header photo

Study * Travel * Immigrate


Recent and upcoming immigration changes


What will happen?

Instead of students getting a visa for the entire length of their course, students will now receive a 30 day temporary entrance visa in order to travel to the UK. Students will have to pick up their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) 10 days after arrival, which will give them leave to remain for the duration of their course.

Who will this affect?

All non–EEA nationals who are coming to the UK for more than six months. This will therefore not include any migrants on a visit visa as they are not able to stay in the UK for more than six months at a time.

How will it work?

Application process:

During the visa application the student will need to provide a UK address. If a student does not have a confirmed UK address, they should enter the College/University address.

Students will need to enter an accurate travel date, as the entry visa will be valid for 30 days from this date.

Travelling to the UK:

Successful applicants will be given a 30 day entry visa and a decision letter, which will tell them:

•the length of the visa granted

•the type of visa granted

•which Post Office to pick up the BRP from in the UK.

Arriving in the UK:

Once in the UK, the student will need to take their passport and decision letter to the designated Post Office to collect their BRP. Students must collect their BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

Students will not be able to enrol onto their course with their institution until they have collected their BRP.

What happens if the student does not collect their BRP?

If the student does not collect their BRP within the 10 day deadline, they may be subject to a financial penalty of £125, or cancellation of leave.

Can someone other than the student pick up the BRP?

Third party collection will only be available for disabled or seriously ill students, and the third party will need to have prior authorisation (via email).

Can Under 18s pick up their own BRP?

All students under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by either a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult in order to collect their BRPs. The responsible adult will need to have email approval from the Home Office and have their identity documents present. This topic remains under discussion with the UKVI and further updates will follow.

What happens if there is an error on the BRP?

Students must report BRP errors to the Home Office within 10 days of collection. This can be done via email.

When does this take effect?

•18 March – Pakistan

•14 April – Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cyprus,Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Gibraltar, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy,Laos, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Nepal, Netherlands, North Korea, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam

•31 May – Afghanistan, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Falkland

Islands, Fiji, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand,Nigeria, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, St Helena, St Lucia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Yemen

•31 July – Rest of the world

Where can I find further information?



• surcharge – April 2015

What will happen?

From 6 April, an immigration health charge is being introduced for all non–EEA nationals. This charge is separate to the visa application charge, but is payable during the visa application.

Who will be charged?

All non–EEA nationals who apply for a UK visa, from overseas, for six months or longer. All non–EEA nationals who apply for leave to remain from within the UK, forany length of time.

Exceptions include:

•visitors, and where the grant of entry clearance (permission to stay in the UK) is for six months or less

•intra–company transfers (Tier 2 – skilled workers)

•children under 18 years taken into care or in the care of a local authority

•migrants making an application for asylum, humanitarian protection, or a claim that their removal from the United Kingdom would be contrary to article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights

•victims of human trafficking

•a migrant who applies under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’

•dependents of a member of Her Majesty’s Forces

•a dependent of a member of another country’s Forces who is exempt from Immigration Control

•those making an immigration application related to an EU obligation, such as an application under the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement, are exempt

•nationals of Australia or New Zealand

•a British Overseas Territory citizen who is a resident of the Falkland Islands.

How much is the surcharge?

The charge will be £150 per rolling 12 month period for Tier 4 students. The exact amount will be calculated during the visa application, and will depend on the maximum length of leave that can be granted. If this period of leave includes part of a year that is six months or less, the amount payable for that part of a year is half the annual charge. If the period of leave includes part of a year that is more than six months, the full annual amount is payable.Students can check the amount that they need to pay using the online calculator here:

When is the charge payable?

Students will need to pay the surcharge during their visa application. The fee for the entire stay will need to be paid up front.

What do applicants get for the money?

The health charge will give applicants access to free NHS hospital treatment for their entire stay in the UK.

What happens if an applicant doesn’t pay?

If the payment is not made during the application, they will be contacted by the UKVI (by phone or email) and will be given seven days to pay the surcharge. If they do not pay within this time, their visa will be rejected.

What happens if a student decides not to travel?

If a student decides that they will not be travelling after their application is processed, they will not be eligible for a refund.

Does this change the visa application process?

Yes, the student will need to pay the surcharge online prior to their visa application and before the CAS will be issued by the institution the student had applied to study. The payment can be made here: During the visa application the student will be asked for Immigration Health Surcharge Reference number, so the payment receipt should be saved.

Does this change the admissions process?

Yes, all students will need to provide the college with the payment receipt and immigration health surcharge reference number before the CAS can be issued.

How does this affect students already in the UK?

Students already in the UK who have not paid the health surcharge will be liable for NHS charges and will be billed by the hospital directly. The Department of Health have implemented a new system which will link a migrant’s immigration record with their NHS number, and therefore will make it easier for hospitals to identify persons eligible to pay for treatment. Primary healthcare (i.e. GP and emergency services) will remain free for all migrants.

How does this affect students coming to the UK for less than six months?

Students coming to the UK for less than six months will not be required to pay the fee. They will be liable for NHS charges if they require hospital care in the UK.

What if the student has private health insurance?

The health surcharge is mandatory for affected migrants. For individuals that have private healthcare paid for them, they will still be obligated to pay the surcharge.

Where can I find further information?





What is happening?

From 6 April 2015, the approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) list is being reduced to only two providers; Trinity College London (UK centres only), and IELTS SELT Consortium (which comprises the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment). English language tests taken before 6 April 2015 from the current list of approved SELTS can be used in immigration applications until 5 November 2015.

From 5 November 2015, only IELTS and Trinity College London tests taken on or after 6 April 2015 will be acceptable.

•PTE will no longer be a UKVI approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

•IELTS will remain a SELT but only if the test was taken in an IELTS test centre that the UKVI has approved, so from April 6 not all IELTS are UKVI approved, only some of them will be.

Who does this affect?

Students only need a SELT for a visa application if they are:

•studying a course below degree level (below NQF 6); or

•studying at an institution that is not a Higher Education Institutions (HEI).

Students with a single CAS issued by the University will not need a SELT, as UK Universities are able to make their own assessment of English Language capability for degree courses and above.

Which centres are approved for SELT?

There are over 200 permanent and pop–up IELTS SELT approved centres around the world, these centres are listed here:

What is the difference between the SELT and non-SELT IELTS?

The approved “IELTS for UKVI” test is the same as the standard IELTS test, but the centre has improved security features, including CCTV, voice sampling and independent audits. In addition to the security measures in the test centres, the test results will be administered electronically, and verifiable online.

How do I book an IELTS for UKVI test?

There is a new search function on the IELTS website, “Applying for a UK visa? Find a test”, this will provide detailed on the new SELT test centres and online booking facilities for your country.

Where can I find further information?




What is happening?

On 24 April, the visit visa routes to the UK are being streamlined; reducing the visit visa categories from 15 to just four. The student visitor visa will not be included in these new visa categories, but a new “Short-Term Student” and “Short-Term

Student (Child)” route will provided for under Section 3 of the Immigration Rules.

In practice, the new system is almost identical to the old student visitor regime.

Who can use the “Short–term Student” visa route?

The short-term student route is intended for persons coming to the UK to study for short periods of time, up to six months (or up to 11 months if studying English language). Students taking re–sits can also use the short–term student route, provided they do not study in the UK for more than six months at a time.

Where can I find further information?

The new “Short–Term Student” and “Short–Term Student (Child)” applicant guidance will be released on 24 April 2015.





Go Back