Tier 4 Student Visa

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Tier 4 Visa Information 



If you want to come to the UK to study, you will have to make an immigration application to the UK immigration authorities in your home country, for permission to come to the UK as a ‘student’. Permission to come to the UK is called ‘entry clearance’

The new student visas are now issued through Tier 4 of the Points Based System.

How are the points calculated?

Points are awarded for having a valid Visa Letter issued by a licensed sponsor which is worth 30 points. This is a paper document which must be an official, unconditional offer by the sponsor to the applicant for the course of study he/she wants to do. The Visa Letter cannot be issued by a representative. It must be original, on letter-headed paper of the licensed sponsor and must include the original or electronic signature of an authorised official of that institution and dated. An electronic signature can be a digital signature or a scanned signature. In addition 10 points are given for fulfilling the Maintenance (Funds) requirement.  Entry Clearance Officers will only award points where you have indicated that you wish to claim them, and for which you have supplied the required supporting evidence.

There are three important requirements that you must meet before you make your application:

A. All applicants under Tier 4 (General) Student and Tier 4 (Child) Student need a sponsor.  The sponsor is an education provider offering the applicant a place on a course of study in the United Kingdom.  An education provider will need to have registered with the UK Border Agency as a licensed sponsor. 

B. The course you wish to study must be at the appropriate level which means it is approved at level 3 or above on the National Qualifications Framework (or at the same level or above on the equivalent frameworks that apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). An example of a course that is at level 3 is an ‘A’ level course.

C. You must satisfy the strict financial requirements which include:

You must have a minimum amount of cash in a bank or building society account (or an account with an officially regulated financial institution) that has your name on it (please note that from 21st August 2009, the UK Border Agency will allow all students to use a bank account in their parent’s name to evidence that they meet the maintenance requirement.  

The only exception is if you have a definite offer of a loan from an officially regulated financial institution (for example, a bank). In this case, it is acceptable if you do not have the cash yet. Instead, you can provide a letter from the financial institution confirming that the money will be loaned to you.

To meet the maintenance requirement you must be able to show you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and to support yourself for up to a maximum of 9 months. The requirements are as follows:

Length of course


Money Required

Nine months or less

In London

Course fees plus £800 for each calendar month* of the course

Nine months or less

Outside London

Course fees plus £600 for each calendar month* of the course

More than nine months

In London

Course fees for one year only plus

More than nine months

Outside London

Course fees for one year only plus

*Part months should be ‘rounded up’ to the next month (for example, if your course lasts six months and 5 days, you need to have money for seven months).

These amounts must be held in your personal bank account for a minimum period of 28 days. The end of that 28 day period must not be more than one month before the date of your application, for which you must show bank statements/other evidence.

If you apply before 1 October 2009 you will only need to show proof that you have the money needed, on the day that you apply. You must still provide the correct documents to support your application.   

Proof Required

You can choose to produce statements, or a building society passbook, or a letter from the bank, or a letter from the financial institution (produce whichever one of those four things is appropriate for your situation).Your evidence must be dated no more than one month before the date you make your immigration application.

If you are producing a letter from a bank or financial institution, remember that the letter must confirm you have had the right amount for the 28 days leading up to the date on the letter (unless you apply before 1 October 2009).

Hours of Study

Your course must involve a minimum of 15 hours of organised daytime study each week (Monday to Friday, not weekends).

Length of Visa

Your visa will end four months after the end of the course, if your course lasts 12 months or more or two months after the end of the course, if your course lasts six months or more, but less than 12 months.

Working whilst on a student visa

You will be allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and take full time work during vacation time.

How to apply

For more information on how to apply for a Student Visa, please contact one of our student consultants.