Applicants: How to apply for a Student visa if you are outside of the UK

Who is this page for?

This guidance page is for applicants applying for a Student visa whilst outside of the UK.

There are different guidance pages for:

1. CAS assessment

The University's CAS team will assess you for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and advise you of the appropriate procedure. 

For applicants outside of the UK, this will be issued up to six months prior to your course start date.

The CAS team will check to see if you are eligible to apply for a Student visa.  

What is included in our requirements?

You can only apply for a CAS after you have accepted an unconditional offer to study at Kent. This includes:

  • having paid an international deposit fee
  • providing the correct supporting documents, for example, financial evidence
  • proving your knowledge of the English language
  • getting ATAS approval (see step 2)

More information can be found on the UKCISA website.

Important points to note

You must meet the financial requirements to qualify for a Student visa, have sufficient funds for your tuition fees and meet the maintenance costs specified in the Home Office's guidance. It is extremely important to read through this to fully understand the financial requirements for a student visa.

You will have to pay the immigration health surcharge as part of your application. More information is listed below under step 4.

As part of your application you may need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre.

If you are coming to the UK for more than six months you may need a tuberculosis test.

2. Apply for an ATAS certificate (if applicable)

Check to see if need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate as part of your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) and, if necessary, apply for an ATAS certificate. This will take at least 20 working days to process by UKVI's ATAS team and will take longer in peak periods.

3. Apply for your Student visa

Ensure that you have all of the documentation that you need and apply online for your Student visa.

If you wish to collect your BRP from the University, you will need to input the University's ACL code when applying for your visa online.  

Kent Union has created a helpful guide to completing an application outside of the UK with screenshots of each step.

4. Make your payment

You will then be required to submit the correct fee to UK Visas & Immigration as advised within your application.

Other charges include the immigration health surcharge (IHS) and any priority services you may opt for.

What is the immigration health surcharge (IHS)?

The immigration health surcharge gives you access to the UK's National Health Service, and if you are a European student with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may be able to apply for a refund of the cost of the immigration health surcharge. Find out if you are eligible for an immigration health surcharge refund.

5. Visa decision

If successful, your visa will be issued as a 90 day entry clearance vignette (yellow visa sticker) in your passport, which you will use to travel to the UK. You will also use the vignette to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) - see step 8.

Please see our guidance on what to do if your visa is refused.

6. Book your flight to the UK

Wait for your passport and visa to be returned to you before booking your flight to the UK. Do not book travel until you have received your visa decision.

If you applied through the UK Immigration: ID check app and did not attend a visa centre appointment, you have to wait for your digital status to be granted and travel after the start date of your visa. To prove this, you will be asked for a copy of your travel itinerary to prove the date of entry to the UK.

If you travel before the start date of your visa, you will be classed as a visitor and will not be registered as a Kent student until you leave and re-enter within the validity of your student visa.

7. Prepare to travel

Read the UKCISA checklist to make sure that you have everything ready for your journey to the UK.

More information can be found on the UKCISA guidance for preparing for your arrival to the UK.

8. Arriving in the UK

After arriving in the UK, you must collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days of arrival or before the expiry of your vignette, whichever is sooner. In some cases, the Home Office may take longer than 10 days and we will let you know when your BRP is available for collection.

You will collect your BRP at Registration and should check that all of the information and conditions on your vignette and BRP are correct. The Student Immigration Compliance Team will let you know of and guide you through what to do should this occur.

What to do if there is an error on your vignette or BRP

If there is an error on your vignette that could prevent you from entering the UK (eg your name, nationality or the 'valid from' date) contact the relevant visa application centre (VAC).

If you are unable to get it corrected before travel or you are advised of an error once you have arrived, you should seek to have the error corrected. Please note that you may be charged to use this service.

If there is an error on your BRP, you must report it as soon as possible. Please read the UKCISA's guide on correcting a visa error. You can also get advice from the Kent Union Advice Centre.

Remember, it is a condition of your sponsorship that you notice the Student Immigration Compliance Team when you've reported the error and when you get a new BRP.

Full information can be found on our BRP webpage.  

Last updated