The United Kingdom operates a points based immigration system. If you are national of a non-European Economic Area country, including non-visa nationals, and you do not already hold an immigration permission that entitles you to study in the UK you will need to apply for a visa to study at the RVC. The list of countries whose nationals will require a visa prior to travelling is available on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
The Royal Veterinary College holds Highly Trusted Status under Tier 4 of the points based system. With this status we are able to sponsor non-EU/EEA students to study in the UK.
If you are required to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa or Short-term study visa, please read carefully the guidance below:
You can also contact our dedicated student support team about Visa related questions: Advice Centre
An immigration health charge must be paid as part of Tier 4 visa (and other) applications, even if you have your own private medical insurance and do not intend to use the NHS. The charge is £300* (2019/0 entry) for each year or part-year over six months of the visa being applied for, or £150 for part of a year that is less than six months. If you are making a visa application from within the UK, you will be required to pay the health charge even if the period applied for is less than six months. The charge is taken at the point of your Tier 4 Visa application, however more details of how charging (and refunds) are administered can be found on the UKCISA website.
Tier 4 (General) student visa
Students that are studying in the UK for more than 6 months will need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. You can apply at your nearest British Embassy/Consulate or Visa Centre: https://www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre
Full guidance on making a Tier 4 application can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-application-for-uk-visa-as-tier-4-student
You can also view the UKCISA website to help guide you through the application process. When making a Tier 4 (General) student visa application, you will need to ensure you:
- Have paid the application fees
- Hold a valid passport
- Have 2 photographs: You can check photo guidance before taking them.
- Have fulfilled the English Language Requirements: All courses at the RVC have an English language requirement regardless of native/study language. Accepted qualifications/tests.
- Have a CAS from the RVC: you cannot apply for a visa without one; it will only be granted within 3 months of the start of your course and once all other conditions have been met.
- Provide Biometric information (fingerprints and facial image) taken at a Visa Centre.
- Take a Credibility Interview, you may have a short video interview with the Home Office.
- Have accepted an unconditional offer within 3 months before the start of your course. Your visa application start date is the day you complete the online application form and pay the application fees online. It is not the day you take your in-person or biometric appointment.
- Have proof of your qualifications: Include original certificates or transcripts for each of your qualifications, as listed on your CAS, and official translation if it is not in English.
- Fulfil the maintenance requirements: You need to provide proof you have sufficient finances to pay for your tuition fees and a specific amount of money to cover living costs for yourself.
- Check whether you need TB Screening: In some countries, you might also be required to show that you have been screened for tuberculosis (TB). Please check: https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa to confirm if you need to obtain a TB test certificate to apply for a visa.
Obtaining a CAS
A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a unique reference number given to you by the RVC for you to study a specific course at the RVC. This is required for the Tier 4 visa process. The CAS will expire six months after it is issued and is only valid for one visa application. You will receive a CAS by email once you have met all other conditions of your offer. It is important that you check the information listed on your CAS is correct.
It is important to apply for your visa as soon as you receive your CAS in case there are any unexpected delays.
If your visa is refused, you will need to contact the office which issued it to you (e.g. the Admissions Office). If you have applied to more than one institution in the UK, you may hold more than one CAS; please ensure you use the correct CAS in your visa application.
Your eligibility to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa depends on you having the required finances to cover your first year's tuition fees + living costs of £1,265* per month for the first 9 months of your course (£11,385*) in your bank account for at least 28 days.
* Figures correct for 2019/0 entry and should be used as a guide only.
If you are self-financed and will be using your own bank statement as proof of finances, you must prove that you have the total amount of money in cash funds in a bank account in your name. This amount must be kept for at least 28 days in your account before you complete your visa application. Your bank statement must also be dated within 30 days of your application and show your name, account number, date, financial institution's name and logo, amount of finances available and confirmation the funds have been held for at least 28 days.
You can use an online bank statement providing all of the details listed above are covered. However, in support you should also provide an official letter from your bank confirming that the statement is authentic or request that the document is stamped officially by the bank.
You are also eligible to use a parent's bank statement as proof of finances. You must meet the above guidelines mentioned. You will also need to provide your original birth certificate plus a letter of parental consent confirming that the finances will be used for your study purposes. This needs to be written in English.
If you paid any of your tuition fees, over and above the deposit, in advance of your visa application this amount can be shown on your CAS and reduce the amount of funds you are required to keep in your bank account for your tuition fees. Contact the Admissions Office to have your CAS updated.
Using a loan letter
You can use a loan letter as proof of finances but only from a regulated financial institution, the loan letter must confirm you have a loan that is provided by the national government, the state or regional government, or a government-sponsored Student Loan Company. This could also be part of an academic or educational loans scheme. The loan needs to be in your own name and the letter must be dated no more than 6 months before you commence your application. The loan must be available to you before you travel to the UK if you are applying from overseas. An exception is made if the loan is an academic/student loan from your country's national government and will be otherwise released to you by your national government or your education provider upon arrival in the UK.
Financial Sponsored students
If you are sponsored by your government, an international company or another scholarship agency, you will need to provide a letter from the sponsor confirming details of the sponsorship, including the amount you will receive. This should be an official document, stamped and dated by the sponsor within the last 6 months. If you are sponsored by the RVC, your CAS statement must show this, including the amount. If your sponsorship covers all your tuition fees and at least the required amount of maintenance detailed above, you will not need to show a bank statement. If your sponsorship only covers your tuition fees, you will have to provide your bank statement to show the required amount of maintenance.
Applicant with differential documentary requirements (formerly ‘low risk’ applicants)
Nationals from certain countries are not required to include some evidential documents in their application for UK Visas and Immigration. If you are a national of one of these countries you must, however, confirm on your application form that you meet the requirements set out and that you hold documentary evidence in the manner required. The list of exempt countries can be found in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-h-tier-4-documentary-requirements
Short-term study visa
If you are studying in the UK for less than 6 months or re-sitting exams, you are national of a non-European Economic Area country and you do not already hold an immigration permission that entitles you to study in the UK you will need to apply for a 6 month Short-term study visa. Under a Short-term study visa, you are not eligible to work in any capacity in the UK, even in an unpaid or voluntary practise.
Non-visa nationals are not required to apply for a Short-term study visa before travelling to the UK. Instead, non-visa nationals can show their documents to the immigration officials at a UK airport upon arrival and have the visa stamped into their passport.
To confirm if you qualify as a non-visa national please visit the website: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
If you are a non-visa national, you are required to bring to the airport your passport, a letter of support from the RVC, recent formal evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your course, as well as bank statements or loan letters.
If you are a visa national, then you will need to apply for a Short-term study visa before travelling to the UK. You must provide a letter of support from the RVC. You will also need to prove you have finances sufficient to pay your tuition fees if applicable and living costs while in the UK.
In order to apply for a Short-term study visa you need to:
- Complete Application form VAF1A
- Pay application fee
- Hold a valid passport
- Have 2 passport-sized photographs
- Have a letter of support from the RVC
- Have evidence that you have sufficient funds for your proposed visit. If your parents are funding your visit, you will need to provide documentation of their finances and their relationship to you.
- Have evidence of suitable accommodation
- Make sure all documents are translated into English
You may also need to supply: ·
- Tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
- Contact details for at least one parent or guardian in your home country if you’re under 18 years old
EU/EEA and Swiss students need to be mindful of their changing citizen rights in light of Brexit and the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. For further information, please visit our Brexit intranet pages.