If you are not a UK citizen, or an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen with UK settled/pre-settled status, you will usually need a visa to study at the Academy

Your visa (sometimes referred to as 'Entry Clearance') will normally be a UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) Student Route Visa, which allows you to study in the UK.

The Admissions Team will contact you in early summer if you need a Student Visa, with information about requesting a visa sponsorship number (CAS number) from us.

The main Academy contact for advice about your immigration status is the Admissions Manager, Edward Kemp-Luck (admissions@ram.ac.uk), in the Registry Department. There is no fee for advice.

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) is also an excellent source of information. You can also call them on +44 (0)20 7788 9214 with any queries you might have.

Do not seek guidance from unauthorised sources. Please direct your enquiries to the Academy Admissions Team, UKCISA or consult the UK Government website.

Below are some frequently asked questions, which should give you the information you need.

Yes. Contact admissions@ram.ac.uk after you have submitted your Academy application to UCAS Conservatoires, quoting your Personal ID Number. We regret that we are not able to support visa applications for travel to New York or our Australia and East Asia audition centres.

You will normally need a Student Visa if you are not a UK citizen and your course begins after 31 December 2020. Find out more here.

• If you currently hold, or expect to have, another type of visa that permits you to study in the UK, and you plan to use that visa for your Academy course, please contact admissions@ram.ac.uk.

You should apply online on the government website after your offer is Unconditional (GU in UCAS) and you have your CAS number from the Academy. See 'When should I apply for a Student Visa' and 'How do I request a CAS Sponsorship number' below on this page; the Admissions Team will write to you about this during the Spring Term with details of how to make the request.

Please note - the application requires a passport, it isn't possible to get a visa using a national ID card.

You will also be required to go to a Visa application centre, where your photograph and fingerprints (biometric data) will be taken. If you are in the UK and already have a UK visa, you may be able to use a UKVI App instead, there is information about this on the UKCISA website and also please see the section 'When should I apply for a Student Visa' below on this page.

Also there is a short UK Student Visa Guide from UKVI.

Visas are administered by UKVI, a division of the government’s Home Office department. Before making an application, please ensure you have read the UKVI guidance.

Your CAS will include the course start date (for a new course, that will be the Monday of enrolment week, one week before the academic term begins) and the course end date (that will usually be the date of the Final Examination Board at the end of the last year of the course).
You must put those dates into your visa application.

UKVI states that the earliest you can apply is three months before the start of your course if you are applying within the UK, or six months before the start of your study programme if you are applying outside the UK.

You will firstly need your CAS sponsorship number from the Academy. See 'How do I request a CAS Sponsorship number' below on this page.

The Admissions Team will write to you about this during the Spring Term with details of how to make the request.

Do not apply too early. If you apply too early, your CAS number will be invalid and your visa application will be rejected. You would then have to make a new application and pay the visa fee again.

If you are applying for a Student Visa outside the UK you will need to make your application from the country in which you normally live and wait to be granted the visa before you travel to the UK for your course.

  • You are not allowed to apply for, or switch to, a Student Visa in the UK if you are here on a Visitor visa or on certain other visas, please check on UKVI Switch to this Visa and also the UKCISA guidance.

If you are already on a course in the UK with a Student or Tier 4 visa, you have to finish that course before you apply for the new visa.

Details of UKVI visa processing times can be checked online. Do not attempt to travel to the UK without the correct visa. If it is close to the start of your studies, it may be worth considering a premium service for a faster decision.

If you need to have UK school examination results to join your course, you will have to wait until after the results have been issued in August through UCAS before we can issue a CAS. The Academy knows about this delay, it is the normal situation for students taking UK school examinations and you will be given help when you arrive to catch up with anything you miss.

In 2024, it costs £490 to apply for a Student Visa.

Yes, the Immigration Health Surcharge must be paid as part of your Student Visa application. From 6 February 2024 this is £776 per year and the calculation is based on the length of the visa itself, not just the course start and end dates, so it includes the short periods granted before and after the course.
There is a UK Government IHS calculator for you to see how much your IHS will be.

Some students are able to bring their partner and children to the UK on Dependant visas, but the UK government has changed the rules for this from 1 January 2024.

For the most recent information we recommend looking at the UKCISA guidance and the UK Government web page about Student Visa dependants.

