An international student is required to have a Tier 4 Visa (sometimes known as a Tier 4 general visa) in order to study in the UK, but what is a Tier 4 Visa and is there anything else you need to know about student visas if you’re studying in the UK?
Luckily, we’ve got you covered right here, so let’s jump in and learn more about the visa Tier 4 and gain some Tier 4 visa guidance! But what is a tier 4 student visa?
For guidance on Tier 4 student visas, please visit The Sethi Partnership Solicitors and complete their online enquiry form.
What is a Tier 4 Visa?
So what is Tier 4 Visa?
A Tier 4 Student Visa is a points-based system used by the UK government to award international students a visa. The name for the process is also the name of the visa itself and it can be renewed if there are any changes in your educational circumstances, such as changing university or changing courses.
How do I qualify for a Tier 4 Visa?
In order to be eligible for a Tier 4 Visa, you will need to be offered an unconditional offer from a university, who is also a licensed Tier 4 sponsor and you need to have enough money to support yourself and to be able to pay for your course. Any international students using international student scholarships will not change the circumstances, you will still need to meet the specific criteria, although any scholarships or form of financial aid will obviously help you out too.
Does a Tier 4 Visa work for part-time courses?
Tier 4 Visas do not cover part-time university courses below Level 7 on the OFQUAL register. OFQUAL is the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation and it is a non-ministerial department of the government.
A UK Tier 4 Visa is mainly for those students that are looking to take on full-time education in the UK, part-time courses are not normally covered unless they meet the aforementioned level of study.
A Tier 4 Student Visa is a points-based system used by the UK government to award international students a visa.
What is a Tier 4 Dependent visa?
This is where dependents (children or spouses or partners) are allowed to enter the country.
They can only apply for this however if you meet one of the following criteria:
Your course is full-time at postgraduate level (Advanced Diplomas are not included in this) or is at least nine months long.
You’re doing a full-time course that is at least six months long as a government-sponsored student.
If you currently do hold Tier 4 status in the UK or have been given immigration permissions as a Tier 4 student, then your family members will be allowed to apply for a Tier 4 Dependent Visa as long as you meet the following criteria:
- Your immigration permission has not expired within 3 months.
- Your new course is over 6 months long.
- Your family already has Tier 4 dependent immigration permission.
- Your family applies at the same time as you for a Tier 4 application.
It can all get confusing, but the UK immigration services will be able to help you out with your application.
How do I apply for a student visa?
When filling out your Tier 4 Student Visa application form, you will need to add your passport number to the Tier 4 Visa application. You have to apply through UCAS anyway, and adding your passport number is essential for applications from foreign nationals.
After this, you will need to prove your English skills. You may be asked to attend an interview (either in-person or via FaceTime or Skype or any other form of video chat) or take an English Language Test, approved by the UKVI. Some people who apply for a visa are often required to prove their English Language skill through a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
You will then need to accept an unconditional offer from a university for a place on a course. An unconditional offer is an offer from a university that does not require you to meet any more requirements or specifications. The university itself also has to have a Tier 4 Sponsor License. After this, you will be given a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
After these steps have been completed, you can apply for your Tier 4 Visa. You will also need to provide your CAS and your English language certificate (if you have one) and then prove that you can meet the financial requirements for the Tier 4 Visa.
How long does it take for me to receive my Tier 4 Visa?
Normally it takes fifteen days to receive your Tier 4 Visa UK, but during peak times it may take even longer. We recommend that you apply as early as possible, you can normally apply for your Tier 4 Visa at least three months prior to your course actually starting.
Normally it takes fifteen days to receive your Tier 4 Visa UK, but during peak times it may take even longer.
Do I have to pay for my Tier 4 Visa?
Yes. For those applying from outside the UK, the cost is £335 and there will be an Immigration Health Service charge as well.
For those already in the UK, the cost changes depending on the service you use. For those using a standard service, it costs £457, priority service costs £916 and the premium service will cost you a whopping £1047 and there will also be an IHS charge on top of any of these as well.
What is the Tier 4 child visa?
A Tier 4 visa works in the same way as a normal Tier 4 visa, but this one is aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 17.
For children to qualify for a Tier 4 child visa, students will need to meet the following Tier 4 Visa requirements:
- Have a place on a course.
- The consent of the student’s parents or guardian(s).
- Be financially able to cover course fees and living costs.
- Must be from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or from Switzerland.
While Brexit continues to rumble on with the pace of a YouTube video of a snail travelling ten miles at 0.25 speed, it is worth pointing out that there will be no change to the status or indeed the rights of EU citizens that are currently living in the UK, at least, not until the 30th June 2021 or the 31st December 2020 if Britain leaves with no deal at all.
With a Tier 4 student visa UK, you can work in the UK for up to twenty hours-a-week during study time and full-time during university holidays.
Would I be able to bring a spouse, partner or family to the UK with me?
As long as your course is longer than six months or are a government-sponsored student or your course is longer than six months or you are doing a postgraduate degree, you can bring whomever you like, as long as they are listed as a Tier 4 general student Visa dependent and have applied for a Tier 4 dependant visa alongside your Tier 4 UK visa.
Bizarrely, if you are studying an English Language degree, you cannot bring your family into the country. You can also look into a Tier 4 Visa extension as well, which may offer some leeway in this department.
Am I allowed to work in the UK if I have a Tier 4 Visa?
With a Tier 4 student visa UK, you can work in the UK for up to twenty hours-a-week during study time and full-time during university holidays. However, if you’re course is shorter than six months, you will not be allowed to work in the UK as well and there are specific Tier 4 visa work rules you have to adhere to too, even if you’re looking at a Tier 4 student visa work after graduation.
Your university must also be listed in the Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTC) list as well. These are in place to ensure that students that are working in the UK have the right to do so under the visa system.
Do I need to prove my English knolwedge?
It is not a requirement for everyone to prove their English proficiency but it depends on whereabouts you're from and your circumstances.
If you are from any of the following countries or have a qualification that is equal to a degree from any of the following countries, you will not be required to show your English proficiency:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
There are also extenuating circumstances for students that meet other, more niche criteria. For instance, those from Canada or those that are applying via a study abroad programme as part of a US university degree course are excused from needing to prove their English profficiency as well.
Additionally, those that have proven their English proficiency in a previous visa application are also not required to prove their English knowledge either.
How to extend Tier 4 visa in UK?
Wondering about how to extend Tier 4 Visa?
It is possible to apply for a visa extension UK Tier 4, as long as you are eligible and have a sponsor while you're still living in the UK.
You’ll have to apply within at least six months of receiving your CAS (confirmation of acceptance for studies) and before your visa expires.
It will cost you £475 to for extending Tier 4 Visa and will have to pay both a healthcare surcharge (which is dependent on your current circumstances) and £19.20 to have your fingerprints and photo taken, these are your regular Tier 4 Visa fees and Tier 4 Visa cost.
Although you can pay an £800 Tier 4 Visa fee for priority service on this and to speed up your Tier 4 Visa processing time.
How long is a Tier 4 Visa valid for?
A Tier 4 Visa is valid throughout your qualification and for a further four months upon completion, which is a good chance to look for work or to look into further study.
The Tier 4 Visa in the UK can be a difficult thing to apply for and it has a number of hoops that you need to jump through in order to receive one, however, once all the paperwork is out of the way, it is just down to focusing on your studies, so make sure you’re focused from the second your course starts and you’ll be fine, good luck!