Tier 4 Student Visa
What is a Tier 4 Student Visa?
A Tier 4 Student Visa is a visa that allows international students from outside the UK or Europe to student in the UK. A Tier 4 Student Visa has two sub-categories:
General Student – for those who are coming to the United Kingdom for education purposes.
Child Student – for children between 4 and 17 years old coming to the UK for their education to study at independent or private schools.
Students between the age of 16-17 should discuss with their chosen educational establishment for which visa they should apply for. The sub-category in which you will apply for is dependant on the course level. If the course is considered as NQF Level 3 or above, the educational provider should advise a student on the applicable sub-category of visa.
Any education establishment in the UK that has been approved by Home Office/UKVI and given a license to bring international students to the United Kingdom under Tier 4 of PBS is a suitable educational provider.
Tests and Scoring
There is a new 'genuineness' test, where the Home Office/UKVI caseworker will check that applicants are genuine and they intend to meet the conditions of the leave they apply for.
The Home Office has the power to refuse the applications they are unable to speak English or cannot prove to be genuine.
To obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa, the applicant should successfully claim 40 points in the following:
30 points – Valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies also known as (CAS) must be provided by an approved education provider. The CAS will have a unique reference number that is electronically issued via the Sponsor Management System of the Tier 4 sponsor institution. Only after the CAS is issued, the applicant can make an application from outside UK for Entry Clearance or from within UK for Leave to Remain.
10 points – Applicants should have enough money to cover your course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance or funds). You must show that you have held the money for a consecutive 28 day period. The end of that 28 day period must not be more than one month before the date of your application is submitted.
Monetary Requirements for Tier 4 Student Visas
If you are using overseas currency, it must be clearly mentioned, alongside the exchange rate applied and money in GBP.
From 12 November 2015 a maximum of £1,265 can be deducted from the amount of maintenance if paid to your sponsor in advance. However, you must show this, even if you have paid more than £1,265 in advance.
The amount you will need to show for course fees will be given by your Tier 4 sponsor on your CAS.
You must show the following amount of money to meet basic living costs (not including fees):
£1265 per month if you are living in London;
£1015 per month if you are living outside London.
You can prove you have the money if you have one of the following:
Cash in an account in your name (this includes joint accounts with your name),
A loan in your name,
Official financial or government sponsorship.
Adult and child students can use an account in their parent or legal guardian’s name.
If you have already paid some of your fees or accommodation before applying for your visa, this amount will be taken away from the total amount of money you need to show. However, the amount taken away cannot exceed a maximum of £1020, even if you have paid more in advance for accommodation. This only applies if you are staying in university or college arranged accommodation.
English Language Requirements
If the course is below degree/foundation degree level or below NQF/QCF level 6, and where the student is not from one of the English-speaking countries listed in the Immigration Rules at Appendix A. The student will need to show a knowledge of English language equivalent to level B1 or above, of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning. However, if the student is coming to study English, the requirement is at level B2, unless the CAS was assigned before 23rd July, 2010, in which case the course level need only be A2.
For those coming to study at degree level, foundation degree level or NQF/QCF level 6 or above will need to show a knowledge of English language equivalent to level B2, or above, of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning. For those students studying at Higher Education Institute (HEI), the Institute can decide how it assesses the student’s English language ability and vouch that the student has attained the necessary English level, and a Secure English Language Test (SELT) certificate is not needed.
Only students studying postgraduate levels at HEIs on courses lasting more than 12 months and government sponsored students studying for more than 6 months are permitted to bring dependants with them.
Those dependants already in the UK before 4th July 2011 with leave in line are allowed to stay until the end of their leave. Dependants with existing leave granted before 4th July 2011 wishing to extend their stay will be able to do so subject to existing restrictions, provided they apply at the same time as the Tier 4 (General) Student applies to continue their studies, and within three months of the expiry of their existing leave.
Dependants will now be able to apply from within the UK for initial leave as a PBS dependant, as long as they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or release.
Right to Work for Dependants
If the main applicant’s grant of leave is less than 12 months, the dependants are not allowed to work in Great Britain, unless the main applicant is sponsored by Government.
If the main applicant’s grant of leave is for a course of study below degree level, the dependants will not be allowed to work in Great Britain, unless the main applicant is sponsored by Government.
Additional Documents and Proof for Students Under 18 Years Old
All students under 18 years old will need to get their parent(s) or legal guardian’s written consent to the care arrangements for their travel to, reception and care while in the United Kingdom, before permission to enter or stay will be given.
As a child or adult student, you are allowed to do extra courses, for example, evening courses or other courses relevant or irrelevant to your main course of studies. You do not need permission from Home Office to do extra studies, and you do not need to tell your approved education provider but you must make sure that the extra course does not get in the way of the course that you have permission to stay for.
Only those students at studying at higher education institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges will be allowed to work.
How many hours can a student work?
Those studying at an HEI at degree level can work no more than 20 hours per week during term time and any hours during holidays. They must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy.
Those studying at an HEI below degree level can work no more than 10 hours per week during term time and any hours during holidays. They must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy.
Those studying at any academic level at a publicly funded further education college can work no more than 10 hours per week during term time and any hours during holidays. They must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy.
All other students, i.e. those at privately funded colleges, are not permitted to work.
Extension of Staying
You can apply to extend your permission to stay while you are in the United Kingdom, or you can apply to extend your permission from outside the United Kingdom.
You may need a lower amount of money for your living costs. The money you need to apply for a further course of study or to complete an existing course of study will depend on the length of your course and where you will study. If you have an ‘established presence’ you will have to show only two months’ maintenance funds (as opposed to nine months).
You have an established presence if, at the date of application, you have current leave and you have finished within your last period of leave a course of study in the United Kingdom of at least six months, or you are applying for continued study on a single course where you have already completed at least six months.
Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)
If you are currently a PHD student with a Tier 4 sponsor that is a UK Higher Education Authority then you can now apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme to stay in the UK for 12 months after your course has ended. The Scheme allows you to work and gain further experience in your chosen field, seek skilled work or make plans to become an entrepreneur.
Requirements of the Doctorate Extension Scheme:
You must have permission to stay as a Tier 4 (General) student to study a course that leads to the award of a PhD qualification.
You must be studying with a Tier 4 sponsor that is a UK HEI.
You must not yet have completed your course; and
You must have a CAS from your Tier 4 sponsor confirming that they expect you to complete your course on the stated expected course end date and that they will sponsor you during the 12 months you are on the scheme; and
You must be applying no more than 60 days before the expected course end date specified on your new CAS.
The DES is a sponsored scheme which essentially means that your Tier 4 sponsor must agree to sponsor you while you are on the scheme. This includes maintaining contact with you - there must be at least two contact points while you are on the scheme. If you miss these without reasonable explanation then your sponsor will withdraw their sponsorship and inform the Home Office of this. Your Tier 4 sponsor will also have to inform the Home Office if you finish your course without completing your PHD or if you are awarded a lower qualification.
If the entry clearance or leave to remain applications are refused, the applicant will be given a right of making a request for a review of the decision. The applicant will only be able to rely on the information / documents already submitted with the application and will not be allowed to submit any fresh documentary evidences with the review request. It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help while making grounds for making review request.