Tier 4 visa requirements

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.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Before you can apply for your Tier 4 visa you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies is a 14 digit reference number which is issued to you by the University once you have accepted your unconditional offer. The University will provide details of you and your studies to UK Visas and Immigration through an online database. UKVI will then provide a reference number to identify this information. The reference number is your CAS.

You can request your CAS from Student Administration:

CAS issuance

First you must check if you meet the strict criteria for the application.

Financial requirements

The financial documents are one of the most important parts of the visa application. Submitting financial documents in an incorrect format is the main reason why Tier 4 visa applications are refused. 

To meet the Tier 4 financial requirements, students must be able to prove that they have enough money to pay for:

  • The first year of their tuition fees; OR
  • Their whole tuition fee if the programme is less than one year; OR
  • The next academic year's fees, or outstanding fees if you are extending your visa to continue your studies

You must also prove that you have at least £1,015 per month of your studies, up to a maximum of 9 months, for living costs.

There are three ways in which you can prove that you meet the requirements. Download our factsheets for full information:

Other required documents

You can download a checklist of the documents required for the Tier 4 visa below. 

Low risk nationals 

The Home Office considers some nationalities as 'low risk'. You only qualify as 'low risk' if you are making an application in your home country. 

Immigration Rules - Low risk nationals

If you are a low risk national you do not need to send official original points-scoring evidence (financial and educational documents) with your visa application.

You will need to sign a declaration in the Tier 4 visa application form to state that you have the necessary evidence available to you. Even if you are a low risk national, we strongly recommend that you obtain points-scoring evidence. This is because the Home Office can request it as part of their decision process and they will refuse your application if you are unable to provide it within their specified timeframe.

You will still have to send your original passport, photographs and other relevant documents. 

Tier 4 Pilot Scheme

The University of Edinburgh has been selected as one of 23 universities in the UK to take part in a scheme which streamlines the visa application process for certain Masters degree students.

If you are applying to study a full time Masters programme starting in or after September 2018, which lasts for no more than 13 months, you are eligible for the streamlined service.  

The service allows you to:

  • Stay in the UK for 6 months after your programme has ended 
  • Submit fewer documents with your application (you will submit the same documents as a low-risk national - i.e. you do not need to submit evidence of your qualifications or finances)

Completing the application process

There are four steps to making a Tier 4 application:

  1. Collecting your supporting documents
  2. Completing the online application and making payment
  3. Providing your biometric information
  4. 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.

Time limits on study and academic progression

If you have previously studied in the UK with a Tier 4 visa, there are additional factors you need to consider before submitting your application.