Making your entry clearance or visa application – a step-by-step guide
Please note: if you have received confirmation of your place at LJMU, please contact the Entry Clearance Office at the British Embassy, British High Commission or Consular Office in your own country to check whether you need a visa for entry into Britain.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) information for international applicants
For the latest information and updates on how to apply for your visa during Coronavirus (Covid-19) please see gov.uk.
English Testing Centres are also affected. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website or contact your test centre for more information.
UK Graduate Immigration Route (Post Study Work)
On 9 September 2019, the UK Government announced the creation of a new graduate immigration route, which will provide an opportunity for international students who have been awarded their degree to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for two years. We are still waiting on further details about the implementation of this immigration route. These pages will be updated to reflect this information when it is published.
UKCISA have sought clarification from the Home Office and they have received confirmation that:
- Any international student who will complete their course in or after the summer of 2021 will be eligible to apply for the new two-year graduate route
- Unfortunately, the graduate route will not be open to those who have completed their studies or are due to complete them in the summer of 2020
The Home Office has released information on key features of the route:
- It will be open to international students who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate (RQF 6) level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid and extant student visa at the time of application
- The application process will be simple. There will be an application fee and applicants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge
- Applicants will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks
- The leave period granted will be two years and will be non-extendable. Settlement rights will not be accrued
- Individuals will be able to work, or look for work in any sector, at any level
- Individuals will be able to switch into the skilled work route if they meet the requirements
If you need advice on how to apply for your visa, please contact the LJMU International Advice team.
Submit your application at the nearest British Embassy, High Commission, VFS-UK or Consular Office (British diplomatic post) which issues visas or entry clearance.
The British Embassy or High Commission in your own country will ask for the following documents:
- A valid LJMU Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- Evidence of the appropriate financial support for your programme
- Two recent photographs of yourself (passport-size)
- All relevant educational diplomas and certificates (as stated in your CAS)
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance (if applicable)
In order to obtain a visa you will need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application.
For the latest information on how to apply for a UK student visa, see the visa information on the UK government website.
Please make your visa application as soon as you receive your offer from LJMU and remembering to factor in the time it will take to provide biometric data (photographs and fingerprints).
Who does the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) apply to?
A BRP applies to international students studying for OVER six months in the UK.
All international students coming to the UK to study on a Tier 4 visa will be required to have their biometrics (photograph, fingerprints, signature) taken when they apply for their visa. Once your visa is approved, you are given a 30-day temporary vignette in which to travel to the UK.
Upon arriving in the UK students have 10 days to go to their designated Post Office to collect their BRP card. They are not required to have more fingerprints/photographs/signature taken at the Post Office, just collect their BRP card.
Information for international students studying for LESS than six months in the UK:
Short-term students on courses of six months or less should be issued with their full length’s leave on the vignette, located within their passport. This means short-term stay students will not need to go through the BRP collection process.
What is biometric data?
Biometric data includes the process of taking a front facing photograph, a scanned copy of your finger prints and a record of your signature (commonly an electronic version).
When do I provide my biometric data?
This process will usually take place during your visa application. Once your visa has been accepted, you will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which you must collect once you are in the UK.
When and where can I collect my BRP from?
LJMU students are asked to collect their BRP from a designated UK Post Office, ideally before they enrol (you have 10 days from the date you enter the UK to collect your BRP).
It is your responsibility to select the Post Office you would like to collect your permit from and check this had been outlined in your Decision Letter.
If you are looking for a city centre BRP collection Post Office please use the below address as reference:
1-3 South John Street
*Please check to see which branches offer this service at the time of your visa application, using the online Post Office 'Branch Finder' tool and refine your search selecting 'BRP Collection Service' on the drop down menu.
If you are already in the UK, you can extend your visa:
Tier 4 (General) visa extensions are now done through the Tier 4 Student Online application via the UKVI website. Please note you need to register for a UK Visas and Immigration account.
Applications for dependants applying either alongside the main applicant or separately should also use the online version.
Check if tuberculosis screening programmes operate in your country or a neighbouring country and, if applicable, take into account the time this will add to your visa application process.
Complete a VAF9 application form plus Points Based System Appendix 8 if you are applying for the student Tier 4 (General) visa from outside the UK.
Forms are available to download from the UKVI website.
Bringing your family?
If family members are accompanying you, you will also need to complete a VAF10 form. Each dependant must fill in a separate application. Please note that dependants may only accompany you to the UK if you are studying a postgraduate course of 12 months or longer.
Remember: if you are not an EEA or Swiss national, you must apply for ‘entry clearance’ (a visa) before you leave your home country. It is very important that you do not enter the UK as a visitor as you will not be able to switch visa categories once you are here and you will not be permitted to start your course.
Check your visa carefully
When you get your visa it is essential that you check it carefully to ensure that:
- your name and date of birth are correct;
- it says you are a Tier 4 student;
- it starts on or before the date you want to travel to the UK; and
- it does not end sooner than expected
If any of these details are incorrect, please ask to have your visa amended before you travel as it is very difficult to make changes afterwards and may affect your right to remain in the UK.
Applicants from the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland
You do not need a visa or entry clearance to enter the UK.
- List of EEA countries is available on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website
- See also the UK Border Agency website
If you need further information, for example on the following topics, please see the Government’s Visa Information webpages.
- Visa fees
- Tier 4 student visa checklist
- Make an online application
- Family members, dependants and visitors to the UK
- How to extend your visa
See also: UK Border Agency for information about how to apply for permission to come to or remain in the UK as a student or student visitor.
If you need advice on how to apply for your visa or if your visa application has been refused, contact the International Admissions Team as soon as possible.
Information specific to international postgraduate research students
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme
International students who wish to study certain science, engineering and technology subjects at postgraduate level (and some enhanced undergraduate programmes) will need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate. To find out if you need a certificate and to complete your application, visit the GOV.org website. Information and advice can be obtained by contacting the University’s International Admissions Team
- Attendance Monitoring Requirements
As an international postgraduate research student you’ll be required to complete attendance/progression monitoring forms during your studies.
- Doctoral Extension Scheme
The University participates in the Doctoral Extension Scheme which applies to students on Tier 4 or Tier 2 visas, or Tier 1 post-study work visas. Under the scheme students completing a PhD or other doctorate-level qualification will be able to stay in the UK for a year after completing their course to allow them more time to find work with a Tier 2 employer, set up as an entrepreneur, or gain practical work experience in their field.