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.

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

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.

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 will 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.

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

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. You can get useful information 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

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.


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.