First steps

A guide for educational institutions to help international students obtain entry clearance 2007–08

www.educationuk.org

This guide is to help you, as an educational institution, to prepare non-EEA students1 to apply for entry clearance, more commonly known as a visa, to the United Kingdom. It summarises the Immigration Rules and procedures, suggests things you can do to help students, and tells you what to do if entry clearance is refused. The information in this booklet aims to improve our service to help you advise international students of the entry clearance/immigration procedures.

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Who needs entry clearance in order to travel to the UK?
In 2004–05 UK visas dealt with over 2.5 million visa applications at over 150 British Missions worldwide. Demand for visas increased by 14 per cent in 2004–05 (compared with the preceding 12 months), placing increasing pressure on the entry clearance operation.2 The British Council advises educational institutions to visit the UK visas website at www.ukvisas.gov.uk, for general visa information, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website at www.fco.gov.uk for British Mission (Embassy, Consulate or High Commission) contact details. By contacting British Missions overseas, you can get to know the staff and how visa sections operate. Occasional visits to British Missions will give you a better understanding of visa work, and meeting visa staff will improve mutual understanding. From 1 September 2007 all students wishing to enter the UK to study must obtain entry clearance before arriving in the UK. The only exceptions are British nationals (overseas), British overseas territories citizens, British overseas citizens, British Protected persons and British subjects, for whom entry clearance is not compulsory but probably advisable, and non-visa national, short-term students who may prefer to enter under the new Student Visitor route – see page 4. A student entry clearance will permit the holder to travel to the UK and present themselves at a port of entry. In addition, from 1 September 2007, all students who are coming to the UK to finalise their study arrangements (known as prospective students – see page 8) must obtain a prospective student entry clearance before arriving in the UK. The Immigration Rules are available on the Home Office website at www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk. They must satisfy the entry clearance officer (ECO) at a British Mission that they meet the Immigration Rules before they leave for the UK. The ECO will then issue them with entry clearance (more commonly known as a visa), in the form of a vignette placed in their passport. The entry clearance should normally be valid for the whole length of their course (see ‘Length of permission given to students with entry clearance’ on page 4). When they arrive in the UK, the immigration officer at the port of entry (e.g. Heathrow or Gatwick airport) will put a date stamp in their passport to show when they entered the UK. The date their leave expires is the end date shown on the visa.

1 The countries of the EEA are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. In addition, Swiss nationals will be able to travel to the UK for work or study on a similar basis to EEA nationals. 2 From April 2005, UK visas will operate a new target to process visa applications. This will allow 15 days to process those applications that require checks or an interview. This is in recognition of the growing complexity of many cases and to ensure ECOs do not feel under pressure to decide cases too quickly. The previous target allowed ten days for cases requiring interview. For further information visit www.nao.org.uk/publications/ nao_reports/03-04/ 0304367.pdf and go to ‘Visa entry to the UK; the entry clearance operation’.

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Student visitors
From 1 September 2007 a visitor who wishes to combine a visit to the UK with a short period of study may do so under a new category – Student Visitor. This category can also be used by students who wish to come for six months or less and who do not wish to take part-time employment or to extend their stay in the UK. Non-visa nationals using this route will not require entry clearance and can continue to seek permission to enter the UK from an immigration officer at a UK port of entry. All short-term students who intend to work or extend their stay in the UK should not use the student visitor route but instead should be advised to obtain a student entry clearance. Visa nationals will require a prior entry clearance if they wish to enter the UK in this category. To check if your students are visa nationals you should visit the UK visas website. This features a visa enquiry form where applicants can check if they require a visa; go to www.ukvisas.gov.uk/doineedavisa. The visa national list features in the Immigration Rules (see page 3) and the list also appears in the UKCOSA Manual at the time the manual was published (annually), and additions to it are notified to UKCOSA members through UKCOSA briefings. In addition to meeting the requirements of the rules for visitors, student visitors are required to show that the institution providing the course is included on the Department for Education and Skills Register of Education and Training Providers. The maximum period allowed in this category is six months but, unlike visitors, student visitors cannot obtain an extension to their leave in the UK where the original leave was given for less than six months. Note: the Immigration Rules have changed and do not now allow visitors to study – the Student Visitor category or Student category should be used instead. Student Visitors will not be able to extend their stay in the UK, nor will they be permitted to work at all.

