Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we receive about making an application to Birkbeck as an international student.
If you can't find the answer to your question here, then please contact us.
- Can I submit an application if I do not meet the entry requirements? You can find the entry requirements for all of our courses on our online prospectus. If you are unsure if you meet the entry requirements for your course, please submit an application online, via the Apply Now button on your chosen course, and include all details of your qualifications and any supporting documents.
- I have overseas qualifications, can I study in the UK? Yes, Birkbeck considers all applications and we accept many overseas qualifications. Submit your application and we will assess your qualification. Please remember to include the title of the qualification in the original language, any certificates and transcripts you have, as well as a certified translation into English, if necessary.
- Can you assess my qualifications without an application? No, we can only assess your qualifications via your application and supporting documents, so please apply first.
- Can I study a part-time degree or take a Short Course? If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK then you cannot undertake a part-time course, as Tier 4 visas are only available for full-time students. If you don't require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK and you have leave to remain, then you can take a part-time course at Birkbeck.
- I have not taken an IELTS examination yet, will this affect my application? No, you can apply to Birkbeck before taking your IELTS examination, but if you are offered a place, it may be conditional on achieving the required IELTS score for your course. IELTS scores are specified on each course page within our online prospectus.
- Do I require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate? UK, EU and EEA students do not require an ATAS certificate. If you do require ATAS clearance, this will be specified in your offer letter from Birkbeck. You can apply for a certificate online, via the UK government.
- I am in the process of renewing my passport or visa, can I still submit an application? Yes, you can still make your application. You should submit a copy of your previous passport or visa with your application and then please email us a copy of your renewed passport or visa once you have received it.
- I have not received my academic documents from my previous institution, can I still submit my application? Yes, you can apply to Birkbeck without documentation, but please include as much information as possible, including your final grade, on your application. You must provide copies of your transcript and certificate as a condition of your offer to study at Birkbeck.
Applying to Birkbeck
- Which documents do I need to submit with my application? Here is a comprehensive list of the documents you need to provide in support of your application. You may not need to submit all of the documents listed here, but we suggest you submit all documents listed here that are relevant to your application. We will contact you if you need to submit anything further.
- Your full residential address including zip/postcode.
- A copy of your passport, which must be current and valid.
- A copy of your current UK visa.
- A valid IELTS test report form (if applicable).
- A-level certificates (if you are under 21 and have not applied for a full-time programme via UCAS).
- A transcript of credit obtained at another institution, if applying for entry with credit.
- A copy of your original language Bachelor’s degree final certificate and transcript that clearly shows: your name; the name of the academic institution; your course title; and confirmation of the award. A certified English translation must be included if the document is not in English.
- A copy of your original language Master’s degree final certificate and transcript that clearly shows: your name; the name of the academic institution; your course title; and confirmation of the award. A certified English translation must be included if the document is not in English.
- A copy of your Bachelor’s degree interim transcript which clearly shows: your name; the title of the qualification; and the institution. A certified English translation must also be provided if the document is not in English.
- How long will it take to receive a decision on my application? Around four to six weeks. You will usually receive a confirmation email, with your applicant reference number, within 48 hours of submitting your application. International Student Administration will initially process your application and then forward it to the academic department for a final decision.
- I haven’t received log-in information and/or a confirmation email after submitting my application. Please contact IT services if you are having technical difficulties. Check the status of your application online and, if necessary, find your department and then use the Contact Us page to email or phone them, or use the Contact Us link on your course page online.
- How do I request feedback if my application is rejected? Please contact the academic department directly. Find your department and then use the Contact Us page to email or phone them, or you can use the Contact Us link on your course page online.
- Can I submit more than one application? Yes, but you can only enrol on one programme of study.
- I would like to change the course I have applied for. You will need to withdraw your application and then submit a new application for the course you are interested in.
- I have missed information/supporting documents from my application. Please log in to your application and upload the missing information and/or documents.
- Can I email documents instead of uploading them? Yes, email them to us as electronic copies or as PDF scans of hard copies. Please include your full name, applicant reference number and details of the programme you have applied for. We can only accept email attachments that are 2MB or less. Please do not send us original documents in the post. Admission Tutors in the department you are applying to may request documents. You can email them directly or via our Student Advice Service.
- I would like to start my course in January or April. All of our full-time undergraduate courses start in October only. Some of our Master's and MPhil/PhD courses offer entry in January and/or April - check the course page online for start dates. If your course offers January and/or April start dates then you should contact the academic department directly. Find your department and then use the Contact Us page to email or phone them, or you can use the Contact Us link on the relevant course page online.
Changes to my personal details
- My name is incorrect on my application and/or correspondence from Birkbeck. If you think your name has been misspelt, then please email us. Your name must match the name on your identification documents (such as your passport). If you have legally changed your name, we can accept the following as proof: Change of Name Deed Poll; passport; or a Marriage Certificate. If you haven't legally changed your name, or you cannot supply one of the documents named here, then we are unable to change your name in our records.
