International College
Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

Applying for a visa

In order to study in the UK at the University of Sheffield International College, you may need a Tier 4 (General) student visa. You can check if you need a visa here.

Will I be eligible for a student visa?

Your student visa application will work via a points-based system; if you score 40 points you will be granted a visa. In order to apply for your visa, you must:

  • Apply for your chosen course at the University of Sheffield International College.
  • Receive an offer of a place on the course.
  • Send documents to be checked by Admissions team or your Student Enrolment Adviser.
  • Pay a CAS payment and deposit.
  • Receive a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is worth 30 points. 
  • Apply for your visa. Provide financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the course and your living costs. This will get you a further 10 points.
  • You may also be required to attend a credibility interview.
  • You will be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to tell you whether or not your visa application has been successful.

When should I apply for a visa?

You can apply for a visa from three months before the start date of your course at the International College. Apply early to make sure there is enough time for your application to be processed.

How long can I stay in the UK on a student visa?

In addition to the period of leave given to you to carry out your course of study, leave to remain will also be granted depending on your length of course. See section 5.66 in Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance document to find out more.

Can I work during my pathway programme?

After 1 August, 2019, students holding a Tier 4 visa to study at the International College will be entitled to work during their pathway programme.

About the Tier 4 visa 

The main purpose of the Tier 4 visa is for students to come to the UK to study. If you wish to work, it must be to gain work experience in your field of study. For example you could take a part-time role in an established business or organisation, such as a customer service role or a work placement. If you stop studying without completing your course, you will no longer be entitled to work and will be in breach of the conditions of the visa if you do work. 

Working hours 

Your visa allows you to work a restricted number of hours per week. Below is the maximum number of hours you are allowed to work in any one week, including paid or unpaid work for one or more organisations. This cannot be averaged over a longer period. A 'week' is defined by the Home Office as a period of seven days and begins on a Monday. 

  • During term time of any course below degree level (for example your pathway programme) – maximum 10 hours per week.
  • During term time of any course at degree level – maximum 20 hours per week.
  • During official holiday periods – up to 40 hours per week (this also applies to English language preparation programme students).

Working restrictions

If you hold a Tier 4 visa, you must not:

  • be employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation programme)
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • be self-employed, except if you are awaiting a decision on an application you have made for leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • engage in business activities
  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except on a recognised foundation programme or as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer).

For more information on working during your studies visit UKCISA.

Visa credibility interviews

You may be invited for an interview as an additional tool to help UKVI assess your genuine intentions to study. The interview is carried out by an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO). They will want to see that you have done your research and are coming to the UK for the right reasons. If they believe you may be planning to use a student visa for holiday or work, they will refuse your visa application.

Where will my credibility interview take place?

You will normally be interviewed at your nearest Visa Application Centre when you submit your visa application documents. This interview is via a secure video system and you will be interviewed by a UKVI member of staff who is in the UK.

How should I prepare for a credibility interview?

Make sure you have researched the International College and our chosen course. Avoid yes and no answers, and try and go into more detail. The Entry Clearance Officer may be suspicious if they think you are repeating rehearsed answers. 

What questions will I be asked in a credibility interview?

Below are examples of common questions you may be asked in a credibility interview:
Tell the interviewer about the research you have done into different universities, and why you think Sheffield suits your requirements.
Tell the interviewer what interests you about your course, and how it fits in with your career aspirations.
You need to show that you are aware of the costs associated with living and studying abroad, and that you have made financial plans. 

Make clear that your main purpose for being in the UK is to study, and that any employment or work placement would be to gain practical work experience in your field of study. Show that you understand that you won’t be relying on any earnings to fund your education or living costs. You should also show that you understand the number of hours you are permitted to work during your studies, both in term time and holiday periods. 

What if my student visa is refused?

If you do not meet the criteria set out in UKVI’s immigration rules, your application will be refused. If you receive a visa refusal, you have 28 days to submit an Administrative Review to the UKVI and challenge the decision made by the ECO. You will need to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal.