Be vigilant regarding scams targeting international students. These could be email or telephone scams from someone claiming to be from the UKVI, an immigration service or border enforcement officer. These scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and they may be calling from a telephone number that looks like a genuine Home Office number.
If you are contacted by telephone by someone claiming to be from the UKVI, who knows personal details about you (eg your passport number, place of study) and is asking for money or payment in another form (eg vouchers) please contact the International Student Support team immediately so we can investigate further with the Home Office.
Do not give your bank details or transfer money to someone that you do not know.
Changes to low-risk countries
The Home Office has announced changes to the list of countries that are classified as low-risk. Being designated a low-risk country allows applicants, who are passport holders of one of these countries and apply for their Tier 4 visa from their home country, to benefit from not having to include all documentation with their visa application such as financial documents or previous qualifications.
Countries on the list
Argentina; Australia; Barbados; Botswana; Brunei; Canada; Chile; Japan; Malaysia; New Zealand; Qatar; Singapore; South Korea; Trinidad and Tobago; United Arab Emirates and United States of America
New countries added to the list
Bahrain; Cambodia; China; the Dominican Republic; Indonesia; Kuwait; the Maldives; Mexico; Serbia and Thailand
Countries taken off the list
These changes will only apply to applications made on or after 6 July 2018.
Scam targeting international students - 19 April 2018
The University has become aware that telephone scammers have been targeting international students, claiming to be calling from the Home Office and demanding payment.
This scam appears to be very sophisticated and the people conducting it can be very convincing, so please be aware that:
- The call will likely be made by a person who claims that they are calling from the Home Office or are a law enforcement officer of some kind;
- They may tell you their telephone number (020 7035 4848) and ask you to verify it by checking on the www.gov.uk website;
- This same phone number will be on the Home Office website;
- In addition, the caller ID on your phone may show this number (020 7035 4848);
- The caller will have your full name, postcode in the UK and passport number, and the caller will ask you to confirm that the details are correct (we do not know how they have obtained your details but the Home Office has been made aware of this by universities in the UK);
- The caller will then proceed to tell you that there is some problem which means that you must make a payment (usually ranging from £1200 - £1520, and sometimes asking you to pay in Apple Music Vouchers). The alleged reason could be that you have not paid for an immigration service, that you made a mistake in your visa application, or that you are facing criminal charges in your home country;
- They will tell you that if you do not pay they will report you to the Police and/or the Home Office who will detain you or deport you;
- If you do not comply with their requests, the caller will become increasingly insistent and verbally aggressive.
DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY.
We understand that you may feel anxious or worried that something bad will happen if you refuse to pay; however, it is not Home Office policy to ring applicants and demand payment. Therefore it is extremely likely that this is a scam and the caller is trying to steal your money. Please do not let the caller frighten or intimidate you. Instead, try to remain calm and do one of the following:
1. Tell the caller that you are aware that there is a 'scam' that targets international students, and that your University has told you NOT to pay any money. Your University has instead told you that you need to verify if they are really calling from the Home Office and to do this the caller should give you their name, telephone number and the location of their office/team in the Home Office. Tell the caller that you will give their details to the College’s International Student Support Office who have said that they will check the information directly with the Home Office
2. Tell the caller that you are aware that there is a 'scam' that targets international students, and that your University has told you NOT to pay any money. Tell the caller that you are authorising them to email Imperial College and explain in the email what is needed from you. Please note - you do not need to give them an email address as the Home Office has the email addresses to contact us at the College. If the caller is a genuine Home Office member of staff they will be happy to email the College directly.
Once you have done this you should hang up and immediately contact the ISS office at firstname.lastname@example.org informing us of the scam call and provide any further information you can, such as the name, number and location of the caller if they provided these details, as well as their requests. We will be able to get in touch with the Home Office and confirm that this was not a genuine call, and will keep you updated with all further information we receive. As well as providing assurance to you, letting us know you have received this type of call will help us to monitor how many Imperial students have been affected by this scam and improve our strategy to combat it.
If the caller becomes aggressive or abusive after you inform them that the College has requested that you do NOT pay them any money, hang up the phone immediately. We understand that you may feel anxious about this, but please, do not pay money or provide any banking details if you receive a call.
Immigration Fees increase - 6 April 2018
The cost of making a visa application will increase from 6 April 2018. Please visit our Visa application fees page for further information on these fee increases.
Visa application delays - 4 September 2017
The College is very aware that there are delays in processing of visa applications and this means that UKVI are unable to meet their published service standards.