You apply online to request your CAS number; the Admissions Team will write to you about this in due course, with details of how to make the request.

UKVI states that the earliest you can apply is three months before the start of your course if you are applying within the UK, or six months before the start of your study programme if you are applying outside the UK.

Please do not submit your online request until your offer is Unconditional (GU in UCAS) and you have the necessary financial documents (see 'What proof of finances do I need' below on this page, and the 'Financial Evidence' guide).

If there are no issues with your request we will draft a CAS application for UKVI. We will ask you to check your personal and course details in the draft.

We will then receive a CAS Number from UKVI and will forward your CAS statement to you via email. This will contain the CAS Number, which you need to put in the visa application, and the Academy's Sponsor Licence number.

The CAS will include any tuition payments which the Academy's Fees Office has received, and any Academy scholarship you have been awarded. You do not need a separate letter or a payment receipt.

Guide: Making your online request for a CAS number

Guide: Financial Evidence

You will need to prove that you are able to pay for your course fees and living costs without being employed in the UK or claiming social benefit money from the UK government.

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.

If the money is in the account of your parent(s) or legal guardian(s), you will need to prove that you are related to them, and that they have given permission for you to use this money. Usually you provide your birth certificate and a signed letter from your parent.

Currently, you have to show you have £12,006 for maintenance (nine months at £1,334 per month) PLUS any remaining course fees in an eligible account for a consecutive 28-day period. Read the requirements in full on the government website.

You must submit your online visa application before the bank statements expire, which is 31 days from the date they were issued by the bank.

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 Financial Evidence and Academic Requirements when you make your visa application. However, the UK Entry Clearance Office which processes your application may still ask you to provide the documents so the Academy asks to see these before issuing the CAS number.
This category is also referred to as 'differential evidence requirements' and the eligible countries are listed in Appendix Student of the Immigration Rules ["Eligibility Requirements for a Student": section ST 22.1].

Guide: Financial Evidence

If a document required to support your visa application is not in English or Welsh, you must also provide a fully certified translation from a professional translator or translation company that can be independently verified by the Home Office. The translation must include all of the following information:

• confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the document

• the date of translation

• the full name and signature of the translator or an official from the translation company

• the translator or translation company’s contact details

We recommend that you make and keep copies of all documents and forms that you have translated into English.

Before your office becomes Unconditional so we can sponsor your visa, the Academy will need to see copies of your qualifications to show you meet all the academic requirements for your course. Do not send originals – you will need these for your visa application.

For example, if you are joining a Master’s programme, we would need to see a copy of your Bachelor’s degree certificate. For an exchange or study abroad placement we need a transcript from your current course, or confirmation from your home institution that you have a Master's place if your placement is in the first year of the Master's course.

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 Financial Evidence and Academic Requirements when you make your visa application. However, the UK Entry Clearance Office which processes your application may still ask you to provide the documents so the Academy asks to see these before issuing the CAS number.
This category is also referred to as 'differential evidence requirements' and the eligible countries are listed in Appendix Student of the Immigration Rules [Eligibility Requirements: section ST 22.1].

If a document required to support your visa application is not in English or Welsh, you must also provide a fully certified translation from a professional translator or translation company that can be independently verified by the Home Office. The translation must include all of the following information:

• confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the document

• the date of translation

• the full name and signature of the translator or an official from the translation company

• the translator or translation company’s contact details

We recommend that you make and keep copies of all documents and forms that you have translated into English.

If you need to have UK school examination results to join your course, you will have to wait until after the results have been issued in August through UCAS before we can issue a CAS. The Academy knows about this delay, it is the normal situation for students taking UK school examinations and you will be given help when you arrive to catch up with anything you miss. If we receive the results directly from UCAS you will not need to provide separate documentary proof.

Your confirmation of acceptance message tells you if the Admissions Board requires a language test from you before you can join the Academy, or if you need to take a test to meet government requirements.

You may be asked to attend a credibility interview at your local visa application centre. It usually takes around five to ten minutes and is through a video link. The purpose is to check your credibility as a genuine student.

Biometric data (fingerprints and photo) will also be taken.

You will need a tuberculosis test to enter the UK if you come from any of the countries listed here. The test must be done at an approved clinic.

