Applying for a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK

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

Where can you apply for my Tier 4 visa?

You can apply for a Tier 4 visa in your home country. Normally you can not 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 three 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.

You can check the processing times for Tier 4 visas on the Gov.uk page on processing times.

Applying online

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

The online application will ask for general information about you and will explain the payment options.

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

If you are making an online application please note that the application is made on the date you pay for it and not the date you submit your documents. This is important as your bank statements cannot be more than one month old at the time of application.

You will need to set up an account on the website before completing the application form.

Help with your application

Please refer to our guide for help with the online application form.

When can I 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
Six months or longer Up to one month in advance
Shorter than six months Seven days before the course starts
Pre-sessional course in preparation for a degree course One month before your course starts

How do I collect my Tier 4 visa?

Stays up to six months

If you are applying for a visa to come to the UK for six 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 six months

If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa to study on a course which is more than six 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 from

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.

You will need to collect your BRP 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.

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 straight away. You must inform Tier 4 by emailing [email protected] and contact Student Advice to discuss your next steps.