Who needs a visa?

If you are not a citizen of the UK (and you do not have residence rights under the EU Settlement Scheme) it is likely you will need a student visa for study. For a student visa application to be successful you must demonstrate:

  • You have an unconditional offer of a place on a Leeds Arts University course. We will then issue you a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) number which you will use to make your visa application.   
  • You have enough money available to cover the tuition fees and living expenses for the first year of the course.

If you are already studying in the UK different rules apply which are explained here on the UKCISA website.

A full list of visa application fees can be found on www.gov.uk.


How do I apply?

Applications for the 'Student Route' visa are made online. The forms are available here. Visa applications are decided on the basis of the information given on these forms and the supporting documents.

An overview of the Student Route visa application process can be found on the UKVI website. Please read this guidance in full before beginning your visa application.

When should I apply?

Applying from outside the UK:
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Applying from inside the UK:
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.

You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.

Please note that your CAS is valid for six months ONLY. If you are applying from outside the UK, the ‘date of application’ is the date you pay your visa application fee as stated on your receipt.

Where to apply?

Applications for the student visa should be made in your home country if you're applying from outside the UK.

If you don’t live in your home country, you should make your application in the country in which you usually live. Your student visa application should be made on the gov.uk website.

Can I apply from inside the UK?

Certain categories of students may make an application from within the UK. Please see here for guidance.

Can my family/partner live with me in the UK while I am studying?

Please see here for guidance on bringing dependants to join you in the UK.

What documents do I need?

Please see here for a complete list of documents you will need to provide.

All documents must be translated into English and must be originals. Photocopies will not be accepted.

When will I get my CAS?

Summary CAS/Visa time line

  • Deposit AND exam results received 
  • If your results meet the conditions, we make your offer ‘unconditional’ 
  • We email you a ‘Pre-CAS Questionnaire’ 
  • We review the completed pre-CAS Questionnaire and your supporting evidence (i.e. financial) that you plan to submit with your visa application 
  • CAS issued to UK Visa & Immigration department 
  • CAS information and CAS reference number emailed to you 

You can then:

  • Pay NHS surcharge 
  • Submit online visa application 
  • Attend embassy appointment to provide your documents to an Entry Clearance Officer 

You should receive your visa approximately 3 weeks later. You can also check standard processing times for your country.

  • You enter the UK with your visa ‘vignette’ (sticker in your passport)
  • Collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from a specified local Post Office within 10 days

How much money do I need?

There are strict rules about how much money you need to have access to for your living expenses. Please see here for further information on providing your financial evidence. 

If you're applying with dependants, you'll need to show a higher sum of money.

What evidence is required as proof of sufficient funds?

You can use evidence of personal cash funds held in your own name or a joint account (where both account holders names appear on the statement) or you can use money held in an account owned by your parents/legal guardian, but not in the name of an aunt, grandparent, uncle or sibling.

Please see here for further information on how to provide your financial information. 

Can I use overseas account evidence?

If the account is in a foreign currency the final balance must be converted into GBP and handwritten beside the final balance on the statement.

Alternatively, students can show documentary evidence of a loan in their name, or a scholarship.

You'll need to provide a bank statement or letter from your bank confirming:

  • The money has been held for a minimum of 28 days. 
  • The balance of funds must not dip below the required amount during this time.
  • The letter or statement must be no more than 31 days old on the date that you make your application.

If you don't have the required amount, haven’t held it in your account for 28 days, or use a bank statement which is more than 31 days old, your application will be refused.

Can I use more than one bank account?

If you are providing two or more accounts to support you application, the UKVI will assess the funds available to you as being:

• the closing balance, plus

• any additional money available to you on the date of the closing balance for which you have provided.

The UKVI will always use the closing balance from the account that favours you.

The UKVI has published lists of financial institutions in certain countries that do not satisfy the financial conditions. Please check the guidance before applying. 

Can someone sponsor me?

