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Guide to UK Student Visa Application for Malaysians!

Hi Guys! It has been a really long while since I’ve blogged about something useful! So I am constructing an easy to understand guide to applying for a UK Student Visa (Tier 4) for Malaysians. This type of visa applies to all new incoming students studying in the UK for more than 6 months, which includes students applying for their masters course (which is my case). I am blogging about this because I get really paranoid at systems like this and would try to refer to as many articles or blogs about experiences on the Visa process. So I thought of doing my own version to add on to many others out there!

So, for my situation, I just graduated with a degree in July 2015, and aiming to apply for my visa to start my Masters degree in UK in the coming Sept 2015 batch. So in between that time, I was required to apply for a UK PBS (Point Based System) Student Tier 4 Visa.

So first things first, How do you start your Visa application?

  1. Make an Online application on this website here >> https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome
    This is where you complete your application online, (this replaces the Appendix 8 in the past), Make sure you answer all the questions as truthfully as you can, this will help in your process. So you register for an account, complete the application, then you would be directed to the payment page. The Visa application would not be completed until you have made your payment.
  2. Book an Appointment. The system will let you book up to 1 month in advance, no more than that. Plus, you would need to book at least 48 hours in advance. You are also able to change your booking anytime before 48 hours of your initial booking date. Like me, I changed my booking details at least 5 times, which is fine!
  3. Next, Would be the IHS payment. This is also within the online application page. Basically, NHS in the UK requires all international students to pay a Medical Fee that is mandatory to obtain a visa. After paying for the IHS fee, PRINT YOUR RECEIPT of your payment to show on your application day.\
  4. Then you are done with this page online application page.** Tip**
    Print out all of your receipts and confirmation emails for all payments you made online for proof of payment.The finished online application would look like this:

Screenshot 2015-08-17 11.28.56 copy

List of things needed printed out for the application day from this online application:

1. Printed version of your online application
2. Payment information for Visa (515USD)
3. IHS Reference number (email form is fine)
4. IHS payment confirmation
5. Booking reference details (With GWFxxxxxxxx reference number)
UK Visa application Malaysia also provides User Pay Services, which basically means extra cost for extra services. The website >> http://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/malaysia/user_pay_services.html
The User Pay Services include:

1. Premium Lounge Service (RM 186) – Personalised assisted service with no queueing, with comfort and privacy, personalised attention and service during the submission and biometric process, free refreshments and snacks, free courier pass-back, free photocopying, free sms and email alerts. It is only available in KL. (To be honest, it might be worth it if you are in a rush, but on normal days, having a booking appointment would be sufficient to get your visa submitted in less than 2 hours? My appointment was at 12.30pm, but I was there at 11.45am, I was done with the whole process at 1.15pm)

2. Priority visa service (RM 744) – This service is to place the visa application in the front of the queue. Under normal circumstances, the visa would be processed in 3-5 working days. However that does not include the time it takes to courier it back to your destination. This does NOT guarantee a successful visa application and the priority visa fee will not be refunded. (In my case, I used priority visa and had it couriered back to Miri, Sarawak I did my visa application on 14/08 Fri and it arrived in Miri on 21/08 Fri, which made it a total of 5 working days including courier service)

3. Sarawak & Sabah submission (RM 366) – Basically its a Temporary Enrolment Location (TEL) service which allows applicants to submit their UK visa application and biometric data using the facilities in Sabah and Sarawak. The fee covers the courier shipments back to your preferred mailing address. However, this service is only available during busy period in the summer.
Adresses:
Sabah;
The Regional Office of VISI L.A Security,  
Block G, Lot No. 53, Room B,
1st Floor, Lintas Square,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Sarawak;
1st Floor, BF 201,
Batu Kawah New Township,
Jalan Batu Kawah,
93250 Kuching,
Sarawak.
**Please note that this TEL service are only available on specific dates and appointment has to be booked.

(I used this service in Sabah 3 years ago, 2012, because the flight tickets were cheaper that time to fly from Miri to KK. It is a very straight forward process. Just bring your documents and perform your biometrics, then it would be done. I would suggest you to be there probably half hour earlier just to speed up the process. But note that the waiting room is pretty small as well. Also, you have to be aware of the extra processing time slightly needed to courier it to KL for processing and THEN send it to the UKVI. So a slight time delay, but otherwise very recommendable for local East Malaysians.)

