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Applying for a visa

The Visa Process

If you are from a country outside the European Economic Area you are likely to need a visa.

The UK Visa process is operated by the UK Border Agency (UKVI). Please read the following questions and answers carefully as they should answer many of the questions you have about the student visa process. Please note that this information may be subject to change whenever the Border Agency updates their policies.
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What is a Tier 4 General Student Visa?

Tier 4 of the points-based system is the primary immigration route available to students who want to study full-time in the UK. They must be sponsored by an education provider that has a valid sponsor licence.

Can I use a student visitor visa?

The student visitor route is available for students to come to the UK for short periods of study. You can find out more about the visitor route on the UKVI website.

5 year limit on Degree Level study

The Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration) have imposed a time limit on the length of time that anyone can study in the UK at degree level on a Student Visa.
This includes time spent on a Tier 4 General Student Visa or General Student Visa (prior to the introduction of Tier 4).

How will the 5 year time limit affect me?

If you are applying to the Home Office to enter or remain in the UK for degree level study AND if that permission were granted it would result in you having spent more than 5 years* studying at degree level or above in the UK.

The time taken into account is backdated to include time already spent in the UK studying at degree level on a Tier 4 or a General Student Visa.

Certain programmes, including PhD programmes, are exempt from the 5 year limit. (see the exemptions section below).

*The limit will be extended to 6 years where a student is studying at Masters level having completed a programme at degree level in the UK that was at least 4 years, including programmes with a year in industry or abroad.
  1. This does not include programmes:
  2. Which have been extended due to re-sits/period of suspension
  3. 4 year integrated Masters programmes

How is it calculated ?

At the point of applying for permission to enter or remain in the UK to study at degree level or above, the Home Office will consider all previous time that was, or will be spent studying as a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa holder and as a General Student Visa holder (prior to Tier 4).

Periods of time which will be disregarded for the purpose of calculating whether you have exceeded the time limit
  1. Time spent as a Students' Union sabbatical officer and/or postgraduate doctor or dentist does not count towards the limit
  2. Periods of leave (immigration permission) before and after study. students on programmes of 12 months or more are granted permission to enter the UK up to one month prior to the programme start date and granted permission to remain in the UK for four months after the programme end date.

Credibility interviews

As part of your Tier 4 Visa application you may be required to attend an interview with the UK Home Office. The interviews will be conducted by Visa Officers in the UK via video link.

The interview will focus on your reasons for coming to the UK. A report of the interview will be sent to the Visa Officer who will consider it alongside your visa application and supporting documents. You may be called for a further interview if the Visa Officer needs more information.

What is a CAS?

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a virtual document which provides a CAS number and a CAS statement. You will only need a CAS if you are planning to apply for a student visa or visa extension under Tier 4 of the Points Based Immigration System.

What is a CAS number?

A CAS number is a combination of letters and numbers and has 14 digits. Each CAS number is unique for an international student studying at a specific Tier 4 sponsor for his/her chosen course(s) in the UK.

What is a CAS statement?

A CAS statement consists of all the information required by the UKVI for generating your CAS. The statement will be sent you via an e-mail for you to use to obtain a visa.

Do I need a CAS?

This will depend on your personal circumstances. You will only need a CAS if you are applying for your visa or visa extension as a Tier 4 General Student. If you are not sure whether you will need a CAS, please contact the International Office.

Can I apply for a Tier 4 General Student Visa or extension without a CAS?

No. If you want to start or continue your study at the Grimsby Institute under the Tier 4, you MUST obtain a CAS from the International Office in order to apply for your Tier 4 General Student Visa.

When can I get CAS from the Institute?

A CAS will be issued, normally within 5 working days, when:
  1. You have accepted your offer
  2. You have provided proof of all qualifications as requested and your offer is unconditional
  3. You have provided a copy of your passport which you intend to use to gain a visa
  4. Your start date is no more than 4 months ahead.

Will my CAS have information about how much I have paid to the Grimsby Institute for my tuition fees?

Yes. If your payment has been fully recorded you will receive a receipt from the Institute and this payment will be entered on to your CAS statement. The Institute will only issue a CAS when the first year’s tuition fee is paid in full.

If you are unsuccessful and your visa is refused, the Institute will refund any fees you have paid minus a £250 administration fee.

You will need to apply for a Tier 4 General Student (Adult) Visa. Information regarding the visa application process can be found on the UK Border Agency website at

Visa processing times vary depending on country so you will need to ensure that you submit your visa application in sufficient time in order for it to be processed and for you to arrive in the UK to start your course on time.An overview of visa processing times can be found here

For further help and advice regarding visas please go to the United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and click on one of the links below

Application process

Please read through the application process on this page click here

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