Hello there! I have been missing in action for the past 6 months because I was so busy preparing for my postgraduate study in Birmingham UK. I feel the need to share the process in getting the visa and the journey I have gone through to hopefully give some useful informations to wheelchair users who have decided to embark on this journey.
Let’s start with how to apply UK Tier 4 student visa and before getting to that be sure you get in contact with your university the types of support you will need (University of Birmingham arranged for a skype session with one of their student disability advisor half a year earlier before I even gotten my visa) so yes please do arrange it as early as possible so the university can have plenty of time to find a suitable accomodation and lecture venue.
After you have received the CAS email from the university, you need to apply for your UK Tier 4 visa as soon as possible (earliest you can apply will be 3 months from the start date of your course).
- Visit https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome to start the online visa application.
Please do not go to other website as I did last time and I ended paying the IHS surcharge twice! Ouch! And i haven’t gotten the refund yet. Moral of the story before submitting your application engage yourself with an IDP education adviser which brings me to the second point.
2. IDP Education Provider Kuching.
I was fortunate to meet Miss Alvina from IDP Kuching who gave me indispensable amount of advices in filling the form, preparing the required documents and which visa processing centre to go to. She even provided a pre departure briefing to give you an idea what is it like studying in UK plus you are given free giffgaff SIM card too! All of these help for free! So go and engage yourself with IDP to save you from future headache as the visa form is not easy to fill.
3. Book an appointment with your visa application centre.
The only visa application centre in Malaysia which is wheelchair accessible would be the one in Wisma MCA at KL. Unfortunately I was not able to go to the Kuching centre as there are steps going up the second floor (I really hope they might be able to change the venue in Kuching so it’s friendly to wheelchair user). I took Grab to Wisma MCA and arrived earlier than an hour but the staffs there were so helpful they let me in first and have someone checked my documents for me. After that you are given a number to wait for your turn to have your photo taken. I opted for the value added services: SMS tracking and courier service to Kuching (they engaged ARAMEX as their courier provider). After the photo taking, you can leave and the whole process is rather simple and most important of all step free all the way.
4. The waiting begins….
It took me around 2 weeks to get my visa back and they couriered it together with your documents too. Once you received the SMS that your visa is at the KL centre you can start to do online tracking for it.
I hope these small pieces of information will be helpful in getting the UK Student visa. Good Luck!