Overseas Students

We at Brink Riley are proud to provide an outstanding service to overseas students all over the world. We understand that it can be overwhelming moving to another part of the world and we are here to help you each step of the way creating your home from home.

We have an online reporting system which can be used in a wide range of different languages making it easier for you to report any problems you may have.

Do I need a VISA to study in the UK?

If you are an EEA or Swiss national then you do not need permission to enter the UK or to study here.

If you already have immigration permission to come to (or remain in) the UK in a non-study related category this might allow you to study. However, some immigration categories prohibit study, you should therefore seek advice from an adviser at the institution where you intend to study.

If you have already been accepted onto a course of study there are two types of visa for studying in the UK: short-term student visas and Tier 4 student visas.

If you are coming to the UK to study for a maximum of six months (or 11 months if you will be studying English language), you may be able to enter as a ‘short-term student’. For some nationalities (“non-visa nationals”) who come to the UK as a ‘short-term student’, it is not compulsory to obtain entry clearance before travelling to the UK as long as your course is less than six months long.

However, if you choose to come as a short-term student you will be much more restricted than if you come as a Tier 4 student. You will not be allowed to do any work or work placement (even if it is part of a course or unpaid work). You will also not be allowed to apply to extend your stay in the UK.

See our information about Short-term student visas for further details.

If the short-term student route is not appropriate for you then you must obtain entry clearance as a Tier 4 student before travelling to the UK, regardless of your nationality.

Where can I study as a Tier 4 (General) student?

As a Tier 4 (General) student, you can study at any school, college or university which has been granted a Tier 4 (General) sponsor licence by the Home Office. Only institutions with a Tier 4 sponsor licence can issue you with aconfirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS), which you must obtain in order to apply for immigration permission as a Tier 4 (General) student.

Each institution granted a Tier 4 sponsor licence will be given a sponsor rating, either: Tier 4 Sponsor; or Probationary Sponsor. The courses that an institution can offer to international students will depend upon their Tier 4 sponsor rating. Institutions with Tier 4 Sponsor status can offer a wider range of courses than Probationary Sponsors.

You can check which institutions have a Tier 4 (General) or (Child) sponsor licence, and how they are rated, on theRegister of Tier 4 Sponsors (approved education providers) [^].

I already have student immigration permission for the UK that is still valid. Do I really need to apply again?

In most cases, yes.

If you applied for your current immigration permission before Tier 4 was introduced on 31 March 2009, and it is still valid, you can use it to continue your full-time studies in the UK. If your permission will expire before the end of your new course, check with your institution that you will be able to apply to extend your stay under Tier 4 to complete the course. You will need to check that (a) they have a Tier 4 licence, and (b) the course is one for which they can sponsor you under Tier 4.

Otherwise, if you have a Tier 4 (General) visa that is still valid, you can use it to continue your full-time studies with the same Tier 4 sponsor if:

  • they still have a Tier 4 sponsor license; and
  • they are happy to continue sponsoring you under Tier 4; and
  • they have not reported you to the Home Office as having finished your course, interrupted your studies, or having not enrolled. If they have reported you, it is likely that your visa has been “curtailed” and is no longer valid.

If you are in your home country, we strongly advise that you check these three issues specifically with your Tier 4 sponsor before you attempt to enter the UK using Tier 4 immigration permission issued for previous study.  You should also check with your Tier 4 sponsor if you are intending to study a different course from the one that your visa was granted for, since this may not be permitted, depending upon when you applied for your current Tier 4 visa.

Even if your existing immigration permission does allow you to enter the UK to continue your studies, it is often more straightforward to apply for a new Tier 4 visa for your new course before you travel to the UK. Your situation and intentions will be clearer to UK Border Force officials, and you will not need to make a leave to remain application to continue your course once you are back in the UK, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

If you are progressing to a new course with a new Tier 4 sponsor, and you are travelling outside the UK before you start the new course, it is safest to apply for and obtain your new Tier 4 leave before you leave the UK, or if you are visiting your home country, to apply for a new Tier 4 visa while you are there. You can use the Home Office’s visa processing times tool [^] to check current processing times in your home country.

If you cannot do either of the above, the Home Office has told us that you will be allowed to re-enter the UK using your current visa as long as you have a CAS from your new sponsor institution, and they have Tier 4 Sponsor status on the Home Office’s Register of Tier 4 Sponsors [^]. If you rely on this provision, it is important that you carry a print-out of your CAS statement in your hand luggage, so you can show it to the border force officer if they ask for evidence of your studies. You might also want to carry with you the relevant page of the Home Office’s Register of Sponsors showing that your new institution has Tier 4 Sponsor status.

Do I need a Guarantor?

A Guarantor is an individual who signs a legal binding contract stating that they agree to pay the rent and guarantee the behavior of a Tenant should they default. All students that wish to pay their rent by an installment plan will require a UK based Guarantor.

Should you not be able to provide a qualified Guarantor Housing Hand is an International Guarantor Service who provide a service to all students that cannot provide a suitable UK based Guarantor. For more information visit www.HousingHand.co.uk