Tier 4 Student Visa application on a clip board with approval hand written on it

Tier 4 Student Visa

Everything you need to know about UK Tier 4 Student Visas (General). A Tier 4 Visa allows you to study and work in the UK.

If you are over the age of 16 years and want to study and work in the U.K. you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa. If you are from a country that’s in the European Economic area you will not need to apply for this visa. If you are from Switzerland, this rule also applies to you. Depending on your course length you can either arrive into the U.K.; one month before your course start date (this applies if your course lasts more than 6 months) or seven days before (your course lasts 6 months or less). How long you can stay depends on your course and what you have previously studied. If you are granted this visa, you will not have access the U.K. public funds, be able work in certain jobs or study at an academy or a local authority-funded school.

How much does Tier 4 Student Visa cost?

The cost of this VISA is £348.00. The same fee applies when applying for any dependents coming with you while you study. As with every UK VISA you will have to pay a Healthcare Surcharge. This charge can depend on your circumstances so you won’t find out exactly how much it is until you have filled in the application form.

To extend your visa the charge is £475.00 and you will also have to pay the health surcharge again. The decision will be made within 8 weeks. If you require a decision quicker the HMRC offer a fast track service. By paying an extra £500.00 on top of the £475.000 you can get a decision within 5 working days. To get your decision within 1 working day you can pay £800.00 on top of the £475.00.

More complex application may take longer than the standard 8 weeks processing time. If this occurs you will be contacted and notified.

How to apply for a Tier 4 Visa

In order to apply for this visa you must fulfill a certain criteria. To begin the application you must apply online at the HMRC website here. The application will take between 10-30 minutes to complete. Any payments required will need to be paid on competition.

Part of the application involves being issued a BRP card (Biometric Residence Permit) within 10 days of arriving in the UK. This is basically a photo ID card showing your VISA details. You will need to visit a local application center to have your photograph and fingerprints taken. The cost of having this done is £19.20. 

You can appoint a solicitor to help you with the process.


You must have been offered a place on a course, can speak, read, write and understand English, meet the other eligibility requirements below. You must also have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances. Depending on your course type and circumstances you will need to provide different documents.

With all course enrolments you will need to get a “Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies” also known as a CAS. When you get accepted for a course your education provider will send you a reference number. Once you have your CAS you must apply for your VISA within 6 months.

The below courses are acceptable for this type of visa;

  • Full-time course leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the Ofqual register.
  • Part-time course leading to a qualification that’s at least level 7 on the Ofqual register.
  • An overseas course of degree level study that equals to a U.K. high education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution.
  • Full-time course, with at least 15 hours per week of organized daytime study, leading to a qualification that is at least level 3 on Ofqual register.
  • A recognized foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist.
  • An English language course at level B2 or above on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Extending your Tier 4 Visa

If you wish to continue your studies in the U.K. you will need to be issued another Confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) reference number. Not all situations make you eligible for a CAS. If you’re applying from within the U.K. you only be eligible for a CAS number if any of the below applies to you;

  • If you need to re-sit exams or repeat core course work.
  • Continue your study by a work placement.
  • Apply to work for a student union
  • Continue your education after an intercalated course.

What Documents you will need to provide 

When you apply for a Tier 4 Student VISA you must ensure you have the entire documentation ready. Below is a list of the documents you will need.

  • You will need a valid passport or travel document with a blank page.
  • You will need to show proof you are able to support yourself during your time in the UK. This will be in the form of a bank statement to show your savings or a job offer.
  • If your under the age of 18 you will need to give proof your parental consent. With this consent you will need to provide proof they are your parent/guardian for example a birth certificate.
  • You will need to take a tuberculosis test if you’re from a country that requires it. From a list of the current at risk countries please check here.

Tier 4 Visa Interview

You may be asked to undertake an interview during your application process. This will be done over the phone or in person. This is to check that you are a genuine student and that you fulfill the requirements. If the Home Office is not satisfied after your interview, the application will be refused.

Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)

If you are coming to the U.K. for more than Six months you will be issued a BRP card. You will apply for a BRP at the same time as you apply for your entry clearance. You will be given a 30-day entry clearance, which will allow you to enter the U.K. Once you arrive, you must then collect your BRP from the post office branch you selected during your application process. This must be collected within 10 days from your arrival date.

Any mistakes on your BRP card must be corrected promptly. To correct any mistakes on your BRP you will need to contact the Home office immediately with the error details. You may need to provide supporting documents to correct the error. It comes cases you will automatically be issued a National Insurance Number on your BRP card. If you intend on working you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number and pay UK tax.

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