As an international student, you need to know the rules for applying for a Tier 4 UK Student VISA from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The Tier 4 visa rules are updated regularly so it is very important that you consult the UK Home Office website before starting your student visa application.
The visa rules exist to ensure that you are protected from dishonest colleges and to ensure your UK degree is recognised by employers around the world.
We give answers to some of the frequently asked questions below.
What do I need to do to apply?
1. You need to be applying for a course which is full-time and leads to a recognised qualification. International students cannot study part-time. If you are considering a distance learning course, you do not need a Tier 4 student visa.
2. You have to meet the minimum English Language entry requirements set by the Home Office and your university. Read our guide for English language requirements to study in London.
3. Your university will send you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you need to submit with your visa application.
4. You need to show that you have enough money to pay for your studies in London. This includes your first year tuition fees and £1,265 per month for each month of your studies, up to a maximum of nine months, to pay for living costs. Therefore if your course lasts for nine months or more you will have to show £11,385. Read more about the cost of living in London.
Can I work while I am studying?
You can work for up to 20 hours a week during your studies and full-time during your holidays to help support your studies. This only applies if you are studying a degree level course at a UK higher education institution for longer than 6 months. The university or college must be listed on both the official UKVI Sponsor list and the list of ‘recognised bodies’.
Can I work in the UK after I graduate?
There are several options for you to stay in London after your studies.
- Tier 2 (General) Visa: This visa is open to recent graduates with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD or PGCE from a recognised UK university. In order to apply, you will need to be offered a skilled job from a registered employer. You will also need to earn a salary of at least £20,300 per year.
- Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa: This visa option is open to talented students who are developing a world-class business idea. You will need to be identified and sponsored by your university as having the potential to create your own business in the UK. This applies to all graduating students. The UK government has also established an additional route for MBA students specifically.
- Tier 4 (Student) Visa: If you are a student completing a PhD at a UK higher education institute you can apply to stay in the UK for a further 12 months after your course completion date. You will be sponsored by your university but you will have full unrestricted work rights, except for some limited professions such as doctors or dentists.
- Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme: Some nationalities are eligible to apply for a two-year work scheme permit. You can find details on the UK Home Office website.
- Tier 5 Temporary Worker: This visa allows you to work in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme you’re applying for). If you are offered a job in one of the following areas by a licensed sponsor, then you qualify for a Tier 5 Temporary worker visa: creative and sporting, charity workers (unpaid voluntary work), religious workers, government authorised exchange and international agreement. For the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) route, you can apply to switch from your Tier 4 visa to this visa from within the UK. For all other Tier 5 visa routes, you need to apply from outside the UK.
When Can I Apply?
You will need to be offered the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your chosen university before you can apply for a visa. You can only apply for your visa three months before the start date of your course. This means, if your course starts at the end of September, you will receive your CAS around the end of June.
How can I apply?
The Tier 4 student visa application is an online application. International students from all countries (except North Korea) can complete the online visa application form on the UK Visa & Immigration website.
How much does it cost?
If you are applying from outside the UK, the cost of the visa is £335.
If you are already in the UK, you have three service options to choose from. The standard service costs £457 and takes 8 weeks, the priority service costs £916 and takes 10 days and the premium service is a ‘same-day service’ which costs £1,047.
Read More Student Visa Advice and Information
- How to apply to a London university
- Working in London as a student
- Search for courses in London
- Register for free to receive regular updates, save your course search and contact universities
Please note we are not a professional visa service and our information should only be used as guidelines when applying for your visa. You should always check with your chosen university or college and the UK Home Office as visa conditions will vary depending on your own individual circumstances.
You can start your journey to a London universities by using our course search to find the right course for you.
This guide was last updated in November 2015