Tier 4 visa pilot
Guidance for one-year master's course applicants applying for a Tier 4 visa.
The pilot scheme
In conjunction with the Home Office, we have been selected to take part in a small pilot scheme which provides one-year master's students the opportunity to benefit from a streamlined visa application process.
The scheme affects visa applications decided on or after 25 July 2016. Applicants cannot opt out of the pilot. The pilot is expected to run for two years, which means that currently it will cover visa applications made for entry in 2016/7 or 2017/8.
You will be granted six months leave after your course end date which will be helpful if you wish to stay on in the UK to look for work.
You do not need to include any documentation with your application to demonstrate you meet the financial requirements. You are also not required to include evidence of your academic qualifications with your visa application.
You are still required to meet the Tier 4 Immigration Rules and may be asked to provide documentation as part of the application process or a spot check.
You are eligible for the pilot scheme if you are applying for a Tier 4 visa to start a one-year taught master's degree or research master's degree (MRes) at the University of Bath. This includes combined pre-sessional and master's degrees where the duration of the master's is no more than 12 months.
You are included in the pilot if you are applying for entry clearance overseas or if you are applying from within the UK following successful completion of an undergraduate or previous postgraduate degree.
You are not eligible if you are applying for a one-year visa extension to complete an undergraduate exit master's qualification or the second year of a two-year postgraduate degree.
Submitting supporting documents online
You are not required to include your qualification documents or financial supporting documents with your visa application. As this is a pilot affecting only a small number of students at certain institutions, the Tier 4 online application form has not been changed. Therefore, the form might still indicate that you need to include documents with your visa application.
ATAS certificate and TB screening certificates
You still need to submit an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate and a Tuberculosis (TB) screening certificate if the course you are applying for or the country you live in requires additional clearances.
Amending an existing Tier 4 visa
If your application has already been submitted, and the decision on your application is made after 25 July, your caseworker should automatically add the additional six months after your course end date.
If you have already received the decision on your visa, and have been granted the standard four months from your course end date, then you can apply through the University of Bath to get the additional two months added on to your visa once you are in the UK.
Please contact the Student Immigration Service to request an extension.
Financial or qualification documents
As part of this pilot scheme, you do not need to submit financial or qualification documents. If you do, your caseworker will assess them and if they don’t meet the Tier 4 requirements, your application will be refused.
Maintaining funds for 28 days
It is essential that you meet the Tier 4 requirements at the time you submit your online application, including the requirement to maintain funds for 28 days.
Although under the pilot you do not have to submit these documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), your caseworker can request to see them or may carry out spot-checks. If you are asked for your documents and cannot provide them your application will be refused.
If your entry to the main course is conditional based on successful completion of your pre-sessional programme, you will get an initial visa for the pre-sessional programme. You will then benefit from the pilot when you make your visa application for your master's course.
Dependants who are making a Tier 4 dependant visa application at the same time as an eligible main applicant are eligible to take part in the pilot. If they do not apply at the same time as you, they will be required to include full evidence of their finances with their visa application.
Your application should be more streamlined as your caseworker will be assessing fewer documents. Faster processing times, however, cannot be guaranteed.