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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

As some of you may know my girlfriend is hoping to be coming to the UK in January to start a postgrad course at a university near London.

The application process is still ongoing but I wondered if anyone might be able to share their experiences or help me put her mind at ease, as with the processes involved with the various universities, the application seems to be very slow and I am worried that it will actually prevent her from having her visa issued in time for the course start date.

I'll try and cut a fairly long story down to a short explanation.

Girlfriend is a US citizen, has a conditional offer from this university. University cannot release CAS until offer is unconditional - to make the offer unconditional they need to see her undergraduate diploma certificate from the degree she just completed at a USA university, but due to uncontrollable delays in getting graduation certificates from her undergrad degree, this is still probably about 4 - 6 weeks away.

Following this, she can obtain her CAS for visa application processes, and also apply for US financial aid, although the university does not begin processing the financial applications until November.

Despite US citizens not having to produce financial support documents at the application stage, she still needs to have the support documents and finance arrangement details on file as the UKBA still reserve the right to request them at any time.

With the university not processing the loan until November, and with the delay on the CAS being released, this will essentially mean she will not be able to apply for her tier 4 visa until the end of November/beginning of December.

Given that the course starts at the very beginning of January, this seems to be cutting it very very fine. Does anyone know have any idea of whether the UKBA can reasonably turn around the visa in this kind of timeframe? Or is it a completely unrealistic prospect?

I appreciate there is variation and no guarantees on the above due to delays as a result of backlogs or high application numbers, but it would be good to hear from someone with any experience or insight on the above, just to manage expectations more than anything.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Stats for June 2013 suggest almost all Tier 4 applications are processed within 2-3 weeks, so you stand a good chance. Using priority service at extra cost ($150) means your papers are placed at the top of the queue for processing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Stats for June 2013 suggest almost all Tier 4 applications are processed within 2-3 weeks, so you stand a good chance. Using priority service at extra cost ($150) means your papers are placed at the top of the queue for processing.
Ok, that is encouraging. I was aware there is a priority service, but I wrongly thought the price would be extortionate!! $150 is still a fair amount, but to be honest if it comes right down to the line then totally worth it.

This is positive news, this course is really important to her and I just want my girl to be happy! And of course it will be great to have her back in the UK.

Thanks Joppa!
 

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I think with priority, and all parts of the application being in order (meeting requirements etc), I think she can get a visa within a week of submitting supporting documents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
BUMP!!

So, my girlfriend finally sent off her Tier 4 application today, paid for priority service so hopefully it will be a very quick turnaround.

I have a quick query - the reading I initially did suggested that she will need to wait to receive a biometric residence permit before she can travel. However I have done some further reading which now suggests that only people applying for the tier 4 visa extension within the UK will require a biometric residence permit.

Is anyone aware which is the case? Will she be sent a biometric residence permit following her hopeful approval? And if so does anyone know how long they usually take to arrive?
 

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No. BRP isn't issued outside UK, and only to those applying initially or extending/renewing their leave in UK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Joppa, good to know.

Out of interest, once a decision has been made is the outcome sent to you via email? Or do you just have to wait for the package to come back in the mail and see if the visa is in there?
 

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There is no consistency about it. Sometimes you get notification, sometimes not.
 
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