General Student

Tier 4 General Student Visa (UK)


You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

have been offered a place on a course
can speak, read, write and understand English
have enough money to support yourself and and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
you meet the other eligibility requirements

How long will it take?

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the start of your course.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

How long can you stay?

You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:
up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months

How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.


It costs £310 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
You must pay £310 per person for any dependents.

What you can and can’t do

You can:
work as a student union sabbatical officer
apply from inside or outside the UK
apply to extend your stay
work – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have

You can’t:
get public funds
work as professional sportsperson, including a sports coach


You must have:
an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a qualified education provider
enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances

Your course

You can do a course that’s one of the following:
full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF)
an overseas course of degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
a full-time course with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study leading to a qualification below degree level but at least NQF level 3
a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist

Postgraduate doctors and dentists

You can apply for this visa if you’re sponsored to do a recognised foundation programme and you’ve:
finished a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry
received that degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor
spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK

Confirmation of acceptance of studies

Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application.

You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS.

Further study in the UK

You can only get a CAS for a new course if you’ve studied in the UK before and you’re:
studying for a new qualification at a higher academic level
studying for a new qualification that’s at the same level of study but relates to and adds to your previous qualification
re-sitting exams or repeating modules
applying for the first time to a new institution to complete a course you started somewhere else

Read the guide and appendix for the full list of documents and how much money you’ll need or ask us about this.
* content copyright Open Government License v2.0 (UK)

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