We appreciate that this is very frustrating for applicants. We have been in constant contact with the Home Office and understand that they will be prioritising applications based on the course start date. We have been assured that extra staff are being diverted on to application processing by the Home Office so we hope that they will be on top of the problem as soon as possible.
If an application has taken longer than the published service standard of 5 working days from the date of appointment for priority applications or 15 working days from the date of appointment for standard applications, students should contact the International Student Support team at the College directly. We will then alert UKVI to try and get this handled as quickly as possible.
We are also liaising with academic departments in relation to late start dates for courses and will allow students to commence late where possible, but this is an academic decision made by each department.
Immigration Fees increase - 6 April 2017
The Home Office announced on 4 April 2017 that the fees for most visa applications will be increasing from 6 April 2017. Please visit our Visa application fees page for further information on these fee increases.
New aviation security measures
On 21 March 2017 the UK introduced new security measures that large phones, laptops and tablets are not allowed in the cabin on flights to the UK from the following countries:
- Saudi Arabia,
- Tunisia and
The Home Office website provides further information about these new security measures.
Please note that these restrictions may be extended to further countries. If you do not need to travel with any of these items you may wish to consider leaving them behind in your place of residence in the UK before you travel.
Immigration Rules Change - calculating maintenance for dependants
A recent change to the Immigration Rules may affect students on a Tier 4 visa who have dependant family with them in the UK.
If you need additional time to complete your studies (for example to complete a PhD), as a Tier 4 applicant you are required to demonstrate you have enough money per month to cover your living costs in the UK until your new course end date. This is £1265 per month (up to a maximum of 9 months).
However, your dependants will need to demonstrate enough money per month to cover their living costs until the end of the visa you will be granted (your new course end date PLUS 4 months). This is £845 per month (up to a maximum of 9 months).
Therefore, if your course has been extended by 4 months, and you are extending your visa on that basis, you will need to demonstrate you have £1265 x 4 = £5060. Any dependants will have to show £845 x 8 (4 months to your new course end date PLUS 4 months in line with the additional time you are granted on top of your course end date) = £6760.
If you are unsure how much money your dependants will need to demonstrate then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Immigration Rules Changes - 24 November 2016
Recent changes to the Immigration Rules have taken effect from 24 November 2016.
These changes include the following:
- Tier 4 - Academic progression: students who change from a BEng/BSc to a MEng/MSci are now allowed to make their Tier 4 visa application from within the UK to extend their time on the course. Please refer to our Changes to course of study page for further information on changing a course of study at Imperial.
- Tier 2: The minimum starting annual salary for a Tier 2 job has now been raised to £ 25, 000. This means a certificate of sponsorship issued by an employer from 24 November 2016 must state that the annual salary is at least £ 25 000 or meet the annual salary for the entry-level position of that particular job role.
Tier 4 Visa Pilot
A small number of UK Universities have been selected to take part in a new pilot scheme in conjunction with the Home Office which provides one year Masters students the opportunity to benefit from a streamlined visa application process. The scheme will affect visa applications decided on or after 25th July 2016. The scheme offers several important advantages for students:
- You will be granted an additional six months visa on top of your course end date which will be helpful if you wish to stay on in the UK to look for work after you have completed your studies.
- As an Imperial College applicant, you will be considered to be low-risk for immigration purposes, and therefore although you are required meet the Tier 4 Immigration Rules you do not need to include any documentation with your application demonstrating you meet the financial requirement. You are also not required to include evidence of your academic qualifications with your visa application. Please bear in mind, however, that the UK Visa and Immigration Service can request evidence as part of the visa process if they want to and will be undertaking spot-checks on applications submitted under the pilot. Therefore, you should wait until you have maintained the required amount of money for 28 days until you make your Tier 4 application. Please note: If you are required to submit an ATAS certificate and/or a TB screening certificate you must include these with your visa application.
EU Referendum result
The International Student Support team acknowledge that the result of the EU Referendum is a very unsettling time for our non-UK students. Please see the College’s official statement on the referendum result.
We will update students once there is more clarity on what this will mean and how it may affect our students.
The International Student Support team are now signed up to the Wow! Awards scheme which recognises excellent customer service. If you are happy with the customer service you have received from our team please let us know by clicking the button in the left-hand column and completing the form.
Telephone scam - 20 May 2016
We have been made aware of the following scam which targets Tier 4 students whereby the student receives a telephone call from an individual who fraudulently purports to represent the Home Office.
