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 Tier 4 (General) Student visa?

All international students studying a full-time, on-campus course need a Tier 4 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
  • No extending your Tier 4 visa in the UK, only in your home country
  • Not eligible for the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme
If you have a passport from the European Economic Area, or an alternate visa which allows you to study in the UK, you may be exempt. If you're unsure, contact us to check.

How do I get a Tier 4 visa?

You can apply for your Tier 4 (General) Student visa online.

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

More about Tier 4 visas

When will I receive my CAS?

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

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 PBI questionnaire?

The Points Based Immigration (PBI) online questionnaire assesses your immigration history. This information is important as it can affect your visa application.

Without a completed PBI questionnaire, 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 visa from somewhere else?

Yes, you'll need a new visa because a Tier 4 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 tier4-visa@port.ac.uk for help applying for a new Tier 4 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 Location' and enter this code: 2HE479. This will let you collect your BRP card during registration at the university.

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're here in the UK. You'll need to pay this if you're a non-EEA national 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 is currently £150 per student and per dependent (if relevant) per year of study, payable at the time of visa application.

If you don't pay the surcharge if it's 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 visa.

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

Please email tier4-visa@port.ac.uk for help applying for a new Tier 4 visa.

I am an Erasmus+ or exchange student, which visa should I apply for?

If you are only studying in the UK for 6 months or less, you can apply for the Short-term Study visa. You'll need a supporting letter, which will be issued to you be prior submitting a visa application.

In addition to the supporting letter, you will also need to show that you have enough money to support you during your stay in the UK. Further information about applying for a Short-term Study visa can be found at UKCISA.

Students attending for more than 6 months can only apply for a Tier 4 visa.

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

You can find supporting information about student visas from:

You can find out more about applying to the University of Portsmouth here:

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 tier4-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.