Immigration Corner: My son wants to extend his student visa
Dear Mr Bassie,
My son is in the United Kingdom on a student visa and it seems that he will need to extend it. I would like to know how difficult it is to get this done.
For the purposes of answering this query, I will assume that he is in the United Kingdom on a Tier 4 (general) student visa.
Persons may be able to apply to extend their stay to continue the course or study a new course. However, a person must meet the eligibility requirements of the visa. He or she must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4; he or she must have enough money to support him or herself and pay for the course. Please note that the amount will vary depending on each person's circumstances, and the applicant should be in the United Kingdom.
Persons wishing to extend their visa should include any dependents who are on their current visa on the application to extend. This will include any children who have turned 18 years of age during their stay. It is important that persons apply before the current visa expires.
If in doubt with respect to the documentation needed, a person should read the United Kingdom Border Agency guide for the full list of documents and how much money he or she is likely to need. All applicants should read the full Tier 4 guidance before making an application.
It should be noted that with respect to fees, it costs £439 to extend a person's visa, and the applicant will need to pay £439 for each dependent. A person will have to pay the health-care surcharge for each person as part of his or her application. The person making the application should check how much this will cost for each dependent.
After a person has made an application, a decision will usually be made within eight weeks for online applications, usually on the same day if the premium service is used, and the applicant will be contacted if his or her application is complex and will take longer.
This may occur if, for example, the applicant's supporting documents need to be verified; he or she needs to attend an interview; or if there are personal circumstances that need to be considered, for example, the applicant has a criminal conviction.
Please note that once a person has applied, he or she can stay in the United Kingdom until a decision has been made, and as long as the application has been made before their last visa expired.
Also, a person must provide his or her biometric information, that is fingerprints and a photo. The biometric information may be taken to certain post office branches if the application was made online, and the cost of this is £19.20. This information may also be given at a premium-service centre if the application is made in person.
If his or her application is successful, the applicant will get a Biometric Resident Permit.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.