The caller instructs the student to verify their telephone number, 020 7035 4848, on the www.gov.uk website, search for Home Office, and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen so that they can verify that the caller is calling from the genuine Home Office number. The caller ID on the student’s mobile does show this number.
The caller is in possession of the students full name, postcode in the UK and passport number, and asks the student to confirm those details are correct.
They then proceed to tell the student they have not paid for an immigration service and, as a result, have to pay a fine (usually £1200 - £1520) or they will be reported to the Police/or the Home Office who will detain or deport them.
Students who have been targeted have reported that the fraudsters become increasingly insistent and verbally aggressive resulting in them feeling coerced in to making payment.
UKVI will not contact students in this manner.
Please contact the International Student Support office if you are contacted by anyone claiming to be from the Home Office or UKVI. Email email@example.com or phone our office on 0207 594 8081.
Tier 4 students applying in the UK – important information
On 6th April 2016 there was a change to the Immigration Rules for Tier 4 students currently studying in the UK.
If you currently hold a Tier 4 visa and you need to make a new Tier 4 application in the UK you can only do this if:
- You have successfully completed and been awarded the qualification you have been studying and that your current Tier 4 visa was issued for AND
- There is less than 28 days gap between the end date of your current visa and the start date of your new course of study.
- You are a PhD student and you need additional time to complete your course
If you are a current student and you need additional time to complete your course, you will have to leave the UK and make a new Tier 4 application from your home country. This includes:
- If you undertake a work placement as part of the course and this extends your course end date
- If you undertake a study abroad placement as part of the course and this extends your course end date
- If you move from BEng to MEng / BSc to MSci and this extends your course end date
If your current Tier 4 visa was issued BEFORE 6th April 2016, you can make the new Tier 4 application from your home country at any stage. If your current visa was issued AFTER 6 April 2016, you have to make your Tier 4 application from your home country BEFORE your course changes.
If you are not sure if you are able to make a visa application from within the UK, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Visa application fee increases - 18 March 2016
The majority of the application fees for visas will increase from 18 March 2016. This includes Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 2, Tier 4, Tier 5 and dependant categories.
For further information please refer to the Home Office website.
Immigration Health Surcharge extended to include Australia and New Zealand - April 2016
From 6 April 2016 nationals of Australia and New Zealand who apply for a visa to be in the UK for more than 6 months will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Previously nationals of these countries were exempt from the IHS.
Please see the Home Office press release for further details.
Tier 4 application form changing - February 2016
Please note that the Tier 4 online form for visa applications made from within the UK is changing. If you currently have a Tier 4 application in progress on the current UKVI Apply Online system, you must complete, pay for (including health surcharge), and submit your Tier 4 application no later than midnight on the 25 February 2016. After this date you will no longer be able to access the partially complete application form
Should you be unable to complete your application by this date, or you wish to re-start your Tier 4 application on the new Online Application Service, you will need to submit a new application from Monday 1 February.
Should you wish to retain any information held in your UKVI Apply Online account, you must access your account and save copies before midnight on the 25 February 2016. This includes copies of any previously submitted applications, or forms for appointments at Premium Service Centres.
Maintenance rules change - 12 November 2015
Any students applying for Tier 4 visas or extending their visas after 12 November 2015 need to be aware of new increased maintenance requirements. Currently, London-based students need to show living expenses of £1020 per month for a maximum of 9 months (saved for at least 28 days prior to visa application submission). This will rise to £1,265 per month from 12 November, and will be applicable to students based at Silwood Park as well as the other Imperial College campuses. Dependants of Tier 4 students applying for a visa will have to show £845 per month maintenance for a maximum of 9 months (previously £615). The concept of “established presence”, where students who have already been in the UK for more than 6 months are only required to show 2 months’ maintenance for a visa extension, will be abolished. This means that all self-funding applicants need to show £1,265 per month up to a maximum of 9 months (£11,385) saved in an account for at least 28 days, depending on the duration of the new visa. The only exception to this is for Tier 4 Doctorate Extension applicants, who only need to show 2 months of maintenance.
Immigration Rules Changes: Tier 2 clarification - July 2015
The Home Office announced some changes to the immigration rules for Tier 4 visas on 13 July 2015.
The much-publicised changes to the rules on working during study and preventing switching into Tier 2 after study are only applicable to students at publicly-funded further education colleges. Imperial College is a Higher Education Institution and therefore all our Tier 4 student visa holders still have permission to work part-time during their studies and are eligible to switch into Tier 2 work visas upon successful completion of their course.