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Calling all International Students: Coming to the UK on a Tier 4 visa

Moving to a different country can be an exciting idea, and done right, it can reap its benefits. Universities in the UK feature at the top-end of University rankings, and with easy access to Europe, studying in the UK can be a life-changing decision.

The UK’s student visa is known as a Tier 4 visa and is a category under the Points-based system (PBS) of UK’s Immigration rules. The route primarily applies to students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and as with all PBS applications, it requires very specific documents.


The Tier 4 visa can only be provided to those students who intend on studying at an educational institute which has a Tier 4 licence. The simplest way to check is by reviewing the Tier 4 register of sponsors, which provides a list of schools, colleges and universities who are able to provide sponsorship.

How to apply?

The next step is to apply to the institute directly and obtain an unconditional offer from them. The institute will then check whether you meet the eligibility criteria for them to issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).

The CAS forms an integral part of the visa process, and universities may need more information before they issue this. For example, the university may also want to check whether enough money to cover your course fees and living costs. This is because having sufficient funds (also known as maintenance) is a key requirement of applying for a student visa.

Once the CAS is obtained the prospective applicant will need to complete and submit their application online to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). Most applications require a two-part fee, which consists of the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (calculated based on the number of years the visa is sought for).

Upon submission of the online application, the student will need to register with the commercial partners of UKVI. This will vary depending on the country of application.

Applications can be expedited by paying additional fees.


The maintenance condition is sufficient to fulfil the visa requirements in this stage. However, as a practical point of view, it is important for a student to arrange their accommodation prior to their arrival.

This is because short-term accommodation can be very expensive

The route primarily applies to students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and as with all PBS applications, it requires very specific documents.

Other resources

For most students who intend on visiting the UK, there are several websites which provide a ranking of UK universities. These rankings can be either be the overall ranking of the university or more importantly a subject-wise ranking.

At Clarkslegal LLP we can assist students in making a successful application to study in the UK. We understand this visa application is the first step in a major decision for them, and it is therefore important that the application is made properly.

For more information or to discuss your options, contact our team today so we can assess your eligibility and suitability for this visa.

Our expert solicitors who are based in London and Reading, are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are available to consult with you in person at our offices, or via Skype or telephone. To get in touch with our business immigration team, please use the Contact Form opposite or if you prefer, call or email us.

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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.

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