Visa application process (for overseas applicants)

Once a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued to an applicant, they must obtain a Tier 5 visa/ entry clearance before they enter the UK, and have three months from the date the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued to do so. After three months the certificate will lapse and can no longer be used to support a visa application.

Applicants should also note that they must not apply for a visa any sooner than three months before the start date given on their Certificate of Sponsorship. In addition, applicants will not be permitted to enter the UK any sooner than 14 days before the start date on their Certificate of Sponsorship.

Tier 5 visa applications must be submitted online by the applicant, in all countries except North Korea, with supporting documents submitted through their local Visa Application Centre. Home Office Tier 5 visa guidance provides a link to the online application website. Applicants are advised to carefully check the application requirements in their country of residence before applying. The length of time taken to process visa applications can vary considerably from country to country.

Please refer to the Home Office website for details of Visa Application Centres in a particular country. Overseas applicants will also need to provide their biometric details (fingerprints and photographs) when applying for a visa to enter the UK. 

With effect from 6 April 2015 those applying for a Tier 5 visa to come to the UK for more than six months, and their depedants, will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (NHS Surcharge) in addition to the relevant visa application fees when submitting their visa applications. The NHS Surcharge is based on the duration of the visa applied for and is charged as a seperate payment when submitting a visa application. If the NHS Surcharge is not paid the visa application will be refused.

Please see Tier 5 visa application guidance (overseas) (241kb) for details on the supporting documents that will be needed for this application. This guidance will be sent to the applicant by email with their Certificate of Sponsorship number.

It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure that they provide the correct documentation when making their visa application to the overseas Visa Application Centre.

Should the applicant submit their visa application late, or fail to supply the correct documentation, their application will be refused and their Certificate of Sponsorship will be rendered invalid. In this eventuality, the University will need to issue another Certificate of Sponsorship (if possible) and the applicant will need to submit a fresh visa application.

Please note that those applying under this category will be subject to a "genuineness test".

Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) (credit-card sized plastic visa cards) are now issued to those applying overseas for permission to stay in the UK for more than six months. The applicant will be issued with a 30 day vignette (visa in their passport) to enable them to enter the UK but they must then collect their BRP within 10 days from a designated Post Office.

A letter issued to the applicant along with their 30 day vignette details the designated Post Office and the date from which the BRP will be available for collection, based on the UK address and intended travel date listed in the visa application. The passport containing the vignette and the letter must be presented when collecting the BRP. If the applicant does not collect their BRP within 10 days they could face a financial penalty and have may have their visa curtailed. Guidance in relation to BRPs for overseas applicants, and the schedule for the international roll-out, can be found on the Home Office website.

Tuberculosis (TB) pre-screening

There are a growing number of countries considered by the Home Office to have a high incidence of tuberculosis.  Those who are resident in these countries must provide a valid medical certificate which has been issued by a Home Office approved medical practitioner confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and that they have been diagnosed as being free from active pulmonary tuberculosis if they are applying to come to the UK for more than six months.

Please refer to the Home Office website for the list of countries affected, country-specific guidance in relation to the process and testing for dependants (including children), and the lists of approved testing clinics in each country.

There have been cases where applicants have undergone TB tests at clinics not on the Home Office approved list. Having to book and undergo another TB test has led to significant delays to start dates. In order to avoid such delays please draw applicants’ attention to the requirement that TB tests must be undertaken at an approved centre or the visa application will be rejected.

Please note that while the results of the standard test should be made available quite quickly, if the test results are inconclusive additional tests will be required for which the results could take several months to process. Where TB is detected a medical certificate will not be issued until after treatment has been received (which can take up to 6 months), the applicant can show that they have had treatment, and that they then are free from TB. It is important that applicants from countries where TB pre-screening is required are tested as soon as possible in advance of their application as additional tests and/or treatment will significantly delay their application to come to the UK.

When issued with a medical certificate confirming that the applicant is free from TB this certificate must be submitted with their application and the Home Office recommends that the certificate is carried in their hand luggage when they come to the UK in order that they are prepared to present this to the immigration officer on arrival.