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Frequently asked questions

Getting a visa can seem like a complex task, but there's nothing to fear. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting your visa, and helpful answers to make your application a little simpler.

Do I need a Student Route visa?

All international students studying a full-time, on-campus course need a Student Route visa to study in the UK.

You'll also need this visa if you're on a part-time postgraduate course, but the following restrictions apply:

  • No employment (including work placements)
  • No dependants
If you have valid Settled or Pre-settled status as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen under the EU Settlement Scheme you will not require a Student Route visa. If you have a different visa which allows you to study in the UK, you may be exempt. If you are unsure, contact us to check.

If you are joining us for an Exchange or Study Abroad programme of 6 months or more you will also need a Student Route visa.

Is the University of Portsmouth a Higher Education Provider with a Track Record of Compliance?

Yes we are. You should indicate this in the correct section when you make your visa application.

How do I get a Student Route visa?

You can apply for your Student Route visa online.

You'll need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) and the unique number it contains. The Compliance team will issue this once you've met all the academic and non-academic conditions of your offer.

More about Student Route visas

When will I receive my CAS?

Your CAS will be sent to you automatically by email once you:

  • Hold an unconditional firm offer with the University of Portsmouth
  • Pay your tuition fee deposit of £3,500 or provide evidence of financial sponsorship
  • Complete your Visa Eligibility Assessment

If your course requires Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance, you must also email this to ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk before we can issue your CAS.

More about CAS numbers

What is ATAS clearance?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance is an extra check made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on students studying courses in certain Science and Technology subject areas.

If your course requires ATAS clearance, we'll send you information on how to apply with your offer.

More about ATAS clearance

What is the Student Visa Eligibility Assessment?

The Visa Eligibility Assessment assesses your immigration history. This information is important as it can affect your visa application.

Without a completed Student Visa Eligibility Assessment, we can't issue you with a CAS as we won't be able to make the necessary checks on your immigration status.

Do I have to apply for a new visa with the University of Portsmouth if I already have a Tier 4 or Student Route visa from somewhere else?

Yes, you'll need a new visa because a Tier 4 or Student Route visa is only valid for study at the institution that's named on the visa.

When you arrive for Registration, we'll ask you to provide ID and your University of Portsmouth visa, or proof that you have submitted an application for a University of Portsmouth visa.

Please email student-visa@port.ac.uk for help applying for a new Student Route visa.

I have a different visa type. Can I study with this?

You may be allowed to study if you have another visa type, since some allow for study as well.

Send us a scanned copy of your visa to ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk to check whether your current visa is eligible for study at the University of Portsmouth.

When do I need to make a visa extension application when I am in the UK?

You need to make a visa application before your current visa expires.

If you do not do this you will be an overstayer and your visa will be refused.

You can apply from up to 3 months before your current visa expires.

What is a Biometric Residence Permit?

You’ll get a biometric residence permit (BRP) as part of your visa application.

This will include your name, date and place of birth, fingerprints, a photo, your immigration status and any conditions of your stay.

When you complete your visa application form, please state you wish to collect your visa from an 'Alternative Collection Location' (ACL) and enter this ACL code: 2HE479

You will be able to collect your BRP card at the International ID check which is part of your registration with the University. ID Check appointments for new students start from Monday 24 January, you will receive an email about how to book an appointment.

If you chose the Post Office for the delivery of your BRP card please follow the instructions for collection on your visa decision letter.

How do I prove I have a visa if I am an EEA student and have not been issued with a BRP?

EEA nationals who have used the UK Immigration: ID check app will receive your visa as a digital immigration status which you can view and prove online

What happens if I haven’t yet got my BRP card yet?

Your BRP card may not be immediately available for collection as there can sometimes be production delays. If this is the case the Post Office will let you know when your BRP card is likely to be delivered to them.

If you are collecting your BRP card from the University you will receive an email when your BRP card is available for collection if it is not available at your ID Check appointment.

If you are asked by one of the bodies below to prove your visa status you should show them the confirmation that your visa has been issued to you which will usually be sent to you as an email along with your passport and ask them to follow the processes described below.


Your prospective employer needs to use the Employer Checking Service. Once the request is received UKVI will confirm your right to work directly to the employer. 


Ask your landlord to use the Landlord Checking Service. Once the request is received UKVI will confirm your right to rent directly to the landlord.

Registering with a GP or accessing NHS services

Anyone can register with a GP surgery If you are asked by the NHS, you can advise them that you are waiting for the delivery of your BRP card. If the NHS wishes to confirm your status, they should contact Status Verification, Enquiries and Checking (SVEC) at UKVI.

Opening a bank account

The decision to open a bank account is a decision for the bank in question. The absence of a BRP should not impact on your ability to open a bank account but you should check the exact requirements for opening an account with your chosen bank.

Does the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) apply to me?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the UK Government to help cover any medical needs you might have while you are here in the UK. You will need to pay this if you are studying in the UK for more than six months, or if you are already in the UK and apply to extend your stay.

