Applying for the Tier 4 General visa is a straight forward process if you follow the visa instructions and guidance.
How you apply depends on where you make your application.
You can only apply for entry clearance under Tier 4 in your home country or in a country where you have existing formal residency rights.
The earliest you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa is 3 months before the start date of the course.
This means that if you intend to begin a course on 16 September 2013, the earliest you should apply is 16 June 2013.
We advise students to apply at the earliest point that they can make an application.
To begin the process of applying for your visa, visit the UKBA website.
Select your country and you will be given a link through to the relevant application route.
Depending upon where you are making your application from, the initial stage of the application process is completed either online or on paper.
If you follow the information and process from the link given above, it will lead you to making an application.
Complete the initial general visa application form online or on paper (application form VAF9) as required in your country.
Print out and complete Appendix 8 on paper (all countries):
As part of the visa process, you need to give your biometric details. This involves a fingerprint scan and a digital facial photograph.
More information about biometrics is available on the UKVisas website:
In countries where the initial part of the application is online, the biometrics appointment is booked as part of that online process. You must book, attend and send in the receipt of your biometrics appointment along with your original documents to the Embassy/High Commission.In other locations where the application process is not online, you give your biometrics at the visa application centre or embassy when you submit the application and documents in person.
When you hand/send your application to the British authorities, you must ensure that you enclose all the required and relevant documentation with your application.
The embassy will consider your application. Depending upon where you apply, the documents are sent back to you by secure mail or you are contacted to arrange to collect them.
The amount of time a visa application takes varies. During busy periods (May-October), it can take up to 4 weeks. We therefore strongly recommend making an application as soon as you have all the required documents.
You can check your British Embassy/High Commission’s application decision times on the UK Border Agency website:
This article was published on Feb 27, 2014