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Visas and immigration information for Pre-sessional

Please read this page carefully before you apply for a Pre-sessional course.

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Do I need a visa?

If you're an international student coming from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you must have permission to study in the UK before you start your course.

You can check the visa rules for your nationality by reading guidance on visas from the UK government. You can also learn more by reading useful visa information from UAL advisers and by checking UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) visa guidance.

Visa types

For our 2020 Pre-sessional courses, you can choose either a Short-term student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Find out more about these visas types below.

Short-term student visa

Advantages:

  • Cheaper than a Tier 4 visa.
  • Non-visa nationals can get this visa before they travel or on arrival in the UK (e.g. at London Heathrow airport).
  • You don’t need evidence of your level of English for the visa (but you need evidence for your Pre-sessional course).

Things to think about:

  • You can’t work in the UK.
  • You can only stay for 30 days after your course ends.
  • You can’t extend your studies for more than 30 days.
  • You can’t change to a Tier 4 visa so you must go home after your Pre-sessional course and apply for a Tier 4 visa for your main course.

If you want a Short-term student visa (STS visa), you need to check if you're a visa or non-visa national.

Check UK government visa and immigration guidance to find out the list of visa nationals. You can find this under the heading 'Appendix 2 Visa National List'.

If your nationality is on the list, you are a visa national.

If your nationality is not on the list, you are a non-visa national.

Tier 4 (General) student visa

Advantages:

  • You can work in the UK for up to 10 hours a week during term time.
  • You may be able to extend your visa for further study (check UKCISA visa guidance for more information).

Disadvantages:

  • You must show you meet Home Office Secure English Language Test and Tier 4 (General) application financial requirements.
  • You may need to submit financial documents to support your application (check UKCISA visa guidance for more information).

You can learn more about visa types by reading UK government information about student visas.

How do I get a visa?

You will need to choose a visa type and submit the correct English test result in your Pre-sessional application.

After you apply for Pre-sessional and after we confirm your place on the course, we will email you the information you need to apply for a visa.

How do I get a Short-term student visa?

If you choose a Short-term student visa you need to submit one of these English tests with your Pre-sessional application:

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS Academic for UKVI
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic)
  • UAL Progress Test

Please note that if you plan to study on a Level 3 Introduction course, Foundation Diploma or a Certificate of Higher Education, you will need IELTS Academic for UKVI for your main course.

If you choose a Short-term student (STS) visa, we will email you a visa letter after we send you a booking confirmation. We will tell you how to apply for your visa.

Students applying for an STS visa do not receive a CAS.

Please read UKCISA guidance on Short-term Student visas.

Visa nationals

If you are a visa national you must apply for your STS visa before travelling to the UK. This is called Entry Clearance.

The first part of your visa will be a sticker inside your passport.

The second part of your visa is a stamp that a Border Force Officer stamps in your passport when you arrive in the UK.

Do not use an eGate to enter the UK as a Short-term student. You must get a stamp in your passport. If you use an eGate by mistake, you must see a Border Force Officer to get your stamp before you leave the airport and keep your boarding pass. You can’t enrol on your course without a stamp in your passport.

For pictures and videos, see our eGates guide (PDF 564KB).

Non-visa nationals

If you are a non-visa national, you can get an STS visa when you arrive at the airport in the UK. You will need to show your STS visa letter from UAL and financial evidence that you have enough money for your stay.

You will get a stamp in your passport for single entry. If you leave the UK, your visa ends. If you want to take trips outside the UK during your Pre-sessional course, you can apply for a multiple-entry visa before you come to the UK.

Do not use an eGate to enter the UK as a Short-term student. You must get a stamp in your passport. If you use an eGate by mistake, you must see a Border Force Officer to get your stamp before you leave the airport and keep your boarding pass. You can’t enrol on your course without a stamp in your passport.

For pictures and videos, see our eGates guide (PDF 564KB)

After Pre-sessional

If you have a Short-term student visa, you need to return to your home country after your Pre-sessional course. The rule is the same if you pass or fail. If you pass your Pre-sessional course, you need to make your visa application for your UAL main course in your home country.

How do I get a Tier 4 (General) student visa?

For more information about Tier 4 (General) student visas, please read Tier 4 visa guidance from UKCISA and UK government information about Tier 4 visas.

If you have a conditional main course offer and choose a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you need to submit this English test result with your Pre-sessional application:

  • IELTS Academic for UKVI

If you have an unconditional main course offer and choose a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you need to submit one of these English test results with your Pre-sessional application:

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS Academic for UKVI

If you choose a Tier 4 (General) student visa, we will email you a CAS statement after we send you a booking confirmation. We will tell you how to apply for your visa.

CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies)

What is CAS?

A CAS is a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies. You need a CAS number to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Your CAS number confirms you are being sponsored to study with UAL. CAS is not used for a Short-term student visa application.

