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Tier 4 Student Visa

Tier 4 Student Visa

A Tier 4 Student Visa is issued to international pupils who wish to enter the UK to study in this country.

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What is a Tier 4 Student Visa?

International students from outside the UK may need a Student Visa to enter the country.

To be eligible for a Tier 4 permit, you must intend to study a full-time degree course in the UK and meet specific requirements. In other words, your eligibility is calculated using a points-based rules system, based on your course confirmation, sponsorship, funding, immigration forms and your personal circumstances.

To find out more about whether you or your partner is eligible for this visa category, call 0121 667 6530. One of our Birmingham immigration lawyers would be happy to assist with advice, application, or appeal services.


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Who is eligible for a Tier 4 Visa?

International pupils who are 16 or over can apply for a Tier 4 (General) Visa if they:

  • Have been offered a place on a course
  • Can demonstrate their written and spoken understanding of English
  • Have enough money to support themselves while in the UK and pay for their course
  • Are from a country that is not the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Meet all the visa requirements

How to apply for a UK Student Visa?

You can apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa from outside the UK, but you will still need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre. If your application is successful, you must collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of the date you wish to enter the UK.

If you are applying to extend your existing tier 4 (General) Visa or to switch to this permit from another immigration status, you must submit your forms from within the UK.

Tier 4 Course of Study Eligibility

To be eligible for a Tier 4 Visa, you must have received an unconditional offer from a licensed Tier 4 sponsor. You must also do a course that is one of the following:

  • Full-time leading to a qualification that is at least level 6 on the Ofqual register
  • Part-time leading to a qualification that is at least level 7 on the Ofqual register
  • An overseas course of dependents study that is equal to a UK higher education course, and it is being run by an overseas higher education institution
  • Full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, and leading to a qualification that is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
  • A recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • An English language course at level B2 or above on the CEFR

Tier 4 Student Visa English requirement

As a part of your application, you must prove your knowledge of English by passing a secure English language test (SELT). The minimum fluency required varies based on the course you are going to do.

Educational institution Course English Level required
Higher Education Institution (HEI) Degree level or above Level B2
An institution that is not HEI Degree level or above Level B2
Any institution Below degree Level B1

The following categories of applicants are exempt from proving their knowledge of English:

  • Those who have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in an English-speaking country
  • Those who have studied in the UK before as a Tier 4 (Child) Student
  • Those who are entering the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the United States

What are the required Tier 4 Visa application documents?

When you apply for a Tier 4 Visa, you must submit a bundle of documents to support your eligibility. One of our immigration lawyers in Birmingham will be happy to help you with you gather all the necessary evidence for your case, such as:

  • Your current passport or another valid travel document, which must have a blank page
  • Proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course
  • A written and signed consent from your parents or legal guardian if you are under 18
  • Evidence of your relationship with your parent or guardian if you are under the age of 18
  • Your tuberculosis test results (if required)

Additional documents may be necessary based on your circumstances or immigration background.

How do I apply for a Tier 4 Visa extension?

You can renew your Tier 4 Visa if your current sponsorship is still valid. You must submit your application before your authorised stay expires, but no more than 3 months visa your course date starts. Once you have submitted your form, you will be allowed to remain in the UK until you get your decision.

It costs £475 to extend your Student Visa, but you will also be required to pay the healthcare surcharge and an additional £19.20 to have your biometric information taken.

It usually takes up to 8 weeks to get a decision from the Home Office, but you can get faster response on your request by applying for the Priority or Super Priority services.

Get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers in Birmingham to find out how we can help you extend your visa and pursue your studies in the UK.

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What are the Tier 4 Visa application fees?

If you wish to study in the UK, it costs £348 to apply for a Student Visa from outside the UK.

If you are applying with your family, you must pay an additional fee of £348 per person for each of your dependants.

In addition, you will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge, depending on your circumstances.

I am a Tier 4 Visa holder. Can my family travel with me?

You can apply to bring your wife, husband, unmarried partner and children under 18 years old in the UK with you if you are:

  • Sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at level 7 on the Ofqual register or above that lasts at least 9 months
  • A new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
  • A Doctorate Extension Scheme student

You family members may be able to work and study once in the UK.

When can I submit my Tier 4 Student application?

The earliest you can submit your application is 3 months before the date your course starts.

You will usually get a decision within 3 weeks.

However, you may apply for the Home Office’s Priority or Super Priority services to receive a response from the authorities between 5 working days or 24 hours.

Can I switch to a Tier 4 Visa from another immigration status?

You may be able to switch to a Tier 4 Student Visa UK to study in this country, if you are currently in the UK under any of the following immigration tiers:

You must apply once you get a CAS and no more than 3 months before your course start date. Your dependents can be included in your application, and you can all stay in the UK until you get your decision. The fees for switching your immigration status to a Student Visa are £475.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Once your offer for a place on a course has been issued, you will receive a reference number called Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This must be reported on your visa application, which can be submitted within 6 months after you receive your CAS.

It must be noted that your CAS will only be released in certain situations and if you have applied from within the UK. This includes applicants who are:

  • Continuing their studies in the UK, and with to apply to extend their stay to complete their studies
  • Completing a PhD or other doctorate that they started studying under a previous Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
  • Applying after working as a student union sabbatical officer to complete a qualification that they began to study under another Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
  • Starting a new course at a higher academic level than their previous curse
  • Staying in the UK to look for work after they have finished their PhD or doctorate

Postgraduate doctors and dentists can apply for a Tier 4 Visa if they are sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme, and they have:

  • Received a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry from a registered Tier 4 sponsor
  • Spent their final year and at least one other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK

If you hold a Student Visa for the UK, you cannot:

  • Get public funds
  • Work in specific jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. You may still be able to work in different fields.
  • Study at an academy or a local authority-funded school