Tier 4 General Student
If you are a non-EEA national aged 16 or over and would like to study in the UK, then you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa.
Whether you are an adult or child, wanting to enter the UK for the purposes of study may be seen as a daunting process. Entry to the UK as a student is now part of the Points Based System and so strict criteria must be met
- Deciding to Study in the UK
A decision to come to the UK as a student is not easy because the costs of studying here can be extremely high. Not only do you need to show you have sufficient finances to pay the course fees but you also need an additional amount to prove you have enough to support yourself in the UK.
- Requirements for a Tier 4 General Student visa
In order to qualify for a Tier 4 General Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You are aged 16 or over
- You have been offered an unconditional place on a course of study with an educational institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor License.
- You are able to support yourself financially and pay for your course (the exact amount of money required will vary depending on circumstances.
- You are able to speak, read, write and understand English to a required standard.
- You must correctly submit your application
It is not possible to get a refund for an incorrect British citizenship application form. Thousands of citizenship applications are rejected each year for reasons that could have easily been avoided. In 2014 6,820 British citizenship application forms were refused! Many of the reasons for refusal were
- incorrect documentation
- failure to complete the British citizenship application form correctly
- failing to respond to UKVI’s enquiries in a timely manner
If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will also need to have written consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) confirming that you can travel to, and live independently in, the UK.
However, the first step is to find a School, College or University that is willing to sponsor you as a student. This is no longer as straightforward as it seems.
- Finding the right educational institution
You must initially find an educational establishment the UK authorities have recognised as an appropriate sponsor and has been issued with a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence. The institution must then assess you to see if they are satisfied that you have the ability to participate in the course you applied for. They must be sure of this otherwise their ability to maintain their Licence may be affected.
If they are satisfied that you or your child is an appropriate student they will then issue a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies, which is required for any student-based visa application.
- Source of Funds
Anyone can pay your course fees directly to your Tier 4 sponsor on your behalf. However, any evidence of money for living costs must be held in either your name or the name of your parent(s) / legal guardian(s).
If you wish to rely on funds provided by anyone else, the third-party will need to transfer the funds to your account (or to your parent or legal guardian’s account) and the funds will need to be held for at least 28 days before you apply for your Tier 4 General Student visa.
- Tier 4 Interviews and the Genuine Student Rule
UK Visas and Immigration interviews most Tier 4 General Student applicants before granting them a visa to come to the UK. You can expect to be asked questions about your immigration history, your education history, your course, where you want to study, reasons for studying in the UK, your post-study plans and your personal and financial circumstances. The Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise your application for a Tier 4 General Student visa may be refused.
- Unsuccessful Applications
If the application is unsuccessful this Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies will no longer be valid and you may find it difficult to arrange for a second one to be issued. This is because the UK authorities require educational establishments to keep the number of unsuccessful applications below a certain percentage.
- Family Members
Tier 4 General Students can be joined or accompanied by a dependant spouse/civil partner, unmarried partner or child under 18 years old if they are either:
- Studying on a course that is at least NQF level 7 (Master’s degree level) and lasts 1 year or more;
- A new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts 6 months or longer
- A doctorate extension scheme student.
Family members must be financially supported during their stay in the UK, and have funds available to them in addition to the money that the main Tier 4 General Student visa holder has to support themselves.
The amount of money required will vary depending upon the length of the course, the location of the course in the UK and whether the course has finished or is ongoing.