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Extending Your Student Visa

Please note that Tier 4 changed to the "Student" route as of 9am on Monday 5 October 2020. After this date, all new applications made will be under the "Student" route.

When to make a Student visa extension

If you need to extend your Student Visa, you should start getting your documents ready at least three months before your current visa expires. Not everyone can extend their Student Visa in the UK. You need to check the following if you can extend your visa in the UK or you need to apply from your home country.

  • If you are applying for a visa to start a new degree, and this degree starts more than 28 days after your current visa expires, you will not be able to extend your visa within the UK. You would need to return home and apply there.
  • You cannot apply for a Student Visa in the UK if you currently have a Standard Visitor Visa or a Short-Term Visa.
  • Make sure you apply for an extension before your visa expires. If you apply after it expires you will be an 'overstayer'. This can have a serious impact on you starting your degree at the RCA and your visa application. If you have overstayed please contact us immediately at [email protected] for further information.
  • Meet the Home Office's 'academic progression' requirement; this requirement may mean that you cannot apply in the UK, even if you meet other requirements and you will have to apply from your home country.

How to make a Student Visa renewal application in the UK

If you already have a student visa to study at the RCA and need to extend this to continue your studies you first need to request for a new Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from the Registry Team.

  • We recommend you do this three months before your current visa expires.
  • Make sure you attach a scanned copy of your passport photo page and your most recent UK visa to your CAS request with details of why you require a new CAS. You may need to get a supporting letter from your Head of Programme.
  • Once checks have been made the Registry team will email you a new CAS to your RCA email address. 
If your Student Visa is sponsored by another university, you must apply for a new visa sponsored by the RCA before you can start your degree here.

Make sure that:

Required documents 

The Student Visa route requires 70 points made up from:

Study 50 Points

  • CAS for studies requirement 
  • Course requirement
  • Qualification requirement
  • Level of study requirement
  •  Place of study requirement

Financial requirement: 10 points

  • If you or your dependant partner, or dependant child have been living in the UK for 12 months or more at the time of your new applications you will automatically meet the financial requirements. This means you do not need to provide financial evidence with your application. If you are applying from outside the UK financial requirement will still be applicable.
  • If you are a Graduate Diploma Student you might need to provide evidence of the financial requirements to check please email [email protected]
Although there is not a requirement to submit financial documents when extending your visa you will still need to declare that you have the required funds to cover tuition fees and living costs. The caseworker could request you to provide evidence of your maintenance requirement.

You must declare you can demonstrate maintenance of:

  • Living costs of £12,006 (£1,334 per month up to nine months ) 
  • Living costs of £7,605 for each dependant (£845 per month up to nine months)

Documents you provide to demonstrate your maintenance funds can be original or electronic

Appendix Finance sets out the requirements for the level of funds and length of time they must be held

English requirement: 10 points

English Language requirement For English language requirements click here

Additional documents required

Additional documents will be needed at the point of making your visa application.

  • Passport(s)/travel document(s)
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) (you will be required to pay this once you submit your online application).
  • English language ability (as stated in your CAS) the Immigration Health Surcharge will increase from £300 to £470 per year
  • Sponsor letter (if applicable – if you are sponsored for living costs and/or tuition fees then you will need a document proving this)
  • A letter from your parent/legal guardian if they are supporting you financially, and evidence of their relationship to you
  • All documents provided should be in English. Officially certified translations are accepted where necessary
  • Application Fee
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable). You must make sure that your Police Registration Certificate is up-to-date when making your application.   

Check and send service 

The International Student Adviser can help students apply for their Student visa while in the UK.

At your appointment, they will check that your application has been completed correctly and that you have the correct documents for submission. We provide you with a registration form that you need to use at RCA enrolment to evidence that you have made a visa application.

If you would like us to help you check the application. You must make sure that you do not submit and pay for the application. Just complete sections 1, and 2 only and save your application. Do not tick the consent box on the 'Declaration' page of the online form as you will not be able to correct any mistakes beyond this stage.

