Tier 4 General Student

If you are a non-EEA national aged 16 or over and would like to study in the UK, then you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa.

If you are under the age of 16 and wish to complete a course of study at an independent fee paying school in the UK then you should apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa instead. Students who are 16 or 17 can apply for either visa if studying a course at or above level 3 of the National Qualification Framework.

Requirements for a Tier 4 General Student visa

In order to qualify for a Tier 4 General Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged 16 or over;
  • You have been offered an unconditional place on a course of study with an education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence;
  • You are able to support yourself financially and pay for your course (the exact amount of money required will vary depending on your circumstances);
  • You are able to speak, read, write, and understand English to a required standard.

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will also need to have written consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) confirming that you can travel to, and live independently in, the UK.

Course requirements

Your offer of a place on a course of study at a UK education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence must be unconditional, and must be one of the following:

  • A full-time course leading to at least at a level 6 qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (equivalent to bachelor degree level);
  • An overseas course of degree level study equivalent to a UK higher education course being run by an overseas higher education institution;
  • A full-time course with at least 15 hours of daytime study leading to a level 3 qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (equivalent to AS/A Level);
  • A recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist (if you have finished a recognised degree in medicine or dentistry, received your degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor and spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK).

General Requirements

In order to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you will be able to support yourself financially without recourse to public funds, you will need to show that you have enough cash funds to cover:

  • Any course fees remaining due for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year long (the exact amount required will be stated on your CAS); and
  • Your living costs (If you will be studying in inner London, you will need £1,020 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months. If you will be studying elsewhere in the UK, you will need £820 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months).

Source of Funds

Anyone can pay your course fees directly to your Tier 4 sponsor on your behalf. However, any evidence of money for living costs must be held in either your name or the name of your parent(s) / legal guardian(s).

Tier 4 Interviews and the Genuine Student Rule

UK Visas and Immigration interviews most Tier 4 General Student applicants before granting them a visa to come to the UK. You can expect to be asked questions about your immigration history, your education history, your course, where you want to study, reasons for studying in the UK, your post study plans and your personal and financial circumstances. The Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise your application for a Tier 4 General Student visa may be refused.

Family Members

Tier 4 General Students can be joined or accompanied by a dependant spouse/civil partner, unmarried partner or child under 18 years old if they are either:

  • Studying on a course that is at least NQF level 7 (Master’s degree level) and lasts 1 year or more; or
  • A new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts 6 months or longer; or
  • A Doctorate Extension Scheme student

Tier 4 Child Students

If you are a non-EEA national aged between 4 and 17 years old and you have a place on a course of study in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa.

Children between 4 and 15 years old must be educated at independent fee-paying schools. Children between the ages of 16 or 17 year old may study at publicly funded Further Education Colleges provided that the College is able to charge for International Students and the child is a fee paying student. It is not possible for a Tier 4 Child Student to study at a publicly funded school.

If you are aged 18 or over and wish to complete a course of study in the UK then you should apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa instead. Students who are 16 or 17 can apply for either visa if studying a course at or above level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework.

Requirements for a Tier 4 Child Student visa

In order to qualify for a Tier 4 Child Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged between 4 and 17;
  • You have been offered an unconditional place on a course of study with an education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence;
  • You are able to support yourself financially and pay for your course (the exact amount of money required will vary depending on your circumstances).

You will also need to have written consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) confirming that you can travel to, and live independently in, the UK.

Course requirements

Your offer of a place on a course of study at a UK education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence must be unconditional, and must be one of the following:

  • A course that is taught in line with the National Curriculum, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) or the independent school education inspection standards;
  • A pre-sessional study course (i.e. a short course to prepare you for your main course);
  • A course that is accepted as being at the same academic level as the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland), Estyn (Wales), Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland) or Independent Schools Inspectorate.

Boarding Child Students

If you are a Boarding Student, you will need to show that you have the money available to pay your school fees (course fees and board or lodging fees) for the first year of your course or for the entire course, if it is less than 12 months long.

Child Students staying with a resident carer

If you will be staying with a carer who is a resident British citizen or other UK resident, you will need to show that you have money for your course fees and that your intended carer has at least £560 per month to look after and accommodate you in the UK for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Accompanied Child Students under 12 years old

If you are under 12 years old, you can be accompanied to the UK by your parent or legal guardian. You will need to show that you have money for your course fees plus £1535 for living costs for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Child Students aged 16 or 17 living independently

Tier 4 Child Students aged 16 or 17 years of age and living independently need £920 per month if studying in Central London, of £715 per month elsewhere.

You can arrive in the UK up to 1 week before your course starts if your course lasts 6 months or less or up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months.

You can arrive in the UK up to 1 week before your course starts if your course lasts 6 months or less or up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months.

Conditions of Stay

Tier 4 Child Student visa holders can study at an independent fee-paying school (if aged between 4 and 15) or study at a publicly-funded further education college (if 16 or 17 and a fee-paying student).

If aged 16 or 17, Tier 4 Child Student visa holders can also work part-time during term time for up to 10 hours per week and full-time during vacations