Immigration and Visas
Visa Information for International Students
Courses which are longer than six months and Pre Sessional Programmes
Most international applicants, who wish to take a full-time programme of study which is longer than 6 months, or a pre-sessional programme, need to obtain a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. The following groups may be exempt from this;
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)When you have paid your deposit and met all the conditions of your offer, the international admissions team will issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) which is a unique reference number that you need in order to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
Please note the following students do not need to pay a deposit - Students undertaking Exchange and Study Abroad programmes; Students in receipt of US/Canadian federal loans; Students who are sponsored by a University recognised sponsor.The CAS number will be issued in the form of a letter which also includes specific information required by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), such as date of birth, passport number, programme details, fees and any payments you have made. It will also include a list of the qualifications documents or evidence that was used to assess your academic suitability for your chosen programme and also your level of English. When you apply for your visa (entry clearance) you must include the original (or certified copies) of all supporting documents listed. Without these, your visa application will be refused. It is your responsibility to check that the details in your CAS letter are correct before you apply for a visa and you much notify the University immediately if this is not the case.
You should submit your offer acceptance and CAS request to the International Office by 3rd September 2012 (for Semester 1 entry) and 10th December 2012 for Semester 2 entry. If you accept your offer and request a CAS after these deadlines please note that we cannot guarantee that we will be able to issue your CAS in time for you to make your visa application.
Applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
Further information about making a Tier 4 (General) application can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website at http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/immigration_uk.php
English language requirements
In addition to the University English Language requirements, which are outlined at www.northumbria.ac.uk/brochure/international/eng_lang students requiring a CAS for their Tier 4 application must also achieve the standards set by UKBA described below:
English Pre-sessional and Courses Below Bachelor Degree Level
For students taking a pre sessional course or our International Foundation Programme or any other course below Bachelor degree level (NQF 3-5), the UKBA will require students, as part of their visa application, to obtain a minimum score equivalent to B1 in the CEFR in each component of one of the Secure English Language Tests (SELTs) recognised by the UKBA. These tests include IELTS, TOEFL IBT, Pearson Academic and Cambridge ESOL and the minimum scores in each test element are given on UKBA's website.
The University accepts all of these qualifications for admissions purposes.
Bachelors and Postgraduate Study
In order to study on a Bachelor or postgraduate degree course (NQF level 6 and above), the UKBA requires students to have evidence of English language skills at a minimum of level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in each language skill. UKBA rate B2 as being equivalent to IELTS 5.5. For students sponsored by Northumbria and other higher education institutions, the UKBA will accept each institution’s own methods of assessing English language ability.
Details of the UKBA Secure English Language Test Providers and minimum scores can be found at: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
There are some specific exemptions to in the guidance, for example students who are nationals of one of the countries listed as an "English Majority Speaking Country" as defined by UKBA.
The University will continue to accept a range of other English language qualifications for entry to academic programmes, in addition to IELTS, TOEFL IBT, Pearson Academic and Cambridge ESOL. For details please see English Language Requirements above.
When an applicant has previously studied in the UK and wants to start a new course, UKBA requires that the new course represents academic progression and the University is required to check that this is the case. It is therefore essential that applicants inform International Admissions of any previous study they have taken in the UK, and send copies of any previous visas as part of their application.
What if I decide to study at a different UK institution?
The CAS we issue will be for the purpose of applying for a visa which will enable you to study only at Northumbria University and when your visa is granted it will show Northumbria University’s Sponsor License Number. You are not allowed to use this visa for the purposes of study at any institution other than Northumbria University. Should you decide that you would like to study at a different institution, it will be necessary for you to request a CAS from that institution and apply for new entry clearance, if you are outside the UK, or new leave to remain if you have already arrived in the UK.
What happens if I hold a visa which was issued for study at a different institution but I am coming to study at Northumbria?
If you are about to enrol at Northumbria but hold a Tier 4 (General) Visa which was issued for the purpose of study at a different institution, you will need to apply for new leave to remain with a CAS which will be issued to you from the Northumbria International Admissions Office. The University will allow you to enrol on your course if your new application for leave to remain is pending; - however we can only do so once you provide proof in the form of a letter of acknowledgement of receipt from UKBA which shows they have received your visa application.
Courses which are less than six months (including Study Abroad and Exchange)
Students coming to study on an academic programme for less than 6 months, for example, those wishing to join an Exchange or Study Abroad programme may be eligible to enter the UK to study as a Student Visitor. You can find out more about making an immigration application as a Student Visitor at the UK Council for International Student Affairs website at http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/immigration_student_visitor.php
International students, who wish to study part-time, should ensure that they have the correct entry clearance which allows them to study in the UK, and also that it covers the full duration of their intended programme. Northumbria University will not be held responsible for any consequences arising from a student being unable to complete their studies due to their visa not covering the duration of their programme.
What happens if I do not enrol?
If you enter the UK on a student visa and do not enrol at your chosen institution you will be in breach of your immigration status.
Under the Points Based System (PBS), Northumbria University will be obliged to report to the UK Border Agency any student who obtains entry clearance under PBS to study at Northumbria but does not enrol at the start of the semester specified. Students who suspend their studies or who fail to attend their classes for significant periods will also be reported to UKBA. This includes students who are excluded for non-payment of fees.
Extending your visa in the UK
If you are already in the UK and are applying to extend your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, you will also need the appropriate CAS before you can submit your application to the Home Office. Please visit the Student Support and Wellbeing Service website at http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/sd/central/stud_serv/sws/int_adviser/visa_info/?view=Standard for information on the support available to you for your visa application.
If you have further questions regarding your offer and obtaining your CAS please contact the International Office directly at Internationaladmissions@northumbria.ac.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org for study abroad and exchange students.