- I now live in the UK, so do I need to provide an overseas address? Yes, for visa purposes you must provide a full overseas address.
- How do I update my home address and/or email? Please log in to your application to amend these details. We correspond frequently by email, so amend your email address as soon as possible, to avoid missing any important messages from us.
- How do I accept my offer? Master's and MPhil/PhD applicants should log in to your application to accept your offer.
- How long can I take before I respond to your offer? If we don't hear from you within six weeks, we may withdraw your offer. It is better to respond to your offer as soon as possible, letting us know about anything that is delaying your decision (for example, you are waiting to receive an offer from another department at Birkbeck).
- I would like to defer starting my course. You can defer starting your course for one year. Master's and MPhil/PhD applicants should log in to your application and select 'Accept and defer'. If you have already accepted your offer, please email us.
- How long do I have to meet the conditions specified in a conditional offer? To ensure your visa is processed in time, we recommend you fulfil your conditions as soon as possible.
- What's the difference between academic and non-academic conditions? Your offer may include academic and/or non-academic conditions, which you must meet before you can enrol at Birkbeck. Academic conditions are set by the department that runs your course and are usually related to achieving a certain academic standard before you can begin your course (eg obtain a particular grade for the undergraduate course you are just finishing). Non-academic conditions are other conditions that you must meet before you can be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number (eg provide a copy of your current passport).
- I speak English, so why have I been asked to provide an IELTS score? The UK government requires us to ensure that students from certain non-English speaking countries hold a valid IELTS certificate.
- The department gave me a verbal offer, so what next? An offer from Birkbeck can only be officially confirmed via a formal offer email from Registry Services.
- Can I pay my fees via bank transfer? Yes, you can. Please contact us to arrange this.
- Can I pay my fees in instalments? Yes, you can if you hold a UK bank account. Please contact us to arrange this.
- Why has my fee status been set as Overseas? We thoroughly assess every application to determine the applicant's fee status. Overseas fee status is not only a matter of nationality and immigration status - there are other determining factors set by the UK government.
- I would like to challenge my Overseas fee status. Please consult the UK government's information on fee status and determine the category you think you should be assigned. You should then contact us to request a reassessment.
- Why have I been asked to complete a Fee Assessment Questionnaire? We ask some applicants to complete a Fee Assessment Questionnaire to help us determine which UK government-approved fee category they should be in. Processing a Fee Assessment Questionnaire can take some time, so you may not hear from us for a while. We will also ask you to provide documents as supporting evidence, which can include:
- Passport or Birth Certificates
- Bank statements
- Employment contract/P60s
- Tenancy agreements
- Marriage Certificate.
- My immigration status has changed, so will this affect my fee status? Residency status can affect your fee status, so you should consult the UK government's information on fee status and determine the category you think you should be assigned. You should then contact us if you think your fee status category has changed.
Funding and scholarships
- Are there any sources of funding I can apply for? You can find information about scholarships for international students on the . Some of our postgraduate and MPhil/PhD courses also offer specific scholarships and bursaries - check the individual course online. Our Student Advice Service can also refer you to specialist advice and support.
- Do I need a Tier 4 visa in order to study at Birkbeck? If you are not a citizen of an EU/EEA country and you are staying in the UK for longer than six months then yes, you will need a Tier 4 Visa. If you are staying for less than six months, you may need a Short-Term Study Visa. You can find more information on the .
- When should I apply for my visa? Once you have met all of the conditions specified in your offer then we will issue you with a Tier 4 Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Statement - you can then apply for your Visa. We cannot issue a CAS Statement more than three months before your course starts. You should not attempt to apply for your visa before you receive your CAS Statement from us.
- When will I receive my CAS Statement? No more than three months before the start of your course. We will send you a draft CAS Statement and you should respond to all of the questions and provide all relevant information. If, at any stage of the process of issuing your CAS Statement, you find an error in the documentation, please contact us. Issuing a CAS statement can take up to five working days, so please wait before contacting us.
- My offer is unconditional, so why haven't I received my CAS Statement yet? If you are sure that you have met all of the conditions of your offer - and you should check your offer letter carefully - then please contact us.
- My immigration status has changed, so do I still need a Tier 4 Visa? You no longer need a Tier 4 Visa if you have obtained an EU/EEA passport or an alternative visa. If your immigration status changes, please contact us, with supporting documents, so that we can reassess your application.
- There is an error on my CAS Statement. If, at any stage of the process of issuing your CAS Statement, you find an error in the documentation, then please contact us.
- What is enrolment? Enrolment involves confirming your personal details online and paying your fees. It is different from Registration (see below). Read more about enrolling at Birkbeck.
- When do I enrol? You will be invited to enrol at Birkbeck once you have your CAS. You should enrol before you start attending class - this is very important for visa purposes.
