Visas and immigration
Everything you need to know about applying for a student visa, plus your responsibilities as a visa holder. Check our News and Updates page for recent changes to UKV&I rulings and Tier 4 visa information.
Before you apply
Do I need a visa?
You can check whether you need a visa to study by answering a few simple questions on this UK Government website.
Do I need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate?
An ATAS certificate is required for the study of certain subjects. If this is indicated on your offer letter, you must apply for this before you apply for your visa and submit it with your Tier 4 application. More details on how to do this can be found on this UK Government web page
We will require a copy of your ATAS certificate before we issue you with a CAS and you can email this to us at email@example.com
What kind of visa do I need?
If your course is due to last more than six months, then you will need to apply for a Tier 4 visa.
Circumstances that will allow you to study on a Student Visitor Visa are:
- Your course must be less than six months (or less than 11 months if English language)
- You must leave the UK when the visa expires
- You cannot apply for another visa from inside the UK
- You cannot do any work while in the UK, paid or unpaid.
What is the NHS charge?
As part of your immigration/Tier 4 visa application you may be required to pay towards the cost of Health Services. You can find out if you are required to pay this charge and how to make a payment at the government NHS charges page
From April 2015, an immigration health charge (referred to in this guidance as the health surcharge) will be payable by non-EEA nationals who apply for a visa to enter or remain in the UK for more than six months. People with indefinite leave to remain in the UK and those not subject to immigration control (eg diplomats posted to the UK) are not liable to pay the surcharge, but may be ordinarily resident and entitled to free NHS healthcare on that basis (see Chapter 3 for information about ordinary residence).
Payment of the health surcharge entitles the payer to NHS-funded healthcare on the same basis as someone who is ordinarily resident. They are entitled to free NHS services, including NHS hospital care, except for services for which a UK ordinary resident must also pay, such as dentistry and prescriptions in England.
Payment of the health surcharge is mandatory when making an immigration application, subject to exemptions for certain categories of people and the discretion of the Home Secretary to reduce, waive or refund all or part of a surcharge payment. Most of these groups also receive NHS-funded healthcare on the same basis as an ordinarily resident person.
The exemptions to paying the health surcharge are as follows:
(i) persons who apply for entry clearance where the leave to enter is for six months or less; (ii) persons who apply for entry clearance under the Immigration Rules as visitors; (iii) those who apply for entry clearance or leave to remain under the Immigration Rules as a Tier 2 intra-company migrant transfer and their dependants; (iv) a child who applies for leave to remain and is looked after by a Local Authority (or a Local Authority or Authority in other devolved administrations); (v) a person, and their dependants, who makes an application for leave to remain.
You can find the full information regarding the NHS surcharges
How do I apply for a Short Term Study?
If you are a visa national, you can check by looking at the list on the following website. Then you should apply for your Student Visitor Visa from your home country. If you are not a visa national, you can apply for a Student Visitor Visa from your home country or when you arrive at the UK Port of Entry.
If you apply for a Student Visitor Visa on arrival, we strongly advise that you DO NOT enter the UK through Ireland as there is no immigration control between Ireland and the UK. You would only be able to get a General Visitor Visa and this is only valid for three months. As a result, you wouldn't be able to register at Lancaster.
For more information check the UKVI website
How do I apply for a Tier 4 visa?
The online application form is available at the UK Government website. You should only apply once you have received your Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).
If you applying for a visa from outside the UK, please consult the following document: Tier 4 application outside the UK.
If you are applying for an extension from inside the UK, please consult this document: Tier 4 visa extension inside the UK.
What is a CAS number and how do I get one?
When you have met the conditions of your offer and accepted your unconditional offer (on PG portal or via UCAS), the University will automatically supply you with a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS). This will be sent to you via email no sooner than 5 months before the start of your course of studies. You may apply for your Tier 4 visa no earlier than 3 months before your intended travel to the UK.
