Immigration Advice & Visa Extensions

 

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​The International Office Welfare Team provides comprehensive advice and support to Cardiff Met students (prospective and enrolled students) on UK visa options and Tier 4 student and dependant applications and regulations. The International Office Welfare Team operates according to the UKCISA/AISA Code of Ethics ​and meets the strict rules and standards of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.​

 

​My visa will expire before I finish my course. Can I extend it?

Yes! Many students will need to extend their student visa at some point during their stay in the United Kingdom. A student may need additional time to complete an existing course, or they may wish to begin a new course of study. It can be very complicated to understand what the visa requirements are but do not worry, the International Student Welfare Officers are available to advise and assist you through the application process.

 

When should I extend my visa?

We would advise that you think about preparing for a visa extension within the last three or four months before your current visa is due to expire. It is very important to keep a note of your visa expiry date in order to make preparations well in advance and to avoid overstaying. Your visa expiry date will either be located on your visa that is inside your passport or on your Biometric Residence Permit.

 

What do I need to do to extend my student visa?

You will need to contact the International Student Welfare Team well in advance of your visa expiry date to inform them that you require a visa extension. The Welfare Team will send you an email confirming a date and time for you to attend a visa extension appointment and will provide you with guidance on how to complete part of the ‘online’ Tier 4 Student application form. You will also be advised which supporting documents you will be required to prepare and submit with your visa application.

You will be required to complete part of the online application form and gather your supporting documents before you attend your visa extension appointment with a Welfare Officer. We would highly recommend that you read through the Tier 4 Policy and Photo Guidance carefully before making your visa application to ensure you understand what is required of you.. For further information on how to apply for a visa extension and to view the Policy Guidance please visit the UK Visa and Immigration website.

Please ensure that you complete the correct application form and read the most up-to-date guidance when making an application.

 

It sounds very complicated, can someone help me?

Yes of course!  Students who require visa extensions will need to attend a one-to-one visa extension appointment with an International Student Welfare Officer from the International Office. It is your responsibility to contact the Welfare Team to book an appointment in advance of your visa expiry date. 

Once you have contacted us to book an appointment you will receive an email confirming your appointment time and date and advice will be given to you regarding which supporting documents you should prepare in advance of your appointment. Also included in the email is some guidance to assist you on how to complete the Tier 4 ‘online’ application form. You will be required to complete certain sections of the ‘online’ application form before you attend your visa extension appointment.

 

Which documents will I need to apply for a visa extension?

  • Passport(s) - You will need to submit your current passport plus any old passports that contain visas relating to your current stay in the UK
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) - Only applicable if you have previously applied for a visa extension in the UK and have been issued with a BRP
  • 2 x passport sized photographs – these must have been taken in the UK within the last 28 days
  • Police Registration Certificate - Only applicable if your visa states that you must register with the police in the UK.
  • Marriage or Civil Partner Certificate - Only applicable if you are applying with dependants or if it is proof of a name change
  • Birth certificates - Only applicable if you will be using your parents bank statements or as proof of a name change
  • Driving licences - Only applicable if it is needed as proof of a name change
  • Bank statements - You will require original bank statements in your name or in the name of your parent(s) showing money held in an account for living costs and any outstanding tuition fees for a 28 day period. The statements must not be older than 31 days old on the date you submit your visa application to the UKVI
  • Sponsorship letter – Only applicable if you are officially sponsored by a government or international organization or company and they are agreeing to cover some or all of your tuition fees and living costs during your time studying in the UK.
  • Education certificates – The relevant certificates if applicable to you will be listed on your CAS

     

  • ATAS Certificate – Only applicable if you have been advised by the university and if this is stated on your CAS as a requirement
  • CAS - All applicants require a CAS number which will appear on a CAS statement issued to you by the International Office.
  • Letter from parents - Only if you are using your parents' bank statements. The letter should confirm that their money will be used for your fees and living expenses.
  • Translations - Any document that has not been written in English must be translated by an official translator and contain the translators qualifications, stamp, date and confirmation that the translation was based on the original document.

What happens at my visa extension appointment?

During your visa extension appointment with a Welfare Officer, your online application and supporting documents will be checked and providing the Welfare Officer is happy that your application meets the UKVI requirements, a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) will issued. To complete your application, the details confirmed on your CAS will be inputted by a Welfare Officer onto your online application form. To finalize your online application you will be required to choose whether you wish to apply by post or in person at a Premium Service Centre and pay the appropriate application fee plus an additional immigration health surcharge.

'Click here' for more information regarding the immigration health surcharge

Postal Application
If you decide to submit your visa application by post, the International Student Welfare Team will take responsibility for submitting your documents to the UKVI on your behalf via the Student Batch Scheme. Processing times for applications submitted by post can take approximately 8 weeks. During this time you will be required to have your biometrics taken at a local post office.  and you may also be required to attend a credibility interview as part of the visa application process.

Once the UKVI have made a decision on your application, they will notify the Welfare Officers by post and return your documents to the university.

In Person Application at a Premium Service Centre

If you need to get a rapid decision on your visa extension application, you can go in person for an appointment at a Regional Premium Service Centre located on Newport Road in Cardiff. You can book an appointment at Cardiff's Premium Service Centre when completing the online application form. A Welfare Officer will help you with this process during your visa extension appointment. The UK Visa and Immigration states that the majority of applications will be dealt with on the day of the appointment, providing that the application is straightforward and that the application and all of the documents are complete and they meet the requirements of the immigration rules.

The application fee for both postal and in person applications is very expensive so please ensure that you check the current costs before applying and budget for them.

 

Will I need to have my Biometrics taken as part of the visa application process?

Yes! After you have submitted your 'online' application and supporting documents to the UKVI, you will receive a letter from them asking you to visit your local Post Office in order to have your Biometric fingerprints and photograph taken. You should ensure that you have completed this process within 15 days of the date of your letter.

 

In - Country Credibility Interviews

As part of your Tier 4 visa extension application in the UK you may be required to attend a credibility interview before the UKVI make a decision on your visa application. If you are asked to attend a credibility interview as part of your visa application, you must ensure you can answer questions relating to your immigration status, your course of study or any previous course(es) studied in the UK. You may be asked questions about the university or about any previous English language Test you may have taken inside or outside of the UK.

Credibility interviews is an important part of the visa application process therefore please ensure you are prepared to answer all of the questions fully and clearly.

 

Can my family apply for visa extensions?

New rules with regards to dependant visa applications were introduced in July 2011. Your dependants can apply for immigration permission to join or remain with you in the UK only if:

  • You are government-sponsored and your course is over six months long OR
  • You are doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer at a Higher Education Institution OR
  • You had a Tier 4 or Pre-Tier 4 student visa for your previous course where the course was over six months long AND:
    - Your visa is valid or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
    - Your new immigration application is for a course over six months long AND
    - Your dependants already have Tier 4 Dependant or Student Dependant visas AND
    - You apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant

If you require further details about making visa extension applications or dependant applications for your husband, wife or children, please contact the International Student Welfare Team for advice.

 

I would like to visit a different country during the university vacation period. How do I apply for a visa to do this?

You should always plan well in advance and check whether you require a visa to enter the country you wish to visit before you make plans to travel.

Another important aspect you must check if you are planning to travel is that countries quite often require you to have a minimum number of months remaining on your UK student visa in order for the relevant embassy to grant you a visa. Some countries may require a minimum of 6 months remaining on your UK Student visa- always check!

The Foreign Commonweatlth Office website will help you locate the embassy web page of your choice which will then give you full information about application procedures. A member of the Welfare Team will be happy to write a letter to support your visa application. To apply for this letter please click here.

 

​What is a Schengen visa?

This is the name of a visa that you may wish to apply for if you are planning to travel to Europe. This single visa would allow you to travel to multiple European countries meaning that you would not need to apply for individual visas for each country. There are currently 25 European countries that are part of the Schengen agreement. For a list of these countries, please visit http://www.schengenvisa.cc/

 

How do I apply for a Schengen visa?

Decide which country you would like to travel to first, before visiting the embassy website of that country to download a Schengen visa application form. You should then apply to this embassy for your visa. Details of the requirements and how to apply will be found on the embassy's website. For a list of embassies, please visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website

 

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