UK Tier 4 Student Visa and Short Stay Visas
Tier 4 student visas allow people from outside of the European Economic Area to enter the UK as a student, usually either at a school, college, or university. In order to apply for a Tier 4 student visa you will need to have Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) at a UK educational institution that holds a valid Tier 4 sponsorship license. The option to enter the UK on a Prospective Student visa ended in October 2013.
Tier 4 visa students must spend at least 15 hours a week in study, and the student must be able to meet the cost of the course, maintenance and accommodation without working. Loans are available from Student Finance to cover tuition fees for Tier 4 students at UK universities. However, help with maintenance and other costs is usually restricted to UK and EU nationals, and those with legal residence; usually this means anyone who’s legally been in the UK for 3 years or more.
Some Tier 4 students may work for up to 20 hours per week while they study. However, changes to UK immigration law brought in in 2015 mean that Tier 4 students at publicly further education colleges may no longer work.
These changes to Uk immigration law also mean that Tier 4 visa holders at further education colleges may no longer switch to another UK visa category from inside the UK when their studies finish, such as Tier 2 or Tier 5 work visas. Tier 4 college students who wish to work in the UK after their studies finish must now leave the UK and apply for a UK work visa from outside of the country. Students at UK universities are not affected.
Tier 4 Visa Students
- Tier 4 (General) Student visa For students aged 18 or over who have been offered a place on a course at a UK educational institution. Courses of study covered by this visa include degree level courses, and level 3 courses such as A levels. While studying, some students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during the holidays. Changes to UK immigration rules in 2015 mean that students at further education colleges on this type of visa may no longer work while they study.
- Tier 4 (Child) Student visa For students under the age of 18 who have been offered a place on a course at a UK educational institution with a valid Tier 4 sponsorship licence. Tier 4 sponsors are usually independent fee-paying schools. Some students over the age of 16 may work for up to 10 hours per week during term time and full time during holidays. Changes to UK immigration rules in 2015 mean that students at further education colleges on this type of visa may no longer work while they study.
- Short-term Study visa For students offered a place on a short-term course in the UK, such as an English language course or training course. Overseas university students may also do a short period of research in the UK. This visa usually lasts for 6 months, or 11 months for migrants aged 18+ who are studying an English language course.
Tier 4 Visa Family Members
Some students may wish to bring family members with them. Tier 4 (General) Student visas allow family members to apply to come to the UK with the visa holder, or to remain if already in the UK. Family members covered include married, civil, and unmarried partners; and children under the age of 18. In order to bring family members to the UK students must meet at least 1 the following conditions:
- Studying towards an NQF level 7 (UK Master’s degree) or higher qualification in the UK for at least 1 year, OR;
- Sponsored by the UK government on a course lasting at least 6 months, OR;
- Studying on a Doctorate Extension Scheme
Parents of children on the Tier 4 (Child) Student visa may also apply under the Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa. Please see our UK Family visas page for more details.