extending your student visa
SU Advice is here to help you through the process of extending your Student visa when you are applying from inside the UK. We can help you to ensure your application is complete and that you are providing the relevant documents in the correct format and give you guidance on how to submit your application to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) service at the Home Office.
Before making an application you should be sure you are eligible to apply under the Student route from within the UK; that you meet all the Immigration rules and requirements and that you have been issued a CAS by the University of Essex.. If you have family with you in the UK you should check whether they are eligible to apply as a Student dependant - SU Advice can help you to do this.
HOW CAN SU ADVICE HELP?
SU Advice can help to check you have completed your Student application form correctly and check you have provided all the required documents in the right format, in line with the Home Office (UKVI) Immigration Rules and Guidance.
In order to use our checking service you will need to attend a visa workshop - please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about our next visa workshop dates and book your place.
Following your visa workshop, you will be booked an appointment to have your documents checked. You will be informed if you need to provide any additional documents and whether the documents you have meet the Home Office (UKVI) Requirements.
Once your documents are ready, you will be booked a final appointment with an adviser who will check your application form and do a final check of your documents. Once it is believed your application is ready you will be given support and information to complete the payment and book your appointment with the Home Office.
Please do not pay for your application online before your appointment as you will not be able to amend any errors on your form once you have paid.
If you are not able to book an appointment with SU Advice before your visa is due to expire you are advised to submit your application yourself. You should not allow your visa to expire as this carries serious risks. If we cannot offer an appointment there are details of other advice services who may be able to assist you on our 'Further Advice' page.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT APPLYING IN THE UK?
Check your visa expiry date:
We recommend, where possible, that you start to plan for your visa extension about 3 months before the date your current visa expires. There are lots of documents that may be needed and it is better to start preparing your application as early as possible.
In order to submit an in-time application, and avoid the risks of becoming an overstayer in the UK, you must ensure you have applied ON OR BEFORE the date your current visa expires. The Home Office guidance states that the definition of the "date of application" is the date you have paid for your application online. This means you do not need to have received your new visa before your current visa expires, as long as you have paid for the application online before the visa expires. You can wait in the UK whilst your new application is processed, even if your current visa expires during the time you are waiting.
Prepare your evidence documents:
The Home Office (UKVI) requires you to provide a number of documents as evidence of your circumstances. These documents must be provided to the UKVI with your application form so that your application can be processed. The Home Office (UKVI) Immigration Rules and Guidance provide further information about the format of each document and what information they must provide. It is very important that you check that the documents you show the Home Office (UKVI) meet their requirements, as your application may be refused or rejected as invalid if the documents are not accepted.
We have provided a condensed version of the document requirements that can be downloaded here.
YOUR CAS - The Home Office (UKVI) will require you to provide a CAS number in your application. Your CAS is information that is supplied by the University to the Home Office (UKVI) that confirms that you will be studying and that the University has agreed to sponsor your studies under the Student Immigration category. If you need to extend your visa, you must have received a new CAS for the new course you are intending to study, or for any repeat or additional years you may need in order to complete your course. You can find further information about how to request a CAS on the University's web pages, here.
YOUR PASSPORT AND CURRENT VISA - The Home Office (UKVI) will require you to provide your current passport and visa - this may be a page in your passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You may also need to provide any previous passports that you have used to travel to the UK, unless these have been lost or stolen or returned to your home country's governement.
YOUR FINANCIAL EVIDENCE - The Home Office (UKVI) will expect applicants to be able to provide evidence that they are able to pay for their tuition fees and living expenses whilst studying in the UK. Your tuition fees will be stated on your CAS, along with the amount of fees you have already paid to the University. The Home Office (UKVI) states that students studying outside of London need to provide evidence of £1015 per month to cover their cost of living in the UK. If you will be studying on a course that is 9 months or more, the Home Office will expect to see that you have sufficient money to cover your living expenses for 9 months - this is £9135, in addition to any unpaid tuition fees. You can provide this financial evidence in a number of different ways, but the main options are:
Bank statements or letters from a bank account in your own name - this can be a UK or Overseas bank account as long as the bank is acceptable to the Home Office
Bank Statements or letters from a bank account that is in the name of your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) - if using your parents account you will need to provide additional evidence of the relationship between you and your parents (your Birth Certificate) and a consent letter from your parents confirming you can use their money.
Official Financial Sponsorship Letter - this might include a University, International Government, International Business etc. Again the Immigration Rules and Guidance provide information about who can be an Official Financial Sponsor.
