Visa information

Applying for a visa

You will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study at Lancaster University International Study Centre.

How do I get a student visa?

Students may need a visa to study in the UK. If you will need a visa to study in the UK, the process is as follows:

  • First, you must apply for the programme of your choice at the International Study Centre.
  • Receive an offer letter.
  • Send your paperwork to the Admissions team or your Student Enrolment Adviser.
  • Pay a deposit and CAS payment.
  • Receive your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies).
  • Complete a visa application online. Attach financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the programme and your living costs.
  • Some students may be require to attend a credibility interview.
  • You will be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to let you know the outcome of your application.

You can find out more information on student visas here.

When should I apply for a visa?

You can apply for a visa up to three months before your course start date. Apply early to make sure there is enough time for your application to be processed. Check average visa processing times for your country here.

How long can I stay in the UK on a student visa?

In addition to the period of leave given to you to carry out your course of study, leave to remain will also be granted depending on your length of course. See section 5.66 in Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance document to find out more.

Can I work during my pathway programme?

If you are a Tier 4 student, you are entitled to work during your pathway programme at the International Study Centre providing that your visa is granted on or after 1 August 2019.

The main purpose of the Tier 4 visa route is for students to come to the UK to study. Where a student is permitted to work, the intention is that this should be an opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study or to supplement their income whilst studying.  In most cases we expect this to be a part-time role for an established business/organisation (for example, a customer service role at a retailer). You can also work as part of a work placement, provided it is an integral and assessed part of your course.

A Tier 4 visa allows you to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week during term-time for any course you study below degree level or 20 hours per week during term-time for any course at degree level. This is the maximum hours in any one week, including paid or unpaid work and for one or more organisation. A 'week' is defined by the Home Office as a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday.

Whilst working on a Tier 4 visa, you are not able to:

  • be employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised foundation programme)
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach)
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • be self-employed (except where you are awaiting a decision on an application for leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • engage in business activity
  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except on a recognised foundation programme or as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer).

If you stop studying before completing your course, you will no longer be entitled to work and will be in breach of your visa conditions.

Visa credibility interviews

What is a credibility interview?

Credibility interviews, also known as visa interviews, are designed to ensure that you comply with the UK’s immigration rules. In the interview, an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will try to establish that you are a genuine student, and not planning to use a student visa for holiday or work. The purpose of the interview is to show that you are serious, and that you have researched your chosen course and university.

Will I have a credibility interview?

Whether or not you are invited to a credibility interview depends on which country you are applying from. Check if you may need to have one here.

Where will I have my credibility interview?

You will normally be interviewed at the visa application centre when you submit your visa application documents. This interview is via a secure video system and you will be interviewed by a UKVI member of staff who is in the UK.

How should I prepare for a credibility interview?

Make sure you have researched Lancaster University International Study Centre, its local area, and the content of your chosen course. Think about your reasons for wanting to study there.

What questions will I be asked in a credibility interview?

Below are some common examples of credibility interview questions:

Tell the interviewer your reasons for wanting to study at Lancaster.

You should be able to explain why you have decided you would prefer to study in the UK, and not in your home country or somewhere else abroad.

Show the interviewer that you have done your research into the best course for you.

The interview will expect you to demonstrate that you can afford to live and study in the UK.

You need to show that you are planning for the future, and that you are serious about getting a degree from a UK university.

It is important that you make it clear your main purpose for being in the UK is to study and that any employment or work placement is to gain practical work experience in your field of study.

You must also be clear that you understand that you will not be relying on any earnings you receive through working whilst studying to pay your programme fees and living costs. These must still be evidenced as part of your visa application. You should also demonstrate that you understand the number of hours you are allowed to work during your studies.

What if my student visa is refused?

If you receive a visa refusal, you have 28 days to submit an Administrative Review to the UKVI and contest the decision made by the ECO. You will need to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal.

We’ll get you to where you want to be – Read our latest guidance for current students, or find out more about online learning.