Visas and immigration
Our International Student Advisors are here to help you with any aspect of applying for a visa or your queries around immigration.
On these pages you will find detailed information on applying for a variety of visas and help with visa and passport issues.
Collecting your visa
The Home Office is changing the way visas are issued to Tier 4 Students and their Dependants. Previously, Tier 4 visas issued outside the UK were valid for the total length of a student's study programme plus an additional 1, 2 or 4 month period based on the programme length and level. During the period from March to July 2015 the Home Office plans to change this so that when your visa is granted in your home country, initially only a short term Entry Clearance vignette will be issued in your passport. This will be issued for use to travel up to 30 days before the course start date on your CAS letter, or seven days before your intended travel date as stated on your entry clearance application form (whichever is later). You must travel to the UK within the validity of this vignette.
After using this short-term visa to enter the UK, you will then have to collect your long term visa card (BRP) upon arrival in the UK. The BRP will cover the full visa length appropriate to your programme of study including any additional time.
You can either collect your BRP from a Post Office or directly from the Edinburgh Campus (If you are studying in Scotland). If you would like to collect it from the Edinburgh Campus then you will need to enter the Heriot Watt ACL code when you reach the ‘BRP Collection Location’ page of the online application form. The code to enter is 2HE332. If you do not wish to collect your visa from us, you can enter the Post Code for the University, which is EH14 4AS or the Post Code for your accommodation. Entering either of these will lead to your BRP card being delivered to a local Post Office Branch which may not be close to campus. We therefore recommend the use of the ACL code when making your visa application.
Changes to Immigration Rules from 03 August 2015
The additional periods of leave before the course start date and after the course end date will be included, and no longer disregarded, when calculating whether a student exceeds the limits on periods of Tier 4 (General) and Student leave.
Changes to Immigration Rules from 12 November 2015
The mainatance requirement increases to £1,015 per month and affects those who apply on or after 12 November.
''Established presence in the UK' is abolished so anyone applying on or after 12 November must have the full amount required. The exception to this is for DES applicants who are still required to show only two months' worth of funds. '
The maximum amount that can be deducted for accommodation from maintenance increases to £1,265.
The funds requirement for Tier 4 dependants increases to £680 per month.
The cap on below degree level courses will be reduced from 3 years to 2.
Those who wish to apply for Tier 4 (General) leave to remain (in the UK) must have or have last been sponsored by a UK recognised body or body in receipt of public funding as an HEI, or by an overseas HEI to take a short-term study abroad programme in the UK or by an embedded college offering pathway courses - embedded colleges and pathway courses are defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules and are in summary private providers that offer courses (that are not pre-sessional courses) preparing students for study at a specific recognised body or body in receipt of public funding as an HEI. In theory, this means that a student who most recently studied at a university can now apply in the UK for leave to study at a publicly-funded FE college, but cannot apply in the UK to move from an FE college to a university. In the latter case, they will have to leave the UK in order to apply for entry clearance to return to the UK. This affects those who apply for leave to remain on or after 12 November.