This service is via appointment only.  To book an appointment, please email Student Support

Submitting your application

When you have had your form and documents checked you should agree to the declaration and select 'next'. You will need access to a printer at this point in order to print out your application.   

You will then be given an option to either send your application by post or make an appointment at a Public Enquiry Office.

Application Fee: 

  • Standard service: £475 GBP  
  • Priority service: £975 GBP 
  • Premium service: £1,275 GBP

You will be required to pay for it online in advance. Once payment has been successfully taken you will need to print the cover sheet, biometric letter and sign the declaration. 

Your Biometric Letter

When you print out your biometric letter you or your (dependants) will be required to go and have your fingerprints and a special type of photograph taken. This is called 'enrolling your biometric data'. Your application to extend your visa will not be processed until you have done this.   

How long will it take?

Applications submitted by post will have a decision within 8 weeks. However, during busy periods (September to November) it can take longer.

Get a faster decision on your application

If you want to get a decision more quickly, you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.

You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday, 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Please note: Your BRP will be sent by 'signed for' service so you should ensure that someone is at your home address to sign for the delivery.

Travel outside the UK before you receive a decision

Applicants under the new system keep their passport throughout the application process. If you leave the Common Travel Area (the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and travel on the passport you used in your application before the Home Office makes a decision, you are automatically treated as having withdrawn your application. 

Your immigration health surcharge should be refunded, but your application fee will not be refunded. You will usually have to make another immigration application before returning to the UK.

It is important that you speak to a student adviser before you withdraw your application as doing so is likely to have consequences both for your current immigration status and for any future immigration applications you may make.

Your application has been returned as invalid. 

The Home Office recently introduced a set of new validity requirements for visa applications under the Points Based Immigration System. Your application must meet all of the validity requirements listed in Appendix ST 1.1 - 1.7 of the immigration rules. 

If your application is invalid, the UKVI will send you a letter telling you why your application was invalid. Your application fee will be refunded to the payment card you used for your application (minus a £25 administrative fee). 

If your previous Tier4/student visa is still valid after receiving an invalid decision form the UKVI you may be able to make a new application before your permission expires. 

Please note an invalid application doesn’t extend your permission to be in the UK. It is important that you do not apply for new student visa very close to your current visa expiry date as an invalid application could result in you being an overstayer in the UK.

If your application is returned as invalid, you must contact [email protected] and [email protected] immediately so than an advisor can provide you will guidance and advice on how to proceed. 

Overstaying in the UK

Overstaying in the UK is a criminal offence, therefore, you must arrange to leave the UK, or make an application to extend your stay before your visa expires. If you submit your student visa before your expiry date then your permission in the UK will extend until a decision has been made. 

If your visa application is invalid and your current visa has expired and there is no grace period once your visa expires, You will have no legal permission to be in the UK until you get a new visa.

This will mean that:

  • You cannot work or study (the University will suspend your enrolment)
  • You may need to pay for any healthcare that you receive
  • Your bank may close your account
  • You will need to state on each future UK visa application that you overstayed your leave. 

You cannot make a visa application in the UK once your visa has expired, unless:

  • You can prove that the overstay was for reasons beyond your control eg. hospitalisation or The Home office website is not working

Your student visa application has been returned is invalid

In the case is invalid or reasons beyond your control, you will be permitted to submit an application up to 14 days after your permission to stay has expired.  

Overstay of up to 30 days

You will only be able to make a new application to return to the UK if your period of overstay was less than 30 days, and you left the UK voluntarily and at your own expense.  

Overstay of more than 30 days

If you overstay for more than 30 days in the UK, you will be banned from returning for one to 10 years. 

Contact us

Please speak to an adviser to seek full advice about your options as early as possible to avoid overstaying. This could seriously affect future applications to the UK and other countries.