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New application forms for students and dependents

03 June 2009: The UK Border Agency has issued a new and revised application forms for tier 4 of the points-based system (PBS) and for their dependants.

The revised application forms are only to be used, if applying from within the UK.

The new versions of the forms are to be used for applications made after June 1. The forms for applications from overseas are available on the visa services website.

There are a number of key changes that are included in the revised guidance.

As far as proof of availability of finances is concerned, there are transitional arrangements in place that allow applicants to show they have the money needed to meet the maintenance requirements of tier 4, on the day they apply, rather than for a period of 28 days prior to their application. These transitional arrangements have been extended and will remain available to applicants until September 30, 2009.

For proof of availability of finances – loan documentation, the policy guidance allows applicants to provide a letter from an appropriately regulated financial institution confirming availability of funds in the form of a loan.

Slight revisions have been made to the required content of these loan letters, to allow for the fact that they will not always include an applicant’s account number.

As for official financial sponsorship, prior to June 1, there was no provision for a tier 4 migrant’s official financial sponsor to extend their financial sponsorship to the family members of the tier 4 migrant. But from June 1, a tier 4 migrant’s official financial sponsor will be permitted to extend their financial sponsorship to cover the tier 4 migrant’s dependants.

Regarding electronic signatures on visa letters, these must be signed and dated by an authorised official. These can be original or electronic signature.

The policy guidance has also been revised to clarify that either a digital signature or a scanned signature will be accepted as an ‘electronic signature’ for these purposes.

On maintenance requirements – inner and outer London, the home office has asserted applicants, who will be studying in inner London, are required to show a higher level of funds to cover their living costs, than those who will be studying outside London.

The definition of whom the higher maintenance requirements apply to has not changed. The guidance has, however, been altered to clarify the fact the higher maintenance requirements apply only to those who will be studying in inner London and that applicants who will be studying in outer London or elsewhere in the United Kingdom, will be assessed against the lower requirements.

As for the date of application, for applications made in the United Kingdom it is the date of posting where the application form is sent by post; it is the date on which it is delivered to the UK Border Agency of the Home Office, where the application form is sent by courier. For applications made outside the United Kingdom, it is the date that the fee associated with the application is paid. This means the date shown on your payment receipt.

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