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)


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 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.

The health surcharge will be applied to applications for a visa for a period of longer than six months if applying from outside the UK, or for any length of visa extension within the UK.

Most non-EEA nationals who need immigration permission to work, study or join family in the UK will have to pay. This includes Tier 4 students and their dependants, and student visitors who come to study English Language programmes for longer than six months.

The surcharge for students and their dependants will be £150 per person per year. Part years of less than six months will be charged at £75.

For example, a Tier 4 student doing a four year programme will be charged £675 (£150 per year of programme + £75 for four month “wrap-up” period). An additional £675 would be charged for any dependants.

Anyone applying for entry clearance for less than 6 months, and all academic visitors (even if they apply for more than 6 months) will not have to pay the surcharge and may instead be liable to pay for some types of NHS treatment.Therefore, visiting students and academics and Tier 4 students coming for less than 6 months should be advised to get private health insurance.

Nationals of Australia and New Zealand are also exempt from the surcharge and will be able to access the NHS due to reciprocal agreements with the UK Government.

Related links

Accessibility menu