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Tier 4 (General) - Student Visa Extension in the U

Tier 4 (General) - Student Visa Extension in the UK‌‎

To extend your stay in the UK on Tier 4 General student visa the institution must be on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Sponsor Register for Licensed Sponsors and you must meet all the Tier 4 requirements.

A sponsor for Tier 4 visa purposes is the educational institution that supports your visa application to study in the UK. You can find the UKVI (Home Office) list of Tier 4 sponsors here: Home Office Register of Tier 4 Sponsors

All students applying to extend a student visa will need to apply as a Tier 4 General migrant.

Summary of Tier 4 (General) Student Extension Rules

Tier 4 (General) is part of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Points Based System for managed migration. Under the Points Based System, you need to earn the necessary points in order to be considered for an extension. You are required to have 40 points:

  • 30 for the university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), and

  • 10 for Maintenance (money available to you for your course fees and living costs)**

**The Tier 4 policy guidance outlines in detail how to evidence that you meet the maintenance requirements.

If you are applying for an extension to your Tier 4 visa on or after the 12 November 2015, you will need to have money available to you covering:

  • Your Tuition fees for the course (first or current year) PLUS

  • Living expenses of £11,385 (£1,265) per month for each month of your course up to a maximum of 9 months)

General points

You must ensure that you submit a valid application. You can do this if you meet all the Tier 4 requirements and by submitting a fully completed current application form before your visa expires with a CAS and necessary documents.

Once you have completed most sections of the online application (to the best of your knowledge) and collected the required documents together, you can visit ISA at a drop-in session or appointment where we check through and advise on your application before you submit.

Tier 4 Visa Extension Application Fee & Process

‌‌In most circumstances, applications for a Tier 4 Student Visa Extension in the UK — Tier 4 (General) should only be made using the online application.

Application Fee: 

  • £448 - Standard applications: Online applications/ supporting documents sent by post. Normally, decisions on applications are made within 4 - 8 weeks and documents returned a week later, but in some cases can take longer.

  • Premium Applications: (inclusive of £100 booking fee) Appointment at Public Enquiry Office. Normally, decisions on applications made the same day and your new visa sent a week or so later, but in some cases can take longer.

The other application option available is:

  • £8,000 + Premium fee + application fee - Super Premium Service: This is a very expensive service where your Home Office/couriers will come to a place of your choosing to collect your application, biometrics, and documents and a decision is made on your application within 24 hours. Up to 4 main applicants can apply at the same time using this service. See the Home Office website for more information.

Tier 4 Student Visa Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

All students making a Tier 4 visa application will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in addition to the visa application fee. For students making a Tier 4 (Entry Clearance) application outside the UK, this will apply if they are applying to study a course lasting 6 months or longer. For students making a Leave to Remain (extension) application in the UK, the surcharge applies to courses of any length. Tier 4 dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge. The IHS surcharge is mandatory, even if you have medical insurance.

Tier 4 applicants (and dependants) will be charged for each year of leave (visa) granted under the immigration rules. If your leave includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for this part of a year will be £75 for students and dependents. If your leave includes part of a year longer than 6 months, the full annual amount of £150 is payable.

The surcharge for the full length of leave will be required at the time of the visa application and will be in addition to the visa application fee. For example, if you are to receive a visa valid for 3 years and 2 months, then you are liable to pay £525 in IHS surcharge at the same time as your visa application fee (£150 for each of the three years + £75 for the part-year of fewer than 6 months). This surcharge will entitle you to use the NHS in the same way as a permanent resident for the length of your valid stay in the UK. You will generally receive NHS care for free but may be charged for some services, such as dental treatment and prescription charges, in the same way as a permanent resident.

You must pay the surcharge in full before you submit your visa application. If you apply to extend your visa in person in the UK at a Premium Service Centre, then you must pay the surcharge before you attend your appointment.

If you are refused a visa, the surcharge will automatically be refunded. However, if your visa is issued but you decide not to travel, the surcharge will not be refunded. You will not receive a refund if you leave the UK before your visa expiry or if you do not use the NHS.
For further details of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), please refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) webpages

You can pay the NHS Surcharge via the UK Government website

Who can apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa in the UK?

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa extension in the UK if:

  • You are currently studying in the UK or have an unconditional offer of a place on a program, and

  • You have been issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies for any universities/colleges and

  • You currently hold a valid Tier 4 visa or one of the other types of visa which allows you to switch to Tier 4 in the UK 

Only the following categories of visa allow switching to Tier 4 in the UK:

  • Tier 4 (or old-style student visa)

  • Tier 1- Post Study Work only

  • Tier 2

Note: If you are not in the UK as one of the above categories, you must leave the UK and apply for Entry Clearance from your home country.

