International @Campuslife provides visa and immigration advice
Information about how to apply for a visa in your home country
Timings and Process Overview
The information in this section is for applicants applying for their Student visa outside the UK for EU, EEA and Swiss students only.
If you are not EU, EEA or Swiss then see our information about Applying for student visa outside the UK
If you are applying for a Student visa in the UK, you will need to make this application via the University’s International @Campuslife team. Please see our information about Extending your visa in the UK.
If you are applying for a Student Route visa you need to wait until your visa has been granted before travelling to the UK. You will not be able to enrol and you will have to leave the UK to regulate your immigration permission.
If you are planning to come and study in the UK you should start preparing for, your Student visa application as soon as possible.
When should I make my application?
You can submit an application for Entry Clearance under the new Student Route 6 months before the start of your course and a minimum of 6-8 weeks before your planned travel date (8-12 weeks for those with families).
However, you can start preparing for your application at any time. You do not need to wait for a CAS statement before you start preparing.
How to make my application?
The visa application itself can be broken down into stages which are further detailed in the tabs below:
- Preparing and gathering documentation
- Verifying their identity through the ID Check app, completing the Student visa application form, and paying relevant fees (online)
- Uploading documents if required.
- Receiving a Digital Immigration Status formation on how you can prove digital status can be found in the relevant section below
Make sure you are also downloading and reading the extra visa information leaflets on these pages. They will help you to work out exactly how much money you need for your visa application, what documents you need and how you can reduce the risk of being refused because of your financial documents.
Make sure that you are also using the leaflet ICL Guide to documents for Student Visa to check all your documents meet UKVI requirements. Printouts and scans are all fine- except for your passport which has to be uploaded from the original. Documents not in English should be translated and you will find further details about that in the Guide linked to above.
You should be prepared to provide:
- Passport (current and any previous) or other valid travel documentation
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number
- For visa applications for new courses, your CAS will be issued by the International Admissions team. There is University guidance on Obtaining a CAS from the Admissions team to help you through that process, so please make sure that you are reading/following that carefully to avoid any delays. For students making an application to extend their visa for a course they are already studying, you will need to contact MyUniHub and complete a CAS request form. You will need the unique CAS number on the CAS to include in your online application form.
- Credit or debit card to pay the Visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) payment as part of the online application process
- Evidence of finances (and related documents) *
You must be able to prove that you have enough money to support your UK studies. This varies from student to student so do not assume you know how much you need but use our simple Finance IHS Visa fees information sheetleaflet to work out the exact amount. In essence you will need:
- Fees + living costs (£9,207) + visa application fee + Immigration Health Surcharge
- Proof of progress/academic qualifications as stated on your CAS *
You will need to include the transcripts and certificates of any qualifications (or English Language assessments) that are listed on your CAS statement.
*Please note: EU/EEA and Swiss students can apply without submitting financial and other documents up front. However, we would always recommend you have these available, This is known as differentiation (sometimes referred to as 'low risk' applications)
Being under differentiation does not mean you are exempt from the requirements, and you could still be asked for them during the visa application process.
Forms and Fees
Completing the Student form
You will need to complete an online Student visa application form on https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/apply
We have provided a complete question by question screenshot Guide to completing Student Route Form Overseas Autumn 21.
You will be invited to verify your identity using the UKVI ID Check app to scan your passport so you will not have to go to a Visa Application Centre to give your biometrics and you will receive a digital immigration status rather than a physical visa (see section below about Proving your digital immigration status).
Once you have completed your personal information on the form, you will be directed to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is compulsory and payable immediately by debit or credit card. You cannot progress and submit your application until it is paid. You can work out how much you can expect to pay in the Finance IHS Visa fees information sheet.
You will be asked to make a further payment online. This is the visa application fee. Once you pay this fee your application is considered as having been submitted and you cannot go back to make any changes. Make sure you only make this payment when you are ready. The date you make this payment will be considered your date of application by the UKVI.
After you have made this payment, you will have a Checklist of documents to upload. You should not need to upload qualifications and finances. You should see this on the checklist form:-
You do not need to provide evidence of your qualification or finances as you are a national from a country that is exempt from these requirements.
In some cases, we may request this evidence when considering your application.
If you do not provide the evidence when requested, your application may be refused.
How to use the UK Immigration ID check APP
You must start your application and create your UK Visas and Immigration account online at GOV.UK before you use the app.
Using the QR code
A QR code is a black and white square barcode that connects the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to your application. You can find the QR code on the web page for your application when you select ‘Confirm your identity’. It does not appear in your identity document.
If you are completing all of your application on a smartphone, you will not need to scan a QR code.
QR code example:
Scanning the QR code
- Open the app and select ‘QR code’ when you are asked how you are connecting the app.
