Glossary of Immigration Terminology

Biometric Residence Permits
If you apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa extension within the UK, then your visa will not be issued in the form of a sticker in your passport. Instead it will take the form of a separate card called a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

To create the BRP, the Home Office collects fingerprints, a facial image and your signature, otherwise known as your 'biometrics’.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS)
A CAS is not an actual certificate or paper document but it is a virtual document similar to a database record. Each CAS has a unique reference number and contains information about the course of study for which it was issued and the student’s personal details. The University will provide new students with a CAS as soon as their application to study here has been successfully processed. Continuing students that need to extend their visa should request a CAS from their faculty.

You will be issued with a CAS statement which will hold some of the information that the University used when assigning your CAS. You will need this information to accurately complete your application form and to be sure of what supporting documents you will need to submit with your application.

European Union (EU)
An amalgamation of twenty-five independent states based on the European Communities. Member States of the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

European Economic Area (EEA)
The EEA was Formed on 1 January 1994 and represents an amalgamation of the European Union and the European Free Trade Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

Entry Clearance
This is the name for a visa issued overseas to enable a foreign national to travel to the UK. It is in the form of a sticker placed in a passport by a British Embassy or High Commission.

Foreign national (overseas national)
Also known as overseas national, the term foreign national applies to all non-UK passport holders.

Home Office
The section of the government responsible for monitoring and controlling immigration to the UK. The department that previously held this responsibility was known as the UK Border Agency.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
The Immigration Health Surcharge is a fee that you pay at the same time as making your visa application in order to access secondary medical care through the National Health Service.

Indefinite Leave to Enter/ Remain (ILE/R)
This is otherwise known as permanent residence. Indefinite Leave to Enter means that this right to permanent residence was issued by a British Embassy or High Commission overseas. Indefinite Leave to Remain means that this right to permanent residence was issued by the Home Office within the UK. People issued with ILE/R are not bound by any restrictions on the period for which they may remain in the UK.

Leave to Remain
This is the name for a visa issued within the UK to enable a foreign national to remain here for a further period. Depending on the immigration category the foreign national had applied under, this is either in the form of a BRP or a sticker in their passport.

Points Based System (PBS)
Under the UK’s Points Based System for immigration, applicants who wish to enter / remain in the UK to work or study now need to pass a points based assessment to enter or remain in the UK. The five tiers of the PBS are:

  • Tier 1- Highly skilled individuals
  • Tier 2- Skilled workers with a job offer
  • Tier 3- Low skilled workers to fill specific temporary labour shortages (Currently no plans to introduce this tier)
  • Tier 4- Students
  • Tier 5- Youth mobility and temporary workers

Short-term Study Visa
This is a visa for courses which are six months or less and for which there will be no need of an extension of stay in the UK. It is prohibited to work on a Short-term Study Visa.

Tier 4 Student Visa
This is the visa needed to study a course of more than six months or a pre-sessional course to prepare students for further study in the UK.

There is detailed guidance on applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa outside of the UK on the main University website. This includes a step by step guide to applying for Entry Clearance under Tier 4 of the Points Based System and other useful immigration information.

We also have detailed guidance on applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa within the UK on UniLife.

Tier 4 Sponsor Licence
All institutions now need a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence in order to provide visa support documentation to, and enrol, international students. Institutions must abide by the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance in order to maintain the ability to accept international students.

Tier 4 Sponsor Licence Number
A Tier 4 Sponsor Licence Number is issued to each institution that has joined the UKVI’s sponsor register. This enables the University to sponsor students under Tier 4 of the PBS. By law, an institution cannot enrol a student who has a visa showing a different licence number.

UK Border Agency (UKBA)
Now known as UK Visas and Immigration, which is part of the Home Office.

Visitor Visa
This is a visa which is issued to people coming to the UK for recreational purposes. It is prohibited to work or to study on a Visitor visa.