Details of visa processing times can be checked online: there is a UKVI page for applications made outside the UK and one for applications made within the UK

Make sure that you check first to see if you can apply within the UK, or if you need to apply from your home country and then wait for the visa before travelling. There is useful guidance about this on the UKCISA website for applying outside the UK and applying within the UK.

Also there may be options to make a priority application for a quicker decision: www.gov.uk/faster-decision-visa-settlement.

It is not possible to apply within the UK when you are on a Visitor visa.

Please contact the Admissions team at the Academy as soon as possible, with full details of the reasons for refusal. You will probably need to make another application, but if you are certain it was an administrative error, you may be able to apply for an Administrative Review.

You must not travel to the UK without the correct visa. You will not be able to receive tuition at the Academy without the correct visa.

If you are applying from outside the UK you will be given a short visa, known as a vignette, in your passport. This will allow you to enter the UK for up to 90 days and you must enter the UK within the dates given on the vignette.

You must arrive in the UK within the validity of your Student visa, that is the within the dates on the vignette, or after the start date of the E-visa if you are given digital immigration status.

There is guidance about the start date on the UKCISA website in the section 'Receiving your decision'.

If your vignette expires before you are able to travel, you can request a replacement with an online form accessed from this UK Government Guidance page, in the section "If your 90 day visa vignette to work, study or join family has expired". You need to select 'Transfer your visa to a new passport online', that will give you the option to replace an expired vignette and it costs £154.

When you arrive in the UK, if you have a vignette you must then collect your Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP) – a card that contains your full visa, biometric data and personal details – before your vignette expires. Check that all the information is correct when you collect it - see "What do I need to do after I have arrived in the UK?"

  • UKVI is changing to using electronic visas (E-visas); instead of BRPs, so you might be sent instructions for getting a Share Code for proving your immigration status. For the latest information, please see the E-Visas web page.

If you are allowed to apply from inside the UK, you will probably be given an E-visa.

You will need the following:

  • A valid passport
  • Your vignette (visa sticker in your passport) - unless you have an e-visa
  • A printout of the Academy’s confirmation of acceptance
  • Invoice for tuition and proof of payment, such as a printed confirmation from your bank or your CAS statement
  • Proof of finances (including any scholarship or other financial support)
  • Your boarding pass

You should also keep any letter that confirms you were granted a student visa.

The CAS itself proves your offer is unconditional, you do not need a separate "Unconditional Letter" from the Academy.

Student visa or Tier 4 visa holders must keep their boarding pass for enrolment at the Academy, as we need to record your date of entry to the UK.

It’s a good idea to make photocopies of important letters, your passport and visa, and store them separately from the originals.

UKVI will tell you in your Decision Letter if you have a Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP), or if you have electronic immigration permission (e-visa) which is proved online with a Share Code.

If you have a BRP, you must collect it within 10 days of arriving in the UK or before your vignette expires. It’s important to collect it in time to avoid being fined.

You must make sure the information on your BRP or in your electronic visa is correct, and tell UKVI and the Academy promptly if there is a mistake.
For example, if the visa expires too early or too late (see the list below), or has the wrong working conditions on it, those mistakes need to be reported quickly.
Here is the website for reporting a BRP error to UKVI: and we recommend this UKCISA guidance for reporting problems and the deadlines for doing so.

Expiry Date

  • Please note: if you see that your BRP card expires on 31 December 2024, but your visa should be longer than that, this is not an error. Currently, BRP cards cannot be issued beyond that date, but UKVI has the correct expiry date in the immigration system. UK Visas & Immigration will contact you about this during 2024; you do not need to do anything now, and your immigration status will not be affected.

These are the correct periods of extra time on your visa that should be granted. These are calculated from the Course End Date in your CAS and should match the expiry date of your visa. If the expiry date does not match up, the error must be reported to UKVI:

  • seven days after the course end date, if the course is under six months long
  • two months after the course end date, if the course is longer than six months but under 12 months long
  • four months after the course end date, if the course is 12 months or longer

Your UKVI Decision Letter will tell you the expiry date of your visa. You can also check it online if you have a UKVI Account.

If UKVI have told you that you have a BRP, your visa decision letter will confirm the collection point. This will usually be the post office closest to the Academy, which is at 111 Baker Street, London W1U 6SG.

Take your passport and, if possible, your UKVI decision letter – it will help the post office staff to locate your BRP quickly.

