How To Get A Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

The United Kingdom boasts some of the finest universities and colleges in the world. Students from all over the planet come every year to study at these incredible institutions. However, to enter Britain, they must first obtain a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

What are the eligibility requirements for a student visa?

To apply for a UK student visa you must have been offered an unconditional place on a course at an institution that is a licensed Tier 4 sponsor.  You must also prove that you can support yourself without having to rely on public funds and can pay for your course in full.

How long does a student visa last?

The length of your stay will depend on the type of study you are embarking on.  If your course lasts less than six months, you can arrive in the UK one week before it begins.  If your course will take more than six months to complete, you can come to the UK one month before it begins.

What can I or can’t I do on a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa?

You can work in most jobs for up to 20 hours per week (full time in the holidays) and study on a student visa.  You can also extend your stay.  However, you cannot claim benefits.

Do I have to speak English?

You will be required to pass an English language test.  The proficiency of English required will depend on the level of course you are doing.

However, if you have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in one of the following countries, you will not need to sit the test.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

When should I apply for a student visa?

You should apply for your visa within six months of receiving your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or three months before the visa you are currently on expires.

A decision will usually be made within eight weeks; however, you can pay extra to receive priority or a same day decision.

With the exception of North Korean nationals, all international students must submit their application for a student visa online.

Can my family come with me?

Yes, in certain situations.  They can come if:

  • you are a government-sponsored student and your course is longer than six months; or
  • you are doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution or a 'recognised body'.

Family cannot accompany you if:

  • you are studying an English language course,
  • the course which is below degree level
  • you are embarking on an undergraduate course (unless you have received government sponsorship)

To find out more about applying for a UK Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, contact an experienced UK immigration solicitor.

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