A Guide to Applying for the UK Tier 4 Student Visa

A Guide to Applying for the UK Tier 4 Student Visa

If you are going to be studying in the UK for a full semester or longer, you will most likely need to apply for a student visa.  To help you prepare your application and avoid any unnecessary complications, we have compiled a list of information to help you with the process.


UK Student Visa Eligibility Information

A student is eligible to apply for a Tier 4 general student visa if the following conditions are met:

  • A student is sixteen years or older
  • A student can speak, read, write and understand English
  • A student has received an unconditional Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) from a tier 4 sponsoring institution
  • A student has enough money to pay for their studies, housing and living costs (amount varies depending on circumstances)
  • A student is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

 English Language Qualifications

If you would like to study in the UK, depending on where you are from, you will need to show that your knowledge of English is at a B2 level or higher. You can prove this by passing a secure English language test (SELT).   Your chosen university or college can advise you as to which UKVI approved English language test you should take.

If you take the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test, you will need to make sure that the test is taken at a UKVI approved test center.

You can find a link of approved English language tests and centers at the following link.

You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you fall under one of the following categories:

  • You are from one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, or USA
  • You have studied in the UK before as a Tier 4 (Child) student
  • You’re applying to come to the UK for a study abroad program as part of a university degree course in the USA

 When to Apply

The earliest you can apply for your Tier 4 general student visa is 3 months prior the start of your studies.  You can usually get a decision within three weeks of submitting your application.  Most applications from the United States are processed within 10 days

You can use the following link to find processing times for your particular country.

 Required Documents

You may need original copies, so it’s important that you start gathering all of your required documentation as soon as possible.

When you apply for the UK student visa you must provide:

  • A current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • Proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • Proof of Parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
  • Proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian
  • Tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

*You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

How to Apply

You apply for a Tier 4 general student visa online.

In addition to your application, you will need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa center to get a Biometric residence permit.  Once you have submitted your application and your student visa has been approved, you can collect your residence permit within 10 days of your arrival to the UK.

Helpful Tips & Suggestions


1) Changes are made regularly to the UK GOV website.  Check the website  periodically before you submit your application to make sure no changes have been made that could delay your application.

2) Dishonesty at any point during the visa application process can result in being banned from the UK for ten years.  Being too vague on your application may also be perceived as a form of dishonestly. Make sure that your answers to any questions on your application are clear and concise.

3) It important that you are proactive when applying for your Tier 4 student visa. Gather all of your documents either before or as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance to a university.  Saving everything to the last minute may only delay or postpone your studies altogether.

4) It is important that you are comfortable discussing your planned program of study and potential career aspirations after graduation. You may be required to interview with an immigration representative during the application process.  Two questions that may be asked are, “What will you be studying?” and “What are your future career or education goals?”. If the interviewer is at all suspicious of your intentions to enter the country, your visa application may be rejected.

5) You will need to submit bank statements, student loan or scholarship documents, or a combination of all three to verify that you have enough financing to cover your studies and living expenses for one year. The amount varies depending on a student’s circumstances.

  • You will need to show that you have had these funds in a bank account for at least one month prior to submitting your application.  The bank account will need to be in your own name and the funds will need to remain in your account for 28 days!
  • If your parents will be covering your expenses during your studies in the UK, you will need to send in copies of their bank statements.
  • Additionally, you will also need to submit a signed letter from your parents stating that they will be covering your tuition and living expenses during the course of your studies.

6) If you are from a country that requires a Tuberculosis test, it usually requires a chest x-ray and a sputum sample if the results are not clear.  You can use the following link to find out if your country requires a test.

7) Make sure you submit your application at least 15 working days prior to your departure date.

Applying for your Tier 4 Student Visa does not have to be daunting if you give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and follow all of the instructions provided on the UK GOV website.


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