10 steps to extending your student visa

Portland Terrace at University Park Campus

Extending your student visa

If you have a student visa or a Tier 4 visa which you need to extend while studying with us, follow the steps below to apply for an extension within the UK.

If you're not in the UK and you're applying for a student visa for the first time, see our 10-step guide to applying from overseas.

If you are in the UK on a different type of visa and intend to switch to the Student route from within the UK, please contact our Visa and Immigration team on immigration-support@nottingham.ac.uk for advice.

When to extend your visa

Check your immigration document to see when your current visa expires, and begin your preparations so that you can submit your application in plenty of time. You must submit your visa extension application before your current visa expires and no later, and you will need to start preparing for your visa application at least one month beforehand. The earliest you can apply is three months before your current visa expires. 

Read our guidance below on the financial evidence and other documents required, and allow yourself plenty of time to prepare everything.

Your visa expiry date is very important and if you stay in the UK beyond this date without applying for a visa extension, you will be classed as an overstayer – which means that you are in the UK without immigration permission. Overstaying your visa is a criminal offence. If you overstay by more than 30 days you will usually be barred from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months.

You may only apply for a visa extension from the UK within 14 days of becoming an overstayer, and only if you can demonstrate a good reason beyond your control why you could not apply before the expiry date.

If you overstay your visa due to travel restrictions and disruption caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, check the UK government website for guidance on applying for 'exceptional assurance'.

As well as your visa expiry date, you should consider any travel plans you have made when preparing your application. Your application to extend your visa will typically take around 6-8 weeks to process. If you need to travel urgently, you could apply for the priority service to get a decision within ten working days, or the super priority service to get a decision within one working day. These services cost considerably more than a standard visa application. There has been some disruption to these services due to Covid-19 so you will need to check in advance if they are being offered at the time you apply.

The Home Office does not guarantee that these service times will be met and visa applications can take longer than advertised in some cases. There is no guarantee that your application will be decided in time for any travel plans you have made, and we advise that you do not make any non-refundable plans until you have received your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), as you will need it to re-enter the UK.

You should not travel outside the Common Travel Area (the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) while you are awaiting a decision on your application as this will invalidate your application and cause problems in the future.

Step 1 – Start preparing your financial evidence

You will be exempt from meeting the financial requirements if you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more with permission (a visa) at the time of your application, and are applying in the UK.

Those who are not exempt will need evidence of funding for tuition fees and your living expenses, including accommodation. There are strict requirements for the amounts and forms of evidence accepted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). It's essential to get it right or your application will be rejected. We will also check your financial evidence before issuing your CAS (see Step 4).

Students from certain countries which are classed as 'differentiated' (or 'low risk') by UKVI don't need to provide financial evidence or evidence of academic qualifications with their visa application, but you must still have this financial and academic evidence in the required format in case you are asked to submit evidence later. Check the UK government website for the list of countries this applies to.

Start planning your financial evidence early. If you or your parents will pay your fees, you will need bank statements showing you have held the required funds in your account for at least 28 days. The last transaction date must be no more than 31 days before you submit your visa application.

If you will be funded by an official sponsor, you must obtain a sponsorship letter from them containing all the information required by UKVI.

Your funding evidence must demonstrate that you have:

  • tuition fees for the first year of your course – or for the full course duration if it's a one-year course or shorter
  • living expenses of £1,023 per month for the first nine months of your course (£9,207) – or for the full course duration if it's shorter than nine months
  • additional living expenses of any eligible family members, at a rate of £680 per person per month, for the first nine months of your course (£6,120 per person) – check if you are eligible to bring family members to the UK as dependants on your visa on the UK government website

Tuition fees you have already paid to the University will be included in your CAS, but you will need financial evidence for the remaining fees and living expenses.

Take time to prepare your financial evidence correctly so that your visa application is successful. It is essential to read and understand the rules for the types of evidence you are using and prepare your financial evidence to follow these rules. 

Funding requirements

Step 2 – Prepare your other supporting documents

It's wise to prepare your supporting documents early – as with your financial evidence – so that you can apply quickly once you receive your CAS.You will be able to submit electronic copies of your original documents in the form of scans or photos.

