Visa information

In order to study at Bellerbys College, you will need a UK visa. If you are younger than 18, you can apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa. If you are older, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa. If you will be studying our Pre-Foundation 18+ programme, you will need a six-month short-term study visa instead.

When should I apply for a visa? 

The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months before your course start date. Apply as soon as possible after this to make sure there is enough time for your application to be processed.

How long can I stay in the UK on a student visa?

If your course is between six and 12 months long, you may arrive in the UK up to one month before the start date. You can stay in the UK for an extra four months after your course ends. If you are on a short-term study visa, you must leave after either six or 12 months (depending on the length of stay applied for).

The visa process

In order to be granted a visa, your application must be approved at every stage. The process is as follows:

  1. You must apply for a programme at Bellerbys.
  2. You must receive and accept an offer of a place on your chosen programme.
  3. Your paperwork will be checked by Bellerbys staff, including financial statements and IELTS scores. A tuberculosis certificate is also required for applicants from some countries.
  4. Pay a deposit and CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Study) payment to Bellerbys.
  5. Your CAS will be issued.
  6. Apply for your visa. You must attach financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the course and your living costs, as well as a consent letter from your parents if you are under 18 years of age. 
  7. It is uncommon for under-18s to be invited to a credibility interview, although you should be prepared just in case.
  8. You will be contacted to let you know whether or not your visa application has been successful. 

If you are a Tier 4 student over the age of 16, you are entitled to work during your programme at Bellerbys College providing that your visa is granted on or after 1 August 2019.

The main purpose of the Tier 4 visa route is for students to come to the UK to study. Where a student is permitted to work, the intention is that this should be an opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study. In most cases we expect this to be taking a part-time role for an established business/organisation (for example, a customer service role at a retailer) or as part of a work placement provided it is an integral and assessed part of your course.

Students on a Tier 4 visa can work full time (up to 40 hours per week) during term breaks, including students studying English language preparation programmes. During term time, a Tier 4 visa allows you to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week. This is the maximum hours in any one week, including paid or unpaid work and for one or more organisation. This cannot be averaged over a longer period. A 'week' is defined by the Home Office as a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday. This also includes both paid and unpaid work.

If allowed to work, students cannot:

  1. be employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised foundation programme)
  2. be employed as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach)
  3. be employed as an entertainer
  4. be self-employed (except where the student is awaiting a decision on an application they have made for leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur)
  5. engage in business activity
  6. fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except on a recognised foundation programme or as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer).

If you stop studying before completing your course, you will no longer be entitled to work and will be in breach of your conditions of leave if found working.

For a comprehensive guide to working during your studies visit UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Visa credibility interviews

Although it is unlikely, you may be required to attend a credibility interview to ensure that you comply with the UK’s immigration rules. In the interview, an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will try to establish that you are a genuine student. You need to show you are serious about studying, and that you have good knowledge of your chosen college and course. If you have done your research, the interview is nothing to worry about. The interview is just designed to filter out people who are planning to use a student visa to work or holiday in the UK.

How will the interview happen?

Your visa interview will normally take place in your local Visa Application Centre, via a secure telecommunications system.

How should I prepare for a credibility interview?

Do some detailed research; make sure you know about Bellerbys College and are able to explain why you chose it. What appeals to you about the local area, the courses offered and the teaching style?

What questions will I be asked in a visa interview?

Below are some examples of questions you may be asked. Think carefully before answering, because your answers may raise concern with interviewers, if they think you are not taking the process seriously. Be honest, and avoid yes and no answers as much as possible. Try to speak naturally.

Here, the interviewer wants to know that you are a serious student, and are not just applying for Bellerbys because you do not have other plans.

Share how you think studying at Bellerbys will help you in the future.

Tell the interviewer what interests you about the content of the course, and explain how you came to the decision that is a good fit for you. 
Explain why you are hoping to study at Bellerbys, rather than any other institution. The interviewer will want to be reassured that you have a personal interest, and that you are not just following your parents' wishes.
Tell the interviewer why you would like to study in the UK, rather than in your home country or elsewhere. You should demonstrate that you have considered other options.

If you would like to work during your studies, explain how work experience will help you in your chosen field of study. You will also need to show the interviewer that you are aware of how many hours per week you are permitted to work, and that you will not exceed them. You must reassure them that you are not dependent on this income to pay your tuition fees or accommodation costs.

What if my student visa is refused?

If you receive a visa refusal, you have 28 days to submit an Administrative Review to the UKVI and contest the decision made by the ECO. Our expert advisors can help you with this process. You will need to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal.

How we help

An international student in the library at Bellerbys College

We can help you with the visa application process in a variety of ways and in more than a dozen languages.

Student care

Bellerbys students in the classroom at the College

The caring and supportive learning environment at Bellerbys will help you develop essential life skills. So you can become a successful global citizen. Every year we see our students grow in confidence and gain outstanding academic results. You'll make international friendships that will last a lifetime.

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