Tier 4 Student visas

Studying in the UK

The Tier 4 Student immigration visa category is the Points Based Scheme (PBS) that replaces the old UK student immigration visa applications. The type of UK Student immigration visa route you choose will depend on your age, and on the length and level of the course that you want to study. This area of the PBS scheme continually changes.


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Types of student visa

Tier 4 (Child) student If you are between 4 and 17 years old. If you are between 4 and 15 years old, you must be coming to the UK to be educated at an independent fee-paying school.
Student and Student Child visitor If you want to come and study in the UK for up to 6 months and you do not want to work while you are here.

You cannot switch and apply for a Tier 4 student visa while you are in the UK as a student visitor.

Tier 4 (General) student If you are coming to the UK for your post-16 education.
Prospective student If you want to come to the UK to help you decide which course to study, or if you plan to start a course of study within 6 months.

You will be able to switch and apply for a Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child) student visa while you are in the UK.

16- and 17-year-old students applying to come for more than 6 months

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you and your approved education provider (also known as your sponsor) should agree whether you need to apply under Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system. If you will be studying a course below National Qualification Framework level 3, you must apply under Tier 4 (Child). If your course is at National Qualification Framework level 3 (or equivalent) or above and is longer than 2 years, we recommend you apply under Tier 4 (General).

If you want to study for an English language qualification at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level A2 or above, you must apply under Tier 4 (General).

Applying for an adult student visa – Tier 4 (General)

You can apply for a student visa under Tier 4 (General) if you want to receive your post-16 education in the UK.

How long can you stay in the UK?

Type of course Length of course Length of stay allowed
Main course of study (including student union sabbatical officers) or short course to prepare you for study 12 months or more The full length of the course plus four months after the end of the course
Main course of study (including student union sabbatical officers) or short course to prepare you for study At least six months but less than 12 months The full length of the course plus two months after the end of the course
Main course of study (including student union sabbatical officers) or short course to prepare you for study Less than six months The full length of the course plus seven days after the end of the course
Below degree level 12 months or more The full length of the course (up to a maximum of three years if you are 18 years old or above) plus four months after the end of the course
Postgraduate doctors and dentists on a recognised Foundation programme Maximum of three years The full length of the course (up to a maximum of three years) plus one month after the end of the course

Switching to a different category

You may be able to apply for a variation of your leave into a different category. Other students generally switch to other categories of Tier 4 (Students), Tier 1 (Post Study Work), Tier 2 – employer sponsored skilled workers or family routes.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Settlement in this category is not usually available to students. But once you have been in this category for 10 years lawfully, you may be eligible for permanent residency (ILR).

Student Seminar Application

Book a place on our Workshop Seminar for Tier 4 Students

Book a Consultation

Book an Immigration Consultation|Application Checking|Full Service

or submit an immigration enquiry|contact us

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