The information provided here (This page) for International students is provided and updated by VISA INN, Immigration Specialists.
Visa INN provide a monthly FREE IMMIGRATION conference at Blake Hall College, all students are invited to attend. (Covers Tier4, Tier 2, all other avenues, and an open discussion on changes to UKBA - Highlighting recent UKBA changes and case law)
Attendance is FREE but you need to book your place by emailing name, visa expiring date, brief history, and any topics you would like to discuss on the day to:
Visa INN offers Blake Hall College students a 10% discount on all immigration services offered, and Blake Hall College strongly recommends students to make use of Visa INN's professional services when dealing with Immigration applications and extensions wherever possible.
This Page LAST UPDATED - 20 June 2012
- NEW DEPENDANT FORM - JUNE 2012
- TIER 4 POLICY GUIDANCE
Immigration is incredibly complex, and the complexity is increased by the constant changes that take place, both changes implemented by the UKBA on regular basis, as well as changes/challenges in the Immigration and Asylum appeal courts.
The information on this page is provided as guidance to students, but prior to making any application care needs to be taken to ascertain that there have been no changes which may affect the information on this page.
Extending your visa during study (Tier 4)
If you are already in the United Kingdom and wish to extend your stay under Tier 4 (General) you MUST have one of the following visas:
- Tier 4 (General) or Child
- Tier 1 or PSW (Post Study Work)
- Tier 2
- Any Student category (Old rules) EXCEPT Student Visitor **
** Student visitors can NOT extend their stay in the UK.
In order to apply for Tier 4 leave to remain, in almost all cases, it is a requirement that as of the day of application you still have a valid visa (Still have time left on your existing visa).
Although it IS possible to apply if your visa has already expired, the "window of opportunity" is extremely limited to the start date of your proposed course being no more than 28 days AFTER your current qualifying leave expires, and we recommend that ALL students ensure that they remain legally at all times in the UK.
If your visa has expired please contact us IMMEDIATELY for advice.
Please note that there are SERIOUS consequences to allowing your visa to expire including:
- Loss of appeal rights
- Potential ban from the UK if the stay is more than 28 days after your visa expires
- Loss of established presence
- Detention and forced removal from the UK
MONEY - How much do you need?
The answer to the question depends on the following
- Whether you study INNER London or OUTSIDE London
- Whether you have an established presence
- The length of the course
- The amount you OWE to your Tier 4 sponsor
a. The amount of maintenance required per MONTH is dependent on whether you study in INNER London, or outside of London. Blake Hall College is an INNER London College, and as such, the MONTHLY amount for calculating the MONTHLY maintenance requirement to apply to study at Blake Hall College is £1000 per month. (If you were outside of London the monthly figure would be £800 pounds per month)
b. Established presence is the terms used to decide whether a person is considered as "established" in their course, or treated as being "new" to the UK. A person who benefits from Established presence has the advantage of needing evidence of maintenance of only TWO months, as against potentially needing maintenance for NINE months (£2000 or £9000 pounds).
A person can LOSE Established presence, under certain circumstances, which can include:
- Your Visa expiring BEFORE your application is submitted (or)
- Changing college without completing your previous course
- Your application being REJECTED by UKBA due to a mistake in the application, after your previous visa has already expired.
The UKBA definition of established presence requires:
- A VALID Tier 4 or Student visa on the day of application PLUS
- (either) you have completed a course of at least six months DURING your last visa (or)
- You have completed at least six months of a course and you are applying to continue the SAME course
If your college has closed there is also a UKBA concession indicating that in certain circumstances if a student's previous Tier 4 sponsor has closed, then a person MAY be treated as having established presence, outside of the definition above, if they still have valid leave to remain, which we have successfully raised on behalf of many students.
MONEY - How many MONTHS money do you need?
a) If you have an established presence you have to show TWO Months Maintenance plus any fees shown on Certificate of acceptance for studies.
As explained above, the MONTHLY amount that you need to have access to is £1000 per month.
Therefore, if you have an established presence you will need to have a total of £2000 pounds available PLUS any fees as shown as still owing on the CAS.
