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International Students coming to study at Robert Gordon University, or any other UK education institution, may require a student visa. Here are some helpful pointers relating to the student visa process, however the most up to date information about student visa regulations is given by the UK Visas and Immigration Service (UKVI) within the Home Office.
Most International Students are required to apply for a student visa under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.
Tier 4 and the points-based system
Entrants to the UK from outside the European Economic Area and Swiss Nationals should apply as a student under the Tier 4 process of the UK Visa and Immigration Service points-based system of immigration.
If you already have a visa which you believe entitles to study in the UK we recommend you contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance so our team can verify this for you.
Students applying for entry clearance will be required to score 40 points to be awarded a student visa. These 40 points are granted if you score:
- 10 points if you can show you enough finances to cover your course fees for the first 12 months and your monthly living expenses (maintenance) for up to 9 months
- 30 points for Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).
The CAS number is generated when a licensed immigration sponsor enters your data into the relevant Home Office electronic system. The CAS confirms you hold an unconditional offer and meet all our academic entry requirements.
To support the CAS statement you will need to be able to provide:
- Valid financial documents such as original bank statements or official sponsorship letter. Please refer to our UKVI and Finances PDF
- Original and/or certified supporting documents, for example Degree or IELTS certificates.
- A valid international passport with 6 months or more available time before the expiry date.
Who is my Licensed Immigration Sponsor?
All applicants under the Tier 4 (General) Student category need a sponsor - your sponsor will be the University which you are planning to study at therefore, in your case, it will be Robert Gordon University. Robert Gordon University is on the 'Register of Sponsors Licensed under the Points Based System'. Our sponsor number is EFAA7R620.
- Further information: UKVI Register of Sponsors
Tier 4 and Family Members / Dependants
Your family members (dependants) might be able to join or remain with you in the UK while you complete your studies. Depending on the level of study for which the main Tier 4 visa is issued, family members may not be able to join you. However, we do not offer direct advice on dependant visas. Please refer to the UKVI webpages where they detail the requirements and eligibility of the dependant visa.
Tier 4 Interviews
As part of your application for a Tier 4 student visa, UKVI may request an interview.
Will I need to attend an interview?
UKVI will not routinely interview students who are nationals of 'low risk' countries including Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, British National (overseas), Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Tier 4 applicants from any other country should expect to be attend a short interview about your application and proposed study in the UK.
What happens at the interview?
Interviews will usually be held over video conference by a UK Visas and Immigration official, taking approximately 10 minutes. The answers you provide during the interview will form part of the evidence considered in making a decision on your visa application.
Will my English language skills be assessed?
The interview will be conducted in English and provide assurance that the English language requirements of the Tier 4 rules are met.
Will I need to attend a second interview?
A second interview may be required to provide further, more detailed information about your application.
Do I have to pay for the interview?
There is no charge for any part of the interview and the cost of the visa remains the same to the applicant.
What if the video conference equipment breaks down?
There will be staff on hand at the Visa Application Centre to help with this. If the equipment does not work on the day of your interview, UKVI will conduct the interview over telephone. Where this is not possible you may be re-called for interview.
Can I bring someone with me for the interview?
No, only the applicant can attend the interview. Reasonable adjustments will be made for disabled applicants to attend an interview.
How do I get my CAS number/Visa Letter?
At Robert Gordon University we issue the ‘visa letter’ or CAS statement as it is known AFTER the unconditional offer letter has been emailed to you.
If you meet your conditions early on in the academic year you will have to wait until we begin processing CAS statements.
We normally begin issuing CAS statements in JUNE for those who have a September course start date and then again in NOVEMBER for those you are due to start a course in January.
- The CAS statement is an electronic document.
- A CAS number is only valid for use ONCE – if you are refused visa or your CAS number expires you would need to request a new CAS number
- A CAS can only be issued 3 months before the official start of the course
- A CAS number is only valid for 6 months. If it is not used within that 6 months it will be withdrawn.
The UKVI manages a Sponsor Management System for International Students coming to study in the UK. To apply for a student visa, students must have a "Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies", or "CAS".
Robert Gordon University will be required to issue a unique Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies reference number (CAS) to each student who has confirmed their acceptance of an unconditional offer. The CAS will replace the visa letter in the student visa application process.
