The Tier 4 student visa allows you to come and study in the UK. As part of your Tier 4 student application, you must submit a valid immigration application, lodge a valid identity document, and submit the biometric information at the date of application.
All educational establishments that wish to sponsor students under the Tier 4 student visa must hold a valid sponsor licence and the type of licence will impact your student application. So when you choose an institution, make sure you check their details before starting a course with them.
Your educational provider is responsible for your stay in the UK. They will need to adhere to strict immigration policies and maintenance of their student record system. They can risk losing their sponsor licence, which will adversely impact your student visa.
Meeting the requirements of the Tier 4 Student Visa
In order to apply for a Tier 4 student visa, you must be aged 16 years or over and must be accepted at a course with an accredited institution or with a university.
You must demonstrate that you are a genuine student, must not fall for general grounds of refusal, have a valid confirmation of acceptance of studies (CAS), meet the maintenance requirements and be able to demonstrate you can speak English, in order to complete the study program in the UK.
The CAS is a virtual document and is assigned by your educational provider. It contains your personal details, sponsor, course of study, finances and also the assessment documents.
You may be able to switch into a Tier 4 student visa from another immigration category, however this is limited.
In terms of the student course, you are permitted to complete the following course types:
Full time courses approved at level 3 or above on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).
Part-time courses approved at level 7 or above on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).
An English language course at level B2 or above of the Common European Framework of reference for languages (CEFR).
In reference to the pre-sessional courses, this allows you to study a course before you start the main course of study and can be done with the same institution. For example, a university can assign a single CAS for the main degree and a pre-sessional course where there 3 months pre-sessional course will allow you to improve your English language standards & follow on the main study program.
How to apply for the Tier 4 Student Visa
The visa application is applied online; this is whether you are in the UK or outside of the UK. Once you have completed your Tier 4 Student Visa application, you will be able to pay for the visa fees and book the visa appointment.
As part of the submission, you will need to submit your legal representation and also the evidences to support your Tier 4 Student Visa application. You must be able to provide evidences of your previous studies, reasons to complete the studies in the UK and be able to prove your reasons to study in the UK.
The decision making of a Tier 4 Student Visa does not take more than 15 working days. However in some circumstances, a decision can take longer, if checks need to be made.
When your application is under consideration, the Home Office may contact you to provide further evidences and information. There will be limited time to provide the documents were required.
Once the visa is granted, you will be given the term as stated in your visa application form. Right to work is permitted depending on the level of course and you may be able to bring your dependants to the UK as well.
Your visa would be granted based on the type of course and the length of the course. For example, if your total course length is 12 months, you will be allowed entry to the UK 1 month prior to start of the course and an additional 4 months following the end date of course.
As part of your Tier 4 student visa, you must complete the main study program however you will be allowed to undertake supplementary study as long as this does not interfere with your main course of study in the UK. You will not be allowed to study at an academy or a school maintained by the local authority.
Tier 4 Student Visa in a glance
Once your visa to study in the UK has been approved, you must comply with your conditions of your study program. The Home Office allows flexibility on your student visa.
If you have completed a course and wish to study a new course, you must demonstrate academic progression and must lodge a new Tier 4 student application. You must apply before your course starts and will need to be issued a new sponsorship CAS document. You may be able to start the course if you and your educational provider meet the exception policy. If you do not meet the exception policy, you will need to wait for a decision before starting your new course.
Where you have entered the UK on a course with a provider you have not completed, and wish to switch to another course or educational provider, a new Tier 4 student visa application must be lodged. In some circumstances, you may need to leave the UK and apply for the student visa.
There are different provisions for students who have held student visas and their ability to switch courses as well as educational providers. The immigration policy sets out the requirements in full.
Now coming to the academic progression, this is to show you are progressing in your study program and have full intention to complete your studies in the UK. There are some circumstances whereby you may be exempted from the academic progression.
Refusal of your Tier 4 Student Visa
If your application for the Tier 4 student visa is refused, the decision letter will outline the reasons why you it had been refused and you will have a right to challenge the decision. This is done through administrative review and you must outline the case working errors.
If the decision was wrong, the Home Office can overturn the decision. It is important whenever a Tier 4 student visa is refused, you should look at the application & the evidences lodged. At ICS Legal, we can assess the refusal and advise on what you can do to challenge the decision. We may also advise you to re-apply if we find that the decision was correct.
Bringing family members under the Tier 4 Student Visa
If you are studying a master’s degree in the UK and studying with a university, you may be able to bring your dependants in the UK. There are other circumstances whereby you can apply for your dependants.
Applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 4 Student
You cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain once you have completed a period of 5 years, however the periods of residency in the UK can count towards the long residency immigration category.
Taking legal advice on the Tier 4 Student Visa
At ICS Legal, we will advise you on the correct process of applying under the Tier 4 Student Visa and support you throughout the visa application process. We will assess the circumstances, advise on the grounds of the application and help on the submission for the Tier 4 student visa.
You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on the Tier 4 Student visa requirements by sending us an email on email@example.com or you can call us on 0207 237 3388. You are also open to complete our free visa assessment by clicking here.
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