Plenty of international students look to study in the UK every year, while the UK plays host to a number of students from the EU, international students also play a huge part in overall enrollment figures. However, international students looking to study in the UK cannot simply apply and study.
An international student is required to have a Tier 4 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!
A Tier 4 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.
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.
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 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.
When filling out your UCAS Application, you will need to add your passport number to the 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.
Normally it takes fifteen days to receive your Tier 4 Visa, 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.
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.
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 dependent.
Bizarrely, if you are studying an English Language degree, you cannot bring your family into the country.
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.
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.
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!
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