Visa - Apply from outside the UK

If you are applying for a UK visa from outside the UK, this is called Entry Clearance.

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

If you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and are coming to study at Glasgow Caledonian University, then you will require a visa.

Please be aware that the website to indicate that non-visa nationals do not require a short-term study visa to enter the UK. To clarify, a non-visa national coming to participate in a course for fewer than 6 months does require UK immigration permission but can secure the correct visa at port of entry to the UK rather than in advance of travel.

If you are coming to study a full-time programme as an undergraduate, postgraduate or research student, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa. If you are only coming to study a short course of 6 months or less (or 11 months or less to study English Language), coming as an exchange student for one trimester, or coming to repeat/resit modules or exams, you may only need to apply for a Short-Term Study visa. If you are not sure whether you should apply for Tier 4 (General) or Short-Term Study visa, please contact us: or GCU London:

How do I apply for a visa?

Check here and select your country to see if you need a UK visa. If you need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa, you will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies). This is an electronic document with a unique number that you must use in your visa application. It will be emailed to you by GCU Admissions after you have accepted an unconditional offer and paid a deposit on your fees and then completed the CAS data check.

To find out how to apply for your visa, visit the UKVI website. The fee is £348 for applicant and each dependent. We have a helpful guide for the online visa application which can be downloaded here: Guide to visa application outside the UK

You may have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge when applying for your Tier 4 visa so please check the section below for more information.

You will need to fill out the visa application form (either online or on paper, depending which country you are applying from), pay the application fee and prepare your supporting documents. You will then be given an appointment at your local Visa Application Centre to submit these documents. In some countries, the Visa Application Centre is run by a commercial company (such as VFS Global or Worldbridge), but they do not have any influence over the visa process itself; your application will still be considered by Entry Clearance Officers working for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

As part of the process, you may also be interviewed. The person interviewing you will be looking to confirm that your English is up to the required standard (without the need for an interpreter). They may also ask you about why you chose to study in the UK and at GCU in particular, and a little about your subject area. You may also be asked about your life and family at home, and your immigration history (particularly if you have been to the UK before).

Useful information on the interview, and on the whole application process can also be found on the following UKCISA website . Our useful leaflet preparing for your Credibility Interviews can be downloaded here.

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.

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.

Documents used to obtain your CAS

If you have recently been accepted onto, and issued a CAS for a new programme of study at GCU, you will need to provide the original qualification documents named on your CAS with your Tier 4 application. These will most likely include degree certificates, academic transcripts or other awards from previous study. You should read your CAS carefully to ensure you submit all the correct documents, and if you have any questions, speak with a VISA adviser. All documents submitted must be:

  • Original (no photocopies)
  • In English or if not in English, accompanied by an official translation by a certified translator. For more information on certified translation companies, seek guidance for Glasgow from the VISA Team: or GCU London:
How much money do I need?

If you are applying for a visa to study in the UK for the first time you must show that you have money for your course fees plus: £1,015 for living costs for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months for GCU in Glasgow (£1,265 at GCU London). The cost for this visa application is £348.

Please check here for your country's lists of financial institutions if included, to confirm your financial statements are accepted or those that do not satisfactorily verify financial statements.

The recommended UKVI currency convertor is OANDA. Please use this to calculate all fees and living costs required in £ sterling to ensure you have sufficient funds.

How long will it take for my visa to be processed?

It is essential that you apply for your visa in plenty of time before your course start date. This also includes ensuring you have ATAS clearance (if applicable - click here for more details) before you apply. How long your application will take to be processed depends on what country you are applying from, and what time of year you apply (July to September and December to January tend to be busy times). For processing times in your home country please visit UKVI Visa Processing Times.

You cannot travel to the UK until your visa has been granted. If you think you may not be able to arrive in time for your start date, then you must email Admissions and Enquiry Team and mark your email as urgent. In some rare cases you may be able to join your studies late, but this is at the discretion of the academic school. In all other cases you will be given the option to defer to the next intake.

What if my application is refused?

If the Entry Clearance Officer refuses your application you will be issued with a refusal notice explaining the exact reason(s) he/she has refused you. You must email Admissions and Enquiry Team or Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) Team: or GCU London: immediately with the subject "VISA REFUSAL". Please scan each page of your refusal notice and attach it to the email. Also quote your Student ID number.

