Before you leave for the Castle it is your responsibility to ensure that all of your documents are in order. Although staff at Queen’s University and at the BISC are pleased to help with information about travel documents, it is the sole responsibility of each student to obtain all necessary travel documents.
Do you have one?
It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your passport and make an additional copy to leave with your emergency contact. If you lose your passport, a photocopy makes it much easier and quicker to replace.
There have been problems in the past with students who did not apply for their visa in time and were days late in arriving at the Castle. If you are required to apply for a visa before departing for the UK, it is in your best interest to start the application process promptly.
Do I need a visa to study in the UK? The answer depends on your citizenship, your place of residency, the length of your stay at the Castle, and any plans you may have to extend your stay in the UK.
Studying at the BISC for more than 6 Months
Since you will be studying at the Castle for a period greater than 6 months, unless you are able to travel under a valid passport issued by an EU member country, you will be required to obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa before arriving in the UK.
General guidance for the Tier 4: Please see the (General) Student and (Child) Student visa application process
The BISC will issue you an official Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you will be required to submit in support of your visa application. You must wait to receive this confirmation from the BISC before submitting your visa application. Please do not submit your admission letter from Queen’s University in lieu of your CAS; if you do so, your visa application will be refused.
Here are a few very important additional notes about applying for your visa:
- As of April, 2013, the cost of the Tier 4 General Student Visa is £289 (approximately $450 CAD).
- It may take several weeks (perhaps longer) for your visa to be issued, so it is strongly recommended that you begin the application process at least three months in advance of your expected arrival date in the UK.
- You will be required to submit biometric data in the form of digital finger scans and a digital photograph. You will be required to enroll your biometric in-person at your nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC) before your application can be processed. Canadian students, please note that the only Canadian VACs are located in Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver (mobile clinics are located in Halifax and St. John’s, but availability of appointments at these locations is extremely limited).
- You will be required to show the Home Office that you have enough money to pay your course fees and living costs. The preferred forms of documentation are outlined on the Home Office website section: Evidence of your money
- You will be required to submit your passport with your visa application. If you are planning any travel in the months leading up to your studies at the Castle, please take this into consideration as you will be without your passport for a period of 1-2 weeks (perhaps longer) while your visa application is being processed. Once your application has been processed and your visa has been stamped inside your passport, it will be returned to you.
Websites with helpful information about applying for your UK visa:
- UK Home Office
- WorldBridge Service
- The British High Commission in Canada
- The British Embassy in the United States
- Overseas Visa Application Centres
In the unfortunate event the passport bearing your visa is lost or stolen, having your visa reissued will be much easier if you:
- Retain a copy of your original online application and supporting documents, along with the subsequent email confirmation from the British High Commission indicating that your visa is being issued and mailed.
- Retain a photocopy of the passport page with the visa on it.
If you are travelling on a passport issued by a country other than Canada, the United States, or an EU member country you may require a Schengen Visa to participate in field studies to some countries in Continental Europe. Please contact the BISC Admission Office if you are unsure: Tel: +1 (613) 533-2218 OR E-mail: email@example.com.
***All Students Please Note: If you plan to travel before or after your studies at the Castle it is your responsibility to ensure that your UK visa (or your status as a student visitor) remains valid. It is also your responsibility to determine if you require travel documents for any other countries through which you are travelling (transit visas) or planning to visit. Contact the embassy, or consulate, of any country through which you may be travelling, or planning to visit, and ask them about their country’s visa requirements.
Letter of Attendance
After you have paid your fees, and shortly before your departure to the United Kingdom, you will receive a Letter of Attendance (LOA) issued by the BISC. This letter is mailed to you, so please be sure that your mailing address is up to date in SOLUS. Be sure to bring your LOA with you. It is your proof of purpose in Britain, certifying your attendance at the BISC, and you should be prepared to present it at customs when you arrive in England. You should keep your LOA tucked inside your passport and have these items on your person at all times when travelling.
You must have proof of financial responsibility when you enter the UK. Ensure that you are carrying at least £30 in cash when you arrive. You should also have traveler’s cheques, a credit card, and/or a bank debit card with you when you arrive.
Power of Attorney
Will your OSAP or other loan or tax forms become due while you are overseas? Will you need someone to keep up to date with your banking? If so, it is very important that you arrange for a Power of Attorney before you leave. This gives your representative the authority to sign forms on your behalf. If you don’t think this is important, please reconsider! Many students and parents have commented on how useful this step was. If your signature will be needed for any official or legal document while you are away, you should make arrangements for a Power of Attorney. This gives a responsible person (your parents/guardian or emergency contact are usually the best option) authority to act on your behalf.
Please remember that Queen’s University is unable to discuss academic or financial matters with any person acting on your behalf unless you have provided their full name in the ‘”release of information” section on SOLUS (see page 13).
If you are out of the country during tax season and you have earnings from the previous year which you are required to declare for income tax purposes, you should contact the Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate in your host country for information on your tax obligations.
Canadian students, please note more information taxation while abroad is available from the Canada Revenue Agency
Also, please note that Tuition, Education and Textbook Amount Certificates -- T2202As can be printed directly from SOLUS and will not be mailed.
Dual citizenship means that you are considered a citizen of more than one country. Find out whether you, or any family members, are citizens of another country before you leave. Some countries may claim you as a citizen if you were born there, if one of your parents is a citizen, or if you are considered a citizen under that country’s laws. There are privileges to having dual citizenship, such as being able to work or study in some countries without having to get a visa; however, there may also be unpleasant surprises. If you are considered a national you may be compelled to do military service or pay special taxes. You should also note that you may be allowed entrance into a country under one passport but not the other, or may be required to obtain a visa for entrance under one passport but not the other. If you do run into problems because of your dual citizenship, contact the Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate in your host country immediately. The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has a publication with more information for dual citizens called: Dual Citizenship, What You Need to Know
You should purchase an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) before you leave home. The ISIC entitles students to discounts on such things as travel and admission to various attractions, galleries, museums, and parks. Please visit the ISIC website to find out where you can buy your ISIC card. When you apply for your ISIC you will be required to submit a passport size colour photograph.
You may also purchase an ISIC through the BISC’s preferred travel provider, Merit-Odyssey Travel (Tel.: +1 (613) 549-3553 or Web: http://kingston.merit-travel.com) If you decide to book your flights through Merit-Odyssey Travel they will send you further information about the ISIC.
The ISIC is good for one calendar year (January-December); therefore, if you will be at the BISC for a full academic year (September to April) you may need to get a new ISIC for January. New applications are available in the fall of each year.