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Visa Information

International Students

Visa Information

Robert Gordon University is a licensed Student Sponsor and has a Student Immigration Team to help you throughout the process.

We welcome students from all over the world to study on our campus.

The Student Immigration Team specialises in student immigration to the UK, and we can help you throughout the process. If you are well prepared you should find the application process straightforward and relatively quick.

If you are a current enrolled student, find out more: 

Here you will find categories which should help you easily identify what kind of documents you need in relation to how you are planning to pay your fees and provide the evidence to the Home Office with your visa application. 

Self Financing Student

A self- financing student is someone who plans to pay their course fee and living costs from their own money and show their own personal bank statements as evidence when applying for visa.

As evidence of your money, you should use:

  • personal bank or building society statements, or
  • a building society passbook, or
  • a certificate of deposit*, or
  • a letter from your bank, or a regulated financial institution, confirming your funds, or
  • a letter from a regulated financial institution confirming that you have a loan that is provided by the national government, the state or regional government or a government sponsored student loan company, or that is part of an academic or educational loans scheme.

*A certificate of deposit is issued by a bank to confirm that the named person has deposited or invested a specific amount of money. Certificates of deposit are not listed as acceptable evidence.

You can show more than one account in your own name if you have funds in several accounts. You can also show partial funds in your own account AND submit evidence from your parent or legal guardian if they are also supporting you. If this applies to you then you must use this section and refer to ‘I am being sponsored by a parent/legal guardian.

Other accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards and pension funds are not acceptable, regardless of notice period. Certificates of deposit are only acceptable if they do not indicate that funds are frozen.

You will not be awarded points for maintenance where the money you are showing us is held in a financial institution with which the Home Office is unable to make satisfactory verification checks. This will be considered using the list in use on the date of your application. A list of financial institutions which do not satisfactorily verify financial statements will be published on Home Office pages:

If you feel this applies to you and your circumstance then below you will find several useful and important guides and advice support which will help you through the visa process.

Parents or Guardian Sponsorship

If you wish to use a bank account in your parent's or guardian's name (or names), you must also include evidence of their relationship to you.

This evidence of your relationship with your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) can be: 

  • your original birth certificate, or a notarised copy, showing the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
  • if you are adopted, the original certificate of adoption, or a notarised copy, showing your name and the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
  • if you have a legal guardian, an original court document, or notarised copy, which shows the name of your guardian(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application

In addition to this you will also need to provide:

  • A letter of support from your parent/legal guardian - a sample has been provided below to assist you
  • Copies of their bank statements which meet all requirements. The finance guidance documents below will support and guide you in this

If you do not have any of the above, but you have a government-issued household register showing your name and your parent or parents' name(s), the Home Office's modernised guidance for staff assessing Tier 4 applications confirms on page 121 that this is acceptable evidence of your relationship. This option is not listed on the application form, nor in the Tier 4 policy guidance, but in the above guidance Home Office staff are instructed to accept it.


Family Member or Friend Sponsorship

It is possible that anyone can pay money direct to your Tier 4 sponsor on your behalf, for example to pay your course fees or accommodation costs.

However, any evidence of money that you submit in support of your Tier 4 application (for example bank statements) must be in your name or in your parent's / legal guardian's name (or names).

You cannot use evidence of money held in any other person's name, even if you have their permission to do so. If someone who is not your parent or guardian is giving you money for your living costs, they will need to transfer the funds to your account (or to your parent or legal guardian's account), allowing enough time for you (or your parent or legal guardian) to hold the funds for at least 28 days and get evidence of this, before you apply for your Tier 4 visa.

Once you have arranged for the required funds to be transferred to your own personal bank account you should refer to Self-Financing Student

Government Sponsorship

An official financial sponsor is defined in the Tier 4 policy guidance as:

  • the UK government
  • your home government
  • the British Council
  • any international organisation
  • an international company (the Home Office has not defined 'international company' but it seems to mean a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country)
  • any university
  • an Independent School

If you receive funding from any of the above sources, you will need a letter from them confirming how much money they will contribute towards your course fees and maintenance. The letter must show:

  • your name
  • the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor
  • the date of the letter
  • the length of the sponsorship
  • the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you, or a statement that all course fees and living costs will be covered.