Length of permission given to students with entry clearance
ECOs should give leave for the following periods:
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postgraduate students should be given the length of their course plus four months students on courses of one academic year or more and which finish in the summer should be given until 31 October following the end of their course students on courses of a 12-month period that do not coincide with the normal academic year should be granted leave to enter for two months after the completion of their course

students on courses of six months or less should be given the length of their course plus up to a maximum of seven days.

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Students should be advised to check the validity of their entry clearance upon receipt. If they are given entry clearance for an incorrect period, they should ask to see the entry clearance manager at the British Mission. The entry clearance manager can correct the length of their permission to be in the UK, if a mistake has been made.

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Charges for extending students’ stay in the UK
If students need to stay on in the UK for further studies after their period of permission to be in the UK runs out, they will need to apply to extend it. Overseas nationals who did not enter the UK with a student or prospective student entry clearance will not qualify for leave as a student unless:
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Postal applications cost £295, and a same-day service for personal callers costs £500. Students should post their application to the address given on the application form before their existing permission to stay in the UK runs out. If they make a valid application before their permission to stay ends, their existing immigration status will continue until their application is decided, even if the decision is not made until after the end of their stay. If their existing visa allows them to work, they can continue to do so until their case is decided. The following students often have to apply for extensions:
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they already have leave to stay in the UK as a student or to re-sit an examination; or they have leave in the UK as a students’ union sabbatical officer, a work permit holder, under the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme or under the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme (or its successor, the International Graduate Scheme) provided their course of study is at degree level or above.

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students on English language courses, who are often on a series of short courses (they will pay to extend for each course) students on English language courses and foundation courses preparing for a degree course; these students usually need an extension of time after they have completed their first course.

They must fill in application FLR(S), available from the Application Forms Unit at the Border and Immigration Agency (contact details on page 17) or from its website www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The website also includes ‘Making an immigration application’ and ‘Information about charges’.

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Changing status
Regardless of their nationality visitors cannot switch into the student category. Visa and nonvisa nationals should make sure they apply for entry clearance as students rather than as visitors (see also section on Student Visitors). People who do not have a student or prospective student entry clearance cannot switch into the student category unless:
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Scheme) provided their course of study is at degree level or above. If students do not yet meet the Immigration Rules for students because they have not yet finalised their study arrangements, they should try to make sure that they meet the Immigration Rules for prospective students described on page 8. People with entry clearance describing them as ‘prospective students’ are allowed to extend their stay as students. However, they have to pay a fee to the Border and Immigration Agency for extending their stay, of £295 or £500 (2007 prices). That is why it is better to come to the UK as a student rather than as a prospective student.
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they have leave to stay in the UK to re-sit an examination; or they have leave in the UK as a students’ union sabbatical officer, a work permit holder, under the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme or under the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme (or its successor, the International Graduate

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Bringing a wife/husband/civil partner and children to the UK
Students will usually be allowed to bring their wives/husbands/civil partners and any children under 18 years of age to the UK, as long as they can show that they can support and accommodate them without seeking any recourse to public funds. They may also need to show the entry clearance officer (ECO) their marriage certificates, and a birth certificate for each child. Their family will normally be given permission to stay in the UK for the same period as the student. If their families’ period of permission to be in the UK will run out before the students finish their studies, they will need to apply to the Home Office for an extension. Students should try to include them on their form when they apply for an extension, so that they have to pay only one fee of £295 or £500. If they each apply separately, they will have to pay £335 or £500 for each separate application. They should make sure each of them applies before his or her permission to stay expires. The student’s wife/husband/civil partner or children will receive immigration conditions that will allow them to work if the student’s leave to remain in the UK as a student lasts for 12 months or more. This is the case even if the family members’ leave is less than 12 months. They should make sure that they have a copy of the student’s passport with them if they are travelling after him or her, as the ECO will need to see the pages showing the student’s name, entry clearance vignette and how long his or her permission lasts. If the student’s leave was granted for less than 12 months, his or her wife/husband/civil partner and children will not receive immigration conditions that will allow him or her to work.

