Frequently Asked Questions
Before coming to the UK as a student
If you want to enter the UK as a 'student', it is compulsory to obtain entry clearance before you travel. You cannot arrive and then expect to get a visa. You will be deported at the airport. If you come to the UK as a 'Student Visitor' you also need entry clearance and a different visa.
Information about Student Visitor Visas can be found here.
Information about Tier 4 Student Visas can be found here.
Yes, but it is not recommended. It is very important that you apply for entry clearance as a 'prospective student', and not as any other kind of visitor. You will be expected to provide evidence that you have made contact with institutions in the UK, for example letters inviting you for interviews in the UK. 'Prospective students' can stay in the UK for up to six months to make arrangements for their studies. When you have enrolled at a college or university, you will need to extend your stay in the UK as a 'student'.
For Williams College to authenticate and use documents sent for a CAS letter:
• All copied documents for the visa application have to be certified by a certifying body.
• If they are in a different language, they need to be translated by an authorised translator.
Q: Once I have made my visa application with my CAS letter from the college, do I need to keep in contact with Williams College?
Once the College sends you your CAS letter, the College has to notify the UK Border Agency at every step of your visa application.
For this reason we ask students to:
• Notify the College when you take your CAS letter with your application to the Home Office.
• Notify the College immediately whether your visa application has been successful or not.
If you DO NOT tell Williams College whether your visa has been successful or not and you do not arrive at the school within 10 days of your Course starting, the College has to tell the UK Border Agency.
Please let the College know if you have been delayed (missed a plane or health problems, for example). If you do not enrol on your course within 10 days of it starting, the College must notify the UKBA.
This is for non-EU students only. The College must always inform the UK Border Agency who and where you are (with proof). You need to help us by:
• Providing a photocopy or electronic copy of your passport.
• Providing a photocopy or electronic copy of your study visa.
• Providing a photocopy or electronic copy of your leave to remain in the UK.
• Your contact details including telephone number, mobile number and UK residential address.
• Copy of ID cards for foreign nationals (this is new – not all students will have them) if applicable.
If any of these details change at any stage - please tell us immediately! If you fail to inform the College and we find out, we will be forced to inform the UKBA.
During your stay in the UK
Absolutely not. If you do, your leave to remain will NOT be considered valid by the UK Border Agency as you are not actively studying.
If you decide to delay your studies, the College will advise you to leave the UK. When you are ready to study you will have to apply again for your entry clearance visa.
Q: Why does it matter if I work too many hours or overstay in the UK (overstaying means allowing your immigration permission to expire without making an application to extend it)?
This will have serious consequences for any future entry clearance applications that you make abroad. If you overstay for more than 28 days or work more hours than you are allowed to work, you may be barred from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months (and in some cases five or ten years). If you are found not to have told the truth in answer to questions on the entry clearance application form about your previous immigration behaviour in the UK, you are likely to be barred for ten years.
If you forget to register with the police, this could have serious consequences for any future entry clearance applications that you make abroad. You could be barred from coming back to the UK for 12 months (and in some cases five or ten years). It will also cause problems for you obtaining immigration extensions in the UK. If your passport or identity card does not tell you to register with the police, you do not need to.
Yes, keep photocopies of every page of every passport that you ever use to enter the UK (except for the blank pages). You may need to refer to them for future immigration applications, or in case your passport is lost or stolen. Remember to update the photocopy each time it shows a new journey. Also keep all the paperwork and documents you have that evidence each of your journeys to and from the UK. You might need these for future immigration applications, too.
Check the website for the UK embassy of the particular country you want to visit (there is a list of these on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website). The embassy's website will tell you whether people of your nationality need to apply for visas before travelling to that country.
Working in the UK during your studies
Students Who Applied Before 4 July 2011
You are allowed to:
• Work part-time during semester time (20 hours per week for Level 6 courses, 10 hours per week for Level 5 courses and below)
• Work full-time during vacations
Students Who Applied After 4 July 2011
You are not permitted to work.
If you have student immigration permission that allows you to take employment, you can work up to 20 hours a week during term-time and full-time during your holidays.
If you are still studying, even if you are not attending classes, this is not a vacation period for you. This means that you should not work full-time until you have submitted your dissertation or thesis and finished your studies, unless you are doing a work placement.
If you have a passport sticker or identity card that does not prohibit work, you are allowed to take employment without getting any further approval or permission. This is explained in a UK Government leaflet you might want to show your employer.
UK employers have a number of legal duties towards their employees. These include anti-discrimination measures, health and safety requirements, the obligation to pay the minimum wage, comply with laws relating to maximum working hours and breaks, pay National Insurance contributions, and provide wage slips.
Your National Insurance number is a unique personal number which is used to record your National Insurance (NI) contributions. Employees and employers both pay NI contributions, which help to fund contributory benefits, for example, the state pension and jobseeker's allowance. You do not need to have a National Insurance number before starting work, but you must obtain one when you get a job.
For more information visit Directgov
Working in the UK after your studies
The current Post-Study Work route will be closed from April 2012.
It is still possible to apply for a Tier 2 (General)
For more information visit the UKBA
Studying in the UK
From April 2012 only UK education institutions with Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status may enrol international students.
Williams College is a Highly Trusted Sponsor under the UK Border Agency's Points-Based System.
Williams College has received confirmation that the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has scheduled us for a Review for educational oversight during 2012.
Go to 'Apply' on the menu bar. All the information you need will be under this category.
Any student who misses 10 consecutive contact points (lectures or coursework) will have their Tier 4 sponsorship or registration withdrawn. Warning letters or e-mails will be sent but withdrawal will be automatic after 10 consecutive misses.
If the length of your course at Williams College changes or ends before the expected time, please inform the College immediately. The UK Border Agency needs to be told about any changes.
Living in the UK
You will need to arrange some form of accommodation before you arrive in the UK, even if it is only temporary. Williams College does not provide accommodation. However, we can assist you to find private accommodation after you arrive. We can also assist you to find a homestay or student residence before you arrive.
If you are on a course lasting six months or more you can get treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) from the beginning of your stay. You will not have to pay for hospital treatment, but you may have to pay for some dental treatment and a standard charge for medicines prescribed by a doctor, depending on your income.
For more information visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs
This will depend on where your licence was issued. You might be able to drive using your current licence for up to 12 months and then take a driving test. Alternatively, you might be able to exchange your licence for a British licence or apply for a provisional licence and then take the test.
For more information visit the Directgov
Living costs in the UK
This varies, according to where in the UK you decide to study. London and other big cities are more expensive than other areas.
For more information visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs
We strongly advise against bringing large amounts of cash and recommend that you bring most of your money in Travellers' Cheques or use a Travellers' Cheque card. Keep your Travellers' Cheques in a different place from your passport. To avoid carrying large amounts of cash for your tuition fees, contact your institution before you leave home and ask if you can pay your fees in advance, by bank transfer. Alternatively, bring a cheque or bankers' draft payable to the institution.
In cash, you should carry enough money to pay for: transport from the airport to your final destination; one or two nights' stay in 'bed and breakfast' accommodation (in case you cannot immediately access your booked accommodation); food; telephone calls home; and any other expenses for the first week (bus fares, stationery, social events and so on). £500 should be enough. We also recommend that you take out travel insurance before you leave home to cover you for your journey and the first week of your stay in the UK. If you bring money worth 10,000 Euros or more (including money in other currencies) and you are coming to the UK from a country that is outside the European Union, you have to declare that sum to customs officers by filling in a form when you arrive.