You may be able to switch to a student visa from inside the UK if you hold the correct immigration permission.

    You cannot switch if you have one of the following visas and are based in the UK:

    • Visit visa
    • Short-term student visa
    • Parent of a child student visa
    • Seasonal worker visa
    • Domestic worker in a private household visa
    • Leave outside the immigration rules

    The 28-day Gap rule

    There should not be more than a 28-day gap between your current visa expiring and the start of your new course. If the gap between the expiry date of your current visa and the course date is more than 28 days, then you should seek further advice from the ISA team.

    The 28-day gap rule has been temporarily suspended and this rule is for those who hold immigration permission for the student visas. So long as your new course does not start later than 27 September 2021, this 28-day gap rule will no longer apply.

    For more on Covid Concession, please see Guidance on Coronavirus (Covid-19): Student Sponsors, migrants and short-term students.

    Academic Progression

    If you have previously studied in the UK, there may be certain factors you need to consider before applying for a new student visa. The UKVI limits the time you can study an undergraduate programme.

    Academic Progression is a UKVI requirement that has been put in place to ensure all students are progressing academically. There are exemptions to the Academic Progression requirement And more information can be found on our Student Visa page. You can also use our guidance that will help you draft the statement.

    The rules for the academic progression requirement can be found at Appendix Student ST 14.1 to 14.5.  Immigration Rules: Appendix Student - Immigration Rules - Guidance - GOV.UK (

    Exceptional Assurance

    The exceptional assurance temporary concession is available to anyone who cannot travel to their country due to exceptional circumstances. If you intend to leave the UK to return to a country or territory currently listed amber or red, but have not been able to do so and you have a visa, leave or 'exceptional assurance' that expires before a certain date, you may request additional time to stay, known as 'exceptional assurance'.

    Though this is short term protection from becoming an overstayer, you can still apply for a new course if you have valid exceptional assurance.

    Please always check the latest guidance on this as the situation is always changing.

    Before you apply for your visa you should ensure you have the required supporting documents. You should refer to the Student Visa Government and Home Office Student and Child Student Guidance for full details on applying for a Student . 

    The more prepared you are before making your visa application the less risk there is of making a mistake. In order to become more familiar with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements you can also refer to the advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. 

    If you are currently enrolled at the University of East London, you should refer to the Student Visa Guidance on the Intranet for further information. 

    CAS letter (Confirmation of Acceptance)

    You must have a CAS, for the University of East London, before you make your student visa application. When you receive your CAS check that the information is correct, and your personal details match your passport. 

    A CAS is valid for 6 months only.

    Please refer to our student visa page for more information about a CAS.

    Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate 

    You may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you are undertaking certain courses in subject areas such as, but not limited to, engineering, technology and science at Master's or PhD level. Your offer letter and your CAS will tell you if you need an ATAS certificate. 

    The ATAS certificate is issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for permission to study the course. You must be issued an ATAS certificate before you make your Student visa application. 

    Students and researchers who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate. 

    You will be sent an ATAS certificate by email from the FCO. You can find more information about the ATAS certificate on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) - GOV.UK (

    Police Registration

    You will need your up-to-date Police Registration Certificate if you were required to register with the police as part of your current visa conditions. You can find out more information about this  here.

    Under 18

    • A letter of consent from your financial sponsor to continue your studies in the UK if, in the last 12 months before the date of application, you have completed a course of studies in the UK for which you received funding from a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs.
    • If you are under 18 years old at the time of application, proof of parental consent and proof of relationship (a birth certificate or equivalent). A template letter will be provided by the University for proof of consent.

    Qualification documents 

    Your CAS will state any qualifications used as part of the assessment for your admission to your course. 

    As the University of East London is a Higher Education Provider (HEP), if you are applying to study a course at degree level (RQF 6) or above you are not required to provide evidence of your qualifications.

    English Language documents 

    Your CAS will state any English language document used as part of the assessment for your admission to your course, which you need to submit to make your Student visa application. 

    Under 18 

    If you are under 18 years old at the time of application, you will need to provide a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to show that they support your application. You will also need to provide a copy of your birth certificate (or another government issued document) that shows the names of your parents. 

    You can find more information under the 'Parental Consent of Students and Child Students under 18' section of the Student Route Caseworker Guidance.


    If your documents are not in English, you will need to submit the document in your language and include a fully certified translation by a professional translator or translation company of these documents.

    The translation must provide the following:

    • A statement from the translator or translation company confirming that it is an accurate translation of the original document
    • The date of the translation
    • The translator or an official of the translation company's full name and signature and,
    • The translator or translation company's contact details. 


    You will need to show financial documents to show you meet the UKVI requirements, unless you are in the UK and have been living in the UK for 12 months or more at the point of submitting your student visa application This means you do not need to provide supporting financial documents with your visa application.

