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Advice and Counselling Service

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Introduction

Sometimes things can go wrong with a Tier 4 (General) application. The best way to prevent problems is to submit high quality application. 

The QMUL Advice and Counselling Service provides resources to help you prepare your application including: 

    • Comprehensive written guidance
    • A guide to completing the on-line Tier 4 entry clearance application form (from outside the UK)
    • Videos explaining the most common questions
    • On-line workshops (available during the summer)
    • In-person workshops (available at the beginning of the autumn term)

To access all of these resources, visit https://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/international/immigration/tier-4-general-student-immigration-permission

The rest of this guide explains what to do if something has gone wrong with an application you have submitted, either inside or outside the UK.

My studies are starting soon, but I cannot travel to the UK in time. What should I do?

Your CAS statement includes a latest date you can enrol or resume your studies at Queen Mary University of London. Check the specific date on your CAS for your latest date to enrol. Sometimes students are unable to travel to the UK in time to meet this deadline. For example, you might not get your immigration permission in time if you apply shortly before you need to travel and there is a delay in processing your application. You might also be delayed for illness, personal difficulties or issues in your home country which are beyond your control.

If you cannot arrive at Queen Mary in time, you need to contact your academic school at Queen Mary before travelling, to see if they will exceptionally allow you to arrive late. By enrolling late you will miss important induction sessions, module selection meetings, and teaching, and you will need to arrange with your school to catch up. If they will exceptionally allow you to arrive late, your academic school will need to liaise with Queen Mary Admissions to ensure that a sponsor note is added to your CAS, stating that your deadline has been extended. Without this you may encounter problems trying to enter the UK.

While you are waiting to travel to the UK, ask your academic school if you can have access to the induction and academic information which you are missing, so that you can try to not fall too far behind. You can also use the information on our website to prepare for arriving in the UK, for example information about arriving in the UK, accessing healthcare, opening a bank account, managing your money, working, and university life.

Please note missing essential teaching and induction activities due to joining your programme late cannot be used as grounds for an ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ claim if you encounter academic problems later in your studies.

If your school will not allow late arrival, you can ask whether your place can be deferred until the next academic year. 

If you are delayed and unable to attend the Welcome Programme, you can view recordings of the essential information sessions online from the 16th September so that you can start preparing for your arrival at university: www.qmul.ac.uk/newstudents/late-arrivals/

Applying for a replacement 30 day entry clearance sticker

It is important to check that your immigration permission will allow you to arrive later than planned. If you have been granted immigration permission which is longer than six months, your single use entry clearance sticker will only be valid for a 30 day period. If you now cannot enter the UK within that period you must:

  • Apply to the visa application centre for a replacement sticker
  • Pay a fee of £169
  • Provide your biometric information again

You do not need to make a whole new Tier 4 application.

If you are a new Queen Mary student and you are not allowed to enrol late, please contact the admissions team dealing with your application to see if you can defer until next year. The contact details for the appropriate admissions team will be listed in correspondence related to your application to Queen Mary.

If you are a continuing student you may need to interrupt your studies. See our guide “Resitting, interrupting or leaving your course - a guide for international students” for more information.

Warning: If the university will not allow you to enrol late, do not travel to the UK. You will not be allowed to enrol, and it is likely you will not be allowed to enter the UK using your Tier 4 entry clearance. The university will notify the Home Office that you will not be allowed to enrol.

If the university notifies the Home Office that you will not be allowed to enrol, the following will happen:

  • If your immigration application has not yet been decided, it will be refused, as your CAS will no longer be valid. You may wish to contact the visa application centre and withdraw your application before it is refused so that you do not have a refusal as part of your UK immigration history.
  • If your immigration application has been granted, but you have not yet travelled to the UK, your immigration permission is likely to be cancelled. If you try to travel to the UK, you are likely to be refused entry.
  • If your immigration application has been granted and you are already in the UK, the Home Office should curtail (cut short) your immigration permission to 60 days. During these 60 days you can travel home or try to find a new programme and make a new Tier 4 (General) Student application to start that programme.

What do I do if I am refused entry to the UK

Seek immigration advice immediately.

