This page has information about:
- Visa to attend an audition
- Entry Clearance & Visas for Study
- Applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa
- Requesting a CAS Sponsorship Number
- Making your visa application
- If your visa application is unsuccessful
- Coming to the UK
- Police Registration and BRP collection
- Legal obligations of Tier 4 Visa Holders
- Extending your stay in the UK
- Withdrawing from your course or shortening your studies
The Royal Academy of Music holds Tier 4 Sponsor Status. The Academy is exempt from the five-year study length restriction for students who have Tier 4 visas.
Immigration Advice from UKCISA and the Academy
The website of UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) has the latest information about visas, and plenty of other useful advice for international students. They also have a phone line if you have any specific questions about your situation.
The main Academy contact for advice about your immigration status is the Admissions Manager, Mr Edward Kemp-Luck, in the Registry department, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. He can offer Level 1 advice (under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999), which means basic immigration advice and assistance with applications for entry clearance and leave to remain - for example, issuing CAS sponsorship numbers and assisting with checking visa application forms.
The Admissions Manager and UKCISA are authorised contact points for advice and there is no fee involved. You should not need to pay any fees for immigration advice, and we advise that you do not seek guidance from unauthorised sources; please direct your enquiries to the Academy Registry or UKCISA, and also consult the UK Government websites we have linked from the text below.
If you will need a support letter to help apply for a visitor visa (www.gov.uk/general-visit-visa) to attend an audition in London, please contact email@example.com after you have submitted your Academy application in UCAS Conservatoires, quoting your Personal ID Number. We regret we are not able to support visa applications for travel to New York or our East Asia audition centres.
The UK Government's Home Office department oversees our immigration rules through a section called UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration). Visit this website www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa to find if you need a visa, and how to apply.
- If you are a citizen of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland you do not need a visa to enter or study in the United Kingdom. You will be able to enter the United Kingdom by showing a valid passport or national identity card;
- If you are not an EEA/Swiss citizen, you will normally need Tier 4 Adult (General) Student Entry Clearance to study at the Academy. The UKVI website www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa has a list of countries which require visas to study in the UK, and your visa must be sponsored by the Academy;
- If your enrolment is for less than six months, for example a part-year exchange or part-year year-abroad placement, and you require a visa to study here, you can use the Short-Term Study visa but you will not be permitted to do any work in the UK.
- You may be allowed to study if you hold another UK visa, for example a Dependent visa, or if you have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this.
Applying for a Points-Based System Tier 4 General Visa
This information is correct when it is published – however UKVI frequently changes the rules so we advise that you also check the UK Government website.
* DO NOT APPLY TOO EARLY! *
Do not begin a visa application until you have received your CAS sponsorship number from the Academy (see below). The visa will be valid from one month before enrolment commences.
You cannot apply for your Academy visa earlier than three months before the commencement date of your study programme (we use the first day of our Enrolment Week, 4th September 2017). If you apply too early, your CAS number will be invalid, you will get zero points for it and your application will be rejected. You will have to make a new application and pay the UKVI fee again, you will also have to request a new CAS from the Academy and that will cost you £21.
You must also pay the Health Surcharge as part of your visa application: see the Home Office Guidance.
To apply in your home country for a new visa or to extend an existing student visa, visit the UK Government website. You should apply online and you may also need to complete the VAF9 Appendix 8 (Student) section. The application fee, currently £328, is given in your local currency on www.gov.uk/visa-fees.
To apply within the UK to extend an existing Tier 4 student visa, visit the UK Government website. You should apply online, and the fee is currently £448, or £1,048 for an in-person application. A premium postal application costs £823.
New Tier 4 UK visa: This document is designed to help you with your application for a Tier 4 Student (General) visa application from outside the UK, to come to the Academy under the UK’s Points-Based System.
Continuing an Academy-sponsored Tier 4 UK visa: This document is designed to help you with your application for extending your student visa through the UK’s Points Based System, if your current visa was sponsored by the Academy.