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Working while studying
Students on courses of more than six months are usually given immigration conditions in their passports that allow them to work parttime up to 20 hours a week during term-time and full-time during vacations. If they have these conditions, they will not need permission from a job centre or individual permission from the Department for Work and Pensions. More information about working while studying in the UK is available at www.dfes.gov.uk/ international-students/ltoo.shtml. To meet UK immigration requirements, however, they must show that they can pay their course fees and living expenses without working in the UK (see the Immigration Rules on page 10), so they cannot therefore expect to finance their studies in this way. They should be told that it is not easy to find suitable work. However, students can meet some of their costs through earnings from employment if that employment is either: a provided and guaranteed by their publicly funded institution of further or higher education, in which case you need to provide a letter confirming what the hours and rate of pay will be, or b a sandwich course placement that you can guarantee will be available to the student; again, you must be prepared to write a letter confirming this guarantee, and how much the student will earn. Students on courses of six months or less are routinely given leave to enter the UK on conditions that prohibit employment. It is important that they make the ECO or immigration officer aware of their intention to undertake part-time employment and ask to be considered for conditions that allow them to work in the same way as students on longer courses. But they must show that they can pay for their course fees and living expenses without needing to work.

Working when their studies have ended
If an employer obtains a work permit for a student who has completed a recognised degree in the UK, the student is now able to switch from being in the UK as a student to being in the UK as a work permit-holder, without having to leave the UK. Students can find information about the current position by clicking on ‘Working in the UK’ on the Home Office’s website – www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk. Since summer 2005 students who have been awarded an HND, undergraduate degree, Master’s degree or PhD by a Scottish university or college and who have lived in Scotland while they were studying can apply to the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme (www.scotlandistheplace.com). The scheme is designed to help overseas nationals leaving Scottish institutions to stay and work in Scotland. Students who successfully complete and obtain a recognised UK degree, Master’s degree or PhD, or postgraduate certificate or postgraduate diploma in any subject on or after 1 May 2007 can apply to stay in the UK to work for one period of 12 months. This International Graduate Scheme replaces previous arrangements such as the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme. Special provisions apply to students who are studying to be doctors, dentists and nurses.

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Prospective (rather than accepted) students
If a student needs to visit an institution before finally accepting a place (for example, to attend an interview or sit an examination there), he or she should explain this to the entry clearance officer when applying for entry clearance. Students must apply for entry clearance as a prospective student before leaving their home country. If the ECO is satisfied that the student genuinely intends to start a course of study within six months once he or she has found a suitable place, and that he or she meets all the immigration requirements, the ECO will give the student permission to enter as a prospective student, for six months. Then, once the student is in the UK and has enrolled on a course (within the six months), he or she will need to extend his or her permission to stay as a student (see page 5). The student will have to pay £295 or £500 to the Border and Immigration Agency when applying for that extension (2007 prices). He or she will not be allowed to work while in the UK as a prospective student.

How do students apply for entry clearance?
International students should apply for entry clearance at a British Mission in the country of their nationality, or the country in which they are living, and they should apply as far in advance as possible. Entry clearance can be postdated for up to three months. They should ask the British Mission what procedures they need to follow, and for the Non-Settlement Form (VAF1), which is free of charge, although they will have to pay a fee later. The form is also available on the UK visas website at www.ukvisas.gov.uk by selecting ‘How to apply’. They should carefully complete the application form with the assistance of the British Council First steps guidance note – preparing for entry clearance. The guidance note is available to download from www.educationuk.org by selecting ‘Living in the UK’ from one of the drop-down boxes, and then by clicking on ‘Immigration’. It is also available from students’ local British Council offices in hard copy. Then the student must take or post 3 the completed form – in good time to avoid missing the beginning of the course – to his or her nearest British Mission that issues student entry clearance, together with his or her passport, and a recent passport-sized photograph taken no more than six months prior to submitting the application. The photograph should be taken against a light background and the student must not be wearing sunglasses, hat or other head covering, unless worn for cultural or religious reasons. The student should also take the fee, which is normally payable in the local currency of the country to which he or she is applying (which is non-refundable), and the relevant documents showing that he or she meets the requirements of the Immigration Rules for students (see page 10). Note: it is a good idea to advise students to complete the form in pencil first in case they make a mistake, or take a photocopy and complete this in draft first. Once the form is completed students should make copies of it and the other documents for their own records.

