Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

Students aged 16 and over require a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa to study a course that lasts for longer than 6 months in the UK. Contact our team for a no-obligation assessment of your application.

UK Student Visa Application

To obtain a UK student visa you will first need to be accepted on to a course. You can find a list of UK universities, colleges and courses on the UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service) website.

You will be required to prove that you understand English to the required level and apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if you are staying in the UK for longer than 6 months. And you are required to demonstrate that you’ll be able to support yourself financially for the duration of the course.

When you make your application for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa or if you are aged 16 or 17 and applying for a Tier 4 (Child) Student visa, you may be asked to undertake an interview, either in person or on the telephone to check that you are a genuine student.

If as a result of an interview the Home Office is not satisfied that you are a genuine student, or your application is shown to fall for refusal under the General Grounds for Refusal, the application will be refused.

You will pay the charge (currently £300 for each period of 12 months’ leave granted) when you make your application. If you move to the UK on a UK family visa to join relatives you are entitled to study.

The length of stay granted will depend on the duration of your course and you can apply to extend it if you wish to stay in the UK to work or pursue further studies.

You can apply for an undergraduate or postgraduate course through the UCAS website. Once you have received an unconditional offer onto a course, you can make your UK student visa application.

What are the requirements for a UK Tier 4 (General) Student Visa?

For your UK student visa application, you will need to provide the following:

  • passport or travel ID

  • proof that you can cover your course and living costs

  • proof of parental or guardian consent if you are under 18

  • proof of acceptance onto your course

  • proof of payment of healthcare surcharge

You must meet the full requirements of the Immigration Rules and have 40 points in total that includes a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a fully licensed Tier 4 Sponsor (30 points) and evidence that you have the required level of maintenance funds (10) points.

Can I extend my Tier 4 (General) Student Visa in the UK?

After you graduate, you will either have to switch to another visa or leave the UK following the official end-date of your course. It is very important to act quickly in order to remain in the UK legally after you have graduated.

The UK Immigration Rules state that there can not be more than a 28-day period, within which the Tier 4 (General) Visa holder is able to apply for a visa extension. If you outstay the 28-day gap without making an extension application or switching to another UK visa, you are required to leave the UK and proceed with your application from your country of residence.

What are the conditions of stay for a UK Student Visa?

Whilst in the UK you must:

  • Not work, other than as your conditions of stay allow

  • Not work as a doctor or a dentist in training

  • Not study, other than as your conditions of stay allow

  • Not claim any state benefits (known as public funds) that you are not entitled to

  • Register with the police, if this is required by paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules

You will also need to have a tuberculosis test if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are from any of the countries listed here.

When you arrive in the UK, you may need to register your UK student visa with the police. You should receive information about whether you need to register in your UK student visa sticker or letter from the UK Home Office. More information can be found here.

What can I do after my studies in the UK are complete?

After you’ve completed your studies, you can stay in the UK if you find suitable employment or wish to continue studying. You need to either apply to extend your UK student visa or switch to an appropriate UK work visa. You can apply to switch to any of the following work visas if you meet the necessary requirements:

  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

  • Tier 1 (Investor)

  • Tier 2 (General)

  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)


What are the different types of study a Tier 4 (General) Student can do?

You must be studying a course which is one of the following:

  • a full-time course of study that leads to a qualification at Level 6 or above of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) or its equivalents;

  • a part-time course of study that leads to a qualification at RQF level 7 or above or its equivalents at a HEP with a track record of compliance;

  • an overseas course of degree-level study that is recognised as being equivalent to a UK Higher education course and is being provided by an overseas HEI;

  • a full-time course involving a minimum of 15 hours per week organised daytime study (daytime study is 8 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday) and (except in the case of a pre-sessional course) that leads to a qualification below degree level, but which must be at a minimum of RQF Level 3 or its equivalents;

  • undertaking a recognised Foundation Programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in the UK;

  • undertaking work as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer at your Tier 4 sponsoring institution or at the National Union of Students.

Can I bring my family members to the UK on a Student Visa?

