UK Tier 4 Student Visa and Short Stay Visas

Tier 4 student visa allows Non- EEA individuals to enter the UK as a student for a school, college, or university. 

To apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa, you need to have a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) at a UK educational institution that holds a valid Tier 4 sponsorship license. The option to enter the UK on a Prospective Student visa is no longer viable as it ended in October 2013.

These changes to UK immigration law mean that Tier 4 visa holders at further education colleges may no longer switch to another UK visa category from inside the UK when their studies finish, such as Tier 2 or Tier 5 work visas. Tier 4 college students who wish to work in the UK after their studies finish, must first leave the UK and then apply for the UK work visa outside of the country. Students at UK universities are not affected.

Tier 4 (General) Student visa (For students aged 18 or over)

  • Courses of study covered by this visa include degree level courses, and A levels (level 3 courses). 
  • The Tier 4 visa students must spend at least 15 hours a week in study
  • The student must be able to have funds for courses, maintenance and accommodation without working. Loans are available from Student Finance to cover tuition fees. However, maintenance and other costs are restricted to UK and EU nationals, and those with legal residence (legal resident of the UK for three years or more) only.
  • While studying, students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours weekly, during term time and full-time during the holidays. But certain changes to the immigration law in 2015 state that students on this type of visa may no longer work while they study. 

Tier 4 (Child) Student visa (For students under the age of 18) 

Tier 4 sponsors are independent fee-paying schools. Some students over the age of 16 can work for up to 10 hours weekly during term time and full time during holidays, but as mentioned, changes to UK immigration rules in 2015 state that students on this visa may no longer work while they study.

Short-term Study

A short-term study visa is for students offered a place on a short-term course in the UK. These include courses in training or the English language. Overseas university students can also commit to a short period of research in the UK. This visa usually lasts for 6 to 11 months for migrants aged 18+ 

Tier 4 Visa Family Members

Tier 4 (General) Student visas allow family members to apply with the visa holder, or to remain if already in the UK. Family members include married, civil, and unmarried partners; and children under the age of 18. To bring family members to the UK students’ must meet at least one of the following:

  • Studying for an NQF level 7 (UK Master’s degree) or higher qualification for at least one year in the UK; 
  • Sponsored by the UK government on a 6-month long course; 
  • Studying on a Doctorate Extension Scheme

Parents of children on Tier 4 (Child) Student visas can apply under the Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa. Please see our UK Family visas page for more details. Or contact one of our expert immigration solicitors at 01706 655 592.