Student Visa UK (Previously Tier 4)
This category includes two sub-categories:
- Student Visa – for those who are coming to the United Kingdom for the post-16 education;
- Child Student Visa – for children between 4 and 17 years old coming to the UK for their education to study at independent schools.
Students of 16 or 17 years old should agree with the chosen educational establishment either to apply for Child Student Visa or Student Visa. It depends 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.
Please note that the students allowed to spend no more than 2 years in the UK studying below UK bachelor’s degree level since the age of 18.
Educational provider means any educational establishment in the UK that is approved by Home Office and has been given a licence to bring overseas students to the United Kingdom under the Student Visa.
There is a 'genuiness' test, where the Home Office will check that applicants are genuine and they intend to meet the conditions of the leave they apply for.
The Home Office now has the power to refuse the applications where the applicant cannot speak English.
A. Scoring Sections - Attributes
The applicant should successfully claim 40 points in total i.e.:
30 points – for having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). Your approved education provider (sponsor) must provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which is a unique reference number electronically issued by a sponsor via the Sponsor Management System to an applicant for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain as a Student Visa Migrant
10 points – for having 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 at least a consecutive 28 day period (i.e. the funds must not fall below the required amount in this period). The end of that 28 day period must not be more than one month before the date of your application.
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B. Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Your approved education provider will provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which is an official and unconditional offer of a place on a course of study.
Courses accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) will be restricted to sponsors accorded platinum or gold status by the ACCA.
The CAS must be issued no more than six months before you apply.
Having a CAS does not guarantee the application will be successful. The applicant must meet all the requirements of the immigration rules and policy guidance in respect of the Student visa category.
C. Maintenance or Funds
The money you need to show covers your course fees for your first year of study and living costs for up to a maximum of nine months. The amount you will need depends on whether you will be studying in or out of London. The address given in your CAS will be used as proof of your main study site.
You must show that you have held the required amount of money every day for at least 28 days. The end of that 28 day period must not be more than 31 days before the date of your application. There is a declaration on the visa application form requiring students to declare they hold and will continue to hold the required maintenance funds to cover their course fees and living costs, and that these funds will remain available to them to support themselves in the UK while they study and to pay for their course.
If you are using overseas currency, you must clearly mention the exchange rate applied and money in GBP.
You must show the following amount of money to meet basic living costs (not including fees):
- £1334 per month if you are living in London;
- £1023 per month if you are living outside London.
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 £1265, even if you have paid more in advance for accommodation. This only applies if you are staying in university or college arranged accommodation.
There is more flexibility as to where the funds can be held. While the rules as they are now indicate funds must be in cash, it will now be more about whether they can be immediately withdrawn. So funds can be in pension and investments accounts, for example, as long as the funds can be accessed immediately. Shares, bonds, credit cards won’t work.
Financial institutions where the funds are held must use electronic record keeping.
Students who are applying for permission to stay in the UK and have already been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or more on the date of application won’t need to meet the financial requirement.
Students applying for leave as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or to study on a recognised Foundation Programme also won’t need to meet the financial requirement.
D. English language
In general, where 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 a 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 (unless coming to study English, in which case the course must be at level B2). 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 – a Secure English Language Test (SELT) certificate need not be supplied.
An applicant will meet the English language requirement if they have a GCSE, A level, or Scottish Highers in English in the UK which they obtained while under 18.
The list of English countries is expanded to include Malta and Ireland.
Only those students studying at postgraduate level at HEIs on courses lasting more than 12 months, or more than 6 months for government-sponsored students studying at any level, and Doctorate Extension Scheme students are permitted to bring dependants with them.
Dependants with existing leave wishing to extend their stay in the UK will be allowed to extend provided they apply at the same time as the main applicant applies to undertake a course of study that is longer than 6 months in duration.
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.
F. Right to Work for Dependants
If the main applicant’s grant of leave is for less than 12 months, the dependants will not be 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.
If students or their dependants have permission to work, they’ll no longer be prevented from working as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in training.
G. 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.
H. Extra studies
As a child or adult student, you are allowed to do extra courses, for example, evening courses or other course 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.
I. What is a higher education institution (HEI)?
An HEI is a recognised body, or a body in receipt of public funding as an HEI from the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales or the Scottish Funding Council. This is essentially Recognised Bodies, University Colleges and small number of other institutions. Institutions, including further education colleges, which receive some public funding to deliver higher education courses do not fall within this definition of an HEI.
Recognised bodies are all those institutions or bodies, including universities, which have their own UK degree awarding powers.
J. 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.
K. Switching Rules
You may be able to switch to a Student visa if you already have permission to be in the UK.
You cannot switch to this visa if you have one of the following visas:
- a visit visa
- a short-term student visa
- a Parent of a Child Student visa
- a seasonal worker visa
- a domestic worker in a private household visa
- leave outside the immigration rules
L. Extension of student visa
You may be able to extend your Student visa to stay longer and continue your course or study a new course. This includes if you currently have a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
To extend your visa you must:
- be in the UK on a Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa
- have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed student sponsor - shown by your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- show that your studies are at a higher academic level than your current course (called the ‘academic progress requirement’)
If you are currently studying in the UK, you will need to show your studies will be at a higher academic level than your current course.
