All students making a Tier 4 visa application will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in addition to the visa application fee. For students making a Tier 4 (Entry Clearance) application outside the UK, this will apply if they are applying to study a course lasting 6 months or longer. For students making a Leave to Remain (extension) application in the UK, the surcharge applies for courses of any length. Tier 4 dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge. The IHS surcharge is mandatory, even if you have medical insurance.
Tier 4 applicants (and dependants) will be charged for each year of leave (visa) granted under the immigration rules. If your leave includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for this part of a year will be £75 for students and dependants. If your leave includes part of a year longer than 6 months, the full annual amount of £150 is payable.
The surcharge for the full length of leave will be required at the time of the visa application and will be in addition to the visa application fee. For example, if you are to receive a visa valid for 3 years and 2 months, then you are liable to pay £525 in IHS surcharge at the same time as your visa application fee (£150 for each of the three years + £75 for the part year of less than 6 months). This surcharge will entitle you to use the NHS in the same way as a permanent resident for the length of your valid stay in the UK. You will generally receive NHS care for free but may be charged for some services, such as dental treatment and prescription charges, in the same way as a permanent resident.
You must pay the surcharge in full before you submit your visa application. If you apply to extend your visa in person in the UK at a Premium Service Centre, then you must pay the surcharge before you attend your appointment.
If you are refused a visa, the surcharge will automatically be refunded. However if your visa is issued but you decide not to travel, the surcharge will not be refunded. You will not receive a refund if you leave the UK before your visa expiry or if you do not use the NHS.
For further details and to check how much you need to pay for the IHS, please refer to the UK Government website. You will pay the IHS as part of your visa application.
Immigration Health Surcharge
As part of the Tier 4 student visa application process it is likely that you will be asked to undertake a short 'credibility interview'. This was initially introduced in October 2013, with a significant increase in the number of applicants undergoing interviews in August 2014. UK Visas & Immigration will be verifying that you can speak English to required level, and whether you are a genuine student.
The interview may be facilitated by a UK Visa and Immigration partner agency and will normally take place be via video-conferencing with the Home Office staff in the UK. The interview may be situated some distance from where you live, so you may be required to travel. It will take approximately 10 minutes.
Please read the UKCISA Information on Credibility Interviews.
The purpose of the interview is to check your credibility as a genuine student. You may be asked about the following areas:
- your reasons for deciding to study in the UK and the benefits you believe this will give you;
- your studies in the UK so far, including location, content of the course so far and current application for further study;
- the reasons for selecting your chosen course, including the content of the course, and how this relates to your previous qualifications, experience and career plans post-study;
- other Universities or Colleges that you may have researched as part of your selection for this course. If you only considered the University of East London, you will need to explain why you believed this was the most suitable choice for you;
- your reasons for choosing to study this course at the University of East London;
- who is funding your studies in the UK and the reasons for this;
- understanding the conditions of a Tier 4 visa;
- if you are applying with dependents, about the legitimacy of your relationship.
The interview will also assess that you are able to communicate clearly and that your English Language oral (speaking and listening) proficiency is sufficient to study in the UK. It is therefore important that you speak clearly providing full information to the questions you are asked.
1) Give full answers to explain your situation in detail
The interviewer will not have access to your visa application form, or any other information about you. This means that you have to explain your answers fully – do not assume that the interviewer already knows about your situation. For example, if you have studied with a UEL partner before, you will need to tell them this as they would not already know.
2) Answer as naturally as you can, as though you are chatting to a fellow student
Some questions are only asked to check your English language fluency, there is no right or wrong answer. Questions may include where you have travelled to before, or other topics not related to your course of study.
3) If you are genuinely planning to study, the interviewer is not trying to catch you out!
The purpose of the interview is to check that you can demonstrate in conversational English that you genuinely want to study at UEL. The decision as to whether to grant or refuse your visa application is not made by the person interviewing you – the transcript forms a part of the information used to assess your application. The interviewer is unlikely to have detailed prior knowledge of your country and will not have prior knowledge of your plans, motivations and experiences, so if it is relevant to the question – tell them about it!
4) Prepare for the interview well, but do not rehearse specific answers
To help you prepare, think fully about why you are choosing to study your programme at UEL, and the questions listed above. However, part of the purpose of the interview is to check you can speak English naturally, so do not give fully rehearsed pre-prepared answers. If you have any friends, family or colleagues who speak English, talk with them in detail about your plans and motivations for study in the UK – this is the kind of conversation you will have in your interview. It might also help to watch British films to get accustomed to the accent!
A report of this interview will be sent to the UK Visas and Immigration case worker, who will consider it alongside your visa application and supporting documents. You may be called for a further interview if the caseworker needs more information.
After the interview, try writing down everything you were asked and how you answered. This can be very useful if there is a query at a later date.
As part of the application process for Tier 4 (Students) you will need to attend an appointment to have your fingerprints and digital photograph taken