Changing from another UK visa: This document is designed to help you with your application for a Tier 4 Student (General) visa through the UK’s Points-Based System for studying at the Academy, if your current visa is not Tier 4 (General) or if it was not sponsored by the Academy – for example if you hold a Child Student visa or are currently sponsored by a different university or conservatoire.
You will need these things to support your visa application:
You will need to have proof of all the following information when you make your application for your Tier 4 student visa:
1. You are Sponsored by the Academy (this means we have given you a CAS Number – ’confirmation of acceptance for study’ – see below for details of how to request this number from the Registry), that gives you 30 points,
2. You have enough money to pay for your studies (the tuition fee, minus Academy scholarship/bursary awards) plus living costs (£11,385) for the first year of study after the visa application, that gives you 10 points,
3. You have gained the right matriculation qualification (for example, a Bachelor Degree if you are joining the Masters degree programme), the Academy has to have recieved this proof before we issue your CAS number,
4. Satisfactory language test scores in reading, writing, listening and speaking, if your first language is not English and if you have to take an IELTS language test to join your Academy study programme, the Academy has to have received proof of these scores before we issue your CAS number unless we have told you that you are exempt from the test requirement.
Low Risk applications
If you are in a ‘Low Risk’ category specified in the UK Government visa guidance (also see the UKCISA website under ‘Information and Advice’: 'Visas and Immigration'), you may not need to include documents proving 2) and 3) when you make your visa application, but the UK Entry Clearance Office which processes your application may still ask you to provide the documents.
Visa Sponsorship: CAS Number
Students joining the Academy:
The Admissions team will allocate you a CAS Number through the UKVI Student Management System, normally from June onwards, after receiving:
- your CAS Request form: you can get this here, either as a PDF or as Word document;
- your two satisfactory references, as specified in your Offer Letter. These should have been sent to us before your audition, and your acceptance confirmation letter told you if either of these were missing when you accepted your place. If we have them, you do not need to send them again;
- the fee payments requested by the Finance Department;
- proof that you have met the matriculation requirements to join your study programme;
- if you need to take an English Language test, the IELTS Test Result Form or electronic notification to prove that your IELTS Academic test result is high enough to allow entry to the Academy, and that you have satisfactory scores (5.5 or higher) for all elements of the test (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking).
After you have requested the CAS, you will be sent an email showing the details about you which are in the UKVI database. After you have replied to confirm that the details are correct, we will allocate your CAS number. Then we will email you your CAS statement containing the CAS Number which you will need to put in the visa application and the Academy's Sponsor Licence number.
Current Academy students:
If you will be joining a new study programme, for example going from BMus to Masters, or if your visa will expire before the end of your current programme and you need to extend it, you must also use the CAS Request Form to be allocated a new CAS number. You can get this form from the document links above. You cannot re-use a CAS number which has already been utilised for an earlier visa application, and you will have to pay the full visa application fee and health charge.
After you have requested the CAS, you will be sent an email showing the details about you which are in the UKVI database. When you have confirmed that the details are correct, we will allocate your CAS number. Then we will email you the CAS Number and our Sponsor Licence Number which you will need to put in the visa application.
- If you already on a one-year postgraduate programme and have switched to the two-year option, you have to return home to make the visa application (i.e. you cannot apply within the UK).
- If you are joining a new programme, before you can enrol in September you must make your visa application and bring proof that you have submitted the application.
- If you change from MA to MMus and your final hand-in date is in the autumn term within the validity period of your original MA visa, you can apply for a visa extension based on the new end date, but you have to submit the application while you are still studying and not after the hand-in date. You will have to pay the full visa application fee and health charge, and you will have to return home to make the application.
Money to pay for your studies - important!
You will need to prove that you are able to pay for your studies and your living costs without being employed in the UK, or claiming social benefit money from the UK government. The Academy will tell UKVI how much you have paid towards your tuition fee and you will need to show that you have enough money to pay for your remaining costs for the 2017/18 academic year. Please consult the UK Government website for the latest details about this requirement.