    Holidays and short absences

    If you have been outside the UK for a significant part of the last 12 months, then you may need to show financial documents.

    The UKVI provides an example of what they mean by significant period.

    Holidays and short absences from the UK do not break the 12 month period. However, if an applicant has t been based in the UK for a significant part of the 12 months, for example for at least 3 months, they will not meet the requirement. If the applicant had 3C leave or exceptional assurance (during the Covid pandemic) during the 12 months, that time should be counted as a time during which they had permission.

    If you do not meet the 12 months exemption then you need to show that you have sufficient funds in your bank account which includes living costs of £12,006 plus any unpaid tuition fees, for a maximum duration of 9 months. You may be exempt from this if are a national covered under the 'differentiation arrangements'. You are considered a low-risk applicant if you are applying for a student visa (inside or outside the UK), and you are a national listed above as outlined in paragraph 22 of Appendix ST of the Immigration Rules.

    Further information on financial requirements and documents you require can be found on the following links:

    Applying for your visa

    Before you start your student visa application you should make sure you are familiar with the requirements.

    The more prepared you are before making your visa application the less risk there is of making a mistake. 

    Where to apply?

    You should make the visa application from inside the UK.

    When to apply?

    You can start completing the application form as early as you like; your application will not be made until you pay the application fee.

    You should apply when you received your CAS letter so you can receive an early decision. You CAS will only last for 6 months so make sure you apply in a timely manner.

    If you leave it too late to apply, your visa may not be granted in time and you will be unable to start your course. The University of East London cannot permit students to join their course after the latest date on enrolment as stated on your CAS. You should apply as soon as you get your CAS, before the new course start date and before your visa expires.

    You should usually get a decision within 8 weeks (standard only) once you've applied online to switch to or extend a Student or Child Student visa.

    You may be able to pay to get a faster decision - you'll be told if you can when you apply.

    How to apply?

    The online application needs to be completed which can be accessed through the website.

    To start your visa application, you will need to register and then complete the online form in English. Under the section 'confirm your Visa Type' select 'Student' and proceed with the application. 

    You will then be required to pay the application fee. The cost of the standard student visa application is currently £490. Faster priority services may be available at a higher cost.

    Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) 

    The Immigration Health Surcharge is a mandatory charge that you must pay as it allows you to access the National Health Service in UK except dental care which you normally need to pay for.

    The current charge is £470 per year for each year of permission that you are applying for.

    If your permission is granted includes part of the year that is 6 months of less, then you will only pay £235.

    The student visa application will include steps to take to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and will be calculated based on your course start and end date including any post study duration. The post study duration can be found in Immigration Rules: Appendix Student, ST 25.4

    Biometric appointment

    Submitting biometrics is part of the process following your student visa application submission. The UKVI require your photo and fingerprints and you would have paid for this service within your application payment process.

    Upon the submission of your application, you will be directed to the UKVCAS website where you will be required to open an account. It is called Sopra Steria (partner organisation with the UKVI)

    Due to Covid-19, the UKVI may check your pre-existing biometrics, and invite you to use the 'IDV APP'.

    If you are not selected to use the ‘IDV APP’ you will be required to attend an appointment. Sopra Service will email you once you have registered with them letting you know which option you have been selected for. The other process is to book an appointment to provide your Biometrics. This will be done on a case by case basis and what the UKVI decide is the best option for your case.

    You should book an appointment via the which will allow you to opt for various locations. You may choose the most local Core Service Point by inputting your postcode.

    You will also see an 'upload' section on the Sopra Service website so make sure you upload all your supporting documents.

    Travelling whilst application is pending

    You are advised to not to leave the country whilst your application is pending. If you do leave the country, there is a high chance that you will struggle to return to UK as you will have no valid student visa i.e. your Biometric Residence Card (BRP).

    What happens once your student visa application is granted?

    Your new BRP card will be posted to the address you put on your online application form. You may also be instructed to post back your old BRP card.

    A BRP is a plastic card similar to a credit card which contains your personal information, your biometric information (photograph and fingerprints) and states your immigration status and some of your conditions.

    You will not receive a new visa in your passport.

    You must check whether all the details on your BRP is correct. See checklist below for your BRP card:

    If you feel there are errors on your BRP, you can request for these to be changed or amended. Please contact ISA team on if you need any advice on reporting the errors to the UKVI.

    For further information about this, please see the GOV.UK website .

    Refund and Visa Refusal

    If your visa is refused or you cancel the visa you will be entitled to the refund for the immigration health charge but will forfeit the fees for the application.

    If your visa refused and you do not accept the decision, then you can appeal and apply for an Administrative Review.

    If your application was refused, you must apply for an administrative review within 14 days of getting the decision.

    If your application was refused for when you applied outside UK, you must apply for an administrative review within 28 calendar days of getting the decision.

    Your refusal letter will tell you how to apply. You may be able to apply online. It costs £80.