Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

Students studying at the BISC for more than 6 months, and who are from a country outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, must apply for Tier 4 leave. This includes:

  • All First Year students
  • Upper Year students studying at the BISC for both the Fall and Winter semesters

If you are a dual passport holder and one of your passports is from the EEA we encourage you to enter the UK on this passport, in which case you do not need to apply for Tier 4 leave.

Applying for the Tier 4 General visa is a straight forward process if you follow the visa instructions and guidance. How you apply depends on where you make your application. You can only apply for a Tier 4 visa in your home country or in a country where you have existing formal residency rights.

When should I apply?

The earliest you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa is 3 months before the start date of the course. Once you have been issued with your CAS start the application process.

We advise students to apply at the earliest point that they can make an application.

Application Process

  1. Fill in Passport Information Form on the online portal – all students must do this and those who require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number will be identified.
  2. If you are required to take an English language test please ensure you fill in the SELT number and upload your IELTS certificate at the same time. You will not be issued a CAS until we have these so please do not submit the form until you have all your documentation ready. See more information about Evidence of English Language.
  3. Wait for your CAS number to be allocated (this will be sent by email).
  4. While you are waiting for your CAS number, double check your eligibility, and collect the necessary documents.
  5. When you have your CAS number apply for your Tier 4 leave via the Visa4UK website at Please make sure you read this guidance before starting your application.
    • Without your CAS number you cannot apply for Tier 4 leave.
    • You must follow the guidance contained in this document to ensure you enter the correct information.
    • Make sure you double check your application before submitting as it can be difficult to make changes.
  6. As part of the visa process, you need to give your biometric details. This involves a fingerprint scan and a digital facial photograph. More information about biometrics is available on the UKVI website. You give your biometrics at the visa application centre or embassy when you submit the printed online application form and supporting documents in person. 
  7. The embassy will consider your application. Depending upon where you apply, the documents are sent back to you by secure mail or you are contacted to arrange to collect them. The amount of time a visa application takes varies. During busy periods (May-October), it can take up to 4 weeks. We therefore strongly recommend making an application as soon as you have all the required documents. In some countries, you may be able to get your visa application fast tracked using the Priority Service. Contact your visa application centre to find out if this service is available in your country. You can check your British Embassy/High Commission’s application decision times on the UK Visas & Immigration website: UK Visas & Immigration (processing times).
  8. Successful applicants will be issued with a vignette in their passport which is valid for 30 days from the date you indicated as your intended travel date in your application. The vignette is proof only of your permission to enter the UK. If you do not travel to the UK within this 30-day period, your authorisation will expire and you will need to apply for another 30-day vignette. You will have to pay a fee for this.
  9. Once you are in the UK you will collect your BRP, which details your eligibility to stay in the UK (typically 2 months after your course ends). The BISC Administration Manager will email you when the BRP is ready for collection from the Administration Office at the BISC. While you will be able to travel to Europe etc. with just your vignette in the interim, Government guidance states that you must pick up your BRP before your vignette expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.

See BISC - Tier 4 Leave Overview for a synopsis of the information above.

Information about Tier 4 application
  • Application. A Tier 4 application is made online, unless you are from North Korea, in which case you must make a paper application. You need to make the application from the country that you are ordinarily resident in. Normally this means your country of nationality. However if you hold a residence permit in a country other than your nationality you may be able to apply from there. You will need to check with the local embassy first though. Your application will be processed through the nearest visa centre in the country you are applying. You will need to travel to this visa centre as part of the application process. You can find out where this is by using the application centre finder on the UK Visas and Immigration website. Some countries do not have visa centres so you may be expected to travel to a neighbouring country.
  • English language proficiency. Some students will be required to prove their proficiency in English by taking and submitting an approved English language test. This requirement will depend on your citizenship. A list of countries whose citizens are exempt from this requirement can be found on Not all English language tests are approved by the UK government. Please check the list of approved tests. Those students who are required to take an English language test must submit their results to Queen's. In addition, the BISC needs to see the IELTS test certificate to confirm your score so that it can be reported on the CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies). Results will also need to be reported by the student on the Tier 4 application. This requirement depends on your citizenship, not your general admissibility to Canada or to Queen's University. Please note that students of some nationalities may be required to take IELTS for UKVI. Please confirm with the BISC before taking the IELTS exam.
  • Returning home in the holidays. Please note that the length of study is determined by the length of the overall program, not by the semester length, so you must apply for Tier 4 leave even if you leave the UK during the Winter holidays.
  • When to make an application. You can apply from 3 months before the start of your course and are encouraged to apply as close to this juncture as possible, as it may take several weeks (perhaps longer) for your authorisation to be issued. You should not apply for your Tier 4 leave until you have been issued a CAS number.
  • Cost. As of January 2016, the cost of the Tier 4 General Student visa is £322.
  • Biometric Data. As part of the application process you will be required to give biometric information, including digital scans of your fingerprints and a digital photograph. This has to be done in person at a visa centre – your application will not be processed until you have completed this step. You book an appointment to do this on-line after you submit and pay for your application. Canadian students, please note that the only Canadian VACs are located in Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver (mobile clinics are located in Halifax and St. John’s, but availability of appointments at these locations is extremely limited).
  • Funds. You will not be required to demonstrate to the Home Office that you have enough money to pay your course fees and living costs. The letter you receive indicating your CAS number certifies that you owe no money to the BISC during your stay in the UK, and you should reference this document when completing this section of the application.
  • Health Surcharge. The UK government has introduced an Immigration Health Surcharge for non-EEA visitors staying for more than 6 months, which costs £150. You will be instructed how to pay the IHS during the Tier 4 application process.
  • Passport Submission. You will be required to submit your passport with your Tier 4 application. If you are planning any travel in the months leading up to your studies at the Castle, please take this into consideration as you will be without your passport for a period of 1-2 weeks (perhaps longer) while your Tier 4 application is being processed. Once your application has been processed and your vignette has been placed inside your passport, it will be returned to you. Check to make sure the vignette is in your passport when it is returned, and that it has the correct travel date!