Please note: The time spent on the study at degree level by Tier 4 (General) Students is limited to five years, with some exceptions.

When to Apply for an Extension

You must make your application in the UK before your current visa expires. In addition, if you submit your Tier 4 application more than 28 days after your visa has expired, your application will automatically be refused by UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office).

We always advise that you apply for your visa extension as early as possible, ideally around 3 months before your visa expires, if you meet all the requirements.

You can apply for an extension in the UK under Tier 4 if you are:

  • currently studying and continuing on the course that you have already started (this does not include students who are on a break) or

  • moving on to a new course which starts no later than 28 days after your visa expires

If you do not meet these rules, then you must return to your home country and you may be able to make an application from there.

If you have failed to successfully complete your previous course for which you were granted Tier 4 leave (meaning you have not achieved the qualification), you will not be able to demonstrate academic progress and will be required to apply from overseas if you wish to make a Tier 4 application to study a new course.

How to Apply for a Tier 4 Extension

There are 3 options for making a Tier 4 Extension application in the UK:

  • Online Application (sending documents and cover sheet by post) with a Standard Application

  • In person using the Online application with a Premium Service

  • In your own home using the Super Premium Service

The Online application form:

This is suitable for all Tier 4 applicants and their dependents, except those using the Super Premium Service.

You will need to register and create an account. See our Guide for details on how to do this.

Complete as much of the application form as possible but do not confirm or agree to the declaration.

You must attend an appointment or drop-in session with the ISA team. You will need to bring your UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) account log-in details and all your supporting documents. We will check your application for you before you submit it.

When you have made the amendments as recommended by the advisor, complete the declaration and payment. Save a copy of the PDF of your application (you can print a PDF version of your form by logging into your account and selecting the View).

You will then need to print the application cover sheet and collate your supporting documents.

  • Please note that the date of application for online applications is the date that you submit the application and pay the fee online.

You must use the Tier 4 General application form to extend your Tier 4 visa for your studies, or if you already have a Tier 4 visa for a different course or for a course at one institution and you want to study at another institution.

 Limit to the amount of time spent in the UK

The amount of time you can study at degree level (NQF level 6 or above) on a Tier 4 visa is limited to five years.

When applying for a Tier 4 visa, the amount of time you have previously spent studying in the UK will be considered. When calculating whether or not the five-year limit applies to you, all-time spent studying in the UK at degree level or above, whilst on a Tier 4 visa or pre-Tier 4 visa (student visa issued prior to 31 March 2009) will be taken into account.

This does not apply to:

  • Architecture students

  • Ph.D. students*

  • Students whose UG course was 4 or 5 years in duration who are now applying for a Masters course NB this does not apply if you take longer than expected to complete your course, for example, to undertake re-sits.

*PhD students and applicants: You will be exempt from the time limit while you study for your PhD. However, you will not be granted any further leave under Tier 4 once you have completed your PhD if this further grant of leave would result in you spending more than eight years in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) student.

Maintenance Requirements (Money)

You must show that you have held the required amount of money in your bank account for the last 28 days without dipping below at any point. Evidence must be dated less than one month old. All evidence should be original and meet all the criteria as stipulated in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

If you are on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) list of 'low-risk' Nationals, you are not required to submit this evidence with your application but will be required to provide it if UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) request it at a later date

From 12 November 2015, there is no reduced maintenance allowance for those who have studied in the UK previously. All applicants will need to show they have enough funds for the full course, up to a maximum of 9 months, regardless of how long they have been in the UK.

You will need to show that you have finances available to you:

  • full year's tuition fees (minus any fees that you have already paid).

  • £11,385 living expenses (or £1,265 for every month of the course if course less than 9 months).

  • If you have already paid some of your tuition fees and you have provided evidence, this will be deducted from the number of funds you are required to show available to you.

  • If you live in University halls of residence in Docklands campus, up to £1,265 of the accommodation fees you have already paid will be deducted from a number of funds you are required to show available to you, if you have provided evidence.

  • If you have official sponsorship that does not cover the full tuition fees for the (first) year and your living costs for the relevant time, you will need to show evidence in your bank account covering the remainder of the funds available to you.

Note: Part months are counted as full months by UKVI. Therefore if your course is 4 months and 2 weeks in length, the Home Office will require you to show 5 months of living costs. All evidence should be original and meet all the criteria as stipulated in the Tier 4 guidance notes.

