What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the UK? Is it about the destination, culture, antiquity, national parks, and mountains, or the quality education? Certainly, it is one of them, isn't it? Yes, the UK is one of the best locations to choose to study abroad as they are traditionally one of the world’s leading educational destinations in the world. The UK is located on the northwestern coast of Europe which makes it more captivating for the students to study in the UK.
As the UK carries the legacy of producing the finest minds in the world, students should learn how the UK student Visa process works and different ways to fund their education in the UK to be able to reach their study abroad destination. In this article, you’ll acknowledge a complete overview of UK Tier 4 Visa, UK study visa requirements, eligibility, documents required, and many more.
So stay tuned till the end of the article.
What is a UK Tier 4 Visa?
Tier 4 student visa UK is provided to the students who wish to pursue full-time courses in universities located in the UK. The UK tier 4 visa is basically a student immigration permission and the students who wish to study in the UK have to apply for their student visas at least three months before their course start date. In order to apply for a Tier 4 student visa UK, you will need to have a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) at a UK educational institution that holds a valid UK Tier 4 sponsorship license.
Having a thorough knowledge of the UK student visa process comes in really handy, especially to those who plan on borrowing education loans to fund their higher studies in the UK. It will help you strategize your funding method in a precise and systematic manner. If you’re looking for an education loan to fund your study in the UK, connect with our team at WeMakeScholars as our financial team will guide you through the entire education loan process.
Types of categories under Tier 4
There are basically two type of categories under Tier 4, namely:
- Tier 4 (General): This category is provided to the students who are willing to pursue their education in the UK. To avail tier 4 student visa UK, the student must be at least 16+ years old.
- Tier 4 (Child): This category is provided to the children who are willing to pursue their education in the UK and are aged between 4 to 16 years.
The UK Tier 4 Visa Process: An Overview
The UK works on the student immigration visa system where the students are issued a visa under the Student route to study in the UK. Students who are nationals from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland generally do not require a visa to study in the UK but other nationalities are required to produce a student immigration visa to study in the UK. The UK Tier 4 Visa will allow students to live and study in the UK throughout their course.
The UK Tier 4 visa is a student visa that enables all international students aged 16 and above to study in the UK and if their course further permits them to work, it can also be used to extend their stay beyond the course period.
Applicants are required to meet the below-mentioned criteria to be deemed eligible to apply for a UK student visa:
- Students who have been offered a place and have seized the opportunity to study in the UK from a recognized licensed student sponsor(University)
- Students who have a sufficient amount of funds to support and pay for their course
- Students who can speak, read, write, and understands the English language
- Those who are from a country which is not part of the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland or EU
- Students who are 16 or 17 will be required to produce an evidence of consent when they apply for a UK Student visa
A UK Tier 4 visa enables student to:
- Work as a student union sabbatical officer
- Apply from inside or outside the UK
- May be able to work as it depends on what a student is studying and whether a student is working in or out of term-time
When applicants are staying in the UK with the help of a UK Tier 4 visa, they will not be allowed to:
- claim public funds and pensions
- Work in certain jobs
- be self-employed
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school
Those who are currently living in the UK on a student visa may also be allowed to bring their dependents under certain conditions. These conditions are mentioned in the UK immigration department’s website.
Tier 4 visa students are required to spend at least 15 hours a week in study, and the student must be able to meet the cost of the course, maintenance and accommodation without working. This may cost a fortune to the students as students do not have the option to work while studying because of which most students prefer obtaining an education loan to cover their tuition fees and living expenses during their stay in the UK. Therefore, if you are looking for an education loan to finance your study in the UK, start your education loan process through WeMakeScholars as our financial team will be able to help you out.
UK Tier 4 Visa Eligibility
All applicants applying for a student visa to study in the UK need to fulfill certain conditions in order to be deemed eligible for the UK Tier 4 Visa. Since this visa is primarily meant for students who have applied for higher studies at various educational institutions in the UK, the basic eligibility criteria for applicants is to secure admission with one of these institutions and then begin their UK tier 4 visa application process.
Students need to meet the following UK Tier 4 Visa eligibility criteria to be able to apply:
- Applicants should have secured an unconditional offer from any of the licensed Tier 4 sponsors.
- Applicants must possess sufficient funds to support their higher education expenses, as well as other miscellaneous expenses that will enable them to support their stay in the UK.
Students also need to abide by certain additional guidelines regarding the nature of their course in the UK. Students can do a course which is one of the following:
- A full-time course which is leading to level 6 on the Ofqual register.
- A part-time course which is at least level 7 of the Ofqual register.
an overseas course of degree-level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
- full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organized daytime study, leading to a qualification which is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
- a recognized foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
- an English language course at level B2 or above.
Above everything else, students who are applying for a UK Tier 4 visa are required to possess the CAS number at the time of applying. The details of this particular component of the UK student visa process are explained in the following paragraph.