Normally you will need to have the money in your own bank account. The account can be in your own country, it does not have to be in the UK or in GBP Sterling, but the money has to have remained in the account continuously for at least one month.
If the money is in your parent’s account, you will need to provide documents to prove your relationship to your parent and to prove that they will let you have the money towards your study costs. Usually you provide your birth certificate and a signed letter from your parent.
Maintenance funds which UKVI expects you to have for 28 days:
You have to prove you have held £11,385 for maintenance [9 months at £1,265 per month] in your account, even if you are still on a course in the UK or you completed a previous UK course less than four months before the visa application..
You must have held this money (£11,385) PLUS any remaining balance of your tuition fee in a bank account for a consecutive 28 day period. On the date of the closing balance (or the bank statement date) these three conditions must be satisfied:
- the account balance must be at least your maintenance funds plus any remaining tuition fee,
- the account balance must not have fallen below that amount during the 28 days preceding the closing balance/statement date, and
- the bank document must be dated no more than one month before your application submission date.
If you make a tuition fee payment to the Academy after receiving your CAS, and the payment makes your account balance drop beneath the minimum requirements, please ask the Academy Finance Office for confirmation that your payment has been received and recorded in your CAS before you submit your visa application, to avoid your application being rejected.
We strongly recommend that you keep enough money in your bank account continuously until your visa has been granted: if your application is rejected for any reason you will need to reapply and provide new bank statements which meet the rules.
- If you are a U.S. citizen getting Federal or private loans, you should apply as a self-funding student. You will need to have available hard-copy proof of the loan amounts you have been awarded, see the Information Book on our US Loans web page.
Matriculation documents - academic proof
If you are a new student at the Academy, or are beginning a new programme, you will need original documentation with your visa application to prove you can matriculate onto your study programme.
We can only sponsor your visa application after we have received proof that you can matriculate. That is because the Academy must tell UKVI about the documentation you will use to support your visa application, You must send the Academy's Registry a photocopy or JPEG scan of your document (for example, school graduation certificate, Bachelor degree final transcript or certificate). The Academy will put the details of that document into the UKVI database.
Please do not send us the original document, because you must retain it for your visa application. The copy can be sent by post to the Registry, or by email to email@example.com.
English translation: If your document is not in English, you must provide an official authorised translation into English as described on Page 1 of your ‘Information for Entry’ booklet BOTH for the Academy AND for the Entry Clearance Officer. You cannot translate the document yourself.
If you are already on your programme at the Academy and are extending a visa which was granted for that programme, the Academy simply confirms your progress to UKVI and you do not need to show matriculation documents.
Your Offer Letter and Confirmation of Acceptance letter tell you if the Admissions Board requires a language test result from you before you can join the Academy, or if you need to take a test to meet UKVI visa requirements. Please see our English Language page for more details about the requirements.
The UK Government online application system will ask you to register for a customer account. If all the questions in a section have been answered, the section will automatically be saved. If you are part way through a section you can click the Save button on the screen to remain in the application, or Save and Quit to save and exit the application.
You may be asked to choose from a number of different Tier 4 options:
- Tier 4 (General) Student is the usual choice; select this if you will be self-funded with your own money or privately with money from your family, funded by a student loan, or by partial support from a scholarship or bursary;
- Tier 4 (General) (Sponsored) Student if you will be funded by an "official financial sponsor" which is giving you an award to pay in full your tuition fees and also your living costs. An "official financial sponsor" can be Academy scholarships and bursaries, money from the UK government or your home government (though this does not include student loans), the British Council, or an international organisation or international company;
- Tier 4 (Scholarship) Student ONLY IF you are the holder of a Chevening Scholarship or Fellowship, a British Marshall Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship or a Commmonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.
If you are applying outside the UK, you may also need to complete the VAF9 Appendix 8 form. This is a PDF available on the UKVI website.
Credibility Interviews: UKVI asks most applicants to have a video interview. Information about the interviews is available on this ‘2682-Credibility interviews for Tier 4 applicants’ PDF.
How long will it take?
If you are applying in your home country, the UK Government has an online guide to visa processing times.
