Your Guide to getting a UK Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

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It may seem daunting but studying in the UK offers international students a clear advantage, not least access to some of the best educational establishments in the world.

The first thing to remember when considering coming to England to study is that there are strict rules on entry to the United Kingdom for non UK or EU students.

Eligibility to Study

Your eligibility will be calculated using a points based system which is known as a Tier 4 Student Visa.

In order to make an application you will need to prove several criteria and achieve a points score of 40. If you do not reach the magic number, you application will result in failure.

You should also be aware that student visas are not issued for part time courses, volunteering or working in the UK as an extension of your current profession. Additionally, you will need to provide documented evidence and proof to fulfil certain legal criteria.

Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) – 30 Points

Not all UK educational institutions are allowed to sponsor international students. This means that you will have to select your place of study carefully.

If you want to study at a UK university, it must have been given or applied for Highly Trusted Status (HTS) on the UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor list.  Choosing a university with HTS will account for 30 points towards your application. ‘A rated’ colleges can also issue CAS numbers. The ‘A’ rating is a transitional rating that is valid for 12 months.  All ‘A rated’ colleges must apply for HTS status within this 12 month transition period, so be mindful of this if you are considering studying at one.

Proof of Funding – 10 Points

Fees to study at universities in the UK vary tremendously. Typically in the UK tuition fees will cost anywhere from £8,000 to £36,000 per year depending on the type of course and the university where the course is being run. On top of that you’ll also need to prove an allowance / income of £1,265 (for each month of your studies) to pay for any accommodation required in London during your stay.

To establish if your institution is counted as being ‘in London’ the best thing to do is check with your university before you make your Tier 4 application.

Remember, if your application is being made from outside the UK, the cost of the visa application is £335, plus of course the Immigration Health Service Charge.

Documentation

To ensure a successful application, you should be able to provide documented information as follows:

  • a valid passport or other valid travel documents
  • proof of financial support – this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • formal proof of parental / legal guardian consent if under 18 years old
  • proof of your relationship with said parent or legal guardian
  • tuberculosis test results if required (depends on geographical location)

For more information on visa processing, you can visit https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa​ and make a list of everything that you need before heading to the embassy or consulate.

Application

You can visit the visit the UK Visa & Immigration website to make an application online. On top of this you will, at some point, be required to provide biometric data (fingerprints) and a photograph, all of which will need to be done at a visa application centre. As part of this, you’ll also need to pay a surcharge for healthcare while in the UK. A fee of £150 pounds a year for each year you intend staying in the UK, all of which is payable up front as part of your application.

Working while on a Tier 4 Visa

Many overseas students will want to work during their studies to help fund their course and living.  

You are only allowed to do this if you are at a university or college that is listed on both the official UKVI Sponsor list and the list of ‘recognised bodies’.

You must be on a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate degree course at a recognised university.  If you are, you will be allowed to work part-time during term for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during the holidays. 

Finally

Once the visa application is successful, you’ll need to arrange accommodation. Here’s where we may be able to help. Homestay is a very popular accommodation choice for overseas students studying in and around London.  

If you need a short or long term accommodation to support your Tier 4 visa, then Host Families offer a “home from home” accommodation to international students. Please contact us to find out more.

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