Importance of CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)
A student must possess an unconditional offer for a course with a licensed student sponsor. To prove this, students are required to ask their education provider to send you a reference number called Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) once the institution has offered a place on the course. Students must acquire a CAS certificate in order to be eligible to apply for a UK student visa. The CAS number is a requirement to qualify for a tier 4 UK visa process. Students may be required by their respective universities to pay a certain token amount in order to receive their CAS certificate. This certificate is generally issued by universities 4 months prior to the start of the course.
Students must enter this reference number on their visa application. Students can apply for their visa within 6 months of receiving their CAS.
CAS Eligibility Criteria
Students are eligible to receive a CAS number if they meet the following requirements.
- Their course is at a higher academic level than their previous course
Their course is at the same level and related to their previous course or career aspirations - it must be a degree at par or above at a Higher Education Institution (HEI)
- It is intercalated to medicine, dentistry or medical science course you started studying under a Tier 4 (General) student visa
UK student visa requirements - Financial requirements to study in the UK
Students are required to display the presence of sufficient funds to assure that they will be able to support their cost of education and living in the UK. If the student has been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of their application, then they are not required to show financial requirements.
The money requirement depends on the program of the student. A student will require around £1,334 per month i.e approx 138000 in Indian rupee (for up to 9 months) for courses in London and around £1,023 per month i.e approx 105000 in Indian rupee (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London.
If the student is boarding at a residential independent school, then they will be required to pay boarding fees instead. The amount requirement the student has to pay will be mentioned on their CAS.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate
ATAS was introduced to help stop the spread of knowledge that may lead to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or any other. It is specifically designed to make sure that the students applying for postgraduate courses and are dealing with sensitive subjects do not acquire knowledge that can potentially lead to mass destruction or any other Military Technology programmes.
Students who plan on pursuing postgraduate courses in certain fields only need an ATAS certificate in order to be eligible to apply for a UK Student visa. An ATAS certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue. This leaves aspiring candidates with sufficient time for their visa process. The UK Government recommends students to apply for this certificate at least 9 months prior to the start of their visa process.
UK student visa requirements - Documents
When students apply for a student visa, they are required to provide:
- a current passport or any other valid travel documentation
- a CAS certificate from your course provider
- a valid ATAS certificate (according to your study program)
- Proof of funds that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and pay for your course
- if you’re under 18, a proof of parental or other legal guardian consent is required
- if you’re under 18, proof of your relationship to your parent or guardian is required
- Tuberculosis test results
- if the student has received any sponsorship for their course fees and living costs in the last 12 months then a written consent for the application from the financial sponsor is required
The above list of documents forms the basic framework for the set of valid documentation required by the embassy or consulate from students who are applying for a UK tier 4 visa to study in the UK. Additional documents may be required from applicants depending on their circumstances.
Right time to apply for UK student visa
The right time to decide when to apply for a UK student visa depends on whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK.
Condition 1: When you are applying from outside the UK
In this condition, the earliest a student can apply for a visa is 6 months before their course commences. Students can expect a decision on their visa within 3 weeks.
Condition 2: When you are applying from inside the UK
In this condition, the earliest a student can apply for a visa is 3 months before their course commences. Students are required to apply for the visa before their current visa expires and the new course of the visa must begin 28 days before the current visa expires. Students can expect a decision on their visa within 8 weeks.
How long can a student stay in the UK?
Student’s stay in the UK majorly depends on the course duration plus the level of the study. If the student is 18+ and the course is at degree level then the student can usually stay in the UK for up to 5 years and if you’re below 18, then the student can usually stay in the UK for up to 2 years.
A student can stay longer in the UK if:
- he/she is able to extend their visa (to continue your studies in the UK)
- Switch to a student visa from another visa if the student is already in the UK
- Or switch to a Graduate visa to extend their 2 years in the UK after they have successfully completed their course
Fees for UK tier 4 visa
Fees for UK tier 4 visa costs around £348 (approx 35991.67 in Indian Rupee) to apply for a student visa from outside the UK and around £475 (approx 49126.56 in Indian Rupee) to extend or switch to a Student visa from inside the UK.
How to apply for a UK tier 4 visa?
- You must apply online for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
- You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.
- You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).
The UK student visa processing time can take anywhere from 15 days to 20 days, depending on the visa application center. Generally, the UK student visa processing time should not exceed the above-mentioned timeline.
This point marks the conclusion of the UK student visa application process. Do keep reading our blog to get regular updates on all of the future articles.
Students generally planning to study in the UK look for multiple options to fund their education and taking an education loan is one of the best options. Therefore,we recommend you to connect with our team at WeMakeScholars as our financial team will assist you through the entire education loan process.
Note: WeMakeScholars is an organization funded and supported by the Government of India that focuses on International Education Finance. We are associated with 10+ public /Pvt Banks/ NBFCs in India and help you get the best abroad education loan matching your profile. As this initiative is under the Digital India campaign, it’s free of cost. The organization has vast experience dealing with students going to various abroad education destinations like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, France among others.