If you are applying in the UK, you should allow up to eight weeks for your application to be processed, though most applications are completed within about one month.
If your application is being submitted late, it may be better to use the Priority or Premium service if that is available, to avoid delaying your enrolment.
If you are applying close to the 'latest date' for acceptance on the course, as specified in your CAS, you must choose an application service which will give you the decision before that date is reached, to avoid your application being rejected.
Visa or ID Card
Tier 4 Student Visas are a separate ID card containing your photograph and immigration details. The card is called a BRP (Biometric Residence Permit). You will need to show the BRP with your passport at immigration, and bring it to enrol at the Academy.
If you apply for a Tier 4 Student visa outside the UK, you will be given a validity vignette which allows you to travel to the UK, the vignette is valid for a 30-day period based on the travel details you include with your visa application. After you arrive in the UK, you have ten days to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the Post Office branch which is designated by UKVI. The Post Office will be near the postcode you included in your visa application.
Your visa should be granted for the following periods:
- Study Abroad: one academic year plus one month (or the study period plus one month for a part-year placement);
- BMus: four academic years plus four months;
- MA, PGCert, Adv.Dip: one academic year plus one month, or two academic years plus four months, depending on the programme length;
- PGDip, CPD, Prof Dip: one academic year plus one month;
- MMus: one calendar year plus one month, or two calendar years plus four months, depending on the programme length;
- MPhil: three academic years plus four months (you will need to apply to extend the visa if you successfully switch to PhD)
The visa remains valid for extra time after your studies have finished, this is to allow you to spend leisure time in the UK and arrange your return home. The visa ceases to be valid when you leave the UK after the end of your study period, or on the expiry date printed on it, whichever is the earlier date.
Also, the study visa ceases to be valid if you stop studying at the Academy, for example through withdrawal or suspension or if you take a year out. See the 'Before your visa runs out' section at the end of this webpage.
If your studies are extended, for example if you switch from MA to MMus, you can apply for a visa extension near the expiry date of your existing visa.
If you will be joining a new programme, for example if you will be completing your MA and joining MPhil, you must have completed your visa application before you can enrol on the new programme, please bring proof of your application submission to enrolment if you have not yet received your new BRP.
If you use deception to get your visa (for example by showing false documents about your financial situation), or if you break the conditions of the visa (for example by working illegally in the UK, or by staying here after your visa has expired), you may be deported from the UK, your visa may be cancelled, and you may be forbidden from coming to the UK for up to ten years.
If your visa application is unsuccessful...
If you are refused a visa, we recommend that you contact the Admissions staff at the Academy as soon as possible, with full details of the reasons for refusal – these should be in a letter you will receive from the Entry Clearance Officer, please send a copy of this letter to the Admissions staff.
There is no right of appeal; you will need to make another application (and pay the fee again) and make certain that you have solved the problems which led to your first application being refused. You will also need to pay £21 to the Academy because we will have to allocate you another CAS Number.
If you are certain that your initial application was fine and UKVI has made an administrative error, you can apply for an Administrative Review, however this can be a lengthy process and it may be quicker to make another application.
You must not attempt to travel to the UK without the correct visa.
You will not be allowed to have any tuition at the Academy if you do not have the correct visa.
When you arrive
Your passport must normally be valid for the duration of your study programme in the United Kingdom. Keep a photocopy of the cover and Photo ID page, and a photocopy of your validity vignette, current UK visa and/or Biometric Residence Card, in case of loss or theft. You will need to bring your passport if you wish to open a bank account in the UK (European identity cards are not accepted by UK banks).
Many international students arrive at London Heathrow or London Gatwick. Both airports have good transport connections into central London. If you need help you can ask at the British Council desk in the airport terminal. Do not buy things from strangers at any airport and do not agree to carry part of another passenger’s luggage through Customs.
Remember to check if you have to register with the Police after you arrive, or tell the Police your new address in the UK if you have moved house. If you are using a validity vignette to travel to the UK, remember to collect your BRP ID card within 10 days of arriving here.