The CAS statement will show the unique CAS number that you need to enter on to your visa application, and other information about you that we have passed to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) such as your passport number, details of your course, previous studies/progression and the documents that we checked when we offered you a place and the amount of fees you have paid. It is your responsibility to check that the information on your CAS is correct and complete and you must inform us as soon as possible if there are any amendments required .
You can email us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org for queries about your immigration
email@example.com for queries about your CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Studies)
What if there is incorrect information on my CAS?
Please check all the details on the CAS carefully before you apply for your visa. If there are any corrections required, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you let us know about corrections you'd like to make before you apply for your visa, we can advise the UKVI Home Office via a sponsor note. You do not need a new CAS.
When should I apply for my visa?
We advise that you to make your visa application three months before you intend to travel to the UK. This will allow enough time for the application process. This is particularly important if you are intending to study on a degree course that requires an ATAS certificate.
What if my application is refused?
If your visa application is refused, you must send us a copy of the refusal notice by emailing email@example.com as soon as possible after receiving the notice. You will need a new CAS from the University in order to make another application; you cannot use the same CAS again.
Before we look at issuing you with a new CAS you may need to provide us with further evidence, for example:
Refused for financial reasons - You will need to provide a new bank statement to firstname.lastname@example.org showing that you have held the correct amount of money for a period of 28 consecutive days. This must be a new bank statement; it cannot be any that have been used in a previous application.
Refused for not providing documents - You will need to show the University that you have the required document by sending a scan to email@example.com
Please note that should you have been refused based upon credibility the University will not be able to issue you with a new CAS.
Once we have all the required evidence we can then consider issuing you another CAS to make a new application. Should the information provided not meet the UKVI requirements we reserve the right to ask for further evidence before a CAS can be issued.
If you believe the Home Office are incorrect in their decision to refuse your visa you may be able to submit an administrative review. For further information on this please use the following link:
Will I need to have an interview?
As part of the visa application process, you may have to take a short 'credibility interview'. This is either done via video link (Skype) or in person. The Home Office staff will ask you some questions to determine that:
- You genuinely plan to attend the course of study for which you are applying for a visa
- Your proficiency in English language is acceptable.
The questions will not be difficult, so there is nothing to worry about. For example, you may be asked why you have chosen a particular course, or how you intend to pay your fees and support yourself. You will be required to answer the questions in English.
Can I bring my family with me?
You can bring your family (also known as dependants) if:
- Your nationality is within the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and your dependants are also from one of these countries. Please also note that if you are from EU, EEA or Switzerland but your dependants are from a country that requires a visa, they can apply for a Family Permit
- You are applying for a Tier 4 (General) Visa, or you already have your Tier 4 (General) visa and your course is at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 7 (Masters) or higher, and lasts at least 12 months, or you are applying for a Tier 4 (General) Visa, or you already have your Tier 4 (General) and you are sponsored by your government agency and your course lasts at least six months.
Do I need health screening?
Depending on your nationality, you may need to get a certificate to show that you are free from infectious tuberculosis (TB). Find out if this applies to you and how to get a certificate
Do I need to get any vaccinations?
You are recommended to ensure that all your usual routine vaccinations are up to date before you leave home, in particular Measles, Mumps and Rubella and Meningitis C. If possible, please bring your vaccination record with you to Lancaster. Nationals of certain countries are required to obtain a certificate confirming that they are free from infectious Tuberculosis (TB) before applying for a visa.
Once you have your visa
Do I need to bring any documents with me to registration?
You will need to provide the University with the originals of your passport, visa and documents used for your offer as stated on your CAS (including English Language certificates if appropriate) at registration. We will check and scan the documents and hand them back to you.
What are my responsibilities after my visa has been approved?
- Provide the University with the originals of your passport and valid visa at registration and to maintain a valid visa throughout the course of your studies.
- Keep your UK contact details up to date.
- Re-enrol for your course on time each academic year if applicable.
- Study FULL TIME whilst you are in the UK (ensuring that you meet the progression and attendance requirements of your course with no significant gaps or absences).