Yes, you can be financially sponsored if you are given money to cover some or all of your course fees or living costs. You can receive sponsorship from the UK Government, your respective Home Government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company, university or UK independent school. However, if your sponsor is only covering some of your fees or living costs, you must show that you have the remainder.

What do I need to show as evidence of my financial sponsorship?

You must provide a signed letter of confirmation from your Official Financial Sponsor on headed paper with an official stamp (and/or seal).

The letter must show:

• Your name

• The name and contact details of your financial sponsor

• The date of the letter

• The amount of money your sponsor is giving to you or a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all your fees and living costs

Leeds Arts University will include the details of your Official Financial Sponsorship on your CAS.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

In addition to the visa application fee, you are also required to pay an immigration healthcare surcharge. This will then enable you to access free basic healthcare using the UK's NHS (National Health Service) throughout the duration of your studies. 

How much does the application cost?

Please see here for an overview of visa fees. 

What if my application is refused?

If your application is refused or rejected, please email a copy of the refusal letter to international@leeds-art.ac.uk. We will advise you on making a new visa application.

What are low risk nationalities?

Applicants from “low risk” countries are normally required to provide fewer evidential documents for their visa application. However, the Home Office reserves the right to request a full range of documents from you at any point.

Please note that Leeds Arts University will still request all documentary evidence before we can issue a CAS to ensure you will be able to provide all the supporting evidence if asked.

Please see here for a full list of nationalities considered to be 'low risk'.

Will I have a student visa interview?

Most students applying for a student visa, including nationals of a low risk country, should expect to be interviewed as part of their application. Interviews take place when you attend a visa application centre to give your biometric information and submit your documents. 

You should expect a UKVI member of staff to ask you about: Leeds Arts University, your course and your reasons for wanting to study in the UK. The aim of the interview is to determine that you are a genuine student, and that your English Language ability is at the correct level. 

Although this interview is nothing to be worried about, it is important that you are well prepared and have thoroughly researched your course beforehand. 


Credibility Interviews

After the initial interview, UKVI may ask you to attend an additional 'Credibility Interview' as part of the visa application process. If you are asked to attend one of these interviews, please inform the International Office

You will be asked a series of questions on topics such as: your background, your chosen course, previous visa applications, finances and your future plans. 

It is important that you do plenty of preparation ahead of your interview so that you can answer questions confidently. It is vital that you know the details of your course, such as the modules and methods of assessment. 



Biometrics Appointment

All student visa applicants will be required to provide biometric information when submitting their application.

Tuberculosis (TB) Screening

Nationals from certain countries have to be screened for TB before applying for a UK study visa. 

Additional requirements for 16 or 17 year olds

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you have the legal right to live independently in the UK. You may make your own arrangements for accommodation. However, if you will be living independently, you must send UKVI a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian, confirming:

  • their relationship with you
  • that they have given permission for your application
  • that they have given their permission for you to live independently in the UK; and
  • that they have given their permission for your independent travel to the UK.

If the letter is signed by only one parent or legal guardian, it must confirm that they have legal custody or sole responsibility for you. If they do not have sole custody, the letter must confirm that each parent or legal guardian agrees to the contents of the letter, and must be signed by each parent or legal guardian.

Time limits for study

There are maximum time limits (known as 'study caps') for how long you can study as a student in the UK. Any leave for studying in the UK at below degree level while you were under the age of 18 does not count towards your time limit. 

Pre-degree level study 

For below degree level study (such as our Foundation Diploma course), you can spend 2 years studying in the UK on a student visa. 

The cap for below degree level study ONLY applies to students 18 years old and over, so any time spent studying in the UK below the age of 18 does NOT count towards the time limit.

Undergraduate (degree level) study 

If you plan to study course at degree (undergraduate) level, you can spend a maximum of five years in the UK with a Student visa. This includes any visas you were previously granted under the old Tier 4 visa system for study at degree level.



Postgraduate level study

There is no time limit (study cap) for postgraduate level courses. 

Please see here for information on time limits for study at each level in the UK.