Tier 4 General visa

If you are coming for a full degree course or a course of study lasting six months or more you need a Tier 4 General visa.

Students coming to study for less than six months will also need a Tier 4 General visa if they want the right to work (including for courses containing a work placement - paid or unpaid), or if they wish to extend their studies in the UK.

Tier 4 General guidance (UKVI)

The first place to look for information on applying for a Tier 4 General student visa is the UK Visas & Immigration’s Tier 4 guidance.

The guidance is constantly updated and gives full details of the requirements of the Tier 4 General visa, including the requirements for which documents you need to use to apply.

It is essential to check your application is in accordance with the official guidance. You should ensure that any documents you use in the application are in accordance with the criteria detailed in it before making your application:

Scoring the points

To successfully apply for a Tier 4 General visa, you must score 40 out of 40 points.

All documents you send with the application must be original versions (not copies). This includes your passport.

Scoring the points
Points What you get points for Evidence required
30 Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) A CAS number issued by the University of Edinburgh
Other documents If you are applying for a visa for a course for the first time: your CAS will be issued on the basis that the University used a previous qualification to assess that you are suitable to take the course.

This qualification will be noted on your CAS file.

You must include any such ORIGINAL degree certificate, qualification or transcript.

If you are applying for an extension of a student visa which was issued for the same course: your CAS will be issued on the basis that the University has used your progress and satisfactory attendance to assess your suitability to continue the course.

In such a case, you do not need to include additional documents for the 30 points, unless you need ATAS.
ATAS certification If your course requires ATAS clearance, you must provide a print out of this certificate.
Tuberculosis test You may need to get a TB test, depending on where you’re applying from (only relevant for applications made outside the UK)
10 Maintenance (funds) Requirement You will need to demonstrate your ability to fund your tuition fees for the academic year plus a set amount for your living costs.

All documents you provide to demonstrate your maintenance funds must be ORIGINAL.


You might be required to attend an interview where an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO - person who assesses your visa application) will determine whether they believe you to be a ‘genuine student’. If you are invited to an interview, the ECO may ask you about the following:

  • English language ability (you must be able to hold a basic conversation in English to the standard expected of your course level)
  • Your immigration history (previous UK visa application for instance)
  • Previous study (The ECO may ask you about your previous courses and how they relate to the course you will study at the University of Edinburgh)
  • Knowledge of the course you are coming to study
  • Intentions (You should be able to talk about your future career, and how your course at the University of Edinburgh will help you to achieve your goals)
  • Financial circumstances (how you intend to fund your studies for instance)


If you meet the points requirements and send the required evidence, you should expect that your Tier 4 visa will be granted. However, it is very important to make sure that you get your application right first time.

If you do not send in all the original documents required, the UK Visas & Immigration will not contact you to ask for missing documents. Incomplete or incorrect applications will be refused.

International Office Immigration Guidance

This International Office Immigration Guide, prepared by the International Student Advisors at the International Office gives full details about the Tier 4 General visa.

Immigration Guide (302.59 KB)


Immigration health surcharge

New regulations introduced by the Home Office mean that from 6 April 2015, most people applying for a UK visa will be charged a compulsory additional fee. Applicants who have paid this ‘health surcharge’ will be able to access the NHS in the same way as a permanent UK resident.

You will have to pay for the immigration health surcharge before you can make your visa application.