Remember to check the details on your BRP as soon as you collect it - see 'What do I need to do after I have arrived in the UK?'

If your BRP card expires on 31 December 2024, but your visa should be longer than that, this is not an error. BRP cards cannot be issued beyond that date, but UKVI has the correct expiry date in the immigration system.

UKVI is changing to eVisas and will contact you about this during 2024; you do not need to do anything now, and your immigration status will not be affected.

What is an eVisa?

The latest guidance about eVisas is on https://www.gov.uk/evisa

What should I do when travelling overseas during 2024?

During 2024, you should continue to carry your in-date BRP when travelling internationally until it expires.

What if I have lost my BRP?

If you have lost your BRP, or it has been stolen or damaged, please follow the latest guidance here.

If your BRP is lost, stolen or damaged, you must report it to UKVI so you can get a new card. The way to do this will vary if you lose it in the UK or outside the UK. The current instructions and guidance are on this page of the UK Government website:

Lost, stolen or damaged BRP

You can be fined up to £1,000 and made to leave the UK if you do not apply for a replacement within 3 months.

When you get the new BRP you must upload a clear colour photo of the front and the back of the card to your Quercus profile through the Students and Staff Portal.

No. The UK government has abolished the Police Registration Scheme, so there is no requirement for any students to register with the police.

Your legal obligations and responsibilities are summarised in our guidelines.

Important obligations include:

  • Informing us and the government if any of your contact details change
  • Not staying beyond your visa expiry dates
  • Not breaking the rules of your visa - that includes the restrictions on working in the UK
  • Notifying the Admissions Team if you change to a different immigration status

You must declare amounts of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in other currencies) when entering the UK. This includes cash (notes and coins), travellers cheques and bank drafts. Please see the UK Government guidance about how to do this.

If you do not do declare your cash, or if you provide incorrect or incomplete information, you could face a penalty of up to £5,000.

There is additional advice and guidance available from UKCISA about this.

Joining a new course

If you need to extend your stay to join a new course without leaving the UK, for example when you complete BMus and join a Master's course, you must apply for a new visa before your ‘permission to remain’ expires. Find more information at gov.uk/student-visa/extend-your-visa. The earliest you can apply in the UK is three months before the start date of the new course.

If you finish one course at the Academy and progress to another, you will need to request a new CAS Sponsorship Number from us (see ‘How do I request a CAS Sponsorship Number’ above), and you can ask the Admissions team can check the application for you before you submit it.
You must submit the application for your new Student Visa before you can enrol in September. Keep proof of your UKVI application (a screenshot from your online application showing the date you submitted the application) in case there is a delay receiving your new visa. The Registry will need to see this proof if you have not got your new visa when you enrol.

After getting your new CAS you can make the visa application in the UK up until the expiry date of your old visa (but do not leave the UK after submitting the application), or at any time in your home country.

If you are joining a new course at another education institution, you will need a CAS number from them.

Switching to a longer course

If you ask to switch your course to one which finishes after the expiry date of your visa, for example if you are on a one-year Master's course and want to change to the two year option, you have to request a new CAS Sponsorship Number, leave the UK, and get your new visa before you can switch to the new course.

You cannot make the visa application in the UK, and you are not permitted to join the new course until UKVI has granted you the extra time for your Student visa.

It isn't possible to wait until the summer, so normally you need to have your request approved during the Autumn term and you then return home at Christmas to get the new visa. The new visa must be granted by UKVI before you travel back to the UK, we cannot enrol you on the new course unless you have the correct visa for that course.

Changing to a longer course which needs a new visa will unfortunately mean you become ineligible for the Graduate Route visa.

Research Degree writing up

If you are on our Research Degree (MPhil/PhD) and you need additional time in the UK to complete your writing-up, this needs to be agreed by your supervisor and then you can request a CAS to apply for the extra immigration permission. UKVI allows you to make this application within the UK, and it does not affect Graduate Route eligibility.

Deferring examinations

If you defer an examination and the date of your deferred examination date is after the expiry of your visa, you will need to leave the UK on or before your visa expiry date, and you may become ineligible for the Graduate visa. You can usually return on a Standard Visitor Visa to take the deferred examination.

