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Student Visa UK - NEW 2021 Requirements & Guide

A Tier 4 student visa allows prospective students, aged 16 years and above, to enroll and attend courses for any long term study program in the UK

A Tier 4 student visa falls under the three types of UK study visas, especially meant for students aged 16 years and above. IT allows you to attend a course and enroll for a long-term program in the United Kingdom. For a short course (up to six months), you have to apply for a short-term student visa and if you are aged below 16 years, you need to lodge an application for a Tier 4 child student visa.Academic visitors have to obtain a standard visit visa.In this page, we are going to cover the entire details of the Tier 4 general study visa aka Tier 4 adult study visa. Read on!

When Should You Apply For a Tier 4 General Student Visa?

You can apply for a general study visa when you have been accepted for a long-term course in the UK. Additionally, you have to validate that you can fluently speak, read, write and understand English. You will also be required to present proof of having enough finances to support your stay and pay for the program. If you belong to the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you need not apply for a student visa.

A UK study visa allows you to study, work at a student union sabbatical office, or take up employment, depending on the level of your course and your sponsor. You cannot, however, have access to public funds, take up specific jobs like a professional sportsperson or sports coach, or enroll at an academy or a local authority-funded school aka maintained school.

What Are the Courses Offered Under a Tier 4 Adult Study Visa?

You are eligible to apply for a Tier 4 general study visa only when you have an offer from an institute, licensed by a Tier 4 sponsor (1). These can fall under the following categories:

? A full-time program that qualifies you at level 6 or above on the Ofqual register (3)

? A part-time course that qualifies you at level 7 or above on the Ofqual register

? A degree-level course in a foreign institute that is at part with a higher education program in the UK and is offered by a higher education overseas institution

? A full-time course, comprising a minimum of 15 hours of offline, daytime classes per week. After the course, you need to be qualified at level 3 or above on the Ofqual register

? Any recognized foundation programme, designed for postgraduate doctors or dentists. This category of professionals must have completed a recognised UK degree in their respective fields, have been offered the degree by a Tier 4 sponsor, or studied at least one year of the course in the UK confirmation of acceptance for studies

? A level B2 or above English language program that falls under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (2)


  1. Tier 4 Sponsors
  2. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
  3. Ofqual Qualification Levels

Documentation Requirements

Application Form & Passport

You will need to fill an application form online -- a topic we have covered in our ‘how to apply’ section. You additionally are required to submit a valid passport OR current travel documentation. Please ensure that your passport is valid for your intended stay duration in the UK and contains a minimum of one blank page.

Financial Evidence

You must be able to provide proof that you can sustain yourself and pay for your course. The amount of funds that you will need to showcase will depend on the category you are applying for, the course length, the institute name, and living arrangements in the UK.

For validating that you have sufficient funds for maintenance, you can submit proof that you have paid the complete or a part of the course fee (up to £1,265), paid all or part of your boarding fees, you have got an official financial sponsorship, and you have the required money to cover your remaining course fees and living costs.

You can prove the availability of funds via bank statements, loan documents, or letters from banks or regulated financial institutions.

Proof of Parental Consent for Applicants Under 18 Years

If you are applying for a Tier 4 general student visa and you are below 18 years, you will need to provide a letter from your your parent (s) or legal guardian (s), which confirms your relationship with the respective, mentioned adult (s) in the application and which ensures that the adult has given their consent to your application. This should be accompanied by a birth certificate, adoption certificate, or court order stating that the said person is your legal guardian.

Tuberculosis Test Results

You are additionally required to provide a Tuberculosis certificate if you are entering the UK for a long-term stay and have visited any of the countries listedhere. This certificate is valid for six months from the date of your x-ray and you need to include it in your application package.

Biometric Enrollment

Any application will not be accepted until you provide your biometric information. This includes your fingerprints and digital photo. This facility is available in all UK visa application centres. View the complete listhere.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

The CAS is a digital record, which arrives with a unique reference number and has the complete details of your course of study in the UK. The CAS is provided by your Tier

4 sponsors. Along with the CAS, your sponsor also holds the responsibility to give you details such as your course details, documents used for the assessment, and fees. This information is important as you will need it to fill the application form and to gather the necessary supporting documents.

A CAS should have the same details as in your passport and should be assigned not more than six months before the date of your application. Moreover, a CAS can only be used once. For more details on CAS, you can check this linkhere.

Proof of English knowledge

You must offer proof of having knowledge of English when you lodge a study visa application. Usually, you will need to pass an English language test called the SELT. Here are the English requirements you have to submit according to your type of institution in the UK:

You do not require to present proof of English if you have completed a course at par with a UK degree from an institute in:

Nationals of Canada, students who have studied in the UK under a Tier 4 child student visa, or applicants entering the UK UK for an overseas educational programme as a part of a university degree course in the USA do not need to submit the aforementioned proof as well.

NOTE: When you are arriving in the UK as a student under the point-based Tier 4 visa, you need to be thorough with paragraphs 245ZT to 245ZZE of the Immigration Rules. Based on your circumstances, you will need to provide additional documents. For this, please read the guidance for the complete document listhere.

NOTE: Any documents which are not originally in English or Welsh have to be translated and should contain the translator’s contact information.

Application Process

Complete the Application Form Online

In order to begin your application for a Tier 4 general student visa, you must first check if you need a visahere. If yes, you can start your online application by visiting thislink. Choose Tier 4 (General) Visa and then enter the country where you will lodge the application and submit your biometrics.

After confirming your location, please register yourself by entering your email address and password. Once you begin the process, enter the required information and collect all the supporting documents. After completing the application, download the document, sign it, and take a printout of the same.

Fix an Appointment and Visit the Visa Application Center

Now, you will need to fix an appointment at the nearest visa application center. Arrive at the center on the said date and submit your application alongside the biometrics.

Receipt of Visa & Subsequent Steps

Once your visa is approved (the decision which usually takes up to three weeks), you will get a vignette sticker stamped on your passport. You need to enter the UK within 30 days of getting it. After reaching the UK, you need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit within 10 days from a named Post Office branch or from your sponsor in the UK.

Tier 4 General Study Visa: When to Apply, Allowable Stay Period, Fees, and Extension

You should lodge an application for a study visa not more than three months before you start your course. Once you get the visa, you can reach a week before the start of your program, if the course has a duration of up to 6 months. You can arrive a month ahead of your course commencement if the program is for more than 6 months. The final guaranteed stay period depends on the type of course and your previous academic credentials.

Generally, foreigners have to pay a fee of £348 to apply for this visa. You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. You can check this amounthere.

If your course demands a longer stay, you have the option to extend your visa. For this, you will need to be already in the UK, must meet the eligibility requirements for a Tier 4 general student visa, and have access to a sponsor. Once you receive the CAS from your sponsor, lodge an application within 6 months. Make sure that you apply at least 3 months before the expiry of your current UK visa. An extension will cost you £475, alongside the healthcare surcharge, and an additional charge of £19.20 for submitting the biometric information (at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center). If your extension is approved, you will get a decision within 8 weeks.

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