- Hold your device in front of the code and move it closer until the code is recognised.
Using the connection code
If you cannot use the QR code, you can use a connection code instead.
Open the app and select ‘Connection code’ when you are asked how you are connecting to the app. You will be given a connection code that you will need to enter on the web page of your application.
Scan your document
Make sure your document can be read by the app. The following symbol shows that your document has a biometric chip and can be read by the app.
Scanning a passport
Take a picture of the photo page of your passport using your phone’s camera. The full page must be inside the frame, including the 2 lines of numbers and letters at the bottom of the page. Make sure your phone camera is focused on the text on the page.
The app will prompt you to adjust your phone to make sure you capture your document correctly. These prompts will appear in a text box at the top of your screen.
Make sure you include the entire photo page in your picture.
Try taking the photo of your document at arm’s length if you are having problems.
Check your document’s information
Remove any cases or covers from your document and phone.
Select the ‘check now’ button in the app when you are ready to start checking your document.
Place the phone on top of your document when the app tells you to ‘check your document’s information’. If the volume on your phone is turned up, you will hear a beep when your document has been recognised.
Move your phone around the document until the app recognises it. The chip is located in different places in different documents.
When the app has successfully read the chip in your document, the screen will say ‘information checked’. Do not move the phone until this message appears and the check is complete.
If the app does not recognise your document, the check will time out and the screen will say ‘information not found’. If this happens, you should slowly move your phone around the document until the app recognises it.
If you are using a passport and you continue to have problems, place the phone on the reverse cover or the photo page.
If the app cannot read the chip
If the app cannot read the chip in your document, you can choose to confirm your identity another way.
If you choose to confirm your identity another way, you’ll need to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.
You must travel to the UK within 90 days if you go to a VAC to prove your identity.
Scan your face
The screen will flash as it scans your face. Hold your phone’s camera in front of your face until the scanning is complete.
You can skip this step and provide different evidence to prove your identity if a flashing light may cause you difficulties. To do this, go to the ‘Find out more’ menu and select ‘Skip this step’.
If you are 10 or younger, you will not be asked to scan your face.
Take a photo of yourself
- be in even lighting, against a plain, light-coloured background
- keep your head straight and look directly at the camera
- have a neutral expression and make sure your eyes are open and visible
- include your head, shoulders and upper body (you can extend your arms or ask someone to take the photo for you)
You must not:
- have anything covering your face or eyes
- wear a head covering (unless it is for religious or medical reasons)
- have any shadows, objects or people behind you
Completing your application
Once you have confirmed your identity, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or any smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
Once you have completed your application, you do not need to keep the app downloaded on your phone. If your application is successful, you can travel to the UK using your digital immigration status. You will not get a vignette (sticker) in your passport.
If you need help using the app
If you have problems using the app, for example scanning your chip or completing your application, you can call the help centre.
All times are UK local time. The contact centre is closed on bank holidays.
Telephone: +44 300 790 6268 - select option 3
Telephone: +44 203 875 4669 if you are unable to dial 0300 numbers
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm
What happens next?
How long will my application take?
A standard application outside the UK is supposed to take around 15 working days. Although this is sometimes longer at peak times (September-February) when demand for appointments is high. You can check the usual visa processing time for your country on the Gov.UK website but do not worry if your visa takes longer than this at the moment.
You should allow a minimum of 15 working days for a decision on an application if applying for the standard service, however in some instances where a case is complex it may take longer to process that application. Please also be aware of any local covid restrictions that could limit the availability of appointments.
The Home Office have sent notifications that they are prioritising visa assessment for those travelling to the UK from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and this is impacting on other routes. As this is a UK Government process, the University is unable to make your application go quicker and so you unfortunately will just need to be patient. We appreciate your understanding that Home Office process is outside of University control.
Do not attempt to travel before your visa decision. The University cannot legally enrol you if you enter the UK as a Visitor and you will need to leave the UK, in order to regulate your immigration position.
What do I do when I receive my visa?
You will not receive a physical visa or travel sticker in your passport but will be granted a digital immigration status which you will be able to view and prove online as per the Gov.uk information here).
You will receive a decision via email confirming your visa has been granted and will be able to check your status by following the process in the 'Proving your digital immigration status below'. If you think a mistake has been made with your visa length or conditions, please highlight your concerns to the International@CampusLIfe team including your digital share code.
Proving your digital immigration status
Proving your immigration status after it is granted
You will not receive a physical visa or travel sticker in your passport but will be granted a digital immigration status which you will be able to view and prove online
You will receive an email to state the Home Office decision on your application and you should read this carefully and then save it somewhere secure.
