Immigration Office:
17 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1BN

Tier 4 Student Visas

There are two student categories under Tier 4 of the points-based system. Both categories must meet the full requirements of the Immigration Rules and must have a total of 40 points. 30 points are awarded for valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a fully licensed Tier 4 sponsor and 10 points are awarded for maintenance or funds (having enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs).

Before making an application, it is important that you determine if an education institution is a fully licenced Tier 4 sponsor from the register of sponsors. A list of these sponsors can be found on the Home Office website which provides you the name, location and rating of the institutions.

Tier 4 (General) student

This category is for students 16 years and over coming to the UK for purposes of education.

A Tier 4 (General) Student must be doing full time study in the UK, either:

  • a full-time course of study that leads to a qualification at Level 6 or above of the revised National Qualification Framework (NQF) or any its equivalents;
  • an overseas course of degree level study that is recognised as being equivalent to a UK degree level study and is being provided by an overseas Higher Education Institution; or
  • a full-time course involving a minimum of 15 hours weekly daytime study and must lead to a qualification below degree level but must be a minimum of NQF Level 3.
  • undertaking a recognised Foundation Programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in the UK; or
  • working as a student union sabbatical officer at your Tier 4 sponsoring institution.

The length of time a Tier 4 (General) Student may spend in the UK varies depending on the length of the course, but If you are 18 years old or over, you may spend no more than three years in the UK studying below UK Bachelors degree level in your lifetime and cannot be approved for new leave to study below UK Bachelors degree level, if you have already been studying below UK Bachelors degree level for three years. You may study for a maximum of 5 years if your course falls under one of the exceptions.

Tier 4 (Child) Student

This category is for children between 4 and 17 years old coming to the UK for the purposes of education. Children between 4 and 15 years old must be educated at independent fee paying schools.

A Tier 4 (Child) Student may study a course that is:

  • taught in line with the National Curriculum; or
  • taught in line with the National Qualification Framework (NQF); or
  • accepted as being the same academic level as the National Curriculum or the National Qualification Framework by Ofsted (England), the Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (Scotland) or Estyn (Wales); or
  • taught in line with existing (also known as prevailing) independent school education inspection standards; or
  • pre-sessional courses to prepare you for your main course of study. The main course of study must meet the conditions above

The length of time a Tier 4 (Child) Student may stay in the UK will vary depending on their age. All Tier 4 (Child) Students may be given the length of time asked for or the length of their course, with an additional four months on the end of the course. A student under 16 may be given up to six years, a student aged 16-17 may be given up to three years, also with an additional four months at the end of the course. A student who turns 18 during their studies may stay until their permission to stay ends.

A student already studying in the United Kingdom can apply to extend their stay as a student.

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