Acceptable Financial Institutions

UK Visas and Immigration have a list of financial institutions that they do not consider to be reliable and therefore cannot be used for financial evidence for Tier 4 applications. This list will be updated regularly so please see Appendix P of the Immigration Rules for the most up to date information. At the time of writing the list covers institutions in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

Before you start preparing your financial evidence, please check the UK Visas and Immigration list of acceptable financial institutions here.

Acceptable Courses of Study

To qualify for a Tier 4 Student Visa Extension, your course of study must be one of the following:

  1. Full-time Degree level or above.

  2. Full-time Pre-sessional English

  3. Full-time Pre-Masters course

  4. Full-time International Foundation Programme

  5. Another course of 15 hours + a week (organized daytime study) leading to a recognized qualification at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 or above.

Full-Time Study: Tier 4 visas are only issued for full-time study (except in very specific circumstances - see the Changes in your study circumstances section below).

Note: Courses with elements of organized work placement are acceptable if the work placement is an integral part of the course and is no more than 50% of the course. 

Loans and Loan Letters

If you are planning to use a loan as evidence of finances for a Tier 4 application, remember to check the Tier 4 Policy Guidance carefully.
Your loan letter must state that the loan is provided by a national government, a state or regional government, or a government-sponsored student loan company or that it is part of an academic or educational loan scheme. You will not be able to use a loan that does not meet one of these requirements. See Tier 4 Policy Guidance 

Evidence of funds

You must show evidence of the funds available to you depending on your situation:

  • Bank statements in your name covering a 28 day period (no more than 31 days old) always at a number of required funds or above; or

  • Original letter from your bank confirming that you have maintained the required amount of funds for the 28 day period immediately prior to your application; or

  • Original letter confirming your government-sponsored loan agreement and amount; or

  • Original letter from the organization providing your official financial sponsorship stating the amount that they will provide you with or a statement that they will provide the full tuition fees and living costs

Note: Letters and Bank statements should be dated no more than 31 days prior to application. All evidence should be original and meet all the criteria as stipulated in the Tier 4 guidance notes.

If you are on the UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) list of 'low-risk' Nationals, you are not required to submit this evidence with your application but will be required to provide it if UK Visas and Immigration request it at a later date.

Procedures for requesting a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is an electronic document inputted directly into the UK Visas and Immigration database by the Universities in London.

You can obtain a CAS by following the procedures below.

Continuing Students

(A) CAS Requirements

A CAS is issued by the International Compliance team to current students who fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid student visa OR a valid visa in another immigration category which allows you to apply for a Tier 4 visa in the UK. 

  • Have a satisfactory attendance record. Your School will confirm to the International Compliance team if you meet this requirement.

  • Have made satisfactory academic progress with your studies. This will be determined by your School in liaison with the International Compliance team. A student’s overall academic record is considered on a case by case basis, and this will take into account the length of time already studied at one level, and your module results to date. A CAS will not be issued to students who have not made the required academic progress. In addition to this, a CAS will not be issued to students who are continuing their studies as a result of the previous non-submission of work and/or failure to undertake required examinations.  

  • Meet UKVI's time limit for studying in the UK under Tier 4. Students will be requested by the International Compliance team to provide full information about their previous study history in the UK. 

  • Have a good credit history with the University and be up-to-date with tuition fee payments. A CAS will not be issued to students who have outstanding tuition fee debt.

  • Our International Students Advice (ISA) team is trained in Tier 4 issues who will support you through the Tier 4 visa application process, including the documents required. You will need to provide copies of the maintenance documents so that we can check they meet the specific Tier 4 requirements. A CAS will not be issued to students who do not have the required documentation, in the correct format, by their visa expiry date.

You will be required to provide a copy of the Special Delivery receipt once you have submitted your application, provide communication from UK Visas and Immigration and keep us updated with the status of your pending application, including bringing in your new visa to the Student Hub so that we can update your record.  

(B) Requesting a CAS

You can request a CAS via the Student Hub no more than three months prior to your visa expires. If your visa has already expired, you must contact me immediately for advice on what to do.

Please ensure that all payments you want to have reflected on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (tuition fees for the year and, if applicable, on-campus accommodation) have been made before submitting the request.

When you receive the CAS Statement:

  • Check that all the details are correct, including the name on the passport, birth date, etc.

  • Use the CAS reference number and the information provided on the CAS Statement in the relevant sections of the student visa application form Tier 4 (G).

New Students requesting a CAS

If you are a new student or are applying for a new program to study, the following are the procedures for being issued with a CAS:

  • Make a Tier 4 application.

  • Conditional Offer made and sent to you by email (with International Student Reply form).