Post decision, you will continue to be able to get into your personal account on the Home Office system (detailed in your decision email) by inputting your personal details (including your passport number). Once in your account you can generate a verification code. This code can be shared with employers, the University or anyone else who needs to check your right to work/study or reside in the UK. The code only lasts 30 days but you can generate as many as necessary. This code can then be entered into the Home Office system by a 3rd party in order to verify your immigration status.
When might I need to provide my status code?
You may be asked to prove your status in the UK in the following situations:
- Enrolling on a course of study
- Accessing the National Health Service (we also recommend that EU students also get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC))
• Applying for a job
• Renting accommodation
• Applying for a bank account or mortgage
• For overseas Police, or other checks, as part of a new immigration application
If you are applying for a job, it might be worth mentioning that you have been granted permission to live/work/study in the UK under the Student route, and can provide an evidence code, within your application. This may help to reassure employers that you have the ongoing right to work.
Please note: it is very important that you keep your details, such as your current passport number, up to date on the Home Office system. Failure to do so may mean that you have difficulty getting back into your account to generate verification codes.
How can I prove my identity in the UK
The International@CampusLife team can assist enrolled Swansea University students in accessing a formal UK ID Card- which is called a Citizencard. We recommend that all students access one of these cards for day to day use rather than a visa or passport. Replacing a visa or passport can be costly and time consuming, as well as stressful.
Please see our comprehensive information available on the MyUni Citizencard: UK ID Card page. It costs just £10 to purchase your ID card using our application service.
It is important for you to check that your visa has been issued for the correct length of time.
When considering your application for entry clearance (a visa) the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in your country should comply with the following guidance:
Type/length of course
Length of stay allowed
12 months or more
The full length of the course + 4 months after the end of your course
6 months or more but less than 12 months
The full length of the course + 2 months after the end of your course
Pre-sessional course of less than 6 months
The full length of the course + 1 month after the end of your course
Course of less than 6 months that is not a pre-sessional course
The full length of the course + 7 days after the end of your course
Postgraduate doctor or dentist
The full length of the course + 1 month after the end of your course
Visa refusals & Admin Review
If you have a visa refusal the first thing to do is try not to panic!
You should notify the University of the refusal by emailing the team who provided you with your CAS or Visa Letter.
You should read the letter accompanying the refusal carefully to see whether you think a mistake has been made. Although, it is not possible to appeal a decision on a Student visa or Short Term Study visa it is possible, in certain cases, to ask for an Administrative Review to check the application has been processed properly and your documentation assessed correctly.
You can ask for an administrative review if you believe your visa was incorrectly refused (based on the evidence you submitted at the time of original application only.
If you believe that you have grounds for an administrative review, you should email the International @Campuslife team immediately so that they can support you through the process.
Please make sure you are including (legible) scans of the refusal notice, your correct contact details, a copy of your CAS statement and any further information which will help them to assess your case. Put ‘Refusal- Urgent’ in the email subject line so the team can pick it up quickly.
You must apply for the Review for an application made overseas (Entry Clearance) within 28 days of receiving the decision letter it is very important that you act quickly, and you respond promptly to any queries and pay careful attention to advice given.
The administrative review for refusal decisions costs £80 but you will get this back if the review is found in your favour. You can make the application online and you should not need to provide any additional documents unless requested but should ensure that you are able to pay the £80 fee via credit or debit card as part of that online application.
NB: There are huge delays with the Admin Review process at the moment. The UKVI has informed students to expect to wait 6 months for an Admin Review decision. If you have an enrolment deadline, you may not have time to wait for an Admin Review outcome before you need to come to the UK. Regrettably, you may have no option but to make a fresh visa application.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible for an Administrative review, or what you can do differently to make sure you don’t get refused again, please email the International @Campuslife team with all the details outlined above.
Student Visa Responsibilities
What are my and the University's responsibilities under the Student visa route?
To find out more about the University's and student's responsibilities under the Student Route click on Student Visa Duties & Responsibilities
Responsibilities of students coming to the UK with family
If you are bringing dependants to the UK, it is your responsibility to ensure the following:
1. You have enough money, upfront, to support your family in the UK (you should not rely on part time work to fund your living costs/studies, your primary focus should be on your full time study)
2. You source and finance suitable family accommodation in the UK (if you cannot arrange this before you arrive, it may be necessary for you to send for your family members later and after you have made suitable arrangements)
3. You must live no more than a maximum of 50 miles from the University campus
4. You apply for school places on time and adhere to UK school admissions and attendance processes. You may also need to organise additional childcare, so as not to impact on your engagement with your full time studies.
5. You have read all the University support resources provided for you in relation to the above. The University can offer you advice and guidance but you must make your own arrangements:
UK Living Costs and Finances: International Students
International Students’ Information Guide
Families- International Students
Immigration for Dependants