tier 4 student visa you will need to have 40 points in total: 30 points for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you get for studying a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider; and 10 points for having enough money (also known as maintenance or funds) to cover both your total course fees and your living costs.
Step 4
Work out how much money you will need to show to meet the maintenance requirement and score the required 10 points. 
Higher maintenance category: You will need to show that you have enough money available to you to pay your outstanding tuition fees in full and £600 per calendar month for the length of your course up to a maximum of 9 months (i.e. 9 x £600= £5,400)
Lower maintenance category: You have current entry clearance or leave to enter/ remain as a Tier 4 migrant, student or as a postgraduate doctor or dentist (i.e. it has not yet expired) and on the date of application you:
  • have finished a single course that was at least six months long within your last period of entry clearance, or leave to remain; or
  • are applying to continue studying on a single course, of which you have completed at least six months.
Step 5
Make sure you enclose all the documents listed in the forms and guidance with your application. All documents except the CAS statement must be originals: scanned copies, faxes and emails are not acceptable. You should submit a photocopy of each document in addition to the original document itself. 

Below is a list of the required documentation. Please note however that Cardiff University accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy. It is your responsibility to check the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to ensure that you have provided all the necessary documentation.
  • Passport; 
  • A recent passport sized photograph. This must measure 45mm x 35mm and be:
    o in colour taken against a white background;
    o clear and of good quality and not framed or backed;
    o printed on normal photographic paper;
    o full face and without sunglasses, hat or head covering (unless it is worn for cultural or religious reasons but the face must not be covered). 
  • The visa fee of £255, which is non-refundable, and must normally be paid in the currency of the country where you are applying; 
  • A CAS statement from Cardiff University. In order to get this please giving your full name, student number and passport number. The Registry aim to reply to you within 5 working days using the email address shown on your SIMS record.
  • All qualifications listed on your CAS statement (if applicable)- this will normally be the academic and English qualifications that the University took into account when deciding to accept you for the course which you are studying; 
  • Proof that you have enough money to meet the maintenance requirements. Please see our Guide to extending your student visa (pages6-9) for full details about what documentation you will need to provide; 
  • Your biometric details, which you will have to provide in person. This will involve scans of all 10 fingers and a full-face digital photograph. The whole procedure should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Your visa application will not be processed until you have met this requirement. More information about biometrics can be found on the UK Visa Services website; 
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate (if applicable); 
  • Tuberculosis Certificate (if applicable- see above); 
  • Translations of any documents that are not in English. These must meet the strict UKBA requirements which are outlined in our Guide to extending your student visa (page 5)
Step 6
When you receive your visa make sure you check it carefully to make sure:
  • Your name and date of birth are correct;
  • It says that you are a Tier 4 student;
  • The sponsor licence number/ CAS number (whichever is stated) is identical to the one listed on your CAS statement;
  • It starts on or before the date that you want to travel to the UK;
  • It does not end sooner than you expect. When considering your application for entry clearance (a visa) the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in your country should comply with the UKBA guidance on visa lengths, which you can access on our correct lengths of visa page.
If there is anything wrong with your visa, ask to have it changed immediately, before you travel. It is very difficult to make changes after you travel.