Money and your visa
For a Tier 4 (General) visa, you must have a fixed sum of money available for your living costs. You must also be able to pay your tuition fees. Tuition fees must be for the first year of the course (or the whole course if it is less than a year long).
Evidence of these sums of money must also meet specific requirements, and the immigration rules require that this money must have been held for a specific period.
Money for maintenance funds must be held by you personally or by a parent (see ‘Using parents’ accounts’ below). You cannot rely on money held by other relatives such as siblings, uncles, aunts and step-parents. Money held by a legal guardian is acceptable only if you can produce a certificate of adoption or court document naming your guardian.
How much money should I have available?
You must show that you can pay your tuition fees and that you have £1,015 a month for the duration of your course at UWE Bristol, up to a maximum of £9,135 (£1,015 x 9 months). Course lengths are always rounded up. For example, if your course is five months and two weeks long, you must have enough to cover six complete months. An Immigration Adviser at the University will calculate your fixed sum for you if you wish.
Because the total consists of living costs and outstanding tuition fees, you can reduce the amount you need to hold in a bank account by paying tuition fees (see pre-paid tuition or accommodation fees below).
If you are using currencies other than £GBP, be aware that exchange rate fluctuations can affect the amount you are deemed to hold. If at all possible, we strongly advise you to deposit more than you need as a ‘buffer’ against unexpected reductions in the value of your currency.
How long do I need the money available for?
Most students without a financial sponsor will need to show bank statements. The statements must be no more than 31 days old on the date you apply online. The balance – the amount left in the account every time money moves in or out – must not fall below the amount required for a period of 28 consecutive days, up to and including the closing balance (on the day the statement is produced). The total sum must continue to be available to you unless spent on tuition fees or living costs, and you will be asked to confirm this as part of your visa application.
The 28-day rule
The 28-day rule is important. If the amount in your bank account drops below the required amount by as little as £1, for as little as one day, during the period in question, your application can be refused. For this reason, you are advised to take great care in withdrawing money, or transferring money between accounts, in case the balance is affected.
Bank (and building society) account statements must:
- be for accounts held in your name or that of your parent(s) (see ‘Using parents’ accounts’ below)
- include the bank’s name and logo
- include the name of the account holder and the account number
- include the date the statement was produced
- be supported by a printed currency conversion of the closing balance (if not held in GBP £) using OANDA
- be translated into English in full if any part of the statement is not in English.
Print-outs of electronic statements are acceptable but, in addition to the criteria above, must either include the bank’s official stamp on every page, or be supported by a letter from the bank (on headed paper) confirming the statement’s authenticity.
It is acceptable to submit statements for more than one account. Statements used in combination should cover the same 28-day period.
If you bank in one of the countries below you should consult Appendix P of the Immigration Rules:
- Sri Lanka
A UWE Bristol Immigration Adviser would be happy to check your bank statements before you make your online application.
Using parents’ accounts
If relying on money held by parents, you must provide (in addition to bank statements which meet the criteria above):
- evidence of your relationship, ie an original or notarised copy of a birth certificate*
- a letter (original, signed and dated) in which your parent acknowledges their relationship to you, and gives their consent for you to use their funds for study.
* Please refer to a UWE Bristol Immigration Adviser if you do not have a birth certificate.
Documents other than bank statements
You can use the following documents in support, and sometimes instead, of bank statements:
- a letter from your bank, dated no more than 31 days before application, confirming that funds of at least the required amount have been in the relevant account for 28 consecutive days.
- if you are from certain countries such as China, a certificate of deposit issued no more than 31 days before online application, showing that at least 28 days have passed since the deposit of an amount, which exceeds the required amount. We strongly advise that the bank confirms the funds are available and are not frozen or inaccessible.
- a passbook for a bank or building society, covering a consecutive 28-day period ending no more than 31 days before online visa application, showing that funds of at least the required amount have been present continuously in the relevant account.
All criteria under 'Bank Statements' (above) must be met for all documents submitted.
Official financial sponsor
An official financial sponsor can be one of the following:
- the government of the UK or your own country
- the British Council
- an international organisation or international company*
- a university or independent school.
If your tuition fees and living costs are met in full by an official financial sponsor you do not need to provide the type of financial evidence (bank statements etc) described above. Instead, you must provide a letter from the sponsor which:
- is printed on official letter-headed stationery
- bears the official stamp of the sponsor
- clearly shows your name
- clearly shows the date of the letter
- gives the name and contact details of the sponsor
- states the duration of the sponsorship
- states either the amount of the money the sponsor is giving to you or that the sponsor will meet all of your tuition fees and living costs.
If your sponsorship does not meet the amount needed (see 'How much money do I need?'), you must make up the difference, and you must provide evidence in the form of bank statements etc.
*There is no definition in the rules of an international company, but decision makers will check the letterhead of correspondence and conduct a web search to establish whether a company has a presence in more than one country. If there is likely to be any doubt, we advise you to submit additional evidence showing that your sponsor has offices in more than one country.
Using loans to pay for studies
You can use a loan for a Tier 4 (General) application only if it is provided by a national, state or regional government, or a government-sponsored student loan company, or if it is part of an academic or educational loans scheme. The loan must be in your name alone.
The document which confirms your loan must:
- be an original loan letter dated less than six months before visa application
- clearly state your name and the date of the letter
- show the financial institution’s name and logo
- state the amount available as a loan
- show that the loan will be available to you before you travel to the UK (if applying overseas)*
- not contain conditions placed upon release of the loan other than successful visa application.
*If the loan is approved by your national government for the purpose of study, release of the funds can be withheld until after you arrive in the UK.
Pre-paid tuition or accommodation fees
Reduced fixed sums
Nationals of some countries do not need to provide evidence of their qualifications or their money when they apply for Tier 4 (General) visa. Visit the Gov.uk website to find out if you are a low-risk national.
It is important that as a 'low risk' student you still obtain the evidence of your qualifications and your money, even though you do not need to send them. This is because the Home Office can request this evidence as part of their decision process and they will refuse your application if you are unable to provide it within a specified time.