If you are arriving at Heathrow airport during QMUL’s arrivals weekend in September, the International Office has given you a contact number for our staff who are at the airport.

You can contact the Advice and Counselling Service on +44 (0) 20 7882 8717 during office hours (our opening times are listed on our website)

Outside of our office hours, please leave a voice message on our answer phone with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your QMUL student number
  • A contact telephone number
  • The airport and terminal number

We will review your message and try to help you when our office opens on the next working day.

Alternatively, you can contact UKCISA or another regulated immigration adviser.

I have received an email or letter about missing documents or information. What should I do?

If, after submitting your application, you are asked to provide more documents or attend an interview, it is important to get advice from the Advice and Counselling Service or another regulated immigration adviser before taking further action as this will normally be your last opportunity to correct any errors or problems.

 

The application I made in the UK has been returned to me as invalid. What should I do?

To be valid, your application must include your passport and your photos in the correct format, your Biometric Residence Permit if you have one, and a Police Registration Certificate if you are required to have one. You must also attend your Biometrics appointment and pay the application fee to make your application valid.

If your application is invalid, the Home Office will send you a letter telling you why your application was invalid. Your application fee will be refunded to the payment card you used for your application (minus a £25 administrative fee). If you still have valid immigration permission, you may be able to make a new application before your permission expires. 

If your application is returned as invalid, you should contact the Advice and Counselling Service or another regulated immigration adviser urgently for advice.

If your application has been incorrectly returned as invalid

If your application is returned as invalid, but the reason given is not correct or not clear, you can contact the Advice and Counselling Service and we may be able to seek clarification from the Home Office.

I have submitted my Tier 4 application, but I need to travel soon. What can I do? 

If you travel before a decision has been made on your Tier 4 application, then this will withdraw your pending application. 

If you need to travel urgently, for example for the funeral of a relative, then you can contact Advice and Counselling with evidence of your situation, and we can try to chase up a decision for you. The Home Office does not guarantee that they will be able to process urgent applications more quickly.

If you cannot wait for the Home Office to process your application, you can ask to withdraw it. This means that the Home Office will return your application to you unprocessed. If your immigration permission has already expired, you will be considered an overstayer from the date that you made your online request to withdraw your application, not from the date when your immigration permission expired. You will not receive a refund of your application fee. To withdraw your immigration application, use the tool on the UK Government website.

If you decide to withdraw your application for emergency travel, you will need to apply for entry clearance from your home country before returning to the UK. Normally, your CAS should not have been ‘used’ by the Home Office if you withdraw your application. As long as it has not been used and is now not more than six months old, you can use the same CAS for a new immigration application, and you do not need to apply for a new one from Queen Mary. You can contact the Academic Registry (email casinfo@qmul.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0) 20 7882 5005) to check the status of your CAS. If your CAS is marked as “used” an error may have been made and you should contact the Advice and Counselling Service for further advice. 

I am waiting to receive my BRP but I need to travel soon, what can I do?

You are advised not to travel outside the UK without your BRP. The BRP is proof of your immigration permission and you are normally required to show this in order to travel to, and re-enter the UK.

If your immigration application has been decided but there is a delay in the Home Office sending your BRP to you, and you need to travel urgently, it is up to you whether to risk leaving the UK without your BRP. You will need to be certain that you can complete the process below and get back to the UK without missing any more of your studies than your academic school will permit.

If you decide to do this, you should use the online form to notify the Home Office that your BRP has not yet arrived https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/not-arrived Use the form to explain that you need to travel home urgently, and that you will apply outside the UK for a replacement BRP visa. This should hopefully cancel the delivery of your BRP.

When you are back in your home country, you need to apply for a replacement BRP visa, which you can use only once to return to the UK. This costs £154. The visa does not replace the original biometric residence permit.

You will need to make your application for a replacement BRP visa using the Visa4UK website (unless you are applying in North Korea, where you must use the VAF9 paper form). When using the Visa 4UK website, you will need to make the following selections to get to the BRP replacement visa application form:


When you arrive back in the UK, you will need to apply for a new biometric residence permit within 1 month of your arrival. This costs £56. See the UK Government website

I have applied, but I had not held the required funds for 28 days before I applied

You must have held the required money in your bank account for a consecutive 28 day period BEFORE you submit your online immigration application. Although you are allowed 45 working days to attend your appointment, the Home Office will not count any money held after the date you submitted your online immigration application.