The charge will be £470 per student and per dependent (if relevant) per year of study, payable at the time of visa application.

If you do not pay the surcharge if it is required, your visa application will be refused or treated as invalid and rejected. 

EU and Swiss students may be eligible for a reimbursement of the IHS fee.

I am already in the UK – how can I get a visa?

If you're already in the UK and hold a student visa for a different institution you'll still need to apply for a new Student Route visa.

You won't be able to register on to your new course until you have applied for a new visa.

Please email student-visa@port.ac.uk for help applying for a new Student Route visa.

Can I apply for a Student Route visa if I am in the UK as a tourist or Standard Visitor visa holder?

You cannot switch to the Student Route visa in the UK if you have entered as a tourist Standard Visitor. You must apply in your home country.

Can I travel to the UK whilst I am waiting for my Student Route visa application to be decided?

No, you must wait until your visa has been issued to you before you travel to the UK.

You cannot enrol with the University if you have entered the UK as Standard Visitor when you require a Student Route visa.

I have a visa for three years but opted to do a placement year, what do I need to do? 

You can add a work or study placement to your course if it is an integrated and assessed part of your course and you have enough time to complete your course under the study cap

You will be able to extend your visa in the UK if you are adding your placement to your current course. If you need to change course to add a placement then you will need to return home to apply for your new visa. 

Please contact the International Student Advice team for further information.

Where can I find out more about the application process for visas?

You can find supporting information about student visas from:

My visa has been refused – what should I do?

Please send a scanned copy of the visa refusal document to ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk.

We may be able to send you a new CAS, depending on the reason for refusal.

You can also email student-visa@port.ac.uk for further advice and information about making an Administrative Review application. Unfortunately, we are unable to advise if you have already submitted an Administrative Review application. 

I am from Afghanistan and I am currently outside Afghanistan and the UK, what should I do?

You can apply for a visa in the usual way. If you do not meet all requirements because of the situation in Afghanistan, for example financial documents, you might still be able to apply for your Student Route visa.

UKVI may exercise discretion when assessing your application if you cannot provide documents but we cannot guarantee this. We are awaiting further updates from UKVI on any concessions they may be able to make due to the situation.

I am from Afghanistan and am in the UK, what do I need to do for my visa application?

Please contact us for further advice about making a visa application if you do not think you will be able to provide all the documents required for a Student Route application.

I am in Afghanistan and I have made or was planning to make a visa application, what can I do?

If you are in Afghanistan and have applied for, or have been granted, a Student Route visa you can provide the UK Government with your details for help to travel to the UK.

It is not possible to make an application in Afghanistan at the moment and we are awaiting further information from UKVI so that we can advise you further.

I am from Hong Kong and have a BN(O) passport, can I apply for a different type of visa?

The Hong Kong BN(O) visa became available on 31 January 2021. 

This visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK.

You can apply for a BNO visa if you’re a British national (Overseas) and you are 18 or older.

Your permanent home must be in Hong Kong if you’re applying from outside the UK, or in the UK or Hong Kong if you’re applying in the UK.

You can find out more information about this visa on the gov.uk website.

I have an error on my BRP/visa, what do I do?

From time to time, there may be an error with your visa. The problem is not always the same, and so getting it corrected is dependent on the type of error that has occurred.

Please check the details on your BRP card carefully. The most common errors are:

  • Incorrect length of leave
  • Incorrect working conditions
  • Incorrect spelling of name

It is important that this is corrected as soon as possible, UKVI must be notified of errors within 10 days of receipt of the BRP.

Please visit the International Student Advisers in the Global Office, Nuffield Centre so they can guide you through the correction process. 

Further information on how to correct errors, please visit the UKCISA website.

I have lost my BRP card, what do I do?

If you lost your BRP outside the UK you will need to follow the steps below:

Report it by following the UKVI instructions.

Get evidence such as a police report for loss or theft

Apply online for a Single-entry visa to replace a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Fee: £154

For 'category of application', select 'A replacement biometric residence permit (BRP) visa'.

You do not need to provide a CAS, but a Confirmation of Studies letter from your Student View.

Once you have used the single-entry visa to replace the BRP to enter the UK, you will need to apply within 1 month of your return to the UK for a replacement BRP.

If you lost your BRP in the UK you will need to follow these steps:

If your BRP was valid for three months or more you can report the loss or theft of your BRP and replace it in one combined online process.

You must follow this process as soon as possible after the loss or theft of your BRP and have reported the loss or theft to the police. You must do this within three months of the loss or theft.

You must apply for a replacement if you have more than three months' permission remaining. If you do not do this you may receive a fine, have your visa cancelled, and/or any future immigration applications you make to come to the UK may be affected.

If you have less than three months' permission remaining you should either apply for further immigration permission, if you are eligible or leave the UK before your permission expires.

If the BRP was valid for less than three months you do not have to replace it but you should still report the loss. 

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