Applying For A Tier 4 Visa Outside The UK

When, Where And How Should I Apply For My Tier 4 Visa?

You can find the answer to this question here. Please read the information carefully. The fee for Tier 4 (General) Student visa applications made overseas is £335.


For any applications submitted on or after 6th April 2015, visa applicants will be required to pay a charge to the NHS.

Please see here for more information on how to pay the charge.


You should submit your application for entry clearance at least one month, but not more than three months, before the course start date confirmed on your CAS.

The submission date of your application is the date on which the application fee is paid.

Book an appointment with the Embassy/High Commission as soon as you know you will be coming to Sheffield. The appointment must not be more than three months before the start date of your course that is stated on your CAS.

UPDATE - If you are applying in China - we have been informed that a priority service will be offered offered in all 12 Visa Application Centres across China to Tier 4 applicants. This option will put  the application at the front of the casework queue, with an aim of UKVI returning the decision to the student within 5 working days. Please see here for more information.

If you need ATAS, you need to apply for clearance in sufficient time for the ATAS certificate to be issued before you apply for your visa. See here for more details.

Documents Required To Apply For The Visa

1) CAS

New Students

If you are a new student who has accepted an offer to study full time at The University of Sheffield:

  • Within 5 working days of accepting an unconditional offer, the CAS Application task will appear on your Pre-Registration menu.
  • When you have confirmed your details, the University will apply to UKVI for a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) for you. This will confirm that we are willing to support your application for a student visa application.
  • The CAS will also include information about your previous qualifications. You will need the original copies of these documents for your visa application.

Please see here for more information about the CAS process for new students.

It is crucial that we are able to contact you by email during this process.

Please check your email inbox regularly and make sure that your junk filter is not blocking emails from the University. If you have any questions or would like more information about how we will apply for a CAS for you, please visit our CAS application webpages:

Continuing Students

If you are a continuing student who started their course at The University of Sheffield more than 6 months ago and need a visa extension:

You can request a CAS number from International Student Support

Please note - if your application is refused, you will require a new CAS and cannot use the same CAS again.

2) Application Form

There are two different types of application form for Tier 4 when applying from outside the UK - online and paper (VAF9).

The type of form you use depends upon the country you are applying in. Please check which form you need to complete here.

The majority of students need to apply using the online form. Only students applying in North Korea will need to download and complete the paper application form and Appendix 8

There is a video tutorial to guide you through how to complete the application form here.

The video you need to use is "Visa Outside the UK"

If you are using the online application form, on "Applying For Yourself" screen under "Select Visa Type" you need to choose the correct form to generate from the following:

  • Tier 4 (General) - Most students applying for a Tier 4 general Student visa will use this category. This should be used by students self funded, funded by family, other private funding or funded by student loan.
  • Tier 4 (General) (Sponsored) Student - Students funded by an Official Financial Sponsor (defined in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance - search for section entitled "Official Financial Sponsorship or Government Sponsor") should use this form.
  • Tier 4 (Scholarship) Student - Only students receiving a Chevening Scholarship or Fellowship, a British Marshall Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship or a Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan should use this form.

3) Supporting Documents

IMPORTANT - You must not submit any false, forged or counterfeit documents with your visa application. This can lead to your application being refused and you having a ban from the UK.

All students must submit their passport or travel document with the application.

The UKCISA website has a very useful section which shows the documents you will need to submit with your visa application.


You need to check the following sections of your CAS and submit any qualification documents that are listed in any of the following sections:

  • English language qualification -Is SELT required?
  • Evidence used to obtain offer
  • Sponsor note

You do not need to send any further evidence of previous qualifications to those confirmed on your CAS.

English Language - If you used an English language qualification to get your offer that was not Trinity ISE taken inside the UK or IELTS taken at UK government-approved test centres - your CAS should state "Is SELT required? - No - HEI has made assessment". If your CAS states this, you do not need to submit an English language qualification certificate with your visa application.

Please check your CAS carefully and contact us if your CAS does not state the above.



  • Have you held the required funds for long enough?

Visa App Process

  • Do my financial documents meet all the criteria?

You must have sufficient funding for unpaid tuition fees, personal maintenance and the maintenance of any dependants who come with you or who will join you later.

The documents you use must be EXACTLY what the Home Office demands. There is no flexibility in this.

Tuition Fees

If you are not sure how much money you need to show in your financial documents, you need to check your CAS to see how much of the tuition fees remain unpaid.

New Students

If you are a new student to the University of Sheffield, the unpaid tuition fees you need to show will be those for the first year of your course only. 

Continuing Students

If you are a continuing student at the University of Sheffield, the unpaid tuition fees you need to show will be those for the academic year in which your CAS is issued. If your CAS will be issued in the summer vacation period (June, July or August) please contact International Student Support for further clarification. 

If you are unsure about your fees you can contact SSiD for a Fee Summary certificate.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Maintenance Requirements

ALL students, regardless of how long they have been studying in the UK previously, will have to show £1015  per month for the remaining duration of their course, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Calculating your course duration:

The remaining duration of the course is the number of months from the course start date on your CAS (continuing students: one day after the visa expiry date) to the course end date on the CAS (for PGR students please see here). For calculations please use this tool here ensuring that:

- The box 'Include end date in calculation' is checked AND

- You round up any incomplete months to the next month (e.g 6 months and 1 day will be 7 months)

Dependants will have to show £680 per month for either:

If the dependant is applying separately, and the student has already got their Tier 4 visa:

- The length of the visa that the student has up to a maximum of 9 months OR

If the dependant is applying at the same time as the student:

- The length of the visa that the student is expecting to be granted up to a maximum of 9 months.