Some students fly to the Republic of Ireland first and then come to London; if you do this and are not an EEA national please check this part of the UKCISA website about confirming your status in the UK: www.ukcisa.org.uk/International-Students/When-you-arrive/Arriving-via-Republic-of-Ireland
Documentation for your arrival in the UK
If you are not an EU citizen, you will need to satisfy the immigration authorities that you are a genuine student and that you meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules which apply to students. The Immigration Officer must also be satisfied that you intend to leave the UK after you have completed your studies.
You will need a valid passport with the correct validity vignette (see below), visa sticker or biometric card and the Academy’s original Offer Letter or Confirmation of Acceptance letter. You should also provide your invoice for tuition fees and proof of payment of the deposit, for example, a copy of the bank transfer form: the Academy does not normally issue receipts so you should make sure you get a printed confirmation from your bank, or a screenshot of the online transaction. If you have a Tier 4 vignette you can use a printout of your CAS statement which we sent to you when you applied for your visa.
You will need to show you can pay your fees and your living costs without taking employment in the UK or claiming social benefits. If you have a scholarship or other financial support you must bring official confirmation of the money awarded to you. Remember to keep these documents in your hand luggage so that you can produce them at the immigration desk.
You should also keep any letter which the British Embassy or High Commission sent you to confirm that you were granted a student visa; you will have to show this if you lose your passport or biometric card and need to have the visa reinstated – keep a photocopy of the letters, your passport and your visa or biometric card.
Bringing money into the UK (EU Cash Declaration Scheme)
There are rules which affect travellers bringing in more than €10,000 (or the equivalent in other currencies: this is around £8,600 in UK Sterling, we advise you check the OANDA website www.oanda.com/currency/converter/. If you arrive in the UK from a country which is not in the European Union, when you go through Customs you must declare all the cash/travellers cheques/bank drafts/etc that you are carrying. If you do not do this, or if you provide incorrect or incomplete information, you could face a penalty of up to £5,000.
The declaration form is available at airports and ports, and will have a carbon-backed top copy to allow you to keep a duplicate. Customs officers may ask you to produce the duplicate copy in the future as evidence that you have made the declaration.
Police Registration in 7 days – check your vignette, BRP or Home Office letter
If you have to register with the UK police, this will normally be confirmed as follows:
For those travelling to the UK, the police registration condition will appear on the entry clearance vignette (visa), on your BRP, or on your Home Office decision letter.
For those applying from within the UK, the condition will either appear as a comment on the biometric residence permit (BRP), or it may be confirmed solely in the Home Office decision letter.
If you have any questions or enquiries regarding this matter you should visit the Government website pages:
www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi (if you are in the UK)
www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-outside-uk (if you are outside the UK)
To complete Police Registration in London, you must you must go to the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) within seven days of your arrival in the UK. If there is no stamp or instruction on your vignette, visa, BRP or Home Office decision letter, you do not have to register. You don't need an Academy letter to be able to register, but you should print and complete the Registration Form which is a PDF on the 'How to register' section of the OVRO website; remember to take all the documents and photos which are specified. There is also advice about this on the UKCISA website.
You must tell your local Police Station (not the OVRO) if you change your UK address after registering, and you must keep your Police Registration Certificate (PRC) to submit with any future Tier 4 visa application.
New Tier 4 student – vignette and BRP in 10 days
If you have applied for a new Tier 4 Student visa, you will be given a validity vignette which allows you to travel to the UK, and when you arrive you have ten days to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the Post Office. The BRP contains your Tier 4 visa details. If you do not collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK you may be subject to a financial penalty or cancellation of your leave. When you collect your BRP, you must check the expiry date of the visa so that it can be corrected if it is wrong.
This UKVI BRP leaflet explains how to collect your BRP, most Academy students need to take their passport to the Baker Street Post Office (111 Baker Street, London W1U 6SG). Also take your decision letter with you if possible, as it will help the Post Office staff to locate your BRP quickly.