3 The student should check first with the British Mission whether it offers a postal visa service. Some visa sections also offer courier or online visa services for students. Some visa sections, e.g. Pakistan, will accept only double-sided print-outs of the visa application form.

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The Immigration Rules for persons seeking to enter or remain in the United Kingdom as a student
Requirements for leave to enter as a student
Unless he or she is a national of the European Economic Area 4 the requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom as a student are that he or she:
4 The countries of the EEA are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. In addition, Swiss nationals will be able to travel to the UK for work or study on a similar basis to EEA nationals. 5 For more information about the definition of what constitutes a bona fide private education institution, see the ‘Leave to remain for students’ section of the Border and Immigration Agency’s advice to immigration staff at www.ind.homeoffice. gov.uk/documents/ idischapter3.

minimum of 15 hours’ organised daytime study per week of a single subject, or directly related subjects; or c a full-time course at an independent fee-paying school; and iii if under the age of 16 years is enrolled at an independent fee-paying school on a full-time course of studies, which meets the requirements of the Education Act 1944; and has been accepted to study externally for a degree at a private education institution, he or she is also registered as an external student with the UK degree awarding body; intends to leave the United Kingdom at the end of his or her studies; and does not intend to engage in business or to take employment, except part-time or vacation work undertaken with the consent of the Secretary of State; and

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has been accepted for a course of study that is to be provided by an organisation that is included on the Department for Education and Skills’ Register of Education and Training Providers, and is either: a a publicly funded institution of further or higher education which maintains satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance of students and supplies these to the Border and Immigration Agency when requested; or b a bona fide private education institution;5 or c an independent fee-paying school outside the maintained sector which maintains satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance of students and supplies these to the Border and Immigration Agency when requested;

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is able and intends to follow either: a a recognised full-time degree course at a publicly funded institution of further or higher education; or b a weekday full-time course involving attendance at a single institution for a

vii is able to meet the costs of his or her course and accommodation and the maintenance of himself or herself and any dependants without taking employment or engaging in business or having recourse to public funds; and viii holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity.

When should a student apply?
Students should be advised to apply for entry clearance in ample time. Issuing times vary from as little as 24 hours to anything up to several weeks. They should check locally for the likely processing times.

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The documents required
All students seeking entry clearance must produce various documents to show that they meet the Immigration Rules for students, i.e. evidence of adequate funding, educational certificates, and detailed information from their place of study (see below). It is very important that institutions give students adequate documentation. Many applications for entry clearance are now decided on papers alone. It is therefore very important for students to ensure they present the right documentation when they make their initial application. Failure to do this can result in entry clearance being refused. Ability to follow the course This Immigration Rule usually relates to English language proficiency for those embarking on a degree course or similar. It is therefore less relevant to a student who is to follow a beginner’s English language course. Here, you may indicate which examination the student is preparing for and what hours are appropriate. However, where the course is more advanced or specialised, you must state what level of English is needed (giving minimum IELTS or other test marks, if appropriate) and confirm that the student has met the entry requirements for the course and has been assessed as academically able to follow it. If a pre-sessional English course or continuing language support will be provided, state this. Ability to pay for the course The immigration authorities will want to be sure that the student will have enough money, without working in the UK, to meet all his or her costs during the period of study (although the rules allow full-time students to work part-time, they do not permit entry clearance officers to take into account any potential earnings from this activity). Give the full cost of the course (including any ‘extras’ such as field trips or bench fees) and indicate what arrangements are acceptable for payment, how much any instalments will be and how often they will be due. If fees or a deposit have already been paid, indicate the amount. It may help to give a realistic estimate of average annual living costs for students in your area, including all likely expenses. If the student intends to bring dependants with him or her, adjust the estimate accordingly. If you have asked for a financial guarantee from the student and are satisfied that it is acceptable, confirm that as well. Accommodation Although the Immigration Rules for students do not require unaccompanied students to show that accommodation has been arranged,

