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The Tier 4 Student Visa – An overview of the “Maintenance Requirement”

The UK’s student visa is known as a Tier 4 visa under the points-based system of the UK’s Immigration rules. The route primarily applies to students over the age of 16 from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

There are numerous conditions that must be met to obtain a Student Visa, including stringent financial requirements. The Home Office requires applicants to have the financial capacity to pay for their course fees and their living costs. The Home Office calls this the “maintenance requirement.”

Course fees 

Applicants are required to prove that they can pay the fees for the first year of their course, or alternatively, the entire course if it lasts for less than one year. If the Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) has been issued by the Tier 4 Sponsor institution for further study, the ‘first year of study’ means the first year of this new period of study.

The Home Office will use the details in the CAS to confirm how much money is required to pay the course fees.

Living costs

The Home Office uses fixed amounts to determine an applicant’s financial ability to support them self during their studies.

For study in London the required amount is £1,265 for each month of the applicant’s course, up to a maximum of nine months. If the applicant wishes to study in London for nine months or more, the figure is £11,385. For institutions outside of London, the required monthly amounts are lower. This currently stands at £1,015 for each month of the course, up to £9,135 for a course lasting nine months or more.

The start and end dates as shown on the CAS should be used to calculate the length of the course and therefore how many months’ maintenance are required. If the length of the course includes a part of a month, it should be rounded up to a full month for the purpose of calculating living costs.

It should be noted that those applying under the Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme), as a postgraduate doctor or dentist, or as a student union sabbatical officer, must only evidence living costs for two months. 

There are numerous conditions that must be met to obtain a Student Visa, including stringent financial requirements


The following deductions can be made from the “Maintenance Requirement”:

  • Course fees already paid to the Tier 4 sponsor;
  • Up to £1,265 that has already been paid to the Tier 4 Sponsor for accommodation fees, should the applicant intend to live in University or College accommodation.
    • No deductions can be made for any other type of housing, nor adjustments be made on account of the applicant not having any accommodation costs (such as living with friends or relatives).

Typically, the CAS may include details of any money paid to the Tier 4 Sponsor. If not, paper receipts confirming the payments listed above are required.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

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