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My Experience Applying for a UK Study Visa


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Shing Him Mak

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If you're an international student, the first thing to do after receiving your offer from Queen's is to apply for a UK Study Visa. Shing Him is sharing the process as well as some tips for making the visa application run smoothly.

So, you have got your offer to study at university, now what? Well, if you are an international student from a non-EAA or non-EU country, you will need to apply for a UK Tier 4 (General) Visa. This visa allows you to study and work up to a certain number of hours per week in the UK. 

It might seem like the application process is complex, and a pain – I know, I’ve have gone through it! But don’t worry, I am here to share my experience in the UKVI application process – it may even be more straightforward and easy than you thought. It’s about making sure you follow all the steps correctly. 

NB: This blog is based on my own experience applying for a UK Tier 4 Visa. You should note that visa applications may vary from time to time and are considered on an individual basis. Professional visa advice can be given by our lovely International Student Support Service ( if your question is complex. 

Below are a few things you need to beware of if you are applying for UK visa by yourself. 

Prepare well:

When a student comes to me and asks for tips on visa applications, preparation is the biggest bit of advice I can give. What I suggest is to bring more than what you are expected to bring to the visa application centre/embassy. The reason is that the embassy staff might ask to see something ‘relevant to the application’. This term is tricky – it can be anything from your academic transcript to your bank statement, regardless of your country of origin. Therefore, preparation is the key! 

Get your TB test as soon as you consider coming to the UK

You’ll need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in any of these listed countries. You’ll be given a chest x-ray to test for TB. The reason why you need to get it as soon as you consider coming to the UK is that if the result of the x-ray is not clear you may also be asked to give a sputum sample (phlegm coughed up from your lungs), which may take an extra 2-3 months. This may defer your study and your university offer may be withdrawn if you cannot start your study as expected. 

Get your Bank Statement certified by your branch manager

Some Tier 4 applicants do not need to provide evidence of their qualifications or their money. If you're a national of one of these countries, you don't always have to provide your qualifications or evidence of your maintenance funds. 

However, the Immigration Officials reserve the right to request the full range of documents in all cases. It is always advised you bring your certified bank statements to your visa application appointment for the officer to check. A certified statement can be obtained by contacting your branch manager. 

Request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the admission office

The CAS number is essential to your visa application because it proves the university’s sponsorship of your study permit. You should get it as soon as you have an offer from Queen’s. Note that you will need to apply for a visa within 6 months of the CAS being issued, otherwise, you will need to request a new CAS statement.

Proof of relationship

If you are using your parent’s bank statement to apply for a visa, or you are under 18 years old, you will need to prove the relationship. Read the following article from UKVI to get guidance

Finally, if you need a visa urgently, be sure you tell the embassy or visa application centre that you need a ‘priority’ service which has an extra charge. Good luck!

You can get more professional visa advice by emailing

Shing Him Mak

LLB Law| 2nd year |Hong Kong

I am the President of Queen’s Hong Kong Society, an International Ambassador and a Campus Tour Guide. As chair of the Hong Kong society, I am responsible for uniting Hong Kong students across Queen’s campus through organised events and social activities with people from other UK universities and in my native Hong Kong. I particularly like my role as a Queen’s Ambassador as I like networking with new people. I like playing piano and exploring the country when I have some free time away from my studies. Having been in Northern Ireland for about a year, I can say it is a fabulous place to live and study with lovely people and scenery that I would have never seen if I studied elsewhere. As a law student, I find it interesting to see the differences between the law here and the law in my native Hong Kong. Book me for a campus tour by specifying my full name in ’notes’

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