If you have any dependants with you in the UK, for each dependant you will need an ADDITIONAL £600 per month (£1200 or £5400 depending on whether you have an established presence, or not)
b) If you do NOT have an established presence, then you need the required monthly amount of £1000 pounds for each month of the course UP TO a maximum of 9 months. (So even if your course is two years long, the MAXIMUM you need to show is nine months maintenance. So a maximum of £9000 pounds maintenance if you do NOT have established presence, plus additional for each dependant PLUS any remaining course fees.
£1000 x Number of months + amount owing to sponsor
= Amount required to show UKBA
- Established presence = £1000 x TWO months plus amount owing
- No Established presence = £1000 x NINE months plus amount owing
- Dependants - ADD 600 pounds times number of months of main applicant.
Please email Allan at Visa INN, at allan.immigration:gmail.com if you are unsure of established presence requirements. (Put BLAKE HALL STUDENT in subject line).
MONEY - What EVIDENCE do you need?
UKBA will accept evidence of money that is EITHER belonging to the applicant, OR to the applicant's parents OR evidence of official sponsorship OR bank loan letter**
**Bank loan letter has to be in name of STUDENT.
You can NOT use brother, sister, uncles, friends or any other relative's money.
THE LAW (Paragraph 155)
"A Tier 4 (General) student can use money held in an account owned by them or by his/her parents. If the Tier 4 (General) student is using funds held by his/her parent he/she will need to show us evidence that he/she is related to his/her parent(s)/legal guardian and that the Tier 4 (General) student has his/her parent(s)/legal guardian's permission to use this money."
THE LAW (Paragraph 156)
"The evidence of money held must be of cash funds in the bank (this includes savings accounts and current accounts even when notice must be given), as a loan letter or official financial or government sponsorship available to the applicant. Other accounts of financial instruments such as shares, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards and pension funds are not acceptable, regardless of notice period."
- Your OWN original bank statement covering the required maintenance for a period of 28 days. (Must show bank logo, full name, full account number, and be itemized (OR)
- A bank letter confirming the minimum maintenance held for the required period
- Your PARENTS bank statement covering the required maintenance for a period of 28 days PLUS a letter of support and applicants full birth certificate
- A JOINT account, covering the required maintenance in the applicants name and a joint name (With both account holders signing the Tier 4 form)
- Official sponsorship
- Bank LOAN letter in applicants name
All evidence has to be original (No scans, no photocopies, and no emails)
ENGLISH - What EVIDENCE do you need?
English is absolutely necessary for all applications under the Tier 4 scheme, apart from a couple of exceptions, which are:
- You are exempt because you come from a English Speaking Country (See guidance)
- You are exempt because you have completed a degree in a English speaking country.
UKBA does NOT except English for professional and vocational courses even if at level 7.
English Level requirements are split depending on the level of course that you will be studying.
English is separated into four components which are:
YOU HAVE TO PASS EACH ELEMENT OF ENGLISH - NOT AN OVERALL SCORE
If your course is BELOW Level 6 - you need to acquire a B1 pass in EACH element
If your course is ABOVE Level 6 - you need to acquire a B2 pass in EACH element
List of acceptable English courses are here:
So, you have maintenance and English, what's next?....
Applying for the Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS)
In order to study in UK under the Tier 4 sponsor scheme, colleges and Universities that teach overseas students have to be registered as a Tier 4 sponsor.
The HIGHEST possible rating as a Tier 4 sponsor is to be HIGHLY TRUSTED
- Blake Hall College holds the HIGHEST rating .... HIGHLY TRUSTED
As a Highly trusted college, Blake hall College have access to the sponsor management system, which is a computer link to the UKBA, through which the college apply for and are allocated permission to take on a international student.
That permission that is granted is done by issuing a certificate to the college, and that certificate is called the CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Study).
In order to apply for a CAS, your college has to do the following:
- Make sure that you have right amount of maintenance (See above)
- Make sure that you have the right level of English (That is you hold a Secure English Language Tests,) SELT.
- Are making Academic PROGRESS and
- That the college believes that you are capable of taking the course and
- That you will not exceed the number of YEARS that a student can study under Tier 4 of the rules.
So HOW does the Tier 4 sponsor assess Academic Progress
Firstly the starting point is for UKBA to assess applicant as being on a one way ladder - UP. In other words, using the level of your course, if you have finished a level 3 course, you would be expected to go to a Level 4 course, or a level 5 to progress to a level 6 etc.
