How do I extend my Visa?

If you need to extend your visa, please see Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) Team or GCU London who will advise you on the documents required and the online process.

Do I need a National Insurance number?

If you wish to take up any kind of employment in the UK, you need to obtain a national insurance number. You can only do this by phoning Job Centre Plus on 0845 600 0643. If you do not wish to work while you are in the UK, you do not need to obtain this. For more information on national insurance numbers, visit the information page or contact Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) Team or GCU London

Please ensure you read the section on working and employment regulations and our leaflet to protecvt your student visa. Protecting Your Student Visa Status

How many hours am I allowed to work while studying?

You need to check your visa, which will clearly state your what hours you are entitled to work. Under Tier 4, you are permitted to work a maximum of 10 or 20 hours per week (depending on what academic level your course is) during term-time, and full time outside term-time. The working week calculation begins on a Monday.

It is your responsibility to find out from your school when your term-time is, and if you have any doubts, please see Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) Team. It is illegal to work more hours than permitted on your visa; if you do so, both you and your employer can face serious penalties. If you are on a Short Term Study visa, you are not permitted to work at all.

If you think that the working conditions on your visa are incorrect, please contact the VISA team or GCU London for further advice.

How many hours am I allowed to work after my studies have ended?

With Tier 4, you are permitted to work full-time outside term-time, including after your studies have ended (provided they have ended on time, and not earlier than planned).

How do I apply for a Schengen visa?

Schengen visas are used for travelling to certain parts of Europe. You should make the application to the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit. If you intend to visit more than one country, you should make the application to the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to spend the most time in, or that you will arrive in first. 

For more information, see VISA's webpage on Travel while on a student visa

How do I apply for a visa to other countries (outside the schengen area)?

You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the country you are travelling to for details on how to apply. Visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for a list of embassies in the UK.

How do I pay for a visa application?

For all applications made online (either in the UK or abroad), including print-and-send applications, the payment is taken online via credit or debit card. For other applications with a paper form, you must pay by postal order or bank draft. Debit/credit card payments often fail (even if enough money is in the account) meaning that the entire application is rejected and sent back to you. Postal orders and bank drafts are the only way to ensure that your payment is successful.

Applications processed through the VISA Team are paid by credit/debit cards including the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Immigration Health Surcharge

You may need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘immigration health surcharge’) as part of your immigration application.

This amount is a single payment and applicants will be charged the annual amount for each year of the maximum period of leave which could be granted under the immigration rules.  If the period of leave includes part of a year that is more than 6 months, the full annual amount is payable ie £150 for students and dependants per year. If this period of leave includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for that part of a year is half the specified amount, ie £75 for students and dependants.

Please be aware that the Immigration Health Surcharge will increase to £300/year (or £150 per 6 months) later in 2018. There is no confirmation of the exact date yet.

Note that the Order refers to length of leave, not length of course, so the additional periods at the start and end of a course are taken into account when calculating the immigration health charge.

You will be required to make the payment during the online process of submitting your visa application.

Is there any guidance available for the photographs required for a visa application?

Yes. The Home Office release strict guidance on acceptable photographs, available here. There are shops in Glasgow City Centre where you can get these taken, and we can direct you to them. You cannot use old ones as they need to be taken within the last month on the date we send your application. A VISA advisor will check your photographs to ensure they meet the requirements. 

If you send incorrect photographs, your application will be rejected as invalid.

What is a rejected application?

If you make a visa application and there is a problem with the payment, or there are essential parts of the form missing, then the UKVI will reject the application and return it to you as invalid. If an application is returned to you after your previous leave has expired, then you are no longer protected by the leave that extends your previous permission whilst your new application is in progress. The reasons for a rejected application vary, but the most common is that the payment is not taken (most often, debit/credit card payments fail) or that your photos do not meet the requirements.  Please email the VISA Team or GCU London if you have rejected application. 

Important: there is a charge of £25 for processing a rejected application.

What is a refused application?

