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UK student visa stories: Lordina from Ghana

Lordina Arthur from University of CambridgeCAS form? Done. Financial information? Sorted. Medical check? Cleared.

Education UK student ambassador Lordina Arthur came from Ghana on a Tier 4 student visa to do an MPhil in Educational Leadership and School Improvement at the University of Cambridge.

She tells us what the visa application process was like for a student from her country.

'I knew the visa application process could be time-consuming and a bit daunting, especially if I did not have the necessary information at hand, so I made sure I checked the UK Government’s VISA4UK website to
find the essental information.

'Even more importantly, I started early – I remember looking as far back as April 2013, even though I didn’t begin the actual application process until August 2013.'

The international student's guide to UK visas:

   •   Student visas
   •   Work visas for graduates
   •   Bringing your family
   •   Working alongside your studies

'Since my study offer was from a Tier 4 sponsor, I needed to provide two key pieces of information: my Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, which I would get from the instution that made me an offer, and information about how I intend to fund the programme – in my case, that was with a scholarship.

'The visa form gives you a number of points to work up to your full application. The CAS number is worth 30 points and my financial information worth an extra 10 points, together making up the total of 40 points needed for a visa to be issued under the Tier 4 Scholarship Student Visa rules. Because of the scholarship, I was also lucky enough to have the visa fee waived.'

To find out more about UK scholarships, see Scholarships and money or use the
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'There were also a few other requirements for me specifically, as a student from Ghana. My country is classified as a high-risk tuberculosis (TB) zone, and this meant I had to provide a chest X-ray and proof of vaccination for yellow fever. The chest X-ray had to be done by an approved medical centre called Medlab (if you need a TB test, you can find your country's approved centre here). I had to  book an appointment and pay a fee, but it didn’t take long; within two days, I was done with my medicals and had the reports to attach to my visa application.

'There was no need to provide any proof of my competency in English for the visa as I'd already taken an English language exam for my UK university, as part of getting the CAS.

'When I finally came to apply for the visa, I had to attend an interview. This was to find out what I was like as a person, as well as my understanding of the course I had chosen, my reasons for studying in the UK and my career plans after my programme.'

Related student stories:

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   •   VIDEO: Applying for a Tier 4 visa – three student stories
   •   Tobi from Nigeria, graduate entrepreneur
   •   Student experiences
   •   Alumni experiences

'I admit I hadn’t realised that I’d be having an interview! Fortunately, a day before I went to submit my visa application, I met a student recruitment agent who gave me free advice on the kind of questions to expect so I had the opportunity to prepare. It is possible to be refused a visa if you perform really badly in the interview, so I was glad it hadn’t been a total surprise! When I was preparing, I also looked at the information on the UK Visas and Immigration website, which I found very helpful.

'Altogether I spent three weeks putting my documents together, completing the online visa application and receiving my visa. The last part – receiving my visa – was the least complicated, as it took just 10 days for it to come through after I sent in all my forms, making me feel very glad that I’d been prepared!'

For more of Lordina's student stories, check out:

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