The documents you need will depend on your situation, but could include the following as well as your financial evidence:

  • current valid passport
  • BRP card
  • police registration certificate (if applicable), ensuring that it is up to date with your current address, passport and visa details
  • ATAS certificate (if applicable) – see below
  • previous qualification certificate or transcripts, if referred to in the CAS, unless you are a differentiated nationality listed in the UK government website
  • English language qualification evidence (for courses below degree level) – see below

Some students may need extra documents, including:

  • official translations of any evidence which isn't in English
  • documents for your dependants
  • a letter of consent from your parent or legal guardian if you are under 18, or if you are relying on their bank statements for your financial evidence rather than account in your own name
  • your birth certificate if you are using relying on a parent's or guardian's bank statements
  • evidence about any changes to your name
  • written consent for your visa application from your financial sponsor, if you have been fully funded for your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months

ATAS approval and English language qualifications

Students from some countries studying selected subject areas must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. Check on the UK government website to see if you will need an ATAS certificate. certificate. Students starting new courses will be contacted to advise them to apply for ATAS.

Students continuing their current course will be advised to apply for ATAS at the time of requesting their CAS, if they haven’t already obtained a new ATAS certificate. An ATAS is valid for a limited period of six months, so you shouldn't apply for it more than five months before your course begins.in advance . ATAS applications typically take four weeks to process, or six weeks during the peak period of April to September.

For students studying at degree level (RQF6) and above, your CAS will state that the University has made its own assessment of your English language competency, and you do not need to provide any evidence of this with your visa application, even if an English language qualification is referred to in your CAS. For students studying below degree level, such as foundation and CELE presessional English students, you will need to submit the English language qualification referred to in your CAS.

 
UK government document requirements

Step 3 – Meet the requirements for a CAS

To apply for a student visa, you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University.

This is an essential part of your visa application. It shows that we are accepting you as a student and expect you to join our cours, or that you are a current student making sufficient academic progress on your current course. A CAS can only be used once.

Starting a new course

If you're extending your student visa to progress from one course to another – such as from an undergraduate course to a postgraduate course, or from a presessional English course to an academic course – then you do not need to request a CAS but you must meet the requirements to receive one.

To be eligible for a CAS you must:

  • firmly accept your offer of study
  • meet any offer conditions and receive an unconditional offer
  • pay a tuition fee deposit (postgraduate taught masters and foundation courses only) – see below

When you have met these requirements, we will start preparing your CAS.  

Extending your current course

If you're a current student and you need to extend your visa due to an extension of your course, or following a course transfer, or for reassessments, you must request a new CAS via the CAS request form. You can request this up to six months before your current visa expires, or sooner if you have been instructed to do so by the Visa and Immigration team – for example, if you are required to apply for a new visa following a course transfer.

Receiving your CAS

Step 4 – Send us your financial evidence

We must review the financial evidence of all current students making visa applications to ensure that you have the correct finances presented in the right format, so that your visa application is likely to succeed. We need to do this before assigning your CAS number, and we will email you to ask for this evidence.

If you are a differentiated nationality listed in the UK government website, we will still ask for your financial evidence even though you do not need to submit it with your application, because you could be asked for it later in the application process. We will not ask for financial evidence from those who are exempt from meeting the financial requirement.

Students starting new courses will not be asked for their financial evidence as part of the CAS issuing process, but you should of course ensure your evidence meets the requirements. If you would like the Visa and Immigration team to check your financial evidence before you apply, please email it to immigration-support@nottingham.ac.uk

Step 5 – Check all your CAS details are correct

We will send you an email to confirm when your CAS details are ready, and you can then verify them in MyNottingham. Check all the information carefully and follow the instructions to confirm that everything is correct or to report any errors.

The CAS will include your personal details, course details and a record of any tuition fees already paid, including deposit payments and University of Nottingham scholarships. It will also show what academic and English language qualifications are needed as evidence in your visa applications.

Accommodation fees are not included in your CAS so we advise you not to pay these in advance – other than the deposit you will need to pay when booking accommodation.

You may be asked to complete a questionnaire before we can issue your CAS, depending on how long you were in the UK for. This is due to visa regulations about how long a student can study on a student visa. You must answer accurately as your visa could be refused if you don't declare details of previous study.

Read our guide to checking your CAS in MyNottingham PDF format for further guidance on responding to the CAS and reporting any errors.

Once the CAS has been verified or any errors corrected, we will email your CAS number to you. You must include this in your visa application. Your CAS will expire six months after you receive it, so you must apply before it expires and contact us on immigration-support@nottingham.ac.uk if that becomes impossible.