How do I know what date I submitted my online immigration application?

It is the date when you paid the application fee.

What can I do if I submitted my immigration application before I had held the funds for 28 days?

If you meet all the following there is a solution:

  • Your previous immigration permission has not expired; and
  • You have not attended an appointment to enrol your biometrics; and
  • You have now held the required funds for 28 days; and

If you meet all three requirements, or you will meet these requirements before your immigration permission expires, you can submit a new online application as soon as you have held the required funds for at least 28 days. You will have to pay the fee for the Immigration Health Surcharge and the application fee again. 

Contact Advice and Counselling for advice about making your new application and whether you will need to withdraw your previous application. 

What if I do not meet all three requirements above?

If you do not meet all the requirements above, please contact a Welfare Adviser at the Advice and Counselling Service urgently.

There is an error with my Tier 4 permission

Start and end date errors

The correct dates should be:

Length and type of programme, as detailed on your CAS[‡]

Start date if you apply outside the UK

End date

12 months or more

 

1 month before studies, 7 days before your intended travel date, or the date the immigration permission is issued (whichever is later)

End of studies + 4 months

6 months or more, but less than 12 months

End of studies + 2 months

A pre-sessional course less than six months long

End of studies + 1 month

Other course less than six months long

7 days before studies or before the date the immigration permission is issued (whichever is later)

End of studies + 7 days

Work and other conditions

Your passport sticker or Biometric Residence Permit has conditions about working, public funds and, for some people, police registration. It is rare for these conditions to be wrong, but errors can be corrected.

Work

A Queen Mary University of London student’s Tier 4 immigration permission will have a condition that restricts work during term-time to 20 hours a week, or to 10 hours a week if the studies are below degree level. It also prohibits work as a doctor or dentist. Someone with Short Term Student immigration permission cannot work at all. For more information, visit the Advice and Counselling Service website.

Public Funds

Anyone who comes to the UK for a limited time has a condition that prevents them from claiming Public Funds, which means a specific list of welfare benefits. As a Tier 4 migrant or Short Term Student, you will correctly have this condition.

Police Registration

Nationals of some countries who come to the UK for more than 6 months have a condition to register with the police within 7 days. For more information on whether you should have the condition, and what to do if there is an error, visit the Advice and Counselling Service website.

Where is the error?

Your CAS had a date error

The Home Office will not normally correct a date if the error was on the CAS. Instead, you will need to apply for a new CAS and make a new immigration application for the correct length of immigration permission.

Sticker in your passport has an error with a date or conditions

30 day passport sticker
Contact the visa application centre and ask them to correct the error before you travel.

If you have already travelled to the UK using a 30-day passport sticker, and you will be collecting your Biometric Residence Permit, there may be no need to correct an error on your passport sticker. Check with the Advice and Counselling Service

Passport sticker covering the full length of your course
If your passport sticker (vignette) covers your whole programme, and there is an error, you should contact your Visa Application Centre and request a correction before you travel to the UK. 

If you notice the error after you have arrived in the UK, you must report it by emailing the Home Office. You must attach a scanned copy of the sticker in your passport. The Home Office aims to respond within 5 working days to confirm whether an error has been made. If there has been an error, you will be emailed instructions on where to send your passport for this to be corrected. If your immigration permission is close to expiring when you notice the error or you are having difficulties in getting the error corrected, contact a Welfare Adviser at the Advice and Counselling Service.  

 

Biometric Residence Permit has an error with date or conditions

After you receive your BRP, you must report any errors through the UK Government website within 10 working days of receiving the permit. If you notice the error more than 10 working days after receiving your BRP card, you should still report this error. We have seen that students have still been able to correct the error even if more than 10 days have passed. 

If you are directed to submit an Administrative Review, you can get further advice from a Welfare Adviser or another regulated immigration adviser before submitting your Administrative Review. This is because the Immigration Rules regarding length of immigration permission are complicated.

Disclaimer 
 
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly so make sure that you are referring to the online version of this guidance which is updated regularly. The information in this guide is given in good faith and has been carefully checked. Queen Mary, however, accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.
 
