University of Surrey Tier 4

University of Surrey Logo

University of Surrey Tier 4

University of Surrey Tier 4

Applying for visa outside the UK

Entry clearance is the procedure used by Entry Clearance Officers overseas to check, before a person arrives in the UK, if that person qualifies under the Immigration Rules for entry to the UK.

In some cases entry clearance is mandatory, in others it is optional (please check in advance of travel).

In all cases, the authority to admit someone to the UK ultimately rests with the Immigration Officer at the port of entry.

Do you need a visa?

Check to see what kind of visa (entry clearance) you need by following this link:

A Tier 4 (General) visa permits full-time study only at an education institution which holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence. The University of Surrey holds this sponsor licence. The International Student Support team at the University of Surrey is happy to advise on any aspect of the Tier 4 visa application process, either by email or by telephone.


How to make a Tier 4 (General) student visa application

If you require a visa under Tier 4 as a General Student (ie you are over 16 years of age), you must pass a points-based assessment and score 40 points:

  • 30 points for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a licensed sponsor
  • 10 points if you have documents to show you have enough finances to cover your programme fees and monthly living expenses (known as maintenance)


When to apply?

Application times can vary according to where you live and the time of year, so make sure that you apply as early as possible to avoid any delays. You can apply for a Tier 4 visa up to three months before the start of your course, but no earlier.

Application Process

The cost of Tier 4 applications are £335 (from April 2017), however these are subject to potential change each year.

Typical steps for a Tier 4 application will be:

  • Submit your online application form
  • Booking an appointment at a VAC
  • Attend your appt
  • Submit your documents
  • Give your fingerprints and photograph
  • Competency interview (at the discretion of UKVI)

Never allow someone else, including an agent, to submit a visa application for you without checking it first to make sure all your documents are correct. Submitting forged or false documents can result in severe penalties.

We have put together a guide to completing the Tier 4 (General) visa application form on Visa4UK (


Entry Clearance Application Guide 2016 (5034.0KB – Requires Adobe Reader)  

What documents will I need?

There are required documents you will need at the point of making your application:

These include:

  • Application fee – in local currency (non-refundable)
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee – IHS will be charged at £150 per academic year of study, please visit this link for further details: UKVI website
  • CAS number from the University of Surrey
  • Current passport or travel document – details of your current passport must be included on the CAS. If these details have changed in any way since your CAS was issued you will need to send a scanned copy of your new passport to
  • Documents to show you have the correct finances (fees and maintenance)
  • Colour passport photograph (no older than 1 month old)
  • Original academic documents listed on your CAS

You may also require:

All documents must be original. If they are not in English, they must be accompanied with a professional translation.

You must mention on the application form if you have ever had a UK visa refused or if you have ever overstayed a previous visa. Failure to do so could result in a lengthy ban from entering the UK. Please give any reference numbers you have from the refusal, date, embassy and reason for refusal. These details can be found in the Refusal Notice you received. You may also find some refusal details in your passport.


What if there are delays with my visa?

Please check your CAS carefully as this will indicate your latest date for registration at the University. If you are experiencing any visa difficulties or delays, you must contact your Faculty and the International Student Support team in good time and keep in regular contact. If you cannot arrive on campus by the deadline, you must NOT travel to the UK. Please note that all PhD students must register within the first month of the start date of their course.

When leave is granted.

When your leave is granted, you will be issued a temporary visa (vignette) in your passport. This will be valid for 30 days from the date you said you will be arriving in the UK, even if you later change your travel plans.  If, for some reason, you are unable to travel within the 30-day period, you will need to apply for another 30-day visa.  Once in the UK, you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which will show the visa for your complete study period as determined by your Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS).

You will also receive a decision letter which will tell you when your BRP will be available to collect and where you can collect it from once you arrive in the UK (please make sure you bring this document with you to the UK).  All University of Surrey students will be able to collect their BRP card from the main  Post Office in Guildford. Full information including a map and opening times can be found here.

You must visit the Post Office within 10 days of your arrival in the UK and you must take with you your passport, 30-day visa and your decision letter. If you are under 18, you will need to be accompanied to the Post Office by a member of University staff.  You should aim to collect your BRP card before you register at the University where possible.

If you lose your passport or decision letter on arrival in the UK, you can find information on what to do next on the UKVI website.


When your passport is returned

Please check the 30 day vignette in your passport to make sure it is correct.

If you believe there is an error with your vignette, you may ask an Entry Clearance Officer (or the Entry Clearance Manager, if necessary) to change it before you leave for the UK and please notify International Student Support.

Do I have to show all my documents?

If you are a national from a low-risk country and applying for your visa from that country, you do not have to provide certain documents with your application ( statements or academic certificates). You will need to keep these documents to hand in case the UKVI request to see them at any time during the visa application process. If you are a low-risk national but applying for a Tier 4 visa through an Embassy/High Commission in another country, you will need to provide all the required documents. For example a US citizen applying in the United States of America would be considered ‘low risk’ but a US citizen applying in Malaysia would not be considered to be ‘low risk’ and would therefore have to submit all required documents.

Will I be interviewed?

You may also be required to attend a credibility interview. This will be conducted by video link with a UKVI officer in the UK. During this 5-10 minute interview, the officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student and that your English language is at the correct level. If you are unable to answer simple questions in English, your visa application may be refused. You may also be asked questions about your visa and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. Further details can be found on the UKCISA website:–Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Making-a-Tier-4-General-application-outside-the-UK#RL?rl_playlist=playlist3900&rl_id=5

Can I bring my family?

Postgraduate students and students receiving official financial sponsorship, on courses of over six months, can bring dependants (husband/wife and children) to join them for the duration of their course. If you are unsure whether you can bring dependants you can use the UKCISA Guide for Tier 4 Family for further information or you can ask the International Student Support team.