The Tier 4 (General) category is open to non-EEA national students who want to enter or remain in the UK for study purposes. More responsibility is placed on the educational institution that is accepting the applicant for study.
In accordance with the course of study, there may be additional requirements. A short course may be taken before the main course; work placements are also allowed as supplements during the course.
Sponsoring institutions have to be able to confirm the ability of the student on the course and must also provide a sponsorship certificate to be submitted with the Tier 4 visa application.
A Tier 4 sponsor can provide a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) to international students. This scores 30 points in the points-based system.
A total of ten points will be awarded if the applicant has sufficient funding for an uninterrupted period of at least 28 days. A total of 40 points must be acquired to apply under this visa category.
Adult students are permitted to undertake employment during term time. However, there are restrictions depending on the number of hours and the level of the course being studied, as follows:
- 20 hours per week employment if the course is at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 at a UK higher education institution, or is a short study abroad degree programme at an overseas higher education establishment;
- 10 hours per week employment if the course is below NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 at a UK higher education institution, or if the course is at a publicly funded further education college (at any course level);
- The student cannot work in the UK at all if they are on a course (at any level) at an educational institution other than a UK higher education institution or publicly funded further education college (unless on a short study abroad degree programme at an overseas higher education institution); and
- The student may not become self-employed.
The dependants of Tier 4 (General) students are able to join them if the student is studying at postgraduate level on a course lasting longer than 12 months. They are also able to join the student if they are sponsored by their own national government on a course lasting six months or longer.
Under the new Tier 4 rules, the dependants of Tier 4 students cannot work in the UK; this applies to all new students and their dependants after 4 July 2011. For those already in the UK with leave to remain as a Tier 4 (General) student, transitional provisions are in place.
We provide expert advice for students already in the UK who wish to extend their visas or for new students looking to come to the UK to study. Our dedicated team specialise in the point-based system, including Tier 4.
Applying in the UK
If you want to extend your Tier 4 visa, we can help. We offer two main options: a same-day visa service, which may allow you to have your visa approved within 24 hours; and a postal application, which may take up to 12 weeks. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances.
Applying from Outside the UK
We have special agency services in many countries. They can submit your application at the educational establishment where you want to study and gather all the required documents, including CAS statements. They can also assist with preparing all the required documentation and submitting your visa application with the British Consulate in your home country.