If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national, and you will come to the UK to study for more than six months, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 visa. You will also need to apply for a Tier 4 visa if you wish to do a work placement as part of your studies, or look for a part time job.
Tier 4 visa requirements
In order to get a Tier 4 visa, you must meet strict criteria for the application.
Courses below degree level
You are permitted to study courses below degree level in the UK using a Tier 4 visa for up to two years.
Courses at degree level and above
You are permitted to study courses at degree level and above using a Tier 4 visa for no more than 5 years UNLESS:
- You are studying an exempted subject
- You are studying a masters degree after completing an undergraduate programme which was 4 or 5 years in length
- In this case you must complete all studies within 6 years
- You are studying a research programme, such as a PhD. If it is your first research programme, there will be no time limit on your studies
- If you have already completed a research degree using a Tier 4 visa, you must complete all of your studies (including previous courses) within 8 years
Find out more about exemptions in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance
The time will normally be calculated from the start date of your first visa, until four months after you expect to complete your new programme. Any time during which you did not hold a valid Tier 4 visa will be discounted. You must be able to complete your new programme within the limits unless:
- The time limits will prevent you from studying a fifth academic year of study, in which case you must be able to complete the new programme within 5 years and 11 months; or
- You have completed a 4 or 5 year undergraduate programme, and wish to study a masters degree, and the time limits would prevent you from studying a sixth academic year. In this case you must be able to complete your studies within 6 years and 11 months.
If you make your Tier 4 visa application from inside the UK, your new period of studies must represent academic progression from your studies in the UK to date, and you must have successfully completed your most recent course of study in the UK unless:
- You are applying to resit a course or exam
- You are applying to continue studying for your PhD
This means that you can only make a Tier 4 application in the UK if:
- You have successfully completed your most recent course of study
- You are applying for a visa to study a new programme. The new programme must be:
- At a higher level than your previous course
- Complementary study. This means it must be a specialisation of your previous studies, or a new course which, combined with previous studies, will allow you to achieve your career goals
The University will assess whether you meet the academic progression requirements before they issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.
You can download a checklist of the documents required for the Tier 4 visa below, however, it is essential that you check our Immigration Guide for detailed information about the requirements.
Completing the application process
There are four steps to making a Tier 4 application
- Collecting your supporting documents
- Completing the online application and making payment
- Providing your biometric information
- Posting your application and supporting documents
Applying from the UK
If you are already have a visa for the UK, you may be able to extend or apply for a new Tier 4 visa from inside the UK.
Applying outside the UK
If you are making your Tier 4 visa application from outside the UK you must apply in your home country or normal country of residence.