If your official financial sponsor is not covering all of your course fees and maintenance, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the rest of the money required. If this applies to you, then for this portion of funds which must show personally, you should refer to ‘I am a self-financing student’ to ensure your personal funds and documentary evidence meet requirements.


Company Sponsorship

An International Company is one which has a trading presence in more than one country.

This means that the company must an office in more than one country. They must also be able to provide evidence of this such as providing their registration certificate or licence number in that country or a VAT/TAX letter displaying the address of the office in that country.

The UKVI will verify this, both online and through access to internal resources, that this evidence is genuine.

If the company who wishes to sponsor you meets this requirement then they should provide you with a letter which details the terms of that sponsorship.

If you are being sponsored by a company which does not meet these requirements, then unfortunately you do not meet the financial requirements as defined in Tier 4 guidance. The company would therefore have to transfer all the required funds for both course and living costs to your personal bank account where you would then be considered a ‘self-financing student’


Personal Bank Loan Funded

You may choose to secure a bank loan (from an approved bank) for your studies.

The official documents must state that the loan is for Educational Purposes and NOT for personal use.

A loan from any other source, such as a personal bank loan, will not meet the Tier 4 requirements.

If you wish to use such a loan, you need to transfer the funds to an account in your name (or a parent's name) and use one of the other forms of evidence listed in these categories.

Self Financing Student or Parents or Guardian Sponsorship

Graduate Route

The UK Government announced a new 'Graduate Route' to be launched summer 2021. This new route enables international students to apply for a two year post-study work visa.

Full details have not been confirmed yet, but this page outlines the information currently available, so it is therefore subject to change.

Why have the UK Government Introduced this?

The new graduate route is designed to attract talented international students to study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they then go on to build successful careers. It is intended to recognise the excellent contribution to the UK that international graduates can make when given an opportunity to gain invaluable post study work experience. 

Graduate Route – Key Points

  • The visa will enable  international students who graduate from a UK institution, who is listed on the UKVI approved list, such as RGU to stay in the UK after graduation for two years to seek work, in any sector and at any level.
  • Any student enrolling on an undergraduate degree (or above) level programme in 2020/21 will be eligible for this route where their graduation takes place in the summer of 2021 onwards.
  • A new visa application will need to be made but the process will be simple. A sponsor will not be required. There will be an application fee and applicants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. 
  • Students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate or postgraduate level in any subject area and who have a valid Tier 4 visa will be eligible to apply after the route is launched.
  • It will be possible to switch from the Graduate visa into the skilled work route, at the end of the 2 year period, if they find a job which meets the minimum requirements of that route. 

What is the latest information on the route?

The Graduate Route is still scheduled to be launched in summer 2021, as previously announced.  Further information about the route will be published in due course.

However on 16 June 2020, the Home Office did confirm that students undertaking their studies in the UK and those studying by distance/blended learning, will be eligible to apply for the Graduate route provided they are in the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete their final semester of their studies in the UK.

We expect further releases of information from the Home Office and we will update this information when we receive further details.

Employability Hub Support

RGU’s Employability Hub is dedicated to supporting you to take full advantage of the new Graduate Immigration Route. We will provide you with the tools to help you identify and apply for suitable opportunities and maximise the benefit of the new option to remain in the UK after graduation in order to seek and secure employment. 

  • COMPLETE the RGU Employability Enhancement Award to develop your employability and work place skills through a structured programme of activities to support you in: 
    • understanding your own self-awareness, career possibilities and options 
    • sourcing opportunities
    • constructing winning applications 
    • confidence building to perform well at recruitment interviews & assessment centres
    • developing your key work place skills to enable you to make a positive impact in the workplace
    • making a positive impact in the workplace demonstrating your key work place
  • CONNECT with a fully qualified and experienced Careers Consultant to explore your individual ambitions and develop a tailored employability action plan to support you moving forward
  • EXPLORE the eHub online careers information, advice and tools platform:
    • Self-help Information, advice and tools on the full range of career and employability topics
    • Sign up to eHub:Jobs to access the latest vacancies notified directly to the university by employers keen to recruit RGU talent
    • Explore our employability events on eHub:Events– from careers & recruitment fairs, employer events, employability workshops and a variety of other activities

Last updated: September 2020

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