If your Tier 4 Entry Clearance application is refused and you disagree with the reason(s), you do not have a full right of appeal, but instead you are given the opportunity for an "Administrative Review". This is where a senior Entry Clearance Officer reviews the decision and overturns it if he/she agrees that the refusal was incorrect. VISA may also be able to help if you believe the decision is incorrect, please contact the team immediately.

In some cases you may be able to make a second Tier 4 application after you have been refused. If you do this, you will need a new CAS; you cannot re-apply with the one for which you have been refused. See the UKVI's guide to document information for Tier 4 for advice on the type of documents you should submit with a Tier 4 application to avoid being refused.

Entering the UK with Entry Clearance Visa

If you have obtained your visa in your home country, you must ensure your visa is stamped upon entry to the UK. As part of your continued requirement to adhere to GCU student and visa conditions, your visa must be stamped with your date of entry to activate it.

You must also present your CAS number at the port of entry into the UK along with your documents. Please ensure you have this available when you travel.

If your visa is not stamped on entry, you must present yourself to an immigration official at the airport in the UK and explain that you have not had your visa stamped. It is advisable to keep copies of your flight booking and tickets for your personal record to confirm your date of entry to the UK in addition to the stamp on your passport.

If you enter via the European Common Travel Area including the Republic of Ireland then you will not clear UK immigration. We therefore, highly recommend you do not book travel via Dublin as this may cause issues for your entry clearance and ability to study. If you do travel via this route you must retain your flight booking confirmation and boarding passes. These documents must remain with your passport for all future travel as evidence of your confirmed entry and activation of your Tier 4 visa.

The University will monitor this during Registraton and Tier 4 Attendance Checkpoints.

Please contact Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) or GCU London for further information.

What do I need to do when I arrive in the UK?

Your visa will be issued as a vignette (sticker) in your passport. If your application was for leave for more than six months then the vignette in your passport will only be valid for 30 days.

Your 30-day vignette will be accompanied by a letter. When you enter the UK you should show the Border Force Officer your 30-day vignette and this letter. 

You must collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) from a post office within ten days of arriving in the UK. 

You can find more information on the UKVI guidance document.


Applying for a T4 visa outside UK to continue your studies - CAS

You have left the UK and planning to return to the UK to continue your studies. As you are applying for your T4 Student Visa from outside the UK, you will be required to provide satisfactory evidence of a valid visa application before your CAS can be released.


  • You will submit an online CAS request application via the online store. Registry will notify Visa Immigration Support  and Advice (VISA) Team you are applying out of the country. You will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of £45 when submitting this.
  • You are required to provide evidence you left the UK to VISA, i.e. flight confirmation, entry stamp for your home country, boarding pass etc.
  • VISA will provide visa advice for a Tier 4 Student Visa Application (Entry Clearance).
  • You will be required to provide financial documents to VISA to verify you meet the maintenance requirements under Tier 4 Student Visa.
  • Once VISA have verified your flight evidence and financial documents and confirmed they satisfy visa requirements, VISA will release the CAS. Please note Registry will only send the CAS to the VISA Team to release, the CAS will not be sent to you.
  • Please note if you are returning to the UK for less than 6 months, you will be advised to apply for a Short-Term Study visa and issued a Confirmation of Student Status Letter for Short-Term Study visa from Registry. The University will not issue a CAS.
  • VISA are also able to assist with completing the online application, therefore you can provide log-in details to VISA team and request assistance.

Our leaflet Leaving and Re-entering the UK provides a handy guidance to the process and tips.

Can I return to the UK after I complete my studies?

Your Tier 4 visa is valid until the date of completion of studies according to your CAS with an additional period, normally up to 4 months to allow you time to complete any arrangements e.g Graduation, leisure if you finished in time. If you return to your home country during this period you are strongly advised that UKVI may cancel any remaining time on your visa and you will be refused re-entry to the UK on arrival.

If your Tier 4 visa does not allow you to remain in the UK for your Graduation (within the period following completion of studies) you will be required to return to your home country and apply for a Standard Visitor Visa to re-enter the UK. The VISA Team can advise on the process required.

Do I need to complete Tuberculosis Screening?

Students from some countries coming to the UK for more than 6 months are required to be tested for TB as part of the Entry Clearance application process. If you are a national of a country that appears here, you will need to obtain a testing certificate from an approved clinic and submit it with your application.

You do not need a TB test if you lived for at least 6 months in the country where TB screening is not required by the UK and you been away from that country for no more than 6 months.