International students applying for a student visa to the UK are showered with information from all sources – parents, lecturers, friends – with the veracity of many is still up for debate.
Top of the pile of advice given usually revolve around the issue of money. There are rumours and gossip surrounding the Tier 4 application process, as well as misunderstandings about what the rules and guidance really say.
And once you’ve jumped through these hurdles, there appears to be secret, unwritten rules that immigration officers can use to derail your perfectly-crafted visa application altogether. Friends and family have told you about this supposedly ‘TOP SECRET’ document that endows immigration officers with a huge, unregulated discretion over to approve or decline your application.
But how true are all these claims?
Thanks to a blog post by International Student Adviser at the UK Council for International Student Affairs, we have a list of debunked top myths about unwritten rules for Tier 4 money to ease your unnecessary worries away:
1. If you’re a “low-risk applicant”, you don’t need to show evidence of money
A low-risk applicant is someone that holds a passport from one of the countries listed in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules and is applying for a visa in the UK or in the countries associated with the passport. Masters students at Bath, Cambridge, Imperial and Oxford also fall under this description now, as explained in Annex 6 of the Tier 4 policy guidance.
Now, regardless whether you fall under the categories stated above, or if you’re any other type of Tier 4 applicants, you are required to answer whether you have the money and evidence for it in the application form. To answer Yes when you do not have the money and evidence is deception, which can be used as a ground for refusal.
Low-risk applicants may not need to send their evidence of money together with their application but that does not mean they can’t be requested to do so later.
2. If you make the tiniest error in your application, your application will be refused
This is false.
The definition of what amounts to a “tiny” error matters. Spelling and keystroke errors are tiny and may not be seen as you trying to deceive. Other errors, however, are not at all tiny.
Take the requirement to have the necessary amount of money for 28-days in your account. This is an “all or nothing” provision, so if your statement shows 27 days or if it is just two cents below the required amount, this is not considered as tiny.
Neither is the requirement to declare any criminal convictions. If you declared to have no criminal conviction when you do have, this is not a ‘tiny’ error.
The best person to understand the nuances in this would be your international student adviser, who would be able to help you in the event you have made a mistake in your application.
3. If you show money held in a step-parent’s name, it’s okay
This is true only insofar that you can provide additional evidence that your step-parent has adopted you and/or if your father/mother is dead. According to the blog post, this could mean a “chain of evidence” as follows:
- your birth certificate naming your birth parent(s); and
- the wedding or civil partnership certificate naming your birth parent and step-parent; and
- your adoption certificate showing that your step-parent adopted you; or
- evidence that your original parent has died. Note that the wedding or civil partnership certificate may already confirm that your parent is a widow(er) or surviving civil partner.
To make things easier, it advises for the step-parent to transfer the money into a bank account in your name or your birth parent’s name (though this could not be in the form of a joint account).
4. If you use a statement from a foreign bank, you need a letter from it confirming its currency
These are false. Paragraph 201 of the policy guidance states:
the amount we consider will be based on the exchange rate for the relevant currency on the date of your application, taken from the rates published on www.oanda.com
Entry clearance officers can reasonably assume that the currency of your bank account is as per the country you are in.
As for the requirement to show the closing amount balance, you can add a note to state this amount in pound steeling according to the conversion rate on the date you apply.
If you are from a country with a volatile currency, add a buffer to the closing balance amount and ensure you apply as soon as possible after the date of your closing balance.