It is no longer necessary for us to give you a hard copy of your offer letter for visa purposes, as we provide the UKVI with confirmation of your Unconditional Offer and payment of deposit and tuition fees directly to them through the Sponsors Management System. However, if you need a copy of your offer letters, you can still download these from your Apply Yourself record. We will also email you an extract from the CAS record we create for you with the UKVI so you can approve the details we have provided them with.
- Find out more from UKVI
Where do I apply for my visa?
You obtain your visa from your nearest British diplomatic post, such as the British Embassy or High Commission.
To find out where your nearest diplomatic post is in your country, visit check with the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
In many countries, applications are posted to Visa Application Centres (VAC), private companies who will receive your documents and pass them to the Diplomatic Post for the decision to be made. Please follow the link below to find your nearest VAC.
When should I apply for my visa?
Due to recent changes by the UK Visas and Immigration Service both in the UK & overseas, please remember to allow sufficient time to apply for a student visa in order to ensure your application is successful.
As guideline, try to submit your visa applications a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the start date of your course to ensure any required medical checks, biometrics, and interviews can be completed.
What do I need to apply for my visa?
When you apply for your visa you will need the following:
Note: Please ensure you have begun making arrangements to pay your Immigration Health Surcharge prior to beginning this process.
- Visa application form - You can obtain an application form, and in some cases apply online through the UK Visas and Immigration Service.
- Your passport or travel document;
- Your biometric details
- A recent passport sized photograph
- All documents as specified in the Tier 4 Guidance as stated in the Immigration Rules. If you do not submit relevant documents, your application is likely to be refused.*
- Visa application fee. Details of the cost of applying can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration Service website
*You should include originals of all documents specified. They must be on the official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisation and have the official stamp of that organisation. You should also provide a copy of each document. Where a document is not in English, the original must be accompanied by a fully certified translation by a professional translator. This translation must include details of the translator's qualifications and confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document.
We understand that receiving a visa refusal can be upsetting as you have invested time and money in the process.
We would encourage you to take extra time and care to ensure that your first application is successful. If you are refused we may not be in a position to issue you another CAS.
The most common reason for refusal is FINANCIAL. It is vitally important that you plan ahead with your finances to ensure you meet the UKVI requirements. More information is available on the UKVI Financial webpages.
The majority of refusals are based on:
- Not showing the necessary money for the required 28 day period.
- Not showing enough money
- Presenting financial evidence in the incorrect format
If your application is refused please email CAS@rgu.ac.uk with a scanned copy of the full refusal notice. Please let us know whether you would like to apply for second CAS number with us. We can then advise you further.
Tier 4 time limits on study
If you have previously studied in the UK please be aware that the UKVI has introduced a limit on how long a person can hold a TIER 4 visa.
This time limit relates to both the duration of time spent studying in the UK and the level of study completed in the UK.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has created a flowchart to help students calculate whether an application for further study in the UK is possible under these new regulations.
Do I need a Tuberculosis (TB) test?
Visa applicants in many countries are required to take a TB (tuberculosis) test before applying for their UK visa.
If you are coming to study for a period of 6 months or more you are required to obtain a certificate from an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) accredited clinic showing that they are free from infectious tuberculosis (TB).
The reason for this is that TB has been almost completely eradicated in the UK, however it is still common in some other countries. By asking people intending to come to the UK to be screened to see if they have the disease, it allows the UK government to monitor if people with this infection are coming into the country.
Please check if you require a certificate with the UKVI Country Finder and if the certificate is a requirement you can also obtain the details of clinics and fee in your country.
If it is not necessary for your visa, but you would still like to be screened for TB, this can be done for free through the National Health Service (NHS) once you arrive in the UK.
International Student Advice, Visa and Immigration Service
Once you become a student here at Robert Gordon University, we have a dedicated team of International Student Advisers who can help you whilst you are with us.
They can provide advice from matters such as how to open a bank account in the UK to how to apply for a visa extension. To get a letter for the bank, visit the Student Help Point.
The International Student Advisers will also arrange for your orientation at the University before the beginning of your course. It is essential that you attend an orientation presentation. Full details of when these will be running will be provided in your Pre-arrival Guide, which will be emailed to you 8-6 weeks prior to your course starting date.
Immigration Health Surcharge
- The charge is £150 per year. Please note that the fee is pro-rata and is calculated per calendar year rather than year of intended study.
- The surcharge will be payable in full at the time of making your Tier 4 visa application
- The payment will give you access to the National Health Service on the same terms as a permanent UK resident, however it is separate to your visa fees
- The charge is refundable only where a visa application is refused