However, where a person is on a course, and is applying to extend the SAME course, then no advancement is required - And your sponsor will say.. Continuing course.. on the CAS.
In certain circumstances (such as where a college has closed) it may be possible to apply at the same level or even lower level, where the college can clearly demonstrate that although the course appears to be at the same or lower level, that there are clear academic advantages to the route chosen. (Exceptional circumstances)
Secondly, the college has to assess that you are CAPABLE of passing the course. As no one KNOWS whether you will pass, an assessment needs to be done of the LIKELIHOOD of passing, by assessing:
- Past attendance (From previous college)
- Past academic achievement
The college will assess your qualifications, and have the expertise to assess what qualifications are necessary for admission on certain level courses.
Thirdly, the college will assess the duration of the chosen course, against your Immigration history, and assess WHEN you first were granted permission to remain under Tier 4.
Since April 2012, the UKBA have introduced limitations on the number of years that a student can remain in the UK as a Tier 4 student. That limitation is:
- Below Level 6 - Three years
- Above level 6 - Five years
Total - Eight Years
TIME RUNS FROM THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU ARE GIVEN A TIER 4 VISA AND DOES NOT COUNT TIME BETWEEN COURSE!
The new rules mean that a student coming to or in the UK should plan their ENTIRE planned education, and to ensure that they choose courses that leave sufficient time to achieve their chosen degree programs, as UKBA have stated that they will NOT grant leave beyond the eight years, even if it is to rewrite an exam.
If you are concerned about the eight years rule, please contact Allan Van As - at VISA INN -
So.. you have the CAS, you have the maintenance; you have your SELT what's next?
Applying for the VISA (In country)
There are two ways of applying to the UKBA for a visa:
- Applying in PERSON
- Applying in the MAIL
As the costs of applying in person are significantly higher than an application in the mail, we recommend making an application in the mail, as there are financial advantages in doing so. (Please contact Allan to discuss)
If you want to apply in person you need to make an appointment on the UKBA website.
The application form
The current application form for Tier 4 applications is Tier 4 version 04/2012.
**NEW DEPENDANT FORM JUNE 2012**
WARNING - USING AND OLD FORM WILL MEAN YOUR APPLICAITON IS REJECTED!!
Completion of this form PRECISELY is the difference between success or rejection, as if you make a single error the application WILL be rejected, and if your visa has expired in the interim, you will be illegal in the UK at dire cost.
As an Immigration specialist, VISA INN deals exclusively with UK Immigration applications, and also in dealing with immigration problems when things go wrong when students have made their own applications.
One of the biggest problems that face students is the introduction of Section 85 that prevents an Immigration Judge from taking into account ANY evidence that was not in the envelope/application on the day that you made an application.
Now however, if it's left out it's too late, and can't be considered in court.
IF YOU LEAVE OUT A DOCUMEN ITS TOO LATE AND CANT BE CONSIDERED BY A JUDGE!
This increases the absolute need for all Tier 4 applications to be 100% accurate, both in regards to the application itself and supporting documents, and we highly recommend taking the stress out of the process, and using a professional firm, such as ourselves.
VISA INN work closely with all Blake hall College students, and offer discounted fees to existing and new Blake Hall College Students.
Allan Van As of the Visa INN can also be consulted in regards to any of the following -
- Long term planning
- Refusals and appeals
- Changing from Tier 1 or 2 to Tier 4
- Dependants - Here and abroad
- Tier 2 - Work permits - The new rules for graduates
- Tier 1 - Entrepreneur - Opportunities for business for graduates
- Marriage - If Cupids arrow strikes you while you are a student
- Long residence/indefinite leave - For students approaching ten years long residence in the UK
- Any immigration related issue.
Allan holds Free Immigration Conferences on the SECOND THURSDAY of every month for all students and prospective students of Blake Hall College, and we look forward to meeting you.
To book a place at the conference, please email name, address, visa status (When does your visa expire) to
(Put CONFERENCE in subject line)
To be added to the VISA INN Newsletter / email alert - which will inform you of any changes to UKBA rules - email JOIN (In the subject line)
We look forward to meeting you.
Allan Van As LLB (Hons)