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Student Visa| Tier 4 Visa

UK Tier 4 Student Visa Section - This section will cover the Tier 4 Student visa application requirements. BOOK A CONSULTATION ONLINE.

General UK Student Visa

Students coming to the UK under a Tier 4 student visa require a university or other UK educational institution on the register of sponsors to sponsor them. They also need to score enough points to be accepted as an international student in the UK. The following table is how the points system works for Tier 4:



The current system grants student visas for an initial period which varies depending on the length of the course. In general, a Tier 4 student can stay in the UK for the length of the course plus 4 months (for courses lasting one year or more) or one or two months (for courses between six months and a year). For shorter courses, international students are only granted a week to stay in the UK once the course has finished.

Restrictions and Employment

Students who are in a course at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 at a UK higher education institution are allowed to:

  • work for up to 20 hours per week during term time;

  • work full-time during vacations;

  • do a work placement as part of your course;

  • work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme.

If you are on a course below this level at a UK higher education institution, you are allowed to:

  • work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;

  • do a work placement as part of your course;

  • work full-time during vacations.

However you are on a course at any level at a publicly funded further education college, you are generally allowed to:

  • work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;

  • work full-time during vacations;

  • do a work placement as part of your course, provided your education provider is a Highly Trusted sponsor or the course is at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9.

After your course is completed, you can use the remainder of your visa time to look for work in the UK so you can transition into another visa category if they wish. Otherwise, you must leave the UK once their visa period ends.


In most circumstances under a full time course, you can bring your partner or children (under dependent visas) with you during your studies but you are required to show that you have the sufficient funds to provide for them. They will be able to apply under the Tier 4 student visa as a dependent. From 4 July 2011, you cannot bring your dependents to the UK unless:

  • you are sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at NQF level 7 or above which lasts 12 months or more or;

  • a new government-sponsored student following a course which lasts longer than 6 months.

Please also note that Tier 4 student visa applicants may be required to complete an English test if they are not nationals of an English-speaking country or have not completed any academic courses in English.


Eligible Tier 4 student visa applicants can qualify for an exception because they are considered to be "low risk" and will normally be required to provide fewer evidential documents.


1.Pre Requisites

In order to apply for a student visa, one has to take an admission in a diploma / degree / post graduation course in a recognized college or University of the UK who provides all the relevant documents to support student visa application.

2.Who Can Qualify?

Any person can apply for a student visa who has got an unconditional offer of a place in a diploma / degree / post graduation course in a recognized college or University of the UK. He needs to establish a link between his existing studies / work experience with the diploma / degree / post graduation course to be taken in the UK.

3.What Documents to Submit?

The persons intending to apply for a student visa need to provide following documents with their entry clearance application.

  • Entry Clearance Form

  • Two Passport size Pictures

  • Original Passport

  • Visa Fees (If applicable)

  • Copies of the Educational / Work experience Documents

  • Unconditional Offer of a place in the College / University

  • Proof of payment of partial / full fees of the course (if available)

  • Bank statements / Proof of income

  • Affidavit of support from the Sponsor (If sponsored by another person)

It is also advisable to provide any proof of family, social and financial ties with the home country that may be:

  • Property Documents

  • Business Documents

  • Family tree

  • Any memberships of professional bodies

4.Duration of Visa

The applicants are normally issued a visa for the complete duration of course; however the students can always apply for an extension of visa while remaining within the UK, if it is not the case.

5.Right of Appeal

If the British Diplomatic Post refuses the entry clearance application of a student, the applicant has got a right of appeal that need to be lodged within 28 days of the receipt of refusal letter. The Entry clearance manager normally reviews the decision in the light of the grounds of appeal and may overturn the decision and decide to issue the visa. If the decision is not overturned in the review then the case is sent to the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal in the UK for a full Court Hearing.

6.Work Allowed

Students having leave to remain for more than 6 months are allowed to work part time (20 Hours a week) during the duration of their course. They can also work for more than 20 hours per week during term time unless the student`s placement is part of the studies, has been agreed with your education institution and leads to a degree or qualification awarded by a nationally recognised examining body.

7.What is not allowed?

Students are not normally allowed to engage themselves in Business or self-employment without seeking permission from the Home Office. They cannot legally become a partner / sole proprietor / Director in a business. They are also not allowed to work as a Professional entertainer / sportsperson or to take a full time permanent employment without seeking permission from the Home Office.

8.Change of Courses / Institutions

A student can always change the course or educational institution for which they have been issued the visa, without seeking prior permission from the Home Office.

9.Extension of Visa

Students can always apply for an extension of visa while remaining within the UK; they need to show any progress of studies undertaken till that time and evidence of availability of finances to support their studies. The maximum period of time that a student can stay in the UK on short courses one after the other, below degree level, is two years.

A person seeking to take a short term course would be given max. six months visa and he would be requried to leave the UK at the end of that visa. If he wishes to seek part-time employment or extend their stay in the UK will require prior entry clearance as a student. Any period as a student visitor will be counted as a period spent as a visitor.

10.Spouse / Children

Students can always invite their spouse / children to join them as their dependants during the time of their course provided they could support their families without recourse to public funds and their leave to remain is for more than 6 months. The spouse will be allowed to work if the student is given leave to enter / remain in the UK for 12 months or more.

11.Switching Rules

Since 01st of October 2004, there have been some major changes in the switching rules. Now students need to obtain a degree from a recognized University to switch into most of the immigration categories while remaining within the UK, however there are some categories where a student can switch into without completing his degree in the UK.

Following are the Immigration Categories where a student can switch without obtaining a degree:

  • Spouse Visa (Provided the applicant has been issued a student visa for more than 6 months initially and he has got more than 3 months of his current leave to remain).

  • Religious Minister (provided they have lived as a student for 12 months and fulfil all the requirements to apply as a Religious Minister.


Following are the Immigration Categories where only those students who have successfully graduated from an educational institution in the UK, can switch into while remaining within the UK:

  • WP ( Business & Commercial)

  • HSMP

  • Science & Engineering Graduate Scheme

  • Business Person

  • InnovatorFresh Talent Working in Scotland Scheme (Provided the applicant has completed his HND, Graduation, Masters or PHD in Scotland and lived for a considerable amount of time period and qualifies for this scheme)

12.Settlement Prospects

There is only one option available for students to get permanent settlement in the UK i.e. Long-term residence. If a student remains in the UK for ten years then he can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. But if the student switches his immigration category then he would have another option to get an Indefinite Leave to remain on the basis of that immigration category.

For example if after remaining student for two years he changes his immigration status to HSMP, which allows a person to apply for an Indefinite Leave to remain after remaining for five years in the UK. So, in this case that person can apply for an indefinite leave to remain after a total of seven years of living in the UK, although he would still have a right to apply for Indefinite leave to remain after 10 years of continuous residence in the UK.

You can switch in to the adult student category if you have, or were last given, permission to stay in the following categories:

  • skilled worker (Tier 2 General) 

  • intra-company transfer (Tier 2) 

  • minister of religion (Tier 2) 

  • child student (Tier 4) 

  • prospective student 

  • student 

  • student re-sitting an examination 

  • student nurses 

  • students writing up a thesis 

  • Student Union sabbatical officer 

  • work permit holder 

  • a postgraduate doctor or dentist 

  • participant in the SEGS 

  • participant in the IGS 

  • participant in the FT: WISS 

  • Extension of staying

Switching into another UK visa categoryAs a Tier 4 student visa holder you can switch in to another UK Category however you will need to review specifically surrounding the requirements. Please speak to one of our advisors today on 0207 237 3388. 

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