- If you are providing evidence from a bank account, you must ensure that your statement/letters show the money has been held in the account for a minimum of 28 days and that the last transaction date is recent at the time of submitting your application online (it cannot be more than 31 days before the date you submit your application). You should keep the money in your bank account until your new visa has been returned, unless you have used the money to pay for tuition fees or living costs.
?Your visa is highly likely to be refused if you cannot provide the correct financial evidence so please make sure you seek advice if you have any concerns or questions and leave plenty of time to request and receive these documents from your bank.
YOUR PREVIOUS QUALIFICATIONS - Your CAS will state whether the University has required any evidence of your previous studies to issue you an offer to study your new course. If your CAS states any previous qualifications have been used to offer you a place on your course, you will need to provide evidence in the form of Original Certificates or Transcripts of Results with your Student application. You may also be required to show evidence of an English Language qualification.
YOUR POLICE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE - Some students are required to register with the Police during their stay in the UK. If this is a condition of your visa it will be highlighted either in the information sent with your BRP/response to your previous application or stated on your visa or BRP. It is extremely important that if registration with the police is a condition of your visa, that you contact the police within 7 days to register and again to update any changes to your circumstances on your certificate. It is a breach of your visa conditions if you don't keep your Police Registration certificate up to date and your visa could be refused as a result of failing to register. You can find further information about who is required to register and how on the University's web pages, here.
YOUR ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY APPROVAL SCHEME CERTIFICATE (ATAS) - Depending on the type of study you will be doing in the UK, you may be required to get approval from the Foreign Commonwealth Office. Your CAS from the University will confirm if you are required to have approval for studying on your course and if so, you will need to apply for an ATAS Certificate on the following webpage, here. Please note applications may take a number of weeks (a minimum of 20 working days) to be processed so you should allow at least 6 weeks before your visa expires for your ATAS application to be decided.
Other documents may be required and the above should not be considered an exhaustive list. If you are unsure of what documents you will need, please contact SU Advice to book an appointment where you can discuss this with an adviser.
What is the process for applying?
- Complete an online application form - you will need to have your CAS before you are able to submit your application.
- Collect your documents as per the Home Office (UKVI) requirements.
- Once you are sure your application is filled in correctly and you have all the necessary documents, you can pay for your application. You will need to pay the relevant application fee, a Biometric Enrolment Fee and your Immigration Health Surcharge fee online in order to submit your application.
- Book an appointment at one of the UKVI Service Centres - you can either scan and upload copies of your documents to the Home Office before the appointment, or have your documents scanned on your behalf at the appointment (please note there may additional fees for your documents to be scanned for you). In either case you should take all your documents with you to the appointment.
- Please be aware, that as a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic, the UKVCAS appointment centres had to close and although many have now reopened, there is still a backlog of cases. The UKVI and Sopra Steria have therefore introduced an app - the UKVCAS IDV app. Once you have submitted your application you may receive an email inviting you to download and use the app to register a photo and to carry out ID verification instead of attending an appointment. Please check your emails (including your junk email folder) regularly.
- Wait for your application to be processed by the Home Office and for your new visa to be issued.
- Provide evidence of your new visa to your University Campus Student Hub.
Please note, that the Home office do not keep any of your original documents whilst your application is being processed. This means you will keep your passport and current visa whilst your application is being processed. You MUST NOT leave the UK during this time as your application will be withdrawn.
HOW LONG WILL AN APPLICATION TAKE TO BE PROCESSED?
The length of time will vary depending on which application route you choose. There are three options available in total and all 3 require you to pay for an application online and book an appointment at one of the UKVI Service Centres. Your adviser can discuss each option with you in more detail if you have any questions:
PLEASE NOTE THAT CURRENTLY THE PRIORITY AND SUPER PRIORITY SERVICES HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AS A RESULT OF THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC.
- STANDARD SERVICE - This is the cheapest of the three options available and currently costs £475 (per applicant). Most applications will be processed and a decision made within 8 weeks of your appointment date.
- PRIORITY SERVICE - This option is more expensive and will cost £975 (per applicant). Most applications will be processed and a decision made within 5 working days of your appointment date.
- SUPER-PRIORITY SERVICE - This is the most expensive of the three options and will cost £1275 (per applicant). Most applications will be processed and a decision made by the next working day after your appointment date, unless your appointment takes place on a weekend in which case this may take 2 working days.
You can find further details of the application routes here. If you have any further questions please contact SU Advice to book an appointment with one of our Advisers. Alternatively, further information and help can be found on the UKCISA website.