You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
have been offered a place on a course
have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
meet the other eligibility requirements
When to apply
You can apply from 3 months before the start of your course.You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check visa processing times for your country.
It costs £328 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.You must pay £328 per person for any dependants.You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.
How long you can stay
You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:
up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months
How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.
What you can and can’t do
You can: study
work as a student union sabbatical officer
apply from inside or outside the UK
work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
get public funds
work in certain jobs, eg professional sportsperson or sports coach
study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)
You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).
You must have:
an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
You can do a course that’s one of the following:
full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on 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 organised daytime study, leading to a qualification which is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist
Postgraduate doctors and dentists
You can apply for this visa if you’re sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme and you’ve:
finished a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry
received that degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor
spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK
Confirmation of acceptance for studies
Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application.
You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive theCAS.
Further study in the UK
You can only get a CAS for a new course if you’ve studied in the UK before and you’re:
re-sitting exams or repeating modules
applying for the first time to a new institution to complete a course you started at an institution that’s lost its Tier 4 sponsorship
applying to complete a PhD or other doctorate that you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
studying for a new qualification at a higher academic level
studying for a new qualification at the same level and related to your previous course or career aspirations – it must be degree level or above at a Higher Education Institution (HEI)
applying after working as a student union sabbatical officer to complete a qualification you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
a current passport or other valid travel documentation
proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.
Apply outside the UK
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).You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.
Apply in the UK
Check if you can apply from inside the UK to:extend your existing Tier 4 (General) student visa
switch to this visa from another visa