When will I get my CAS?

We will email your CAS number about 10 days after we send you your Pre-sessional booking confirmation. You may get your CAS more than 10 days after your booking confirmation. We can’t issue CAS earlier than 3 months before the start of a Pre-sessional course.

Do not apply for a visa or book a visa appointment until you have your CAS number.

While you wait for your CAS, please check you have prepared all of the supporting documents required for your visa application. You can find detailed information about supporting documents for Tier 4 visa applications from UAL student advisers (PDF 805KB).

When you get your CAS, please apply for your visa as soon as possible. A visa application can take several weeks and you must enrol for your course in the UK on time.

We offer 2 types of CAS:

  • CAS for Pre-sessional only
  • Combined CAS

CAS for Pre-sessional only

This CAS allows you to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa for your Pre-sessional course only. After your Pre-sessional course, you will need another CAS to apply for another Tier 4 (General) student visa for your main course.

Tier 4 (General) student visas with a CAS for only Pre-sessional are available for all Pre-sessional courses.

If you pass your Pre-sessional course, you will be given a new CAS so you can apply for a new visa for your main course. Most students can apply from inside the UK.

If you fail your Pre-sessional course, you will usually have to return to your home country and make a new visa application. You can only apply for a new visa from inside the UK if you improve your English test scores and take an external 4-skills English test and achieve the scores needed for your main course. You can’t extend your visa.

Combined CAS

A combined CAS allows you to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa that covers study for your Pre-sessional course and your UAL main course.

You must pass your Pre-sessional course to be allowed to progress to your main course.

Tier 4 (General) student visas with a combined CAS are only available for these Pre-sessional courses:

  • 13 Week Pre-sessional
  • 9 Week Pre-sessional
  • Unconditional Pre-sessional

If you have applied for one of these Pre-sessional courses and meet all the conditions below, you can apply for a combined CAS:

  • You are allowed to study under a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
  • Your Pre-sessional course is less than 3 months.
  • You have 1 accepted main course offer only.
  • Your only main course offer condition is to meet the required English level.
  • Your main course is RQF Level 6/Undergraduate or higher.
  • There is 1 month or less between the end of your Pre-sessional course and the start of your main course.
  • Your main course is not subject to validation (S2V).
  • You have not previously failed a Pre-sessional or EPIC course.

Applying for a Tier 4 (General) student visa with a combined CAS can be easier and cheaper than applying for 2 separate Tier 4 visas. However there is a risk with a combined CAS. If you fail your 9 Week or 13 Week Pre-sessional course, you will not be able to study at UAL on any course in the 2020/21 academic year. We will report you to the Home Office, your visa stay will be ended and you will have to leave the UK.

Financial documents

Before you apply for your Tier 4 (General) student visa, you need the correct financial documents:

  • You need to show you (or your parent/s or legal guardian/s) have had the correct money in your (or your parent/s’ or legal guardian/s’) bank account for at least 28 consecutive days before the date you submit your visa application.
  • You must be able to get the money immediately and have a bank account with free withdrawal and deposit.
  • The bank account must hold cash money. It must not be a business account (even if your parent/s or legal guardian/s are named on the account). No shares, bonds, overdrafts or credit cards.
  • You can have a certificate of deposit only if the money isn’t frozen and the money has been in the account for 28 days before the certificate was issued.
  • Financial evidence needs to be dated and this date must be no more than 1 month before the date that you submit your visa application.
  • You must provide official documents. The documents must have the bank name and logo at the top. Electronic bank statements must be officially stamped by the bank (on each page).
  • The money must be in your account or the account of your parent/s or legal guardian/s. Under UK law, family members who are not your parents (for example siblings or grandparents) are not legal guardians unless they have legally adopted you and they have the legal papers to prove this.
  • If you are using your parent/s’ (or legal guardian/s’) account details, you will need show official evidence that they are your parent/s (family register, birth certificate, etc.) or your legal guardian/s (legal adoption papers).
  • If you are using your parent/s’ (or legal guardian/s’) account, you will need a letter from your parent/s (or legal guardian/s) which states that they are your parent/s or legal guardian/s and that you are authorised to use the funds in their account for your studies at UAL.
  • If any of your documents are not in English you will need to provide English translations by a qualified translator as well as the original documents.

For further information, see the Tier 4 visa guidance from UAL student advisers. Detailed information about financial requirements can be found on pages 9-11 of UAL’s step-by-step guide on applying for a Tier 4 visa (PDF 805KB). On pages 20-24 of this guide you can also find examples of acceptable financial documents.

Contact our qualified UAL visa advisers at student.services@arts.ac.uk if you are unsure whether your financial documents are acceptable. If you do not submit documents in the correct format your visa application will be refused, even if you have the required amount of money in your bank account.

