As an international student, you will likely need a Student visa to study in the UK. We can provide you with the information and guidance you will need for your time studying abroad, including how to navigate the Visa application process. The Student Route visa applies to students wishing to study for more than six months in the UK and includes rules for Student Dependants.
We recommend you review the information on the Home Office website regularly to keep up-to-date with changes to UK immigration law and guidance.
Please note Irish citizens are not required to hold a Student visa in order to study and live in the UK.
Current UK Immigration Rules
The Points Based System (PBS) is the UK system for managing migration for non-UK nationals wishing to enter the UK for the purpose of work or study.
If you are 17 years old or above, and intend to study for a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate programme at the University of Suffolk, you must apply for an adult Student visa.
The application form is available on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website.
To make a Student Route visa application you are required to score 70 points. Your 70 points will be based on the following:
- Study (see ST 6.1) - must meet all (50 points):
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) requirement (to obtain a CAS number, you will need to accept an unconditional offer from the University of Suffolk, pass a Pre-CAS Interview and pay your CAS deposit - see below for further details)
- Course requirement
- Approved qualification requirement
- Level of study requirement
- Place of study requirement
- Proof of evidence (e.g. Bank or building society statements, sponsorship letter) confirming that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees for the first year and a specific amount of money for living costs (£9,207), also referred to as maintenance costs (10 points).
- Meeting the UKVI's English language requirements (10 points).
Any student who applies either from within the UK or overseas to study in the UK under the Student Route of the Points Based System must hold a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from their prospective sponsor (the University). In order for the University to issue you with a CAS, you are required to pass a Pre-CAS Interview, submit specific documentation (listed below) and pay a minimum £3,000 CAS deposit. This deposit is credited to your University of Suffolk account, and the remaining balance must then be paid as per the terms within the Tuition Fee Policy 2022/23.
Once you have passed a Pre-CAS Interview, and to issue you with a CAS, the University of Suffolk Admissions Office will need:
- Your current passport showing your details and passport expiry date;
- Proof of evidence confirming you have sufficient funds available for your tuition fee and maintenance costs;
- All academic certificates and transcripts that have been used to obtain an unconditional offer from the University;
- If you are not from a majority English speaking country then we require your UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) report;
- If you are already studying in the UK, we need a copy of the current visa in your passport, or on your Biometric ID card;
- Proof of your valid tuberculosis (TB) test certificate (if applicable);
- If you are already in the UK, we need a copy of proof of your first UK entry date (e.g. UKVI stamp on your passport showing your UK entry date);
- Payment of a minimum £3,000 CAS deposit.
Please be aware we will not initiate the CAS process if documents evidencing your financial means to study in the UK are not provided. You will likely be subject to a Pre-CAS Interview with the University of Suffolk Admissions Office to determine whether we can sponsor your visa. Our Pre-CAS Interviews are based on the UKVI's Credibility Interviews - please see the relevant section below for more information.
Once the Admissions Office is happy with the information you have supplied, and we have processed your request for a CAS, we will email you a draft copy of the CAS statement for you to confirm the accuracy of the details. All the information contained in the CAS statement is extremely important, so you must check it is all correct and up-to-date. If any of the information is incorrect, you must inform us by email immediately.
Once you have confirmed that your draft CAS statement is correct, we will provide this information to the Home Office so that we can generate your CAS number. We will also email you a copy of your final CAS statement which will include:
- Your CAS number;
- The start and end date of your course;
- The University of Suffolk Sponsor License Number;
- The University of Suffolk Sponsor License Address ;
- The address of your primary site of study;
- The original qualification certificates or transcripts, which you will need to include with your visa application (remember these must be the original documents not photocopies and if not in English, they must have translations that meet the UKVI criteria). If you are continuing on your existing course at the University of Suffolk, you will not normally need to include certificates for your qualifications;
- Confirmation that your course represents academic progression if you have already studied in the UK;
- Confirmation of your English language ability;
- The tuition fee for your course;
- The fees you have already paid;
- The accommodation fees you have already paid;
- Your name as it appears on your passport;
- Your passport number;
- Your scholarship information (if applicable);
- Your ATAS certificate details (if applicable)
A major requirement for a Student visa is that you show proof of sufficient funds to pay your fees and support yourself. You will need to show proof that the required funds in your account, or your sponsors account, have been cleared for a minimum period of 28 consecutive days immediately prior to your CAS being issued. Other forms of financial evidence may be accepted, please refer to the UKVI's website for further information.
