Tuesday, February 03, 2015

UK Student Visa Rule Changes. BID introduced. Begins in March 2015

From March 2015, UK visa rules for students (Tier 4 visa) bring in a huge change. 

The UKVI is introducing a new system for issuing entry clearance to people going to study in the UK on a visa for more than 6 months.

Current UK Student Visa System:
Students apply for their visa in home country and they receive an 'entry clearance' vignette (sticker) in their passport. The duration of the visa is equivalent to the total course duration plus an additional short period (generally 4 months)

New UK Student Visa System (starting in March 2015):
When students apply for a visa, students will have to confirm what town they are going to stay in when they first arrive in the UK. They will be issued a short-term entry clearance vignette in their passport. This gives them 30 days in which to both, travel to the UK and go to a particular Post Office near the UK town they identified in their application, to collect a ‘Biometric Immigration Document’ (BID). The BID shows their leave to remain for the rest of the course (and an appropriate period afterwards which generally would be 4 months). Applicants will no longer be issued with an entry clearance before they travel that covers the full length of their course.

Here's what will happen (step-wise):

  1. Students fill the online student visa application form confirming what town they will stay in once they first arrive in the UK
  2. Students book their student visa appointment through the VFS
  3. Students attend the visa appointment, submits relevant documents and biometric information, finishes the short video interview and awaits a decision
  4. Students confirm which town in the UK they will land 
  5. Students will be issued a short-term entry clearance sticker on the passport (should be valid for 30 days)
  6. Within 30 days from the receipt of the passport, students will travel to the UK and go to the post office that they have been asked to visit
  7. At the post office, students will carry their passport and offer letter (or CAS) copy and collect the BID
Some view points and important information to consider:
  1. Travel Date: It will be imperative that the student calculates the right date of travel and enters it in to the visa application form. This is especially important since students can apply for a student visa anytime within 90 days of the course start date
  2. Passport vs BID: Assuming BID will bring up the information about long a student can stay in the UK will mean all internal and external systems will perhaps now require BID as the primary document rather than the passport
  3. Loss of Passport: It is likely that the BID will be connected to the Passport Number. In case of loss of passport in the UK, students may have to redo the process of collecting the BID
  4. Private Accommodation: Many students prefer to live in private apartments. Passport and visa information while booking the accommodation is important. However unless the student has collected the BID, the accommodation booking may have problems
  5. Rush: Especially during the September intake which is a universal start month for all Universities, popular towns like London, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham can see a student rush at the post offices

The new system will be phased in over 5 months as follows:

  • It will start (in March 2015) with people who apply in Pakistan
  • It will then extend shortly afterwards to people who apply in the following countries (no date has been specified yet): Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Gibraltar, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Laos, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Nepal, Netherlands, North Korea, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • It will extend to people who make applications in the following countries from 29 May 2015 onwards: Afghanistan, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, St Helena, St Lucia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA, and Yemen
  • It will extend to everyone who applies from anywhere in the world apart from the UK from 31 July 2015

If you have any queries, write to You can get in touch with ILW Overseas Education Consultants for complete support with applying to UK Universities