Important: The information contained below is for guidance purposes only. Although every effort is made to ensure its accuracy, we strongly recommend you visit the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration, also known as UKBA) website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Generally speaking, this is the best route for those intending to study in the UK for more than six months. Those already in the UK under a valid Tier 4 visa can apply to extend their UK visa without having to return home, whereas this option is unavailable under the ‘short term student' route.
Please note that all students applying for Tier 4 (for over 6 months) will be given entry clearance for one month only. Students will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card within 10 days of arriving in the UK. Your institution will give you more details on how to collect the card and you will also receive a letter from UKVI with more information following a successful visa application.
A student cannot make an application more than three months before the start of their course.
There are two categories under Tier 4:
Maximum length of stay under the Tier 4 General route is 3 years for courses below degree level and 5 years for courses at or above degree level. Please refer to the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration, also known as UKBA) website for exceptions.
Students aged 16 or 17 years old can apply either as a ‘Tier 4 General Student' or a ‘Tier 4 Child Student' if they are studying a course at National Qualifications Framework (QCF/NQF) Level 3 or above.
We generally advise that 16 or 17 year olds apply under a Tier 4 Child Student visa rather than the Tier 4 General. For 16 or 17 year olds studying a course at QCF/NQF level 2, then they must apply under Tier 4 Child route.
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A Visa Interview is a way for Visa Officers to check whether students are genuine. They will ask questions about why you have chosen your course to ensure that you are a serious student and check your English level. These interviews can take the form of video-linked interviews, face-to-face interviews and telephone interviews.
Students applying for a Tier 4 Child visa will not be called for a visa interview, but any student applying for a Tier 4 General visa can be asked to attend an interview.
We do recommend our students to prepare for these visa interviews so they can answer the questions properly and accurately to assist the Visa Officers who will be assessing their applications. This also ensures there is minimum delay to the processing of their visa application. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
Students applying for Tier 4 general must complete and pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
All students requiring a SELT will need to take an IELTS for UKVI test at an approved SELT centre if their test was taken after 6 April, 2015. If you took a valid SELT test before 5 April, 2015 you can use your SELT certificate for visa applications made until 5 November, 2015.
View the current list of approved tests.
Please note that students progressing from a Tier 4 Child visa to a Tier 4 General visa are exempt from the SELT requirement.
They must complete and pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) for English language and academic courses as follows:
Evidence to show they have the finances to study in the UK (known as maintenance) by demonstrating they can cover:
See table below for specific amounts depending on length of course.
A bank statement must be provided to confirm the student (or parent/legal guardian) has held the money for a minimum of 28 days.
The Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will include information about the student, their sponsor (education provider), their course and their finances.
Cambridge Education Group's admissions team will send out CAS statements to those who need to apply under the Tier 4 route. This is conditional upon the student fulfilling the terms set out in their offer letter and having confirmed their place(s) by returning the required deposit or sponsorship letter. The CAS statement should then be included with their visa application.
The CAS statement from our admissions team will include:
For a list of UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration, also known as UKBA) approved Secure English Language Tests, visit this webpage.
Most student visa refusals under Tier 4 are due to errors in financial documentations. Please read this section carefully and use the link provided for up to date advice.
Depending on the length of the course, the amount of finance required to satisfy the points-based assessment will vary as follows:
For more information on Tier 4 General maintenance requirements, visit this website.
For bank statements, they must:
Fees already paid to institutions towards student's tuition fees can be deducted when calculating how much money a student needs to meet the maintenance funds requirements for a Tier 4 visa application. Please note for fees paid towards accommodation, a maximum of £1,000 can be offset against the required funds for Tier 4 General students and Tier 4 Child students who live independently. If in any doubt, please contact our admissions team for advice before making a payment towards the balance of your fees.
If parent's bank statements are used in the visa application, submission of the following to prove the relationship between parents and the applicant is also required:
Download and read our quick reference guide to evidencing your finances to ensure you satisfy the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration, also known as UKBA) requirements.