What to include in your pre-arrival information to students
Make sure you give students clear information covering the following: Acceptance on a course Write to the student on letter-headed paper, 6 confirming that the student has been accepted for a course that is full-time as defined in the Immigration Rules for students, i.e. it involves at least 15 hours’ organised daytime study a week or is a full-time course leading to a degree. Also, give the title of the course, say when the course will start and how long it will last, and give the date when the course will finish. Include dates of any graduation ceremony after the course finishes. Indicate briefly the basic content of the course, how it links with previous or future courses, and any examinations the student will take and any qualifications that will be earned. You may also wish to include, if applicable, the name of the educational adviser or agent the student used. Stress that the institution is registered on DfES’7 Register of Education and Training Providers. Because some students apply for visas after courses have begun, it would also be useful to state in your letter the latest date on which a student will still be accepted for enrolment on the particular course.

6 Owing to an increase in forged letter-headed paper you may wish to consider writing offer letters on watermarked paper. Some visa sections in British Missions overseas have recently requested samples of acceptance and enrolment letters, signature specimens, brochures, and lists of overseas educational institutions and agents with whom your institution works. 7 From 1 January 2005, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has developed a Register of Education and Training Providers in England, Wales and Scotland. Entry clearance officers will issue entry clearance only to students attending an institution on the Register. To check your details on the Register go to www.dfes.gov.uk/ providersregister.

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they do need to show evidence that they can pay for it. Information about its cost and availability, therefore, is helpful. State if accommodation is guaranteed, or if you will help the student find somewhere to live. If students are accompanied by dependants, they need to show that there will be adequate accommodation for them. If you cannot give

reasonable assurance to students that family accommodation will be available, you should consider advising them to come alone in the first instance so that they can make arrangements for their family to join them when they have found somewhere for them to live.

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Evidence
You should advise students to check with their local British Mission who will be able to tell them what kind of evidence they require. British Missions are now beginning to see a growing number of applications that involve an element of fraud or forgery. In the event that any visa applicant is found to have a forged document of any kind the application is always refused without exception, even if in all other respects the applicant is genuine. If students are funding themselves through savings:
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original bank statements covering at least the previous three months.

If part of their funding is through UK employment that fits exactly within either of the two categories set out below:
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Evidence of the ability to meet the costs of fees, accommodation and maintenance may include:
If students are being sponsored by a private individual (e.g. a parent):
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provided and guaranteed by their publicly funded college or university, then the college or university needs to provide a letter confirming what the student’s hours and rate of pay will be; or a sandwich course placement, which the college or university can guarantee will be available to the student; the college or university must write a letter confirming this guarantee, and how much the student will earn.

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a letter from that sponsor confirming: – what his or her relationship/connection is to the student (e.g. parent) – that the sponsor will be sponsoring the student for the length of the course, and how long the course will last – whether the sponsor will be providing the costs of maintenance as well as fees – what levels of payment the sponsor will provide and how often – where that money will come from – if the sponsor is working, what job he or she does and what the salary is, or if he or she has another source of income or savings, what that source is – evidence that the money from the sponsor will really be available, e.g. original copies of recent bank statements, wage slips, and a letter from the employer confirming that his or her job is a permanent one and what the salary is.

Evidence, where available, of a student’s intention to leave could include:
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a letter from a prospective employer in his or her home country indicating that they will want to employ the student once he or she is qualified advertisements for jobs in his or her home country for which the particular qualification is required evidence of ownership of a home in his or her home country evidence of the existence of a husband, wife, civil partner or children who are not accompanying the student to the UK, e.g. a marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates.

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If students are being sponsored by a government or scholarship agency:
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a letter from the scholarship provider confirming the duration of the scholarship and what costs it will cover.

Recent guidance from the Home Office indicates that degree-level students, student nurses and postgraduate doctors and dentists should not normally be refused on ‘intention to leave’ grounds if their intention is to stay in the UK for work-permit employment (see page 7). They may, however, be refused if they intend to stay in the UK for other reasons.
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Interview
Although many applications are now considered on the basis of papers only, a student may still be asked to attend an interview as part of the entry clearance application process. This generally happens only in cases where the entry clearance officer is unable to make a decision on the basis of the papers submitted. Only a small proportion of student applicants are actually interviewed. The interview process is designed to give the applicant the opportunity to clarify for the ECO certain parts of his or her application, or to rectify any discrepancies. The ECO will need to be satisfied that the student’s study plans are genuine and workable. A student has a right to use an interpreter, although this may weaken his or her position if the course requires a high level of English. If the ECO is not satisfied that the student meets all the requirements of the Rules the student may still be asked to provide further evidence. In certain countries (Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) applicants are required to provide fingerprints. Over the next five years everyone will be fingerprinted when they apply for a visa. This is an EU-wide requirement, although biometric implementation plans vary across the EU. Long-term visa applicants will also at some point in the future be required to have Residence Permits, which will act as identification, and eventually their departure from the UK will be recorded to help target enforcement action against those who overstay.

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Dealing with problems
Problems before travelling
Some of the most common problems encountered by student entry clearance applicants arise because the ECO is not satisfied that the student actually intends to follow the course when he or she arrives in the UK, or, in the case of short-term students, that the student intends to leave the UK once his or her studies have been completed. Also, there are sometimes problems for students wanting to come to private colleges whose names appear on DfES’ Register of Education and Training Providers, but which ECOs are not confident are bona fide. If you are contacted by a student who is having difficulty obtaining entry clearance, first check whether he or she has actually been formally refused. If he or she has been refused, the student is given a written notice explaining the reasons for refusal and stating whether he or she has a right of appeal. Short-term students (students applying for courses of six months or less) and their dependants, prospective students and their dependants, and visitors (unless visiting family members) have no right of appeal against refusal of entry clearance. You should ask the student for permission to see a copy of the refusal notice so you can ascertain why the application was refused. See ‘Regulation of immigration advice’ on page 18. If entry clearance has been refused or if unreasonable delays have arisen, you may wish (with the student’s consent) to contact the entry clearance manager (ECM) at the overseas British Mission, particularly if further information from the institution would help resolve the difficulty. Telephone and fax numbers for British Missions are available on the web at www.fco.gov.uk and www.ukvisas.gov.uk. Make sure you quote the application reference number (the student should have this), together with the student’s full name and date of birth, and those of any dependants. You can ask the ECM to review the case. Applications for entry clearance can be refused only if the applicant does not fulfil the specific requirements of the Immigration Rules. When contacting the ECM, therefore, it is helpful to relate your observations to the Immigration Rules, indicating precisely why you are questioning the refusal. Where appropriate, you should include any relevant information that the student may have omitted from his or her application, or explain the background to any misunderstanding that may have arisen. If you are still not content with the review by the ECM and you are confident that the Immigration Rules have not been correctly applied or that new information from the institution is relevant, then you may contact the Correspondence Section at UK visas. You should include all relevant information, including the refusal notice and exchange of correspondence with the ECM. Alternatively, you can telephone the unit, giving the applicant’s full name, date of birth and nationality; the date when and place where the application was made, and its reference number; and the name and address of the applicant’s UK sponsor (if applicable) (contact details can be found on page 17). You should be aware that UK visas does not take decisions on entry clearance applications; this happens at the British Mission concerned. However, it can and does raise mistakes and errors with overseas missions if these cannot be resolved between the institution and the mission. If a student has a right of appeal, it is important that he or she exercises that right immediately, even if other informal representations are continuing. Appeals can always be withdrawn at a later stage if an applicant decides not to proceed or the decision to refuse is overturned by the entry clearance manager. Submitting an appeal also means that a formal review of the decision will then be made by the entry clearance manager.

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You may need to consider whether to refer the case on (e.g. to the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), an immigration specialist authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to deal with appeals, or an immigration lawyer) before the appeal deadline expires, or to consult such a person about how to proceed. The notice of appeal must be received by the British Mission that issued the refusal, or direct at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) no later than 28 days from the day on which the student was informed of the decision. Because the appeal procedure can take some time, it may not be a feasible option for many students. Also, as appeals are heard in the UK, students cannot attend. They can, however, be represented free of charge by the Immigration Advisory Service (contact details on page 17). Another option is to submit a fresh application for entry clearance, provided you or the student can offer fresh evidence to address the reasons for refusal.