- Can I change my course before enrolling? If you have been issued a CAS in order to get a Tier 4 Visa, you will have to wait until you are in the UK and you have registered your Tier 4 Visa before you can change course. If you have not received your CAS, you can submit a new application for the course you would like to change to.
- I am having trouble logging in to enrol. If you have forgotten your password, or you have been invited to enrol but not issued with a password, you should visit My Birkbeck, where you can change your password or set one up.
- Can I change my details during enrolment? If you request a change, the enrolment process will be put on hold. We will email you when you are able to log in and complete enrolment.
- Can I cancel during enrolment? Undergraduates: please email us if you wish to reject your place and enter into UCAS Clearing. Master's and MPhil/PhD students: if you no longer wish to take up your place at Birkbeck, you should cancel your application online.
- My enrolment is on hold while I arrange fee payment in person. Please contact the Fees Team and they can arrange your fee payment and open up enrolment to you again.
- I am having difficulties choosing modules. Please contact the department that runs your course, via the Contact Us information on each department homepage, with any queries about modules.
- What is registration? Registration involves bringing your original documents (passport, visa and academic records) for checking before you start your course. It is different from Enrolment (see above). You will be allocated a specific date/time for registering.
- I have not received any information about registration. Please check the junk mail folder on your email, in case our email to you has been flagged as junk mail. Otherwise, please email us.
- I missed my registration slot. If you miss your allocated registration session, please arrange another one via the link in the email invitation sent to you. You must register before the latest arrival date specified on your CAS Statement, otherwise your student status will be affected.
- I don't have all of the documents I need for registration. Please attend your allocated registration session and a member of our team can advise you.
- Do I have to register with the police? International students from are required to register with the police within seven days of arriving in the UK. If this requirement applies to you, it will be written in your visa sticker in your passport or decision letter. It is also necessary to inform the police within seven days of changing your UK address or if you extend your visa.
- How and where to register with the police:
- Students living in Greater London: you must register at the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO). Birkbeck is able to help students living in Greater London register during September and October, thanks to an agreement with the Metropolitan Police. You will be given a letter confirming the registration process has begun and an appointment to visit the OVRO to pay for and collect your Police Registration Certificate. If you would like this help, contact the Birkbeck Liaison Officer (International).
- Students living outside London: please contact your local police station to find out where to go.
- If you are taking part in the Interim Process, you will be deemed as having satisfied your visa requirements - you will not receive any penalties for late registration.
- If you are not taking part in the Interim Process, you may register with OVRO after collecting your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the Post Office. You can collect your BRP from the Post Office up to 10 days after arrival into the UK. (You are permitted to register with OVRO within seven days of collecting your BRP.)
- After registration: The police will give you a Police Registration Certificate. Keep this safe and carry it with you when you travel and need to re-enter the UK or apply to renew your visa. Any changes in your circumstances must be reported within a specific time period.
- If your passport expires while you are in the UK: you do not need to apply for a new visa. You will need to carry both passports when travelling if your visa is in the form of a sticker in your passport.
- If your passport is lost or stolen in the UK:
- Report to your local police station in the UK, or complete an online crime/incident report.
- You will get a Crime Reference Number, which is an important document.
- Apply for a new passport at your embassy.
- If your student visa was in the form of a sticker in your passport, you need to apply to transfer your visa in your previous passport to a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) using a Transfer of Conditions (TOC) form.
- If your passport is lost or stolen outside the UK:
- Report your passport and/or BRP lost or stolen to the local police and obtain a police report.
- Contact your embassy to obtain a temporary passport to return to the UK.
- If your student visa was in the form of a sticker in your passport, you can apply to transfer your visa to your new passport by completing an online application form with the full fee. You do not need to provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or evidence of funds and qualifications.
- If your Biometric Residence Permit (BPR) is lost or stolen in the UK:
- you will need to report this to the Home Office as soon as possible and then apply for a replacement using an Application for a Replacement Biometric Residence Permit form (BRP (RC)), within three months of the incident.
- Let us know that you have reported the loss of your BRP. Our Visa Advice Service can assist you with making an application for a replacement.
- If you do not apply for a replacement permit in time, you may be fined up to £1000 or have your permission to stay removed.
- If your BRP is lost or stolen outside the UK:
- You will need to report this to the Home Office as soon as possible.
- Please let us know as soon as possible that you have reported this loss to the Home Office. Our Visa Advice Service can assist you with this process.
- You will then need to apply for a replacement BRP visa, in order to re-enter the UK. You do not need to provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or evidence of funds and qualifications. However, you may need a confirmation of your student status.
- When you return to the UK, you will then need to apply for a replacement of BRP using an Application for a Replacement Biometric Residence Permit form (BRP (RC)).
- If you do not apply for a replacement permit in time, you may be fined up to £1000 or have your permission to stay removed.
- Errors on your visa or BRP: