Student Visa

Student Visa Guide

The Student Visa will have have different information depending on whether you are making an application inside or outside of the UK.

Please be aware the UK is moving across to a digital immigration system, known as e-visas from 31 October 2024. There is no action required now but you can find more information about the changes on the UK government website.

Please check the below accordions for information relevant to you.

  • If you are currently in the UK on a valid Tier 4 or student visa permission, you will need to consider the following factors when thinking about applying for a student visa in the UK:

    • academic progression
    • have you completed your previous course
    • the study caps
    • the gap between the expiry of your visa and the start of your new course.

    Academic progression

    To be able to apply from inside of the UK you must meet the Academic progression rule, unless you are exempt-please see below.

    Academic progression means that:

    • You have successfully completed the most recent programme of study in the UK for which you were given a Student route or Tier 4 visa
    • Your new course is:
      • At a higher level than your previous programme, OR
      • At the same level as your most recent course- to meet the academic progress requirement the new course should either be connected to the previous one, be part of the same subject group or involve deeper specialisation; or in combination with the previous course will support your career aspirations.

    Who is exempt from meeting the Academic progression rule?

    You do not need to show academic progression if:

    • You are making a Student route application from outside the UK
    • You are applying to re-sit an exam or repeat a section of your course, or you have previously resat an exam or repeated a course, and you need extra time to complete your programme
    • You are applying to undertake a role as a Sabbatical Officer.

    For further information please look at the Student Route guidance (academic progression section) or UKCISA website.

    If you are unsure whether your further study meets the academic progress requirement please contact International Student Support Services for an advice.

    Study caps

    There are some time limits (‘caps’) on how long you can study in the UK with a Student visa:

    • Undergraduate degree level

    In most cases, this limit is five years. For students studying at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance (HEP), this may be increased to five years and 11 months.

    • Postgraduate degree level

    There is no longer time limit on study at postgraduate degree level and above.

    28-day rule

    It is also important to check that the start date of your new course of studies (as stated on your CAS) is no more than 28 days after the end of your current visa.  If there is a gap of more than 28 days following the expiry date of your current visa before your course starts, you must leave the UK and apply from your home country.

    CAS letter

    A CAS is an electronic document issued to you by the University of Northampton. You will need a new CAS letter if you are applying for a new course with us or if you need to extend your current tier 4 or Student permission to complete your studies.

    Financial requirements

    You will automatically meet the financial requirement if you are applying for permission to stay in the UK and you have been in the UK for at least 12 months with valid immigration permission on the date of application. You only meet this requirement if you are applying from inside the UK.

    If you have been living in the UK with Student immigration permission for less than 12 months, you must meet the financial requirements in the same way as if you applied for Student visa from the outside of the UK- please see Financial requirements section of Making Student Visa application outside of the UK for further guidance.

    Application and fees

    You will need to apply online and before the end of your current Tier 4 or Student visa permission.

    The Student route fees are currently as below:

    • £490 if you apply using the standard service
    • £990 if you apply using the priority service
    • £1,290 if you apply using the super priority service (‘next day’).

    You will be also required to pay your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) – paying the IHS means that you will have access to the UK’s National Health Service on the same basis as other UK residents. You can visit our Immigration Health Surcharge page for more information.

    Help with your application

    We have put together a handy guide to filling out your application, available by request. We will also be happy to check your application for you before you submit. In order for us to do so please email us with the screenshots of your saved application.

    Travelling outside of the UK while awaiting decision

    You should never leave the UK to travel overseas before you have received your decision. If you travel while waiting for a decision, your application will be treated as withdrawn.

  • You should apply:

    • before you have travelled to the UK,
    • no more than six months before the start date of your course
    • no later than six months after your CAS was issued

    CAS letter

    A CAS is an electronic document issued to you by the University of Northampton. New international students coming to study in the UK as well as international students applying from within the UK for a new admission at the University of Northampton will have their CAS letter issued by International Admissions Team.

    Your CAS will be valid for use in a Student Route visa application for six months from the date that it was generated.

    You must type the CAS reference number in the appropriate field on your Student Route visa application form. The UKVI case worker processing your application will check this number to confirm that you have an unconditional offer from the University of Northampton for the course that you are intending to study. For further details please visit the UKCISA website.

    Please note that you are unable to use a CAS more than once.

    For any CAS related queries for new students only please contact

    ATAS- if applicable

    The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is for security clearance from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for courses where students’ knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, for example you will need ATAs if you study certain science subjects, mathematics, engineering, technology or medicine etc.

    You can check the list of subject areas that require an ATAS clearance certificate in the Applicants’ criteria section of the ATAS website.

