Tier 4 Student visa application route

The Student Visa category is for individuals who are aged 16 or over and who wish to study on a further or higher education course in the UK.

If you are between 4 and 17 years old and wish to study at an independent school in the UK, you should apply for a Child Student Visa instead.

To enter the UK as a tier 4 student, an applicant is required to make an entry clearance application before they travel to the UK. Entry clearance applications can be submitted up to 6 months before the course is due to start, whereas in-country (within the UK) applications can be submitted only 3 months prior to the course start date.

Applicants can apply for a general student visa if they are an overseas student, are currently in the UK and wish to study in the UK or if they are already in the UK and would like to switch to the student visa category.

The applicant must be aged 16 or over. If the applicant has not reached the age of 18 at the time of application, they must also provide parental consent and evidence of support.

 What are the eligibility requirements for a Tier 4 Student visa application?

To make a successful application to enter the UK as a general student, the applicants must gain 70 points as follows:

  • Must have secured a place to study a course at a licensed student sponsor – 50 Points
  • Must meet the financial requirement – 10 points (Financial requirement only needs to be satisfied if the application is an entry clearance application or if the applicant has been in the UK for less than 12 months.
  • Must meet the language requirement as per rule ST 13.1-4 – (10 points). Applicants who wish to study a bachelor’s degree level course, must show English language at level B2 CEFR. Applicants applying for below degree level course must show Level B1 CEFR. – there are some exceptions to meeting this requirement:
    • If the applicant is a national of majority English speaking countries
    • Already completed a degree which was taught in English
    • Passed an English language test

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies CAS

For entry clearance or an extension, applicants must first obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter from their educational sponsor in the UK. The applicant will have to satisfy the English language requirement to obtain the CAS letter.

For a CAS letter to be valid, it must not have been issued no more than 6 months ago and the offer from the licensed sponsor should not have been withdrawn. It must state whether it was issued for a full time or a part time course. CAS letters that have been used for a previous application cannot be used for a new application.

Will applicants be interviewed in relation to their student visa application?

As part of the application process, the Applicant may also have to attend an interview to satisfy the Home Office that they are a genuine student. As part of the interview, they can also be assessed on their English language proficiency. They should have knowledge of the course they propose to study and how it fits with their career plans. The entry clearance officer will also assess their financial circumstances and any family ties including whether they have any dependents.

If an applicant fails to attend the interview without any valid reason, the Entry clearance officer has the discretion to refuse the application.

Is there a financial requirement that must be met?

Applicants are required to show that they have sufficient funds to pay for their fee and to fund their cost of living whilst they are in the UK. This includes the full course fee if the course is less than a year. If the course is for a year or longer, then the applicant only needs to pay the fee for the first year of study.

If the applicant is staying in London, they will need to show maintenance funds of £1334 per month for a minimum of nine months. If the applicant will be studying outside of London, they need to show £1023 maintenance funds per month for a minimum of 9 months.

What are the fees for the student visa application

The fees are

  • £363 to apply for an entry clearance application
  • £490 to extend or switch into the category from inside the UK

Applicants will also be liable to pay Immigration Health Surcharge fees and how much is payable depends on how long your visa lasts. 

How long is the student visa valid for?

If the course is not a degree level course, the maximum length of stay as a student is two years. There is a limit of 5 years maximum length of stay as a degree level student however, there are some exceptions to the 5-year route – these exceptions include professional qualifications in architecture, medicine, dentistry, law, veterinary studies and music.

Can applicants work during term time?

A degree level student can work for a maximum of 20 hours during term time. Where applicants are studying for courses below degree level, they will only be permitted to work for 10 hours per week during term time.

During vacations, there is no limit as to how many hours student visa holders may work.

When can I apply to extend my student visa application

If applicants seek to continue staying in the UK to further their studies after the initial visa period, they can apply to extend their student visa. To extend leave to remain as a student, the applicant’s last leave must have been granted as a student.

Applicants can submit their extension applications no more than 28 days prior to their current leave expiring. The application cannot be made more than 3 months before the commencement of new course.

What steps can be taken to challenge a Tier 4 student visa application refusal?

There is no right of appeal if a student visa application is refused, however, applicants will be able to make an application for an administrative review. The applicant will not be permitted to submit additional documents as part of their application and therefore it is important that all supporting evidence for the Tier 4 student visa application is submitted in support of the application at the time that the application is filed.

Should you require assistance to make your student visa application or if you have an immigration enquiry in relation to a different application route, contact one of our specialist immigration advisors today on 0121 758 6531 or email [email protected] or [email protected].

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