- Follow University processes if you wish to defer or suspend your studies or withdraw from your course.
- Please contact the Lancaster University Visa and Immigration team for advice on how such changes would affect your current immigration status).
- Ensure that you abide by the terms and conditions (including the rules regarding working during your studies) as laid down in the immigration rules for your particular visa.
- Ensure that you continue to retain a valid visa by extending or applying for a new visa before your current visa expires; and that you present your new visa to the University so that a copy can be taken.
- Report any change in circumstances (including change of address/name etc) to https://www.gov.uk/change-circumstances-visa-brp
- Inform us immediately if you think you have breached the terms of your visa.
- You can view the full Policy Guidance for tier 4 visas.
This list is not exhaustive and you should view the full Policy Guidance for Tier 4 visas
If you do not understand anything please contact the LU Visa and Immigration Team
What are Lancaster University’s responsibilities?
- Ensure that you have the correct visa to study at Lancaster University on your chosen course.
- Not allow you to enrol if you do not have the correct documentation to study here.
- Keep copies of your visa documentation and passport (including when you extend your visa).Keep up to date contact details for you.
- Report to the UKVI if you do not enrol on your course.
- Monitor your attendance and progression and report to the UKVI if you do not attend or progress from one part of your course to the next.
- Notify the UKVI of any changes to your status. For example if you suspend your studies or withdraw from your course, if you change course, or finish your course earlier than expected.
- Report to the UKVI if we have reason to believe that you have contravened the terms and conditions of your visa.
- We reserve the right to decline to issue a CAS if we suspect that you will be unable to make a valid visa application, in accordance with the immigration rules.
What happens if I withdraw from my course?
If you fail to register, or if you withdraw from your course, we will inform the UK Visas and Immigration Office (UKVI) and your visa will be cancelled.
What if I suspend my studies?
If you suspend your studies (known as intercalation), we are required to inform the UK Visas and Immigration Office (UKVI) under the Tier 4 rules. This means that your visa will be cancelled and you will be required to leave the UK as soon as possible. You should provide us with evidence that you have left the UK by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you then meet the criteria for returning to your studies you must ask us for a new CAS and apply for a new visa. You must not attempt to re-enter the UK on your cancelled visa.
What if I need to return to Lancaster University to resit exams?
If you are required to be an external student for exam resits you may be required to leave the UK and we will inform the UK Visas and Immigration Office (UKVI). This means that your visa will be cancelled and you will be required to leave the UK. If you then meet the criteria for returning to your studies you must ask us for a new CAS and you must apply for a new visa.
How can I register as a student?
The main registration sessions take place at the start of each academic year in October and you can find details of when and where to register in our Welcome pages
Non-standard registration sessions
In addition to the main registration sessions at the start of each academic year, there are sessions available for students who are starting their studies at non-standard times of the year (for example, PhD students). These usually take place in the Base, the main student enquiry area, located in University House at the following times:
Tuesday and Thursday during term time between 2pm and 3pm.
Provisionally registered students
For students who have been provisionally registered and are required to provide further documents to complete their registration process, there will be sessions available at the Base at the following times:
Tuesday and Thursday during term time between 3pm and 4pm.
Extend your visa
Why may I need to extend my visa?
For most students, the visa granted to you should cover the full period of your course. However, you may need to extend your visa if, for instance, you change your course of studies.
How can I extend a Tier 4 visa?
Full details of how to extend your visa are available from the Lancaster University Visa and Immigration Team. Please note we can help you to submit your application. To find out more about our services please email@example.com or contact The Base, our main student enquiry desk located on campus in University House, Alexander Square.
We advise you to prepare your supporting documents at least three months before your visa expiry date.
How do I get visa support and advice?
The University has the following services in place which you can use at any time:
Make an appointment
If you need advice regarding immigration please visit The Base (the main student enquiry desk), which is located in University House, and request to make an appointment with an international adviser. You can also call 01524 594214.
