New Student Visa Route From October 2020

On 5 October 2020, the UK government introduced a new student visa.

Who is affected?

If you are not from the EU, EEA Or Switzerland

You will be applying for a visa under the new student route from 5 October 2020, if one of the following scenaros applies to you:

  1. You do not have a UK visa and are overseas; and
  • You have a CAS from The University of Sheffield to study a new course; and
  • You submit your visa applciation from outside the UK on or after 5 October

   2. You have a visa to study your course in the UK; and

  • Your course started before 5 October 2020;
  • You have a CAS from The University of Sheffield to extend your visa to complete your current course; and
  • You submit your visa application from inside or outside the UK

   3. You have a visa for the UK

  • You have a CAS from The University of Sheffield to study a new course; and
  • You submit your visa application from inside or outside the UK

Please note that if your CAS was issued before 5 October 2020 whilst the Tier 4 rules were still in place, you will still use the same CAS to apply under the new student visa route, it will no longer be possible to submit a Tier 4 visa application.

If you are from the EU, EEA or Swtizerland

If you are outside the UK

You will be able to submit a visa application outside the UK under the new student visa route if you have a CAS issued by The University of Sheffeld for a course with a start date on or after 1 January 2021.

However, if you arrive in the UK before 11pm on 31st December 2020, you can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme instead. The deadline to do this is 30 June 2021.

If you are already in the UK

If you arrived in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, you can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to do this is 30 June 2021. If you do not submit an application by this date you will no longer have permission to be in the UK.

If you arrived in the UK with a visa on or after 1 January 2021, you will be able to submit a visa application inside the UK under the new student visa route if you have a CAS issued by the Unversity of Sheffield for your course. However, you cannot switch to a Student visa if you are in the UK with a visa in any of the following categories: 

  • Visitor
  • Short-term Student
  • as a Parent of a Child Student
  • Seasonal Worker
  • Domestic Worker in a Private Household
  • outside the Immigration Rules

What will be different to Tier 4?

  • You will be able to submit a visa application to come to the UK 6 months before the course start date rather than 3 months before.
  • The time limit for having a student visa will be removed if you are studying at postgraduate level.
  • UKVI will not routinely ask you to submit financial documents with your visa application if you are a continuing student that has already been living in the UK for over one year or if you are applying for a visa as a Students' Union Sabbatical Officer.
  • UKVI will not routinely ask you to provide evidence of academic qualifications when submitting a visa application.
  • The Tier 4 Pilot Scheme will close when this new system goes live.
  • There will be new safeguarding requirements for universities if you are under 18.
  • The maintenance amount will be increased to £1023 per month for demonstrating that you meet the financial requirements as part of the visa application. This increase will come into effect in 2021.
  • The new student visa route will be introduced shortly after a planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge for students from £300 per year to £470 per year.
  • Students from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea & USA will no longer require ATAS clearance.
  • You can now switch into the Student visa category inside the UK from all other visa categories, except: Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household and leave outside the Immigration Rules.
  • UKVI will accept a wider range of formats for financial documents.

What will not change

  • You will still need to have an unconditional offer from the university to apply.
  • You will still need to pay an application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge and provide biometrics.
  • You may still be asked to attend a credibility interview as part of the visa application process.
  • You will still need to meet a points requirement for CAS and finances.
  • Universities will still need to assess your English language ability.
  • You will still need to be able to demonstrate 'academic progression' if making a visa application inside the UK.
  • Time limits to studying in the UK will still remain for undergraduate and below-degree level study.
  • If you are from a 'low-risk' country you will still be able to submit fewer documents with your visa application. This list of countries will include EU & Non-EU EEA countries at first and will be kept under regular review. You are still expected to meet the documentary requirements before applying as UKVI can still request these.
  • Universities will still need to monitor your engagement on your course and keep records of this.
  • To bring dependants to the UK you must be studying a postgraduate course of at least 9 months, or be a government sponsored student on a course of more than 6 months.
  • You will still require ATAS clearance (unless you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, or a national of one of the countries listed in the section above)
  • You will still not be able to switch universities without applying for a new visa first.
  • You will still be subject to restrictions on work (e.g you cannot be self-employed, you cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson).
  • You will still be granted additional time after your course end date (usually four months).
  • You will be able to apply for a visa under the Graduate Immigration Route from the summer of 2021 if you have a Tier 4 visa or a visa under the new student visa route, and meet the other eligibility requirements.

See Also

Student Visa Guidance

UKVI statement on new immigration system

Contact International Student Support