A refused application is one where the UKVI have accepted your payment, form and documents, but decided that you do not meet the requirements of the immigration rules for that category. You may have the right to request an Administrative Review of a refusal decision, depending on the the type of visa that you applied for, and when you made the application. One of GCU's responsibilities as a Tier 4 Sponsor is to keep its visa refusal rates below a certain level. This is why it is mandatory to apply through Visa Immigration Support and Advice (VISA) Team if you are applying in the UK.  Please email the VISA Team or GCU London if you have refused application.

If your CAS was issued by Admissions please contact them on immediately if you visa is refused including your Student ID and a scanned copy of every page of the refusal letter.

What kind of bank statements are acceptable as evidence of maintenance?

This really depends on which bank you hold an account with. You should always request original statements to be sent to your home address, as this is the safest way to ensure that they will be acceptable.

Some banks will issue statements in-branch, but these often do not meet the requirements. If you have online banking, some banks will endorse your printed statements with a covering letter or stamp. The most important advice we can give you on your maintenance and bank statements is prepare early.

What if my documents are not in English?

If you are submitting original documents, such as qualifications, birth certificate or bank statements which are not in English or Welsh you must provide an official translation.

If you are in the UK the original must be accompanied by a fully certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. This translation must include:

  • details of the translator/translation company’s credentials; and
  • confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document; and the translator/translation company’s contact details. It must also be dated and include the original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company.

Please contact or for details of translation companies available in Glasgow and London.

If you are outside the UK the original must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by the Home Office. The original translation must contain confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the date of the translation, the translator/an authorised official of the translation company’s full name and signature, and the translator/translation company’s contact details.


How long does my application take to process?

An application for a Tier 4 student visa can take up to twelve weeks to process. In some cases it may take longer.

Should I keep a record of all my previous UK addresses and the dates I moved in/out?

Yes. If you need to update your Police Registration Certificate each new address must be recorded. It is advisable to keep a record of all addresses for future applications as evidence of your UK immigration history.


I want to go home/abroad during my studies, how do I do this?

If you wish to to go home during university vacation time (either back home, or to another country for a holiday), you are entitled to do this. However, it is your responsibility to arrange a visa for the country you are visiting (if applicable), and ensure that you have you have valid leave to re-enter the UK. Please see the VISA Team for more advice on this. If you want to travel during term-time (for personal or academic reasons), this must be authorised by your School. You must get a Permission To Leave form from your Programme Coordinator.

My family would like to come to the UK for my graduation. What is the process?

In order for your family to come to the UK to visit you for your graduation, or other, they will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa application from their own country. You will also be required to submit a personal letter to accompany their application.

You'll find more information on our page on inviting your family to visit.

I am on a Tier 4 visa. Can I stay in the UK for my graduation?

Most students' visa expiry dates will be a few months after the end of their course. This is given by the UKVI as a short time extension to your visa after your studies designed for resits if required, or to seek employment under a new visa category if you have completed your course on time. If your current Tier 4 leave allows you to stay for your graduation ceremony, then you can do so. If your visa expires before your graduation, there is unfortunately no way to extend it. If you wish to attend your graduation ceremony, you must leave the UK before your visa expires, and apply to come back as a Standard Visitor.

Financial difficulty in final year of study

'Churches Together In Britain and Ireland' has a fund that offers financial help to students from developing countries who run into unexpected financial difficulty in the last six months of their studies, so that they can complete and graduate.

Eligible students should intend to return home after their current course and be able to show that their qualification will benefit such countries. Awards are made to applicants undertaking full-time frst degree or postgraduate studies lasting a minimum of one academic year.

Further information including criteria and how to apply can be found on their website:

What types of work placements I permitted to take?

If you are a Tier 4 student you will be permitted to undertake a work placement as part of your course, providing it is an intergral and assessed part of the course. If you are permitted to have a work placement as part of your course, then the time you spend on it must not exceed 50% of the total length of your course.

GCU, as your Tier 4 sponsor, will remain responsible for you throughout your work placement.

Do I need a UK bank account?

A UK bank account is not compulsory for living your life as a student, but it is very useful indeed.

The UK Council for International Student Afairs UKCISA has written a comprehensive guide to banking in the UK for new international students.
It includes advice on banking and visas, cash machine etiquette and student essentials that require a bank account.