Useful publications
First steps guidance note – preparing for entry clearance First steps pre-departure briefing pack Studying and living in the UK 2007–08 All available from the British Council www.educationuk.org Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook Available from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) Telephone +44 (0)20 7251 8708 or e-mail publications@jcwi.org.uk Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC395, as amended) Available from the Border and Immigration Agency website at www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk (click on ‘Law and Policy’, and then ‘Immigration Rules’) The UKCOSA Manual includes sections on immigration. For details and prices visit www.ukcosa.org.uk The Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) Report on the FCO’s visa entry clearance operation (February 2005), which can be found at www.parliament.the-stationeryoffice.co.uk Home Office’s five-year immigration strategy can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk

Problems on arrival
A person with entry clearance should be refused admission to the UK only if the immigration officer decides there has been a change in the student’s circumstances, or that he or she gave false information or did not disclose important facts when applying for entry clearance. Tell all students, therefore, to carry all relevant documents in their hand luggage. Advise students to try to arrive during weekday office hours so they can telephone their institution, sponsor, IAS or UKCOSA for assistance, if necessary. If students do not understand a question they should ask the immigration officer to repeat it. Advise them to stay calm and be patient if they are kept waiting. They can ask for an interpreter if they are not confident in their use of English (although, as mentioned earlier, this may weaken their position if the course requires a high level of English).
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Useful organisations
British Council Information Centre Bridgewater House 58 Whitworth Street Manchester M1 6BB Telephone +44 (0)161 957 7755 Fax +44 (0)161 957 7762 www.britishcouncil.org www.educationuk.org www.britishcouncil.org/accreditation Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) 3rd floor, County House 190 Great Dover Street London SE1 4YB Telephone +44 (0)20 7967 1200 Duty Officer (24 hours) Telephone +44 (0)20 8814 1559 Fax +44 (0)20 7403 5875 www.iasuk.org Border and Immigration Agency Lunar House 40 Wellesley Road Croydon London CR9 2BY Telephone +44 (0)870 606 7766 (general enquiries) Telephone +44 (0)870 241 0645 (application forms) www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk UKCOSA: The Council for International Education 9–17 St Albans Place London N1 0NX www.ukcosa.org.uk

UK visas Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH Telephone +44 (0)845 010 5555 (general enquiries) Telephone +44 (0)20 7008 8308 (forms and leaflets) Fax +44 (0)20 7008 8359, 8361 E-mail visas.foruk@fco.gov.uk www.ukvisas.gov.uk Work Permits (UK) Home Office Level 5, Moorfoot Sheffield S1 4PQ Telephone +44 (0)114 259 4074 Fax +44 (0)114 259 3776 Telephone +44 (0)8745 210 224 (forms distribution) www.workpermits.gov.uk Revenue and Customs Advice on importing personal effects and goods may be obtained from: HM Revenue and Customs Dorset House Stamford Street London SE1 9PY Telephone +44 (0)845 010 9000 www.hmce.gov.uk

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Regulation of immigration advice
It has been a criminal offence to provide immigration advice and services in the UK unless authorised to do so under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 since 30 April 2001. Under the Act, ‘immigration advice’ and ‘immigration services’ refer to activities intended to assist a particular individual in pursuing their immigration case. Therefore, providing general pre-arrival information, standard documentation (e.g. offer letters) and confirmations of fact (e.g. a follow-up letter confirming a student meets the requirements for entry to a course) do not constitute ‘immigration services’ and are not covered by this provision. However, offering advice or making representations on behalf of a particular student (e.g. arguing their case to an ECO) is likely to constitute ‘immigration advice’ or an ‘immigration service’. Anyone in the UK providing immigration advice or services (whether the client is in the UK or abroad) must be authorised to do so by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Currently, publicly funded institutions of further and higher education and their student unions are authorised by a ‘block exclusion’. This block exemption also includes some colleges and other institutions providing approved courses for degrees awarded by universities, and those with their own degree-awarding powers. Those covered by the block exemption must nevertheless comply with the OISC’s Code of Standards. Any institution not covered by a block exemption, and wishing to provide immigration advice or services, will have to apply to the OISC for an individual registration or exemption. For more information contact: Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) 5th Floor, Counting House 53 Tooley Street London SE1 2QN Telephone +44 (0)20 7211 1500 Fax +44 (0)20 7211 1553

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© The British Council 2007 Design Department/W066/GAL The United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.