Visas to Study

International students joining Ashbourne will need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.

UK study visas

International students will need to apply for a Child Student or Student visa to study in the UK. This includes students who are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and are coming to the UK.

If you are 16 or 17 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK, you can apply for a Child Student visa. If you are 18 or over, you will need to apply for a Student visa.

Students applying from outside the UK can apply for this visa up to six months before the start of the course. It costs £348 to apply for a Child Student or Student visa.

Students applying from inside the UK can apply for this visa up to three months before the start of the course. It costs £475 to extend or switch to a Child Student or Student visa.

Ashbourne College will continue to sponsor students or child students, including Tier 4 visa holders, who are continuing with their studies at the college through online distance learning, whether they are in the UK or another country.

Application process

Ashbourne will issue students with a CAS (Certificate of Acceptance for Studies) once they have settled their school fees and the college has checked that all application documents meet UKVI requirements. The CAS is a unique reference number that the student must have in order to submit their application, which can be done online.

After submitting the application form online, students will need to pay for the mandatory Immigration Healthcare Surcharge and book an appointment at a VFS Global centre in their country of residence to submit their biometric details and application documents.

EEA and Swiss students will be eligible to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to apply rather than attending an appointment at a visa centre. Using the app, students will need to scan their passport with a biometric chip and upload a photo of themselves.

It usually takes three weeks (15 working days) to receive a decision. VFS Global centres in some countries offer a priority service where an application is processed in five working days at an additional cost.

If the application is successful, students will get a biometric residence permit that they collect after arriving in the UK. They will be issued a temporary visa vignette in their passport to allow them to travel to the UK and this will usually be valid for 30 days. EEA and Swiss nationals will receive a digital immigration status, which they can view and prove online.

Important things to note

Students should check and double check over their application very thoroughly. If the student’s application is incorrect or incomplete it will be rejected. The most common reasons for visa rejection are:

  • Insufficient required funds
  • Funds not maintained for a 28 day consecutive period
  • Application documents not translated or verified
  • Incorrect documents submitted
  • Application submitted too early

Students are required to abide by the conditions of their student visa. Their sponsor is legally required to inform UKVI if the student is not keeping to the conditions of their visa, which include:

  • Not claiming any state benefits (also known as ‘public funds’)
  • Registering with the police if required
  • Working restrictions
  • Informing the college and UKVI of any change in circumstances
  • Attending classes and being in regular contact with the college in case of any absences

Students should remember that their visa has been issued for the purpose of study so if they are not attending classes or if they are engaging in activities that prevent them from studying, their sponsor is obliged to report the student to UKVI and the visa will be withdrawn.

Application documents

Financial evidence

Students must provide financial documents proving they have had the required funds in either their own or their parent’s personal bank account for a consecutive period of 28 days ending no more than 31 days before the date of application. The required funds are the maintenance funds plus any outstanding tuition fees.

Parental consent

Students under the age of 18 are required to provide written consent from their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) to travel to and from the UK, use their funds and confirm their living arrangements in the UK as part of their application. They must also provide evidence of their relationship with their parent(s) or legal guardian. Acceptable evidence includes a birth certificate, a certificate of adoption and a court document naming the legal guardian.

English language

Applicants on the Student route must meet a required level of English language ability. This usually means passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider: IELTS for UKVI or Pearson PTE Academic UKVI. For a course below degree level, students must obtain a minimum CEFR level B1, which is equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 5.0.

Exemptions apply for nationals of certain countries. Students also do not need to prove their knowledge of English if they have proved their level of English in a previous visa application. EEA and Swiss students are not required to provide evidence of their English language ability.

TB testing

UKVI requires that a tuberculosis certificate be submitted for applicants from certain countries. A list of these countries can be found here. The test must take place at an approved clinic and UKVI will not accept a certificate from any other clinic. A certificate will usually be issued on the same day and must be submitted as a supporting document for the visa application.

Evidence used to obtain CAS

Students must submit all evidence that they used to obtain their place at Ashbourne, for example, school report, personal statement or original certificates of any qualifications completed. Please note that no evidence is required for the admissions test, interview or any artwork that was submitted to us.

Any documents not in English must be translated from a professional translator or translation company that can be independently verified by the Home Office.

EEA and Swiss nationals qualify for differentiation arrangements when they apply for their visa and most students will not need to provide evidence to support the application except for the passport, which will be used to verify their identity via the app. Nevertheless, UKVI reserve the right to request to review the application documents so they must always be prepared in advance.

Time limits

The maximum period of time from the age of 18 that a student can be granted permission to study in the UK below degree level (i.e. A levels) is 2 years.

Graduate route

A Graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK. You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:

  • you are in the UK
  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you have successfully completed your course
Secure English Language Test (SELT) providers

Applicants of a Student visa must meet a required level of English language ability depending on the level of their course. For an A level course, the applicant must have the equivalent of level B1 of the Common European Framework of References for English language, which is equivalent to an IELTS score of 5.0. You can only take a SELT with one of the following providers:

  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
Students whose 90 day visa vignette to study or join family has expired

Students whose 90 day vignette has expired will need to apply for a replacement by completing the online form. The cost of replacing an expired 90 day vignette is £154 and they will need to make an appointment to resubmit their biometric information.

Students are strongly advised to only apply for a new visa, or apply to replace an expired vignette, when they are confident they can travel to the UK. The new vignette will be valid for a period of 90 days. If they cannot travel during this time, they may need to apply again to update their vignette.

Those who have submitted an application for a replacement vignette, and are still awaiting a decision, but now no longer intend to travel, should submit a withdrawal request at the Visa Application Centre that they applied from in order for their passport to be returned.

Further guidance

Visa applications can be frustrating and confusing, particularly if English is not the student’s first language. Students are strongly advised to consult Ashbourne’s visa team on +44 (0) 20 7937 3858 or [email protected] to discuss any queries that they may have. Equally, students may wish to contact education and visa agents or immigration lawyers in their home country before they apply.

For more detailed information, applicants can access the Student and Child Student visa guidance (pdf) published by the Home Office.

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