Attend a drop-in session
The Lancaster University Visa and Immigration Team operates drop-in sessions during term time from 12.30-1.30pm (Monday to Friday) for quick enquiries.
Email the Lancaster University Visa and Immigration Team at:
firstname.lastname@example.org for advice about your Tier 4 visa or
email@example.com to request your CAS
Check your University email account
It is important to check your University student email account on a regular basis (at least once a day including during the vacations) as we will use this email account to send important messages regarding your visa.
What should I do if I lose my passport or visa?
Applying for a replacement passport outside of the UK
If you either lose, or have your passport stolen, you will need to report this to the police in the country where you are now and make an application for a replacement passport. You should contact your country's embassy, consulate, or high commission or passport office in the country where you are now for information on how to obtain a replacement passport. It is possible that there may be a considerable wait to obtain a replacement passport or travel document. This is not something which the UKV&I can influence.
Applying for a replacement vignette visa outside the UK
If your visa for the UK is issued on a vignette for the duration of the period of your leave and you lose your passport/EC visa or have your passport stolen you must apply for a replacement visa by reporting the loss or theft of your passport to the police and by obtaining a police report.
You should then apply for a replacement passport/temporary passport at the nearest embassy for your country.
Apply for a Tier 4 visa online and pay the full fee. You do not need to request a new CAS from your educational institution. When asked to select a visa type, you should choose Other > Others > Vignette Transfer.
Further information can be found in the Entry Clearance Guidance at:
Applying for a replacement BRP outside the UK
If your visa for the UK was initially issued on a 30 day vignette and then a BRP card was issued for the remainder of the duration of the period of your leave, then the process for applying for a replacement BRP is that you should report the loss or theft of their BRP to the police and obtain a police report and then email the Home Office and report your lost or stolen BRP to:
We will contact you within 1 working day to tell you what to do next. Please note that UK Bank holidays, such as Christmas day and New Years day, and weekends are not counted as working days.
You should then apply for a replacement BRP visa single entry costing £72 to re-enter the UK by applying online at https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/
When asked to select a visa type, you should choose Other > Others > Replacement Biometric Residence Permit.
Once you have returned to the U.K you should apply for a replacement BRP card.
UKV&I Visa Application Centres
UKV&I Visa Application Centres offer a variety of chargeable value added services in addition to ordinary application services. You should check the availability of any such services at the Visa Application Centre you intend to apply at as this may enable quicker processing of their application.
An alphabetical list of the Visa Application Centres outside the U.K and their contact details can be found using the link below:
Applying for a replacement passport in the UK
If you either lose or have your passport stolen, you will need to report this to the police and make an application for a replacement passport.
You should contact your country's embassy, consulate, or high commission in the U.K for information on how to obtain a replacement passport.
It is possible that there may be a considerable wait to obtain a replacement passport or travel document. This is not something which the UKV&I can influence.
Applying for a replacement vignette visa in the UK
If you lose your passport/EC visa or have your passport stolen you must apply for a replacement visa by reporting the loss or theft of your passport to the police and by obtaining a police report.
You should then apply for a replacement passport/temporary passport at your country's embassy, consulate, or high commission.
Apply for a Transfer Of Conditions (TOC) using the link https://www.gov.uk/transfer-visa
The TOC postal route costs £183 and is ordinarily concluded 8 weeks after the application raise date.
Students who lose their BRP Cards in the UK
You should report the loss or theft of their BRP to the police and obtain a police report/lost property report and then email the Home Office and report your lost or stolen BRP to: BRPLost@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
We will contact you within 1 working day to tell you what to do next. Please note that UK Bank holidays, such as Christmas day and New Years day, and weekends are not counted as working days. You should then apply for a replacement BRP card which costs £45.
This can be via the postal route or via a Premium Service Centre appointment. The BRP RC form postal route is ordinarily concluded 8 weeks after the application raise date provided the application is not unnecessarily delayed by late biometric enrolment.