Extending your tier 4 visa
If your student visa is due to expire soon you need to start preparing your application a minimum of two months before your expiry date. Under strict new rules applications which are incomplete will be refused.
Please note that both the dependants and Tier 4 application forms (for applications made in the UK) are updated regularly. Always check that you are using the most current version of the application form before sending it.
Making a tier 4 application
In order to make a Tier 4 application you must have Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number which you can request from the Compass. You must also fulfill the maintenance requirements as stipulated by the UK Border Agency.
Please note that all the rules are subject to change and you should always check the most current guidance with the Home Office. UKCISA also provides guidance on how to complete the form. Please contact an adviser if you have any questions about the form and the immigration rules. If you would like to have your application form checked by a Student Adviser before you send it or make an application in person, please book an appointment through the Compass. Please note, at busy times students can wait up to two or three weeks for an appointment so please prepare your application in plenty of time.
If you wish to use the Student Batch Scheme, whereby you prepare your application for an extension of leave to remain and a Student Adviser will check your application and send it on your behalf, you must contact a us at least two months before your current visa expires in order to allow enough time to complete your application and gather together all the relevant supporting documents.
Completing the form
There are several way you can apply for a visa from within the UK. YOu can apply by mail - this is the cheapest option but can take several months. The quickest way to apply is in person at a Public Enquiry Office. You will need to book an appointment to do this - these sometimes book up several weeks ahead, so book early! Applications made in person are usually dealt with on the day, so we recommend this option if you are planning to travel within the next few months, though it is more expensive than applying by mail. If you apply in the UK you will need to use the Tier 4 online form or the Tier 4 online "print and send" form (please note that this form is due to be removed soon). We have produced additional guidance for both the print and send form and fully online form. You may also find this visa checklist useful, though be aware this is not an exhaustive list and required funds will vary depending on your situation. You should ensure you also read the Tier 4 guidance carefully before submitting an application. You should be aware that, if you're using the fully online form, the date you are deemed to be applying is the date you submit the form online. Any documents you subsequently post must have met the requirements on the day the application was submitted. If you are applying using the "print and send" form you will not be deemed to have applied until you have posted your application. You should follow the online instructions very carefully when making your application. UKCISA has produced useful guidance explaining the different options.
You will be required to submit evidence of maintenance (see below) and evidence of your qualifications which were used to obtain the offer. These documents must be original and might include evidence of your previous qualifications and English language qualifications. If you are a "low risk national" you may not need to enclose everything, but you will need to declare that you have the documents available, and may be asked for them at a later date.
If you are planning a trip home before your visa expires then you can apply for new entry clearance from there. This is cheaper and sometimes quicker than applying in the UK. You need to meet the same rules, but the form you need to complete is different.
You should always read the Tier 4 guidance carefully when preparing your application.
We recommend that, where possible, you book an appointment with a Student Adviser to check your application before submitting it.
You are required to show that you have a minimum amount of funding and if you are self-funding money must be in your account for a consecutive 28 days before you submit your application and cannot drop below this amount at any point during this period. This money then needs to stay in your account until your visa application has been decided, as the Home Office may check with your bank that you still have the money.
Currently the rules state that some students can show a lower amount of money. Students who already have Tier 4/student leave and are extending their Tier 4 visas and have been studying on a course for at least six months and are applying for leave to finish that same course, or those applying for leave for a new course who have completed a course lasting at least six months within their last period of leave, require only £2000. You should check the Home Office's Tier 4 policy guidance to see if you meet this criteria. Students who do not meet this criteria require £1000 for each month they will be in the UK, up to a maximum of 9 months.
If you are self-funding this must be in a bank account in your name or, if this is not possible, a parent’s name. If you use a parent's account you must also submit a letter from them confirming you may use these funds, and your original birth certificate. You should check the guidance for exactly what documentation is acceptable. If you are being funded by an international company, government or scholarship agency you will need to provide a letter. You must check the Tier 4 guidance for what needs to be included in the letter.
The financial requirements are quite complicated. If you are missing any documents or they do not fully meet the Tier 4 requirements your application is likely to be refused. If you have any queries check with a Student Adviser.
If you are required to have an ATAS certificate in order to undertake your course you must have obtained this before you submit your visa application. You should ensure you apply for ATAS in plenty of time as it can take several weeks for the certificate to be issued at busy times of year.
If you are extending your student visa in order to complete your course and you require an ATAS certificate you must obtain a new certificate for the purposes of your application. This includes PhD students who are writing up their theses and who required ATAS in the past, and students extending for the Doctorate Extension Scheme who required ATAS.
If you do not supply it when you submit your application then your application will be incomplete and will be refused
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