Visa & Immigration FAQs

Can I come to the UK before I get a place on a course?

Yes, but you would usually need to come with a Standard Visitor visa (as a tourist). Once you have an unconditional offer of a place at a UK university, you would then need to return to your home country to apply for a study visa. This is because you cannot switch from a visitor visa to a study visa from within the UK.

How can I check what type of visa I need?

Use the UKVI’s ‘Check if I need a UK visa?’ feature.

If you are still not sure, contact the International Student Support Office for advice.

Should I apply for a short-term study visa or a Tier 4 (general) visa?

If your course is 6 months or less (or 11 month or less pre-sessional English) then you could apply for a Short-term study visa and you may be able to apply for a Tier 4 (general) visa.

Course Type of visa
Academic course, 6 months or less Short-term study or Tier 4
Pre-sessional English, 11 months or less Short-term study,
or Tier 4 if your English ability is minimum CEFR Level B1.
General English Short-term study
Distance learning visit (less than 6 months) Short-term study

Short-term study visa – advantages compared to Tier 4:

  • Application fee is cheaper
  • Processing time is usually quicker
  • Less money required in bank account
  • Non-visa nationals’ do not need to apply in advance, you can get a stamp on arrival to the UK

Short-term study visa – disadvantages compared to Tier 4:

  • Cannot extend visa
  • Cannot switch to a different visa type in the UK
  • No entitlement to have dependant visas for family
  • No work allowed

Exchange/Study Abroad students: Some students come to Bangor for one semester but love it here so much that they decide to stay for longer! If you already have a Tier 4 visa it is quite straight-forward to extend, but if you have a short-term study visa you would have to go home to make a Tier 4 visa application for the second semester.

More information: UKCISA – Short term study visa

What is a “CAS number” / “CAS letter”?

CAS = Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies.

You need a CAS number in order to apply for a Tier 4 (general) visa. Once you have an unconditional offer from Bangor University we will email your ‘CAS letter’ to you. Your CAS number can be found on your CAS letter.

What is “ATAS”?

Students applying for a Tier 4 (general) visa for postgraduate study in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction, will need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK. Your offer letter will state if you need an ATAS certificate.

For more information and how to apply see the ATAS website.

How much money do I need?

For a Tier 4 visa application?:  More information

For a Short-term study visa application?: The UKVI do not state a fixed amount that you need to show, but they say that you need to have “enough money to support yourself without working or help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house you” and that you “can pay for your return or onward journey”.

For the cost of living in the UK: More information

Do the UKVI accept bank statements from all banks?

Most large, national banks are accepted by the UKVI. The UKVI do not publish an exhaustive list, but you can check Immigration Rules Appendix P: list of financial institutions.

Do I need to be tested for tuberculosis (TB)?

If you are applying to come to the UK for more than 6 months and you are a resident of certain countries, you will need to get a certificate confirming that you do not have active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) before you can apply for a visa.

See the UKVI webpages for more details including a list of countries and approved clinics.

If you have been living in the UK for more than 6 months then you do not need to provide a TB test certificate.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and do I need to pay it?

From the 6th April 2015, anyone who applies for a visa to come to the UK for more than six months has to pay an ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’ which is a contribution towards the National Health Service (NHS). It cost £150 per person per year for students and their dependants (correct Nov 2015). It is calculated based on visa time not course time and is payable in ‘blocks’ of 6 months.

More details about the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Calculate your IHS payment

Can I bring my family?

There is information about this on our ‘Family and Friends’ webpage.

Will I have to be interviewed as part of my visa application?

If I applying for Tier 4 visa outside the UK? Yes, you probably will be interviewed.

The UKVI intends to interview most Tier 4 student applicants before granting them a visa to come to the UK, therefore you probably be asked to attend an interview (in person or by telephone) as part of the application process. Interviews take place when you attend a visa application centre to give your biometric information (fingerprints & photograph).

A UKVI member of staff will ask you about your course, your reasons for studying in the UK, the reasons for choosing to study at Bangor University, how the course relates to your future career, and they must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level.

If I apply for a Tier 4 visa within the UK? No, you probably will not be interviewed.

The UKVI do interview some people; either for a random check or if the visa application is complicated for some reason. If you are required to go for an interview, the UKVI will email or write to you at some point during the visa application process.

If you are required to go for an interview, try not to worry, it is usually just a random check and/or to check that you are a genuine student. So if you are a genuine student you have nothing to worry about!