Your new course must be one of the following:
- at a higher academic level than your current course
- at the same level and related to your previous course or career aspirations - it must be degree level or above at a Higher Education Provider (HEP)
- intercalated to a medicine, dentistry or medical science course you started studying under your Student visa (including a Tier 4 (General) student visa)
M. Graduate Visa route
The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
You will be able to stay in the UK for two years (extended to three years for PhD or doctorate level graduates). This route will replace the Doctorate Extension Scheme
N. Short-term student visa
This category is for those who wish to study in the UK as a short-term student for up to and including 6 months or, for persons aged 18 and over, for up to and including 11 months for English language study only.
English language study means study on a course that is entirely English language, not one that includes study of other subjects.
Educational establishment should have one of the following accreditations:
- a sponsor licence for Student visa; or
- valid accreditation from Accreditation UK, the Accreditation Body for Language Services (ABLS), the British Accreditation Council (BAC) or the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC);
- valid and satisfactory full institutional inspection by one of the following bodies: Bridge Schools Inspectorate; Estyn; Education Scotland; the Independent Schools Inspectorate; Office for Standards in Education; the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education; the Schools Inspection Service or the Education and Training Inspectorate Northern Ireland.
The applicants should meet the following requirements:
- be aged 18 or over
- not intend to study at a state-maintained school or institution
- not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student
- not intend to take employment, including paid or unpaid work, a work placement or work experience in the UK
- not intend to undertake self-employment or engage in business activities or any professional activity in the UK
- have enough funds to meet the cost of his return journey
- be maintained and accommodated adequately out of funds available to him
- not have recourse to public funds.
The applicants must leave the UK at the end of the study or at the end of 6 months (or 11 months respectively) whichever is sooner.
O. Short-term student (child)
This subcategory is for the students aged under 18. All requirements are the same as for a Short-term student listed above.
In addition, a short-term student under 18 must demonstrate, that:
- suitable arrangements have been made for his travel to, and reception and care in the UK
- he has a parent or guardian in home country or country of habitual residence who is responsible for his care and who confirms that they consent to the arrangements for the applicant’s travel, reception and care in the UK
- he holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry as an accompanied short-term student (child) and is travelling in the company of the adult identified on the entry clearance, who is on the same occasion being admitted to the United Kingdom; or the applicant holds a valid United Kingdom entry for entry as an unaccompanied short-term student (child).
Please note that students under 18 cannot take a short-term course more than 6 months length.
P. Parent of a Child student visa holder
If you have children aged under 12 and wish to come to the UK to stay with your child during his studies, you can apply for Parent of a Child student visa holder.
You have to meet the following requirements:
- you are over 18 years old
- you are genuinely seeking leave to enter or remain for a period of the whole studies of your child (until the child turns 12 years old) to be the sole carer for their child who is under 12 years of age and attending or seeking to attend an independent fee paying day school in the United Kingdom
- you will maintain and accommodate yourself, the child and any other dependants adequately out of resources available to your without recourse to public funds or taking employment
- you can provide satisfactory evidence of adequate and reliable funds for maintaining a second home in the United Kingdom
- you are not seeking to make the United Kingdom their main home
- you do not intend to take employment, to produce goods or provide services within the United Kingdom including the selling of goods or services direct to members of the public
- you do not intend to study in the UK
- if you are seeking leave to remain you must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded.
Under the current immigration rules, parents are granted the same length of leave to remain in the UK as the child, meaning that they will not be required to re-apply every 12 months.
However, it is necessary to note that this arrangement can end sooner if the child turns 12 years old in the meantime.
Q. What is allowed and prohibited under the Student Visa
With this visa you are allowed to:
- work as a student union sabbatical officer
- you may be able to work in employment - how much depends on what you are studying and whether you’re working in or out of term-time.
With this visa you are not allowed to:
- claim public funds (benefits) and pensions
- work in certain jobs, for example as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
- be self-employed
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
R. Administrative Review (Entry clearance and extension applications)
If the entry clearance or extension application is refused by the ECO in the British Diplomatic post or by the Home Office, the applicant will be given a right to make a request for a review of the decision that must be exercised within 28 days of the date of service of the decision if application was submitted outside the UK or 14 days if application is made inside the UK. The applicant will only be able to rely on the information/documents already submitted with the application and will not be allowed to provide or submit any fresh evidence with the review request.
An application for Administrative Review can be submitted only once. If for any reason a decision cannot be made within 28 days (if application is made outside the UK) or within 14 days (if application is made inside the UK), the applicant will receive an official notification from the Home Office of the expected date of the decision within this period.
It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help while making grounds for making review request.
S. Appeals (for applications submitted abroad and inside the country)
The appeal rights are only available on human rights grounds.
However, in these appeals, applicants are not allowed to use new evidence to challenge the decision of the Home Office, which were not initially provided as part of the submitted and refused visa application. The applicant will have 10 working days from the date of delivery of the decision to lodge an appeal against this decision.
It is strongly recommended to seek professional help when appealing against any decision.
What services we can offer?
- We can find a proper educational establishment for your or your child’s education.
- We can arrange an interview and testing at the selected educational establishment(s).
- We can carry out the enrolment procedure.
- We can advise on the law, procedure, requirements and merits of making an application to the Home Office / British diplomatic post.
- We can advise and represent our clients in making representations in support of their immigration matters.
- We can make a request for an administrative review or lodge an appeal if the applicant`s leave to remain or entry clearance application, respectively, is refused.
Whatever the case, we are here to help, assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of the immigration matters of our clients.