Partners and children of those with a Tier 4 (General) student visa can apply to join you if you can prove that they can be financially supported while in the UK. They must go through the same process as with making a standard UK visa application from outside the UK.

You cannot be joined by family members if you have a Tier 4 (Child) visa. Parents of children studying on this visa can join if they apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa. This visa lasts for 6-12 months and can be extended if the child is under 12 years old.

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course. The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

UK Student Visa evidence to meet the financial requirement

The evidence of the money that you use must be one of the following:

  • cash funds in the bank (this includes savings accounts and current accounts even when notice must be given);
  • a loan letter (the loan must be provided by your national government, state or regional government, or by a government-sponsored student loan company or be part of an academic, or educational loans scheme);
  • official financial or government sponsorship available to you.

  • Other accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards and pension funds are not acceptable, regardless of the notice period.

If you are using overseas currency, you will be expected to show (in writing on your application form) the closing balance in pounds sterling. You can use the official exchange rate on the OANDA website, which can be found at https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter.

You must provide specified documents which show that the funds you are using to meet the maintenance requirements have been held for a consecutive 28-day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance) ending no more than 31 days before your application and no later than the date of the application.

Any partners or children (also known as dependants) that you want to bring to the UK with you must have money in place to support them.

What is a CAS?

The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is not an actual certificate or paper document but is a digital record. Each CAS has a unique reference number and contains information about the course of study for which it has been issued and the student’s personal details.

A valid CAS is one where all the following apply:

  • it has the same details on it as in your passport;
  • it was assigned no more than six months before the date of your application;
  • it has not been withdrawn or canceled by your Tier 4 sponsor or the Home Office.

What are the maintenance requirements of a UK Student Visa?

  • The funds you are required to demonstrate will depend on which category you are applying under, the length of your course, where you will study it, and your living arrangements whilst you are in the UK.
  • You must show evidence of all the following if they are applicable to you:
  • you have paid all or part of your course fees and up to £1,265 towards accommodation fees to your Tier 4 sponsor;
  • you have paid all or part of your boarding fees;
  • you are receiving official financial sponsorship;
  • you have enough money to cover your remaining course fees and living costs

Permitted number of hours that a Student is allowed to work in the UK?

Usually whilst studying at degree level or above, you will be permitted to work 20 hours per week during term time and full time during vacations.

You can use money held in an account owned by you or by your parents or legal guardian(s). If you are a Tier 4 (General) Student and using funds held by your parent(s)/legal guardian(s), you will need to show the Home Office evidence that you are related to your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and that you have their permission to use this money.

The monthly living costs that you will need to show will depend on where you will be studying in the UK. You must show that you have either:

  • £1,265 per month for living costs if you are studying in London for the majority of your study (more than 50% of your study time);

  • £1,015 per month for living costs if you are studying outside London or anywhere else in the UK for the majority of your study (more than 50% of your study time).

  • If you can show that you have already paid all or some of your course fees to your Tier 4 sponsor before making your application, this amount can be taken away from the total amount of money you will need to show. However, a maximum deduction of £1265 will be applied during this calculation.


Work not allowed on a UK Student Visa?

If you are allowed to work, you cannot:

  • be employed as a doctor or dentist in training (except on a recognised foundation programme);

  • be employed as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach);

  • be employed as an entertainer;

  • be self-employed (except where you are awaiting a decision on an the application you have made on or after 01 October 2019 for leave to remain as a Start-Up migrant which is supported by an endorsement from a qualifying HEP with a track record of compliance;

  • engage in business activity;

  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except on a recognised foundation programme or where you are filling a post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer).

If you are a Tier 4 (General) Student, you can do voluntary work if you are permitted to work, but this work and any other (e.g. paid) work that you do must not exceed the number of hours you are permitted to work during term time. For example, if you can work for 20 hours during term time and have paid work of 15 hours a week during term time, you cannot do more than 5 hours’ voluntary work per week. If you are not permitted to work, you cannot do voluntary work. Tier 4 (Child) Students aged 16 and over can undertake voluntary work.

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