Check that your BRP is correct
If you find there is a mistake on the BRP, for example if the length of Tier 4 leave is wrong, you must contact the Home Office within 10 days of receiving the card. Details of what you need to do are on the Home Office's website: https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/report-problem
You may need to apply for an Administrative Review, there is a fee for this (£80) but the Home Office refunds the fee if they made the mistake with the BRP details.
You will be sent details of the documentation you need to have for enrolment, in the 'Information for Entry' book with your offer confirmation, and by email during the summer. We regret you cannot enrol or receive any tuition at the Academy if you do not have the correct visa, and it is not possible to enrol with a visa sponsored by a different UK university or conservatoire.
While you are here
Legal Obligations of Tier 4 students
When you have your Tier 4 visa, you have a number of legal responsibilities and obligations to UKVI as well as to the Academy. These are summarised in our PDF document ‘Obligations of Tier 4 Students’. You must tell the Academy Registry and the UK government your UK address, your personal email address and your UK phone number, or if you change any of those details: www.gov.uk/change-circumstances-visa-brp tells you how to inform the UK Government of these changes, and you use the Academy’s “Change of Details” form which is available from the AIR Intranet or from the Registry Office.
Please see our International Students page for further useful information.
Do not overstay or break the visa rules!
If you stay in the UK after the expiry date of your visa, you will be here illegally, so make sure you are aware of the date when your visa will finish and apply for an extension (if you need one) in plenty of time. You should put a reminder note into your diary, so you don’t forget!
If you do forget and remain in the UK after the expiry date on your visa, UKVI may refuse to allow any extension of your visa and you will have to leave the country.
You may also have to leave if you break the rules of the visa, for example by working illegally or providing false information to get the visa. You can find guidance about working in the UK on our International Students web pages.
Overstaying or breaking the rules could mean you are banned from entering the UK for up to ten years, and might also affect visa applications for other countries.
BEFORE YOUR VISA RUNS OUT:
Applying to extend your stay for studying in the UK
The visa in your passport will show how long you are allowed to remain in the UK. Normally this will be long enough for you to complete your study progamme. If you need to extend your stay, you must apply before your ‘permission to remain’ expires. You should allow one month for this, however UKVI can sometimes take up to eight weeks. www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/extend-your-visa
All UK applications are done online; you will need to request a CAS sponsor number from us using the request form above [see "Requesting a CAS Sponsorship number"], and you can print your application before you submit it so the Admissions team can check it for you in the Registry.
Also you must have had no less than £11,385 plus any unpaid tuition fee balance in your bank account or other UKVI approved account for a consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance), ending no more than one month before your application. All supporting documents must be sent to UKVI, we advise that you use Special Delivery and keep a photocopy of all the documents for yourself.
If you finish one course at the Academy and progress to another, for example if you finish the BMus degree and progress to a Masters programme, you must have submitted the application for your new Tier 4 visa for the new programme before you can enrol in September.
You should send your CAS request form to the Registry during the summer and keep proof of your UKVI application (for example, a printout of your online application showing the date it was submitted) to show at enrolment in case there is a delay receiving your new visa.
To ensure that the UKVI receives your documents in good time and the application is not delayed, please follow these guidelines:
• Ensure that the printed copy of the coversheet is clear and correctly sized.
• Include the application coversheet when sending in your supporting documents.
• Ensure that documents are sent to the correct address and by using a postal service – UKVI is unable to accept courier deliveries, but you can use the Post Office Special Delivery service.
For further information on Tier 4 application processes please visit www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa.
If you shorten your study programme or withdraw
If you shorten your study programme, for example by switching from a 2-year postgraduate course to a 1-year course, or if you withdraw or take time out from the Academy before finishing, the UKVI will shorten ('curtail') your visa. You will not be given a replacement visa showing the new expiry date, but the new date will be held in the UKVI database. You must tell UKVI about the change by emailing MigrantReporting@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
If you withdraw before finishing, you immediately lose any right to work in the UK even though your visa remains valid for a short period after the withdrawal date.
We hope the information on this page will help to answer your questions, but if you need immigration advice please contact the Admissions Manager in the Registry.