Immigration for students from countries subject to UK Immigration Control

Applying for a student visa

It is essential that all students who are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland apply for a student visa to allow them to register and study at Harper Adams University.

There are two different types of student visa - Tier 4 (Child and General) and Student Visitor. All students who are studying a course that exceeds 6 months in length (or 11 months for an English language course) will require a Tier 4 visa. Student visitor visas are typically for exchange students and those doing either a single module of a course or doing a period of specialist research. All international students will be advised on their visa type during the admissions process.

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Tier 4 students

We cannot accept Tier 4 sponsored students onto our foundation degree (FdSc) and EFDP courses. Tier 4 students are not permitted to spend more than two years on a course below degree level, and as our FdSc and EFDP courses are three to four years long, we are not able to accept Tier 4 students on to them. This follows the UK government's change to guidance for Tier 4 visas, issued in November 2015.

When to apply

The earliest you can submit your visa application is three months before your course starts, and you should submit your application as soon as you can, as it can often take upwards of 8 weeks to get processed at the busiest times. You should start planning your visa application as soon as you have been made a conditional admissions offer. You must ensure that your passport is up to date, that you have sufficient funds available in your bank account for at least 28 days before you submit your visa application and you must ensure that you have documentary evidence of all your qualifications. You may also be required to have a test for Tuberculosis. Information on all the documentation required can be found on the website

How to apply

For the most up-to-date information on Tier 4 student visas, please visit the Home Office website where you can find the information required and the fees charged. You can also see the current waiting times for the processing of visa applications. The majority of countries now have a facility for students to submit their application online, however, you will still need to visit a visa processing centre to have your biometric (fingerprints and photograph) information taken (This may not be the case if you are applying for a visa extension in the UK if this information has already been taken with your original application). You may also be selected for a credibility interview. You must ensure that you are available when you are requested to attend a visa processing centre as there may not be an opportunity to change the appointment. You also need to ensure that you are able to travel to your appointment, as this may be in a neighbouring country.

If you are planning to bring your family with you for the duration of your studies, you must enquire about this in advance. We may not always be able to provide suitable accommodation from the start of your studies, especially if you have young children. Please discuss this with your admissions administrator as soon as you can. If you do decide to bring your family, after agreement from Harper Adams, you must ensure that they are eligible to travel with you and that they apply for the relevant dependant's visa in good time: family members information

In may cases it is best for you to arrive alone to make arrangements and for dependants to arrive separately later once everything is in place.

CAS number

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies number (CAS) is required for all Tier 4 visa applications. It is given to you only after all offer conditions, academic or otherwise, which we ask as part of the admissions process, have been satisfied in full. This number demonstrates to the Home Office that we are happy to sponsor you as a genuine student on a Harper Adams University course. We are unable to issue a CAS number more than 6 months before the start of the course. If your offer conditions have not been met by the deadline stated in your offer letter, we may not be able to issue a CAS as there may be insufficient time for you to apply for your visa in time for the start of the course.

It is important that your CAS number is kept safe and not shared with anyone else. The number is unique to you and your application. You must ensure that you enter the number into your application accurately and double-check to ensure that it is correct. A CAS is not transferrable between courses and institutions. If you have been issued with a CAS and subsequently decide not to come to Harper Adams you must let your admissions administrator know as a matter of urgency so the CAS can be withdrawn. If you require a visa extension to complete your course, you will be issued with a new CAS.

Requirements after arrival

You will be informed of the date by which you must arrive at the University in your unconditional offer letter. If you are not able to arrive on time, you must let your admissions administrator know as soon as possible; if it is too late to start the course, we may have to withdraw the offer.

Upon arrival you will be required to register your attendance and bring your documentation, including your passport and visa, which will be copied for our records. You may also be required to bring qualification certificates or other information if we have not received it beforehand. During the course of your studies, you will be required to register your attendance at set intervals with a specific administrator. This is a requirement of the Home Office. All students must attend all classes. Failure to attend may result in a withdrawal of sponsorship and result in your removal from the UK.

All students on a Tier 4 visa must abide by the maximum working hours as stated on their visa. For the majority of students, this is 20 hours per week in term time and full-time hours outside of term. Your employer may require proof of your term dates, which are available at If you are uncertain about working, or any other restrictions that apply to Tier 4 students, the International Office, who are based in the Faccenda Centre will be able to help.

Further advice can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

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Student visitor

The visa process for students using the visitor visa route is less complex than that for Tier 4, as the student will only be in the UK for a short period of study. You can apply for your visa up to three months before the start of the course and can expect to get a reply within three weeks. As with Tier 4 visa applications you must ensure that your passport is up to date and that you have sufficient funds in your bank account to support yourself for the duration of your visit. You must also have a tuberculosis test if your home country is on the list where this is a requirement.

The University will provide you with a letter which you must submit with your visa application which will confirm your course of study, study dates and the costs associated with it. The letter will only be issued once any offer conditions have been satisfied in full. You must keep this letter secure as it is proof of your intentions to enter the country. We are unable to issue visitor visa letters more than 3 months in advance.

There are a number of restrictions which are applied to students on visitor visas; you are not permitted to bring dependants with you, nor are you able to take on paid employment. Visitor visas are also not permitted to be extended, so you must return home at the end of your course.

Further information specific to visitor visas can be found on the Student Visitor visa webpage.

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Further help

If you are an international student and would like some advice on English language entry requirements, visas or pre-arrival information please contact us.