Staying after your course

If you wish to stay in the UK to work when you have finished your course at the Academy, there will be some time before your Tier 4 Visa or Student Visa expires.

While the visa is valid, the 20-hour work restriction does not apply, but the other restrictions are still active - for example, you cannot be self-employed, and please be aware that you cannot be an 'entertainer' (that is, you cannot perform) because a performance cannot be counted as part of your Academy course after course has finished.

See Working in the UK: 'Working after your course', and details of UK work visas are on this page of the UKVI website.

When you make a visa application, ensure that the UKVI receives your documents in good time, and make sure that you take a copy of all your documents before sending them if you are asked to post original papers.

Changing to a shorter course

If you shorten your studies, for example by changing from a two-year postgraduate course to a one-year option, the Academy is required to notify UKVI within 10 working days of the course change being finalised. UKVI will shorten ('curtail') your immigration permission to match the new course details. You will not be given a replacement visa showing the new expiry date, but the new expiry date will be held in the UKVI database. Please note, in this circumstance UKVI does not refund any of the Immigration Health Surcharge which you originally paid.

Interruption of Studies, or withdrawing from the course

If you are considering withdrawing before finishing your course, or you want to take an interruption of studies, please discuss this with your Head of Year or Tutor.

If you interrupt or withdraw, the Academy is required to notify UKVI within 10 working days of the interruption or withdrawal being finalised. UKVI will usually curtail your visa so it is valid for 60 days, and you will be sent an email by UKVI confirming this. You might also receive a letter from UKVI by post.

You should plan to leave the UK as soon as possible, unless you will be applying to stay in the UK via a different immigration route.

Your student visa will become 'lapsing leave' which means you will not be able to re-enter the UK with it.

Please note, in this circumstance UKVI does not refund the Immigration Health Surcharge which you originally paid, and you will need to make a new payment if you apply for a new student visa to return to the course after an interruption of studies.

If you interrupt your studies you will need to pass a re-entry appraisal before you return to the course. The Registry will contact you during the academic term preceding your expected return date to arrange this appraisal. When you have passed the appraisal, we will send you details of how to request a new CAS so you can make your new Student visa application.

Any questions?

If you have questions about the impact on your immigration status, please contact admissions@ram.ac.uk to make an appointment with the Admissions Team.

If you change to a different immigration category, please email admissions@ram.ac.uk.

Then, upload into your Quercus Student record either:

  • both sides of your new Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP), or
  • a Share Code from the View and Prove government website if you have electronic immigration permission (e-visa) which is proved online with a Share Code.

Graduate visa

Students who gain a degree or a diploma can usually apply for the Graduate visa. UKVI has confirmed that our Professional Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses are eligible as well as the Bachelor and Master's degrees.

You are not eligible to apply for a Graduate visa if:

  • you have switched to a longer course (for example, from a one-year to a two-year Masters) and received a new visa for the change;
  • you defer an examination until after your Tier 4/Student Route visa has expired (or so that the final Examination Board ratifies your award after the visa has expired);
  • you have already had a Graduate visa.

Please note the other eligibility criteria on the UKVI Graduate visa web page, and UKVI has a PDF Guide to the Graduate visa.
There is also information on the UKCISA Student Work web page.

If you receive an eligible award from the Academy, the Registry notifies UKVI after the final Examination Board has ratified your award, and you will receive an email (usually no later than two weeks after the Board) from the Registry confirming that UKVI has been notified. The Examination Board dates are in the Committee Date Card published on the Academy Intranet (in Services: Committees).

Please do not apply until after the Academy has sent you the email confirmation that UKVI has been notified.

You have to be in the UK to apply, and the application must be no later than the expiry date of your Tier 4/Student Route visa.

If you leave the UK's Common Travel Area between making the application and receiving the decision from UKVI, your application will be cancelled.

NOTE:
After UKVI has received a valid Graduate visa application from you, your existing Student immigration permission will remain in place until UKVI makes the decision on your new application even if you reach the expiry date of the Student visa (unless you withdraw the Graduate application or leave the UK's Common Travel Area).

If you apply for the Graduate visa, while you await the decision your Student visa 20-hour work restriction does not continue, but the other restrictions are still active. For example you cannot be self-employed or an entertainer until the Graduate visa has been granted.

This is usually 8 weeks after submitting the application, though a fast-track option might be possible.