This means that if the duration of your course (or the remaining duration of your course if you are a continuing student) is 9 months or longer, you will have to show £9135 for 28 days and £6120 per dependant.

When working out the number of months maintenance needed for dependants, it is advised to calculate from the date the visa application will be submitted to the date the dependant expects to be granted a visa to (up to a maximum of 9 months).

The previous provision of established presence, where students who had been studying in the UK for more than 6 months already could show a lower amount of maintenance, no longer exists.

You must ensure that you will be able to show this  level of funding in your account for 28 days prior to submitting your visa application.

If you are sponsored and your sponsor is paying you less than the required amount, you must show the difference in your bank account.

Use the calculator below to work out how much money you have to show. If you receive official financial sponsorship, you can check if your sponsor letter is sufficient or if you have to provide additional financial evidence.


  • If you accept an offer for a taught postgraduate programme (Masters), you must pay a tuition fee deposit before we will contact you about a CAS number.

  • If you pay some or all of your tuition or University accommodation fees before your visa application, we will update your CAS record to show this. This will show the Entry Clearance Officer how much you have paid towards your tuition and/or University accommodation fees.
  • A maximum of £ 1265 can be deducted from maintenance requirements if you pay for University accommodation before you apply for your visa. This payment will only show on your CAS if you have paid for University accommodation, and not if you have paid for private accommodation.

Type Of Financial Documents Required - It is very important that any financial documents you send with your Tier 4 application are in the format required. If they do not your application could be refused. The criteria for these documents can found in the Home Office's Tier 4 Policy Guidance. If you are intending to submit a Certificate of Deposit with your application, please read the requirements for these types of document here.

If You Have Bank Statements In Your Own Name

Money must be held in a financial institution that is considered to be acceptable by the UK Border Agency. The UK Border Agency publishes lists of financial institutions that will not be accepted in visa applications. This list can be updated at any time so check it regularly:

Using Money Held By Your Parents - When using financial documents in your parent(s)' or legal guardian(s)' name(s), you have to submit extra documents with your application. For a list of these documents and the criteria they need to meet please see pages 51-52 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.  

Parents are not accepted as official "sponsors". Parents can still provide your necessary funds. You will be considered as "Self Funded" or "Part Funded".

If You Receive Official Financial Sponsorship - the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for more information about what you need to submit.

If your sponsor is giving you less than your tuition fee + £1015 per month, you will need to submit bank statements with the application as well to cover the shortfall. Providing the sponsor pays your fees in full - If your monthly payment from the sponsor is less than £1015 per month the way we the calculate the amount you need in your bank statement would be:

1015 - monthly payment x length of your course to a maximum of 9 months.

If you are applying with dependants, they must be named on the sponsor letter for the funds to be counted towards their maintenance. Again, any of their maintenance that is not covered by the sponsor must be held in bank statements.

Translations - Please see the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for information on the criteria that any documents submitted that are not in English or Welsh need to meet if you are applying from overseas.

4) Tuberculosis Screening Certificate

Some students will also need to submit this document. See here for more details.

Low Risk Nationals

From 4 July 2011 nationals from certain countries will not have to routinely submit their supporting documents with their visa application (certificates / transcripts, bank statements / sponsor letters). The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may however ask to see these documents at a later stage so it is important that you prepare all your documents and keep them in a safe place.

For a list of these counties, please check this list on the Home Office website.

All nationals must still submit their 2x photos, passport, police registration certificate (if applicable) and ATAS certificate (if applicable).


Please see here for more information if you have dependants applying for a visa at the same time as you.

16 and 17 Year Olds

If you will be 16 or 17 years old when you apply for a visa, you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa. You must also provide additional documents.

Please see here to find out what additional documents you need to provide and the information they need to contain.

Will I Be Interviewed As Part Of My Application?

The Home Office intends to interview most students before giving them entry clearance. Please see our page on this and here for more details.

After Your Visa Has Been Issued

Check all the details on your visa are correct and that you have been given the correct visa duration.

You should check that all the details in UKCISA's list are correct. If not you should ask for them to be changed before you travel to the UK.

If you have already travelled to the UK, and you think the details on your visa are not correct, please see our Visa Correction Scheme page for more help on what to do next.


The immigration rules now require all applicants who have been given entry clearance for more than 6 months to have a BRP. If your entry clearance has been granted for more than 6 months you should be given a temporary vignette for travel to the UK, and then you will collect your BRP after you travel to the UK. Please see here for more details.

If your entry clearance vignette was issued after 1st January 2016, and you have been given the full length of your visa for your course on the vignette, please contact the International Student Support Team immediately. We will then need to contact UKVI so they can provide you with advice on what to do next.

Information for students who applied for a Tier 4 visa on or after 6th November 2014:

If you complete the course for which your CAS was assigned and wish to start a new course at the University of Sheffield, you must apply for a new visa before you can register for your new programme of studies.

If you need to take a break from your studies after your visa has been granted

Please note that if you are required to take a break from your studies, the visa you have been granted could be affected. Before coming to the UK, it is very important that you read the information here so you are aware of the implications taking a break from your study could have.

If Your Visa Application Has Been Refused

Please see here if your visa application has been refused.

Any Questions?

All immigration questions should be sent to the International Student Support Team using any of the following methods:


By Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 9679
By Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1304