Regulation of Immigration Advice
 
The OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) is an independent organisation that monitors immigration advice and services. Welfare Advisers at Queen Mary are regulated under OISC guidelines to give immigration advice and have to attend regular training to do this. If you ever need to complain about the immigration advice you receive, the Advice and Counselling Service has a complaints procedure. Alternatively, you can complain directly to the OISC. Their complaints form is on the website at www.oisc.gov.uk

[‡] If your Tier 4 application is for re-sitting or returning to your programme after an interruption, it is our understanding that Home Office staff will use the original start date of your programme, which will be explained on your CAS in the ‘Evidence provided’ field.

Where can I get further information and help

Contact the Advice and Counselling Service

If you have used this guide and the resources it mentions, but your situation is unusually complex or something has gone wrong, you can contact the Advice and Counselling Service at Queen Mary University of London, where qualified staff can provide immigration advice that is regulated by the UK government. 

Please note - we will not normally help you make a routine check of your application form or documents.

When you contact the Advice and Counselling Service, our frontline team will check to see if your query can be answered in our guidance or guidance published by UKCISA or the UK Government. If you query is more complicated, our frontline team will refer your query to a Welfare Adviser.

Depending on your query, a Welfare Adviser may respond by email, or you may be allocated a one to one appointment with a Welfare Adviser (by telephone or in person).

In some cases, you may be directed to seek advice from another regulated immigration adviser.

Information provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 

UKCISA is an organisation funded by UK academic institutions to provide support and guidance to international students. UKICSA are not part of the Home Office and provide independent advice on a range of issues affecting international students including immigration. 

Website

UKCISA’s website contains lots of useful guidance and resources for international students including applying for immigration permission: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/

Advice Line

You can telephone UKCISA for advice. UKCISA’s staff are experienced in advising students about the UK’s immigration regulations and can give you free advice by telephone.

We advise you to have all your documents with you when you telephone, so that you can refer to them.

The UKCISA advice line is open Monday to Friday, 1-4pm (UK time): +44 (0)20 7788 9214

For more information, visit the UKCISA website.

Other regulated immigration advisers

The Advice and Counselling Service at Queen Mary and the UK Council for International Student Affairs are regulated by the UK Government to provide immigration advice to students.

You can also get legal advice by contacting an immigration adviser. Make sure that the immigration adviser you choose is authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Office for the Immigration Services Commissioner or other regulatory body 

You can find other regulated advisers through:

Appendix 1 – Refusal documents checklist

If you have had an immigration refusal and are seeking advice from the Advice and Counselling Service or another regulated immigration adviser, you should try to prepare the documents below. Your adviser will need these documents and information to be able to properly advise you. If some of these documents are not available or would take you some time to obtain, we recommend that you don’t wait for them before seeking advice. It may take an adviser some time to obtain advice and you should be mindful of your deadlines (see the section “Deadlines”)

  • Your full refusal notice (all pages) - if this does not state the date on which you submitted your online Tier 4 application, please also tell us this date in your email 
  • Your application form (all pages)
  • Copies of any supporting evidence you provided with your application (e.g. bank statements, certificates)
  • Your CAS statement (including confirmation of any ‘sponsor notes’ added)
  • The envelope in which you received the notification of your visa refusal (if you are in the UK)
  • Transcripts of any interviews
  • Your UK travel history including:
    • Dates and time
    • The carrier
    • Flight number
    • The country you travelled to/from outside of the UK
    • The airport, seaport or station you travelled to/from inside of the UK (including, if applicable, the terminal number)
  • Your UK immigration history including:
    • Type of immigration applied for
    • Date of application
    • Valid from and to dates
    • Place where you submitted your application
    • Details of any refusals
  • Your UK study history including:
    • Name of course
    • Course provider
    • Level of course (e.g. A-level, BSc, MSc)
    • Start and end dates of course
    • Did you complete the course?
    • Did you repeat any parts of your course or take any interruptions?

References

Bolt, D. (2016). An inspection of the Administrative Review processes introduced following the 2014 Immigration Act. Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Retrieved from http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ICIBI-r...

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