    If you are applying for a Student route visa or a visitor for study visa for an ATAS subject you will need an ATAS certificate to include with your visa application.

    ATAS applications are free, submitted online, take up to 20 working days (30 working days between April and September) to process. The certificate will be sent to you by email.

    Tuberculosis Test- if applicable

    If you are coming to the UK for more than six months and you have been in one of the countries listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than six months immediately preceding your Student application then you will need to provide a medical certificate from an approved clinic confirming that you are clear of tuberculosis (TB).

    More information, including the location of approved clinics and how to book a TB test can be found on the Home Office website.

    Financial requirements and supporting documents

    If you are applying from outside the UK or if you have been living in the UK with Student immigration permission for less than 12 months, you must meet the following financial requirements:

    Course fees

    You must have enough money to pay for the course fees for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one-year long. If your CAS has been issued for further study on a course that you are already partway through, the ‘first year of study’ means the first year of this new period of study. The Home Office will use the details in your CAS to confirm how much money you need for your course fees.

    If you have already paid all your course fees, or for study abroad or other course with no fees, your CAS will confirm this.

    Living costs

    The Home Office uses fixed amounts-  you need £1,023 for each month of your course, up to £9,207 for a course lasting nine months or more.

    Please note that any dependants applying with you are also subject to meeting the financial requirements.

    • To meet the financial requirements, you must have held the required minimum balance in your bank account for at least 28 days before you submit your application.
    • You must submit the visa application within 31 days of your bank document being issued.
    • The submission date for your visa application is the date that you pay your application fee online.

    For further information regarding the financial requirements, format requirements for a bank statement, types of funds that can be used including your parents’ or guardians’ account, official financial sponsors and acceptable and unacceptable financial institutions list visit UKCISA website.

    Application fee

    The application fee is £363, paid as an equivalent in your local or alternative currency.  Some Visa Application Centres (VACs) charge an additional ‘User pays fee’ of £55 and this is to allow smaller VACs to remain open.  If you do not wish to pay this additional fee then you will need to attend a different VAC.

    Some VACs also offer a a range other services for an additional cost.  For example, in some countries it is possible to pay an additional ‘priority fee’ of £212 or in some cases an additional ‘super priority fee’ of £956 to have your application processed more quickly.

    To check whether your local VAC is a ‘user pays’ centre and/or which services are available, select your home country from the list of visa application centres.

    For further information on fees for applications made outside of the UK, you can read the guidance on the UKVI website called ECB06: entry clearance fees.


    If you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months, you will be required to pay the IHS as part of your Student visa application. Any dependants will also need to pay this. The IHS must be paid even if you have your own private medical insurance and do not intend to use the NHS. Paying the IHS means that you will have access to the UK’s National Health Service on the same basis as other UK residents. Please visit our Immigration Health Surcharge page for more information.

    Student Route visa application and attending VAC if applicable

    You apply online. The only exception to this is if you are applying in DPRK (North Korea).

    Most applicants must attend at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) for a Biometrics appointment. At this appointment you will be required to provide your biometrics (your facial photograph and fingerprints

    The only exception is EEA nationals who have a biometric chip in their passport- instead, you use the UK Immigration ID check app to scan and upload your passport and a photo.

    Credibility interviews

    The Home Office intends to interview Student applicants before granting them immigration permission to come to the UK. Therefore, you might be sent an email asking you to attend an interview as part of the application process. You should check your email (including the ‘junk’ folder) regularly as your application is likely to be refused if you are asked to attend an interview and you do not do so without providing a reasonable explanation.

    During your interview a member of Home Office staff will ask you about your course, where you want to study and your reasons for studying in the UK. The report of the interview will be sent to the caseworker who makes the decision on your application. They must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise you might be called for a further interview and/or your entry clearance application may be refused.

    Check results of your application

    Where your application is successful:

    • if you attended biometric appointment at a Visa Application Centre, you will be issued with a visa vignette valid for one journey to the UK. You must travel to the UK before the vignette expires and you will collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)* after you arrive in the UK
    • if you used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, you will be given a digital immigration status which you can view and prove online.

    Where your visa application has been granted, check that your personal details, the length and conditions of your visa are correct.


    If your application is refused and you are advised by ISS to apply again, you will need a new CAS. The University of Northampton will not be able to issue you with a new CAS until you have provided us with a copy of your refusal letter and we have reviewed your situation.

    Unfortunately, we are not always able to issue a second CAS, if we are not satisfied that there is sufficient time to get your visa or if you are unable to show that you meet the rules for your visa to be granted.

    * Please see latest updates on the transition from BRPs to student E-Visas.

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