Unless you are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you will need to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa from in your home country before you come to Oxford. You will only be eligible for a Tier 4 Student Visa if your course is full-time. Your partner or children under 18 can apply to come to the UK with you. You will also find the section on Tier 4 useful if you are a current student hoping to renew your student visa during a visit home.
If you are coming for a short course or period of study, you may be able to come as a Student Visitor instead of under Tier 4.
If you have UK immigration permission in another capacity, for example a dependant visa, work visa or ancestry visa you may be able to study on that visa without needing to apply under Tier 4.
As an international student (non EEA/Swiss) student coming to Oxford to study a full-time course of more than 6 months you must obtain Entry Clearance (a visa) under Tier 4 (General) Student before coming to the UK to start your course. If you do not have Entry Clearance when you arrive, you will not be allowed to enter the UK.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) requires you to be formally sponsored by a licensed UK higher education institution.
Once your offer to study is unconditional (you have met all academic and financial conditions) the University will contact you by email about the preparation of your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is a unique number which will enable UKBA officers to access information which your College and the University has provided.
If your course is longer than 6 months, nationals of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya (including residents of Eritrea and Somalia), Laos, Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Thailand must be screened for TB before applying for a visa to come to the UK.
Nationals of these countries are required to obtain a certificate from an accredited clinic showing that they are free from infectious tuberculosis. You will have to meet the cost of this screening, although the fee is kept as low as possible. Applicants without a certificate are normally refused a visa.
TB screening can be a lengthy process and you should contact your local British Diplomatic Mission to obtain further information and book an appointment to attend a clinic. See the UK Border Agency website for further information.
Where and How to Apply for student Visa:
Find out where and how to apply for your visa (Entry Clearance) in your home country from the UK Border Agency website. Please be aware that visa applications may take extra time if your country sends applications to another country for processing.
Check the requirements for your Tier 4 (General) Student visa on the UK Border Agency website and the UKCISA website for useful advice. In most countries you will be able to apply and pay online. If an online application is not available then you will need to download and complete the VAF (9) PBS Migrant form. All applicants (online and paper based) must complete the Appendix 8 Tier 4 (General) Student Self Assessment form. There are two versions of this form, one for applicants whose CAS was assigned before 21 April 2011 and one for applicants whose CAS was assigned on or after 21 April 2011.
Biometric appointment and processing your visa
After you have commenced your visa application you will then be invited to attend a biometric appointment to give a face scan and fingerprints. The processing of your visa application only begins after you have submitted your biometric details. Follow the instructions on the UK Border Agency website about when and how to send in your documents and Appendix 8 according to the guidelines in your country of application.
Processing times vary widely between countries; some will process applications in 5 working days other countries may take several weeks or longer. You can check the processing times for your country using the UK Border Agency guide.
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