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BA to MA visa question

Hello all!

Three years after my last contribution to this community (under the alias amalia-slava) I am returning with further questions perhaps someone will have had a similar experience.

I've just finished my BA at UCL, and have been accepted in to an MA program beginning 24 September. I understand I can apply for a Tier 4 visa extension without any problems. However here's my issue: my visa runs out 8 August, and the UKBA website says I can't apply from within the country if the period between the expiration of my current visa and commencement of new course is more than one month, and I need to go back to the States to apply for a visa from there which begins no more than one month before the beginning of studies.

1. I don't have a permanent address in the States so I don't even know where I would apply from.
2. It's bloody expensive to rush to the US at such short notice.
3. I have a part time job here which I would quite like to keep during my MA program, but they can't really keep me employed without the appropriate visa.

Main concern: Can I still apply from within the UK, do they make any exception for such situations?

Don't judge to harshly that I haven't done my application earlier since I didn't (and still don't) have all of my documents.

Many thanks!



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
Applying sooner probably wouldn't solve this problem, so I'm not judging!

I definitely understand where you're coming from, but unfortunately, UKBA's not allowing much leeway at the moment. The climate right now wrt immigration is such that they're very much playing by the rules as set by the Government, even if those rules are problematic, expensive, and make people's lives difficult. (I don't have an opinion on this or anything.) I can also tell you that they're currently behind on processing applications, from what I hear, so you would possibly be stranded Stateside for a while.

Anyway, the best idea I can suggest is to have a word with the international students office at UCL (in person would be best) and let them know the situation. They may be able to amend the start date of your course for you in some way or provide you with some sort of guidance that's specifically tailored to your situation...you can't be the only one in this place.
Nov. 29th, 2012 01:08 am (UTC)
Update for anyone facing a similar issue:

I sent in all of my documents about 5 days before my visa expired, they arrived to Durham on time. I included all necessary documentation including copies as well as a covering letter which explained my position as a continuing student and not in a position to leave the country to apply for the visa from the US. In the meantime term had started and the university allowed me to enroll at my own risk given that I provided them with copies of my passport, my previous visa, and evidence I have applied for a new visa.
Additionally although my former visa had expired by this point, my employer allowed me to continue my employment provided I provide evidence that I have sent the application in time and now considered to be 'in processing' which allows me to work under the same permissions as my most recent visa (20hours during term time).
About three weeks later I received my biometrics appointment, and roughly one month after that I received my passport, and then in a few days my biometrics card. They also returned all of the copies I sent them.

Conclusion: Don't listen to all the horror stories you hear about UKBA. They aren't the best, in fact they are utterly incompetent at times, but there is some wiggle room. From my extensive panic-driven research I think the leeway is no more than 28 days, but don't quote me on this. The situation may have also been made easier for me because I did not change universities between BA and MA, so the sponsor was remaining the same.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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