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Frequently asked questions

Getting a visa can seem like a complex task, but there's nothing to fear. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting your visa, and helpful answers to make your application a little simpler.

Do I need a Student Route visa?

All international students studying a full-time, on-campus course need a Student Route visa to study in the UK.

You'll also need this visa if you're on a part-time postgraduate course, but the following restrictions apply:

  • No employment (including work placements)
  • No dependants
If you have valid Settled or Pre-settled status as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen under the EU Settlement Scheme you will not require a Student Route visa. If you have a different visa which allows you to study in the UK, you may be exempt. If you are unsure, contact us to check.

If you are joining us for an Exchange or Study Abroad programme of 6 months or more you will also need a Student Route visa.

How do I get a Student Route visa?

You can apply for your Student Route visa online.

You'll need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) and the unique number it contains. The Compliance team will issue this once you've met all the academic and non-academic conditions of your offer.

More about Student Route visas

When will I receive my CAS?

Your CAS will be sent to you automatically by email once you:

  • Hold an unconditional firm offer with the University of Portsmouth
  • Pay your tuition fee deposit of £3,500 or provide evidence of financial sponsorship
  • Complete your Visa Eligibility Assessment

If your course requires Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance, you must also email this to ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk before we can issue your CAS.

More about CAS numbers

What is ATAS clearance?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance is an extra check made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on students studying courses in certain Science and Technology subject areas.

If your course requires ATAS clearance, we'll send you information on how to apply with your offer.

More about ATAS clearance

What is the Student Visa Eligibility Assessment?

The Visa Eligibility Assessment assesses your immigration history. This information is important as it can affect your visa application.

Without a completed Student Visa Eligibility Assessment, we can't issue you with a CAS as we won't be able to make the necessary checks on your immigration status.

Do I have to apply for a new visa with the University of Portsmouth if I already have a Tier 4 or Student Route visa from somewhere else?

Yes, you'll need a new visa because a Tier 4 or Student Route visa is only valid for study at the institution that's named on the visa.

When you arrive for Registration, we'll ask you to provide ID and your University of Portsmouth visa, or proof that you have submitted an application for a University of Portsmouth visa.

Please email student-visa@port.ac.uk for help applying for a new Student Route visa.

I have a different visa type. Can I study with this?

You may be allowed to study if you have another visa type, since some allow for study as well.

Send us a scanned copy of your visa to ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk to check whether your current visa is eligible for study at the University of Portsmouth.

What is a Biometric Residence Permit?

You’ll get a biometric residence permit (BRP) as part of your visa application.

This will include your name, date and place of birth, fingerprints, a photo, your immigration status and any conditions of your stay.

When you complete your visa application form, please state you wish to collect your visa from an 'Alternative Collection Location' (ACL) and enter this ACL code: 2HE479

Due to Covid restrictions BRP cards will be sent to your UK home address after you arrive if you selected the University for BRP card delivery. You will need to complete the ID submission form once you have arrived in the UK as you will need to upload your UK visa with an entry stamp to confirm you have arrived in the country. The form will ask you to confirm your term time address. It is important to include your permanent UK address so that your BRP card can be posted to you, at this address.

If you will be studying remotely for a period before travelling to the UK, you still need to complete the ID submission form and you should do so as soon as you receive it. You
will only be required to upload a copy of your passport at this time.

Your BRP card will not be available for collection from the University even though your decision letter says this.

If you chose the Post Office for the delivery of your BRP card please follow the instructions for collection on your visa decision letter.

Does the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) apply to me?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the UK Government to help cover any medical needs you might have while you are here in the UK. You will need to pay this if you are studying in the UK for more than six months, or if you are already in the UK and apply to extend your stay.

The charge will be £470 per student and per dependent (if relevant) per year of study, payable at the time of visa application.

If you do not pay the surcharge if it is required, your visa application will be refused or treated as invalid and rejected. 

I am already in the UK – how can I get a visa?

If you're already in the UK and hold a student visa for a different institution you'll still need to apply for a new Student Route visa.

You won't be able to register on to your new course until you have applied for a new visa.

Please email student-visa@port.ac.uk for help applying for a new Student Route visa.

I am an Exchange or Study Abroad student, which visa should I apply for?

If you are studying for less than 6 months the permission (visa) that you will need to study on an Exchange or Study Abroad programme will be as a Standard Visitor for the purpose of study.

You can choose to apply for entry clearance (visa) as a visitor for the purpose of study or for permission to enter as a visitor for the purpose of study at the port of entry in the UK.

You are also permitted to use the eGates in order to enter as a Standard Visitor for the purpose of study for a period of six months or less. You can only use an eGate if you have a biometric passport.

If you wish to travel to the UK using your national identity card and not a passport, you will not be able to use an eGate or request to see a Border Force Officer. You will need to apply for entry clearance in order to enter the UK as a visitor for the purpose of study.

You will need a supporting letter from the University of Portsmouth to confirm your course details.

You will also need a supporting letter from your current University if you are joining us for an Exchange programme.

If your course requires ATAS you will also need to provide an ATAS Certificate before the supporting letter from the University of Portsmouth can be issued to you.

We recommend that you have around £1,023 per month in your bank account for each month you will be staying in the UK to cover your living costs for the Standard Visitor visa for the purpose of Study as you will need to show evidence of finances when you are making an Entry Clearance application or you may be asked to show this information to a Border Force officer when you arrive in the UK.

The Standard Visitor visa cannot be extended and you are not permitted to work on this visa.

Students attending for more than 6 months can only apply for a Student Route visa.

Students who are studying on an Exchange or Study Abroad programme within the UK cannot apply to extend their Student Route permission within the UK. If you wish to study further in the UK you would need to return to your home country to apply for further leave.

Where can I find out more about the application process for visas?

You can find supporting information about student visas from:

My visa has been refused – what should I do?

Please send a scanned copy of the visa refusal document to ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk.

We may be able to send you a new CAS, depending on the reason for refusal.

You can also email student-visa@port.ac.uk for further advice and information about making an Administrative Review application. Unfortunately, we are unable to advise if you have already submitted an Administrative Review application. 

I am from Hong Kong and have a BN(O) passport, can I apply for a different type of visa?

The Hong Kong BN(O) visa became available on 31 January 2021. 

This visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK.

You can apply for a BNO visa if you’re a British national (Overseas) and you are 18 or older.

Your permanent home must be in Hong Kong if you’re applying from outside the UK, or in the UK or Hong Kong if you’re applying in the UK.

You can find out more information about this visa on the gov.uk website.

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