If you are coming to the University of Suffolk you will need to show £1,023 per month for up to a maximum of 9 months plus any outstanding tuition fees for your first year.
If you are applying for leave to enter the UK from one of the countries listed in paragraph ST 22.1 of the immigration rules, and you are a national of that country, you are not required to show evidence of your funds, academic qualifications or English language as part of your visa application under the differentiation arrangements. We do however strongly advise that you prepare such documentation should the Home Office request this from you at any point during the visa application process. As an institution we reserve the right to request evidence of this documentation to assess whether you are likely to meet the UKVI requirements.
- If using a bank statement to demonstrate your funds, the total amount of money you must evidence cannot fall below the required amount for even one day during the 28-day period or you will not meet the visa conditions.
- You must provide the correct financial evidence in the correct format or your visa will be refused. More details can be found on the UKVI website. Although the University of Suffolk can provide guidance to help you prepare your financial evidence, it is your responsibility to ensure that your evidence meets the UKVI's requirements.
- The account showing your proof of funds can be in your name, or in your parents or a legal guardians name only. If the account is not in your name, you will need to demonstrate your relation to the parent/legal guardian and provide written confirmation that you have their consent to use the funds for the purposes of your education.
- Evidence of government or official sponsorship should be a letter of confirmation on official headed paper or stationery, and must bear the organisations official stamp. It must show:
- Your name
- The name and contact details of the official sponsor
- The date of the letter
- The length of the sponsorship
- The amount of money the sponsor is giving or a statement that they will cover all of your fees and living costs.
The Study UK British Council pages will help you plan and manage your money from your studies in the UK.
When you are applying from outside of the UK, you are not permitted to apply for a visa until six months before your course start date. Most UK embassies try to issue visas within three weeks of a visa appointment at an application centre, however at peak periods it can take four weeks or more and they cannot issue a new visa for a course that has already started.
Please note that you will only be permitted to enter the UK one month before the official start date for your chosen course of study, as per your CAS statement.
If you currently hold a Student visa and are starting a course at the University of Suffolk, you will not be able to start your course until you have applied for a Student visa for the University of Suffolk. You can apply for a Student Route visa if there are 28 days or less between the expiry of your existing Student visa and the start of your new course. If there are more than 28 days you will need to return home to make your Student visa application.
Visa application checklist:
You will need to complete the online application form. You have to include the following documents to support your application:
1. A current valid passport (must be the same passport as stated in your CAS letter);
2. All previous passports you have used to travel to the UK;
3. Your CAS Statement letter containing your CAS number;
4. Original copies of any educational documents/certificates that are listed on your CAS statement e.g. school/college academic certificates from your home country;
5. Documents to show you have sufficient funding (maintenance and any outstanding fees for first year) including;
a) Bank statements covering a 28 day period (remember if you are using parents bank statements you must also provide your birth certificate and a letter from them confirming that they are your parents and that they consent to you using their money to study in the UK); and/or
b) Scholarship letter (if applicable); and/or
c) Receipts for tuition fees and/or accommodation (if paid)
6. Confirmation of your English language ability;
7. Your biometric details if you are applying from outside the UK;
8. Recent passport sized photographs (please see the UKVI website for full details of acceptable photographs);
9. If any of the above documents are not in English, the original must be sent with a fully certified translation by a professional translator. This translation must include specific information, please see the UKVI website for full details.
You must provide specified documents with your application as UKVI will not use any evidence sent in after they have made a decision. Furthermore, the UKVI will not contact you if you do not send the correct documents. If you fail to send the correct documents your visa may be refused.
Credibility interviews are part of the Student Route visa application process. They are used by the Home Office to ensure that a student’s reasons for studying in the UK are genuine. Failure to attend a credibility interview without a reasonable explanation being given will result in your visa being refused.
How does it work?
- If you are applying from overseas, the interview will take place via video link at a Visa Application Centre as stated on the Home Office covering letter
- If you are applying from the UK, you may have a Skype interview with a Home Office member of staff or at a centre in the UK.
All interviews will be conducted in English.