Verifying your CAS

Step 6 – Start the online visa application form

When you have read all the guidance and prepared all your supporting documents, start your application form via the UK government website, using our student visa application form guidance PDF format to help you answer the questions correctly

If you are using our visa checking service (Step 7), complete the online application up to the 'declaration' section but don't go past this section or make any payments yet. Instead you should save your answers and download the PDF of your draft form for our Immigration Advisers to check with your supporting documents. It is not possible to make any changes to your answers if you have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge or application fee payments.

During the application you will need to provide your CAS number, the University of Nottingham's sponsor licence number (RFDX42DB2), and various details about yourself, your studies and funding.

Student visa application form guidance (pdf)

Step 7 – Use our visa checking service

This is optional, but we highly recommend that you use our free visa checking service before submitting your online application. Having your application checked by an immigration adviser lowers the risk of a refusal that would affect your immigration status and/or registration with the University.

We will rigorously check your visa application and will tell you if anything is incorrect or missing. We can also check any applications for your family members applying as your dependants.

You must prepare your draft application (up to the 'declaration' section) and all other supporting documents, then book an appointment for a Teams video call with our Visa and Immigration Team. After checking your application and advising on any changes, you will be given full details on how to proceed with your visa application.

Visa application checking service

Step 8 – Submit your application online

Once you are happy that your answers and supporting documents are correct, you can submit your visa application. The date you pay the visa application fee is your official date of application, and it is essential that this is before your current visa expires.

You will be asked to pay:

  • the visa application fee of £475 for a standard application – this fee will be higher (an additional £500) if you have selected the faster priority service, if it's available at the time of your application
  • £19.20 for biometric enrolment
  • the Immigration Health Surcharge, at a cost of £470 per year for the visa duration – the Visa and Immigration team can help you calculate how much you will pay

The same fees apply for any family members applying for a visa as your dependants.

After paying these charges you will be able to view your completed application form and Document Checklist (PDF). You will then be directed to the 'Book an Appointment' page of the application where you need to select 'continue'. You will then create an account with UKVCAS (Sopra Steria).

UKVCAS works on behalf of UKVI to process your biometric information and your supporting documents. You must create the UKVCAS account, which transfers your visa application to the UKVCAS system, ready for the next steps.

Step 9 – Submit your documents and biometrics

Within 10 days of submitting your application and creating your UKVCAS account, you should receive an email from the UKVI which will advise you to do one of two things: 

  • Download the IDV app and follow the instructions – if you are instructed to use the app, it means the UKVI will re-use your previous biometrics information, and you can verify your identity and provide your photograph and supporting documents via the IDV app

OR

  • Visit the UKVCAS website to book a biometrics appointment. You will need to upload scans of your documents to your UKVCAS account, and then search for and book a biometric appointment.

The Service Point in Nottingham city centre has a £60 basic fee for biometrics appointments. You may also wish to look at other locations for appointments such as Birmingham, which sometimes has free appointments.

Attend at the scheduled time, taking with you your document checklist, appointment confirmation document (with QR barcode), passport and supporting documents, You will have your biometrics taken (photograph and fingerprints), your passport will be scanned, and your documents may be checked against the scanned documents you have uploaded.

You may also be selected for a 'credibility interview'. This is a five-minute interview via video link with UKVI staff in the UK. The purpose is to check that you are coming to the UK as a genuine student, so you will be asked questions about your course, your reasons for studying in the UK and reasons for choosing the University of Nottingham.

Step 10 – Collect your new BRP

When your visa application has been processed, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been successful, and the duration and conditions of your visa.

Your new BRP will be delivered via courier within 7 to 10 days, to the address you gave in your visa application form as your postal address. This may be your home address, or to Cherry Tree Lodge if you opted for this. To collect your BRP from Cherry Tree Lodge, you should book an appointment in advance. You will need to take your passports and those of any dependants with you.  

 If your visa has been refused, the reasons will be stated in the decision letter. Contact our Visa and Immigration team immediately at immigration-support@nottingham.ac.uk and include a copy of the decision letter. We can advise you on whether you should appeal this decision or make a new application, which will require a new CAS from us.

The BRP is an essential immigration document with your visa details issued on an ID card. It is valid for the full duration of your visa and you will need it whenever you travel outside the UK or provide evidence of your visa status – such as during University registration or when opening a bank account. You don't need to carry it at other times and you should keep it somewhere safe.

Biometric residence permits

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Visa and Immigration Team

Book an appointment to meet with
an immigration adviser via video call

t: +44 (0)115 84 66125
t: immigration-support@nottingham.ac.uk