4. Prime time appointment service (RM 310) – This service is only open in KL during the peak season, August to September. Basically it allows you not to book an appointment and walk-in to do your visa. (To be honest, not very worth the price. If you book an appointment, you would probably get it done just maybe half an hour later than the people who paid for this)

5. Courier service (RM 40) – The fee is the same for any part of Malaysia, whether it be west or east Malaysia. The courier they used is ABX Express which will courier it back within 1 or 2 working days. (It is very reliable except they don’t leave a note if they have come to the house but they do call you. So just be wary.)

6. Photocopying service (RM 0.40 per page) – Ditto. (DO NOT PAY FOR THIS, haha. There is a free service available at the appointment centre.)

7. SMS status tracking service (RM 8) – SMS service with confirmation feedback sent to the applicant’s mobile at various stages of the visa application process followed with an automated email message. (NO, DO NOT GET THIS. It is not worth your money. I only received 2 messages in total from this service. It only tells you when it arrives in UKVI, and when it is done being processed. It just keeps you waiting and waiting. Not worth the stress really. Just wait for an email. Should be alright)

**All payment confirmation made on this website HAS to be printed out. Most importantly, the transaction confirmation number. Without it, you won’t be able to clarify that you have already paid and forced to pay at the counter, in CASH. They seem to have no system to check for payments, so just be aware**

You would need a proper checklist of things you need to prepare for your application.

1. CAS Letter 
2. TB Certificate
3. Supporting documents as specified in the CAS Letter
4. Old/New passports
5. Supportive documents proving you have the sufficient funds to study in the UK
6. Recent passport picture
7. ATAS Certificate (Check if needed >> https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme)

I will explain all of it in detail below:

1. CAS Letter –  This is a letter from the University that confirms your place and acceptance into the University. It looks like this:

_CAS Statement-1
2. TB Certificate – You must be tested for TB if you want to come to the UK for more than 6 months and are from Malaysia. However, if you are coming back to the UK and have not left UK for more than 3 months, you will not be required to. If you are unsure (which was me at the time), Just do it anyway. Your test must be from a clinic apporved by the Home Office. They will not accept a TB test certificate from a clinic that has not been approved.
The approved clinics can be found on this link >> https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tuberculosis-test-for-a-uk-visa-clinics-in-malaysia/tuberculosis-testing-in-malaysia
I went to the Life Care Diagnostic Medical Central in KL because it is known for it’s same day report. Despite the opening hours being 8am – 5pm, they will only accept people walking in for visa TB test before 3.30pm. So I went there at 3.30pm being the last applicant, and receiving my TB cert at 4.55pm with a fee of RM220. All you have to do is bring your passport and a recent passport photo. When you’re there, you are required to fill in forms but the form has to be filled in WITHOUT any mistake. So be careful! I had to fill it in 3 times. If you fill the form more than 3 times, you have to pay RM1 per form after. *yikes*
OH! When you are done with the cert, the UK visa application requires you to have a photocopy version as well. But you can always do that at the application centre.
3. Supporting Documents

This differs from university to university because your entry requirements may be different. All you have to do is to compile the original and photocopies of documents as listed in your CAS for submission. If not, the documents are not necessary. In my CAS letter they only needed my Results Transcript from my degree (undergraduate) and they have already stated that I have done my degree in an “English Speaking Country” so my IELTS from 3 years ago wouldn’t be required. Prepare the original copies to be submitted along with your Visa Application. Sometimes, the CAS letter would state how much you have already paid to the school, like a deposit. So for the financials, you would not have to consider that amount but state the balance.

4. Old/New Passports

Self explanatory. If you have old passports that you have already returned to the offices when replacing the new one, Just state it in the online application form. Don’t worry if you don’t have the old passport with you.
5. Supportive documents proving you have the sufficient funds to study in the UK
This consists of a bank letter/reference that states your name, account number, amount in the bank, date of letter, and a statement that states that the money has been in the account for more than 28 days.

** As Malaysia is a low risk country, they may not ask you for these details. But during the online application, you will be needed to declare that you have these documents if they ask for it. So preparation for these documents would still be best. If you declare but unable to submit these documents, you would be risking a decline of your visa application and a breach of your declaration.**

6. Recent passport picture
Ditto – Not more than 1 month preferably and make sure that the size is within the regulation size with a white background and clear face.

7. ATAS Certificate (Check if needed >> https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme)

Mostly only Science Master and above degrees (MEng/MSc) would require this certificate. Advice is to apply for this as soon as you have confirmed your acceptance of your Uni. This may take 1 month or more to receive this certificate. So do it ASAP, because most University would only release your CAS AFTER you get your ATAS, which will give you less time to do your visa!! ASAP ASAP.

So that is the end of my post about UK visa! Hope this could help! 🙂 Feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to answer them~
Signing off now 🙂