Your interview may last between 15-60 minutes and a further interview may be required if more information is needed, or to verify something that you have previously said.
Once completed, you should request a copy of the interview transcript so that you can keep a record of what you said during the interview.
The report of the interview is then sent to the Entry Clearance Officer who will consider it alongside your visa application and supporting documents.
Questions you may be asked?
These are some typical questions that you may be asked:
Please note that there are no set questions, and you may be asked additional questions not covered below.
Q: Why do you want to study in the UK?
Q: Why did you choose the University of Suffolk?
Q: Have you researched courses provided by other institutions?
Q: Why did you choose your course?
Q: How is your course assessed?
Q: What have you studied previously?
Q: You have previously studied in the UK - why have you chosen to return?
Q: How will you fund your studies?
Q: Do you know what accommodation is available at the university?
Q: Is there a distance between the accommodation and your place of study?
Q: How does the course fit into your career plans?
Q: What are your plans after you have graduated?
The interviewer will also be checking your ability to converse in English. If there is any issue with hearing them clearly e.g. the video link/Skype connection is poor, you should let the interviewer know immediately so they know that it is a technical issue and not that you are unable to understand them.
Try to remain calm and answer the questions in full as naturally as you can. Some of the questions will be designed to check your English language skills.
This is your opportunity to show that you have thoroughly researched the University of Suffolk and your course, and have thought about how studying here will help you meet your career goals. It is important to provide detailed answers where possible.
The Entry Clearance Officer will be able to compare your answers with the financial and employment information that you declared on your application form. They may also consider your family circumstances and any supporting documents you have provided.
Following the interview we would welcome any feedback on your experience.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of what you need to do to adhere to your visa obligations and the University’s responsibilities as your sponsor.
- Enrol onto your course by the dates specified in your CAS
- Pay your course fees
- Have all your necessary original documents with you when you arrive for induction or go to the post office to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
- Check your BRP and contact the Student Centre if there are any errors as they will need to be corrected
- If you change your address or phone number whilst you are studying with us, you must update contact details on your student record and inform the UKVI via their ‘change of circumstances form.’
- Attend lectures and do not miss expected interactions. You must provide an explanation to any absences to both the Course Administrator and the International Advice team. Five or more unauthorised absences will result in a request to meet to discuss attendance.
- Not breach the working conditions of your visa.
- Inform us if you change visa category, change course, intercalate, withdraw or need to defer your course or move to any other education institution.
- Complete your course on time, and within the time limits imposed by your visa. If you need more time to complete your studies, contact the International Advice team immediately to discuss your options. Advance notice is required to review requests to extend a Student visa.
- Make sure you leave the country by the expiry date of your visa unless you have submitted a visa application to extend your permission in the UK. The University will not allow you to continue your studies as an overstayer.
- If you obtain a new passport or BRP during your studies, present this to the Student Centre.
- Apply for a replacement if your BRP, or visa in your passport, is lost or stolen.
- Only work within the conditions set by the Home Office for a Student visa.
- Do not attempt to apply for ‘public funds’ including welfare and local authority housing benefits.
UKVI can contact the University at any time to request documents and information about each Student visa holder. This can normally include a copy of:
- Your passport
- Evidence of your immigration permission for the UK
- A list of your current and previous UK contact details
- An Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (where required)
- For students under 18, a consent letter from a parent or guardian
- Documents and information from your admissions application
- Your attendance record
As your sponsor, the University of Suffolk is expected to report to the UKVI on student activity, such as:
- Failure to enrol on your course
- You stop attending lectures, seminars, tutorials and other interactions concerning your course team
- Missed expected interactions (this could be in the form of a meeting with your Personal Academic Tutor, Course Leader or a submission of course work).
- A change of circumstances with your studies, for example: change of course, deferral of studies, stop studying prior to completion or you complete earlier than the course end date given in your CAS.
- A breach in the conditions of your leave (e.g. working over the permitted allowance).
Information-sharing and reporting is a mandatory part of our sponsor duties.
You may also find the following websites useful:
- UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration - for immigration application forms and policy guidance)
- UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs - for further advice)
- Prepare for Success (Learning activities to prepare you for study in the UK)
- Student Visa Policy Guidance
- Preparing and Planning
- Protecting your Student Route Status