Immigration history

Previous UK study

If you are an international student and you have studied in the UK before, you must give full and clear information about your previous UK study. You will have given this with your main course application.

If your immigration history has changed since your main course application, complete an Immigration History Form (PDF 104KB) and submit it with your Pre-sessional application in the UAL Applicant Portal.

On the Immigration History Form, you must provide the following for each UK course you have studied:

  • Course Dates
  • Course name and institution
  • Level of the course
  • Type of visa issued
  • Dates of visa

Please be accurate with the information on your Immigration History Form. We will compare your form to the immigration history information in your main course record.

If your UK immigration history is complicated, we recommend you submit extra information or documents (for example: previous visas, CAS, IELTS or course certificates) with your Pre-sessional application. This will help us to process your application faster.

Previous Tier 4 language study

If your previous course in the UK was a language course and you had a Tier 4 visa for that, and you now want to study Pre-sessional with a new Tier 4 visa, we need to check you meet UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) academic progression rules.

You must submit the CAS from your previous visa application. If you can’t find your old CAS, you must submit the old IELTS Academic for UKVI you submitted with the Tier 4 visa application for your previous language course.

You will need a new IELTS Academic for UKVI to get your new visa.

We will compare your old CAS (or old IELTS) with the new IELTS Academic for UKVI. This new IELTS Academic for UKVI must have a higher overall score than your old IELTS.

If you have an unconditional main course offer and you want a Tier 4 (General) student visa with Combined CAS, you can submit an IELTS Academic for UKVI or IELTS Academic. Please note that this depends on your individual situation and the type of CAS you have requested. Please contact us for guidance: presessional-admissions@arts.ac.uk.

Previous Pre-sessional or EPIC study

If you studied Pre-sessional or EPIC before and failed your course, you can’t ask for a Tier 4 (General) student Visa with a combined CAS.

Current UK study

If you are a current international student at UAL or in the UK, you may need to return home before you make your Pre-sessional visa application. Please contact us for advice at presessional-admissions@arts.ac.uk.

If you are currently studying on an academic main course in the UK, you need to submit a recent IELTS (or equivalent English test) result when you apply to Pre-sessional, as your level of English should now be higher.

If you want a new Tier 4 Visa, you will need to submit a valid IELTS Academic for UKVI result.

Please check that your current course ends before you need to enrol on your Pre-sessional course.

Responsibilities for Tier 4 visa applicants

This section lists your legal responsibilities as a Tier 4 (General) student and UAL’s legal responsibilities as your sponsor.

By requesting to study Pre-sessional under a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you agree to the following:

  • UAL will keep copies of my passport and visas throughout my studies and for the period after graduation as required by the Home Office and the UAL retention policy.
  • I agree to meet with Home Office staff as part of any compliance audit they may conduct on UAL.
  • UAL will pass my contact details on to the Home Office if requested.
  • I allow UAL to question my immigration status or the progress of my visa application with the Home Office, at any point during the application process and while I am a student at UAL (we will inform you if we intend to discuss your situation with the Home Office before contacting them).

University of the Arts London (UAL) must report you to the UK Home Office if you are issued with a CAS and you do not enrol on and start the Pre-sessional course.

We must also report you to the Home Office:

  • if you choose to leave the course
  • if you move to a course of a shorter length, different level, or to another main UAL college site
  • if you are told to leave the course for lack of attendance
  • if you break any other condition of your permission to stay in the UK.

The Home Office may take action against students who do not attend their courses, including cancelling their visa or ordering them to leave the UK.

If you study under a Tier 4 (General) student Visa, you must tell UAL immediately of any changes in your immigration status.

You must keep UAL up to date with any changes in your contact details, which UAL must give to the Home Office upon request.

You must also give UAL a copy of your new passport/visa if these are renewed for any reason during the Pre-sessional course.

Can I change my visa type?

Before you apply for Pre-sessional, please be 100% sure which visa you want as you may not be able to change it.

You can’t change your visa type if:

  • We have made you a Pre-sessional offer
  • We have issued your CAS

If you want to change your visa type you must email presessional-admissions@arts.ac.uk (or your representative office in your home country). You will also need to say in your email that you fully understand the differences between the visa type you first requested and the visa type you now want.

Visa refusal

You have 1 opportunity to apply for a Tier 4 Visa for Pre-sessional and you will be sent 1 CAS. If your visa application is refused, you will not get a second CAS.

Before you apply for Pre-sessional, it’s important that you read our information carefully and are 100% sure:

  • which visa type you want
  • you are allowed to get this visa type
  • you meet the visa application conditions

Downloads

Immigration History Form (PDF 104KB)

EGates guide (PDF 564KB)

Guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa (PDF 805KB)

Contact us

Questions?

Email: presessional-admissions@arts.ac.uk