What do I do if my Tier 4 visa application is refused?

If you think the UKVI have made a mistake, you can consider submitting an Administrative Review to request that the re-consider your application.

If the UKVI had not made a mistake and you wish to submit a new visa application, you will need a new CAS letter. You should submit your request, along with a copy of your visa refusal letter, to our International Admissions Office: international@bangor.ac.uk. If possible, you should also attach copies of any documents that will show that your next visa application will be successful.

If you are already in Bangor, you should book an appointment with Alan Edwards, Head of International Student Services as soon as possible:  internationalsupport@bangor.ac.uk.

I have been studying at a different institution in the UK, can I use/extend my Tier 4 visa to study at Bangor University?

You will need to apply for a new visa before you can study at Bangor University. Whether or not you can apply from within the UK depends on your previous course.
If you successfully completed your previous course at a different Higher Education Institute (HEI):

You must submit a new Tier 4 visa application before you can register at Bangor University. You can apply to extend your within the UK. Once you have applied for your new visa, you can start at Bangor University before your visa application is approved.

If your previous course was not at a Higher Education Institute (HEI), i.e. it was a college other further education institute:

You will need to go to your home country to make a new Tier 4 visa application for Bangor University. Can I apply in the UK?

If you failed or did not complete your course at the previous institution:

Contact our International Admissions Office to check if Bangor University can sponsor your new visa application: international@bangor.ac.uk or +44 (0) 1248 382028.

NB: These rules are different for students who applied for their existing visa before 5 October 2009.

Will it affect my visa if I change my course at Bangor University?

If you are progressing from undergraduate to Masters, or Masters to PhD, you can apply to extend your visa in the UK and you must make a new visa application before your old visa finishes. The UKVI have suggested that they may be changing this in 2016; the suggested changes would mean that you would have to make your new visa application before you start your new course.

If you want to change your course part-way through, and the new course is the same level and the same length as the old course, then you can probably continue studying at Bangor University with your existing visa – but please check with the International Student Support Office.

The UKVI rules that you need to consider when you change your course are academic progression (page 21 of Tier 4 Policy Guidance) and the time-limit (cap) on studies on the UK.

I will be applying for my Tier 4 visa in my home country but I have heard that I should collect my ‘BRP’ in the UK – what do I need to do?

If you make a Tier 4 visa application to come to the UK for more than 6 months you will be given an ‘Entry Clearance’ vignette (sticker) in your passport which will be valid for a 30 day period near the start of your course. After you are in the UK you will need to collect your BRP (visa card) within 10 days of arrival. On your visa application form, you can choose whether to collect your BRP at a designated Post Office or directly from Bangor University. If you choose to collect your BRP from Bangor University you will need to enter the Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code which can be found on your CAS letter.

If you make a Tier 4 visa application to come to the UK for less than 6 months, your ‘Entry Clearance’ vignette ‘sticker’ will be valid for your whole course.

More information: When your visa is issued (UKCISA)

When I need to register with the police and/or update my police registration certificate?

If you are coming to the UK for longer than 6 months, and your nationality is on the UKVI’s list of nationalities required to register with the police, then you must register within 7 days of arriving in the UK.

You must also update your details with the police within 7 days if you:

  • Change address in the UK
  • Change your visa
  • Get married
  • Change your passport

Or if any of the other details on your police registration certificate change.

Bangor students should register at Bangor Police Station or if you arrive during our Welcome Weeks in September you can register with the police at Bangor University (check your Orientation and Welcome Week Programme for more details).

Can I live anywhere in the UK when I am a registered student at Bangor University and on a Tier 4 visa?

No, University rules stipulate that all registered students who are sponsored on a Tier 4 visa by Bangor University are expected to live within a reasonable travelling distance of Bangor and in the North Wales area.

What type of visa do I need to attend a conference overseas?

The visa requirements vary widely between different countries.

If you plan to visit a country that is part of the Schengen Agreement, then you can apply for a Schengen visa to attend a conference. More details about Schengen visas.

If the country is not part of the Schengen Agreement then you should check on the website of the UK-based Consulate of the country that you wish to visit. Be careful that you check the official website not a third party visa service. You can double-check the details on the UKVI’s list of Foreign Embassies in the UK.

Always make sure that you apply in plenty of time. It is advisable to apply at least 6–8 weeks in advance.

Useful links