Before you start your visa application please check that you meet the UK immigration and eligibility requirements.

Where can you apply for a Tier 4 visa?

You can apply for a Tier 4 visa in your home country. Normally you cannot apply for a Tier 4 visa in another country unless you have been a resident there for some time.

When can you apply?

You can apply for a Tier 4 visa 3 months before your course starts, not before. A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is only valid for six months so make sure to apply before it expires.

Advertised processing times are three weeks for a for a Tier 4 visa, see the GOV.UK page for processing times. For information about whether your application centre provides faster Priority and Super Priority services see the GOV.UK website

Please note that the Tier 4 Visa application is made on the date you pay for it normally online and not the date you submit your documents. This is important as you must have the required money for 28 consecutive days and your bank statements cannot be more than one month old at the time of application.  Read more about the documents you need on our Documents page.

Applying online

You must make an online application for a Tier 4 visa.

Select Tier 4 (General) student visa and proceed with the application. However, if you are a Chevening, Marshall or Commonwealth scholar choose this application option instead.

Towards the end of your online visa application form you will be asked where you would like to collect your BRP when you arrive in the UK. Do not choose to collect this from a Post Office. Instead, choose to collect it from the University by selecting the ‘Alternative Location’ option and inserting the code: 2HE447. Choose ‘Find’ – this should show the collection address as the University.

At the end of the Tier 4 online form you will normally be taken to the VFS Global website to organise your biometric appointment and submission of documents.

Application centres give advice about the process of booking and attending an appointment including whether Priority and Super Priority services are offered for faster visa processing.  Some centres now offer the option of uploading scanned documents before the appointment.

At your biometric appointment your fingerprints and photograph will be taken and you will normally need to submit your original documents, translations and passport. You can read more about the documents you will need on our Documents page.

At the appointment you may be required to take a credibility interview, or you may have a later interview on the phone. You should prepare in advance for the interview.

Please see a guide to completing the Tier 4 online application form below.

What are the basic Visa Application Costs?

The Tier 4 Application Fee is £348 and usually charged in the local currency.

The Student Immigration Health Surcharge is £300 per year and £150 for 6 months.

If your course lasts for less than six months, for instance a pre-sessional or a semester study abroad programme, then you will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge but should obtain your own health insurance.

 If you are studying a three-year Undergraduate Degree your Immigration Health Charge will be £1050. If you are studying a 1-year Masters you will pay £450.  

If you are eligible to bring dependants on a PBS Dependant Visa the application fee per dependant is £348 and the Immigration Health Surcharge is £400 per year and £200 for 6 months for each dependant. If your family will be coming to the UK read the UKCISA information for dependants.

When can you come to the UK on a Tier 4 (general) student visa?

If you are granted a Tier 4 (general) student visa, the date on which you will be allowed to enter the UK depends on your course.

Length of course Arrival period
6 months or longer Up to 1 month in advance
Shorter than 6 months 7 days before the course starts

Pre-sessional course in preparation for a degree course

1 month before your course starts

Arriving in the UK on a Tier 4 Visa

When you are preparing for your arrival in the UK you may have questions about what to bring and what to expect. Useful information is on the UKCISA website.

It is also important to be aware of the eGates when arriving in the UK. The eGates, also known as ePassport gates, are automated self-service barriers located at immigration checkpoints at UK airports. They are an alternative to seeing an Immigration Officer/Border Force Officer. You may have seen communications from the UKVI advising you of this option.

You can enter the UK via the eGates if you hold a current passport (with a biometric chip) from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America. Registered travellers can also use the eGates.

Entering the UK using the eGates

If you enter the UK using the eGates, you will not be given a stamp in your passport. For this reason, the University does not recommend that you use the eGates to enter the UK. The stamp acts as proof that you have entered the UK in accordance with the rules of your visa. If you do not have the stamp it is more difficult to prove that you have entered the UK correctly and may cause complications when you enrol at the University, collect your BRP or rent accommodation.

When you enter the UK please make sure that you see an immigration official/officer and request a stamp in your passport to prove that you have entered the UK correctly.

If you do enter via the eGates you will need to keep evidence of the date that you entered the UK (such as flight tickets) and provide these in addition to your other documents when you enrol. You will also need to keep these documents safe for the duration of your stay in the UK to prove the date that you entered the UK. 

It is important that you enter the UK during the validity of your Tier 4 visa. If you enter the UK before the start date of your visa on your vignette (visa sticker in your passport) using the eGates, you will enter the UK as a visitor. You will not be able to enrol onto your course as a visitor and will be required to leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and re-enter the UK after your Tier 4 visa is valid in order to ‘activate’ your Tier 4 visa.   

How to collect your Tier 4 visa

Stays of up to 6 months

If you are applying for a visa to come to the UK for 6 months or less, eg for a pre-sessional English language course, your Tier 4 visa will be issued on a sticker and placed in your passport.

Stays longer than 6 months

If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa to study on a course which is more than 6 months long, your visa will initially be granted on a sticker in your passport. The visa in your passport will only be valid for 30 days.

You must travel within this time as otherwise you will need to apply for another 30-day visa. You can find information about applying for a new entry clearance vignette on the Home Office website.

Once you arrive in the UK you will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Your BRP will have the details of your visa and will confirm the duration of your Tier 4 (general) student visa. Where you collect your BRP will depend on the option you selected on your Tier 4 visa application form.

Where to collect your visa

You will need to collect your BRP card within 10 days of arriving in the UK. To collect your BRP you will need to show your 30-day visa, which should be in your passport, and the visa decision letter. Remember to bring this letter with you to the UK.

As part of your Tier 4 application you will have chosen where to collect your BRP. If you have nominated to collect your BRP at the University and if you have not collected it earlier, then your BRP will be taken to your enrolment session. If you have nominated to collect your BRP card at a local Post Office you must bring it with you to your enrolment session. 

When you collect your BRP, please check the details on your card. If you feel that the information on your BRP is not correct please contact Student Advice.

Find out more about BRPs in the Home Office's initial guidance document on biometric residence permits.

Refusals

If your Tier 4 (General) visa application is refused, it is important that you get in contact with us immediately. You must inform Tier 4 by emailing and contact Student Advice to discuss your next steps.