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 (such as if the course contains a work placement - paid or unpaid), or if they may 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)

Information regarding TOEFL

Changes are being made to remove Educational Testing Service (ETS) as an approved test provider from 1 July 2014. Transitional provisions have been included to cover the following circumstances:

  • If an applicant has made a Tier 4 visa leave to remain application (application made in the UK) before 1 July 2014, TOEFL will be accepted as a SELT.
  • If an applicant has made a Tier 4 visa entry clearance application (application made outside of the UK) before 22 July 2014, TOEFL will be accepted as a SELT.
  • If an applicant has made a Tier 4 visa entry clearance application (application made outside of the UK) before 1 October 2014 to study a pre-sessional course of no longer than three months’ duration, a foundation degree or a foundation course awarded at a minimum of level 3 on the revised National Qualifications Framework, or awarded on a directly equivalent basis in the devolved administrations, and the relevant Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies has been assigned by a sponsor which is a UK Recognised Body within the meaning of the Immigration Rules or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution from the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, or the Scottish Funding Council, TOEFL will be accepted as a SELT.

Further guidance can be found on the UKCISA website:


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.

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