  • You must meet the academic conditions and pay a minimum 50% deposit.

  • Complete the Previous Studies/ Immigration history in the UK from

  • Respond to the with your details. International Student Reply Form 

  • Successfully pass our Pre-CAS checks. You may be required to provide documents to demonstrate that you meet the UKVI Tier 4 maintenance requirements and a satisfactory pre-CAS interview.

  • CAS assigned and an email sent to you or your education adviser, with your CAS details (including CAS number). You will need to refer to the CAS details for your visa application.

Note: If you are in the UK and your current visa expires more than 28 days before your new course starts, you will not be able to apply in the UK, but you may be able to apply outside the UK.

Credibility Interviews

As part of the Tier 4 student visa application process, it is likely that you will be asked to undertake a short 'credibility interview'. This was initially introduced in October 2013, with a significant increase in the number of applicants undergoing interviews in August 2014.  UK Visas & Immigration will be verifying that you can speak English to the required level and whether you are a genuine student.

The interview may be facilitated by a UK Visa and Immigration partner agency and will normally take place to be via video-conferencing with the Home Office staff in the UK. The interview may be situated some distance from where you live, so you may be required to travel. It will take approximately 10 minutes.

The purpose of the interview is to check your credibility as a genuine student. You may be asked about the following areas:

  • your reasons for deciding to study in the UK and the benefits you believe this will give you;

  • your studies in the UK so far, including location, the content of the course so far, and current application for further study;

  • the reasons for selecting your chosen course, including the content of the course, and how this relates to your previous qualifications,  experience, and career plans post-study;

  • other Universities or Colleges that you may have researched as part of your selection for this course. If you only considered the University of East London, you will need to explain why you believed this was the most suitable choice for you;

  • your reasons for choosing to study this course at the University of East London;

  • who is funding your studies in the UK and the reasons for this;

  • understanding the conditions of a Tier 4 visa;

  • if you are applying with dependents, about the legitimacy of your relationship.

The interview will also assess that you are able to communicate clearly and that your English Language oral (speaking and listening) proficiency is sufficient to study in the UK. It is therefore important that you speak clearly providing full information to the questions you are asked.

Top Tips:

1)      Give full answers to explain your situation in detail

The interviewer will not have access to your visa application form, or any other information about you. This means that you have to explain your answers fully – do not assume that the interviewer already knows about your situation.

2)      Answer as naturally as you can, as though you are chatting with a fellow student

Some questions are only asked to check your English language fluency, there is no right or wrong answer. Questions may include where you have traveled to before, or other topics not related to your course of study.

3)      If you are genuinely planning to study, the interviewer is not trying to catch you out!

The purpose of the interview is to check that you can demonstrate in conversational English that you genuinely want to study. The decision as to whether to grant or refuse your visa application is not made by the person interviewing you – the transcript forms a part of the information used to assess your application. The interviewer is unlikely to have detailed prior knowledge of your country and will not have prior knowledge of your plans, motivations and experiences, so if it is relevant to the question – tell them about it!

4)      Prepare for the interview well, but do not rehearse specific answers

To help you prepare, think fully about why you are choosing to study your program, and the questions listed above. However, part of the purpose of the interview is to check you can speak English naturally, so do not give fully rehearsed pre-prepared answers. If you have any friends, family or colleagues who speak English, talk with them in detail about your plans and motivations for study in the UK – this is the kind of conversation you will have in your interview. It might also help to watch British films to get accustomed to the accent!

A report of this interview will be sent to the UK Visas and Immigration caseworker, who will consider it alongside your visa application and supporting documents. You may be called for a further interview if the caseworker needs more information.

After the interview, try writing down everything you were asked and how you answered. This can be very useful if there is a query at a later date.  

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

As part of the application process for Tier 4 (Students), you will need to attend an appointment to have your fingerprints and the digital photograph was taken. The process for postal applications is as follows:

  1. Submit your Tier 4 application online and send your cover sheet and supporting documents by Special Delivery (application cover sheet and supporting documents) by Special Delivery

  2. Receive an email confirming submission of the application

  3. Receive another letter telling you to make an appointment to provide your biometrics

  4. Attend the appointment at the time, date, and location arranged to provide your biometrics

  5. Your application will then be considered

  6. If successful your documents will be returned to you

  7. Separately your Biometric Residence Permit will be sent to you.

Note: If you are applying in person using the premium service, normally you can expect 1 to 5 (above) to happen on the same day and if your application is successful 6 and 7 (above) usually within a week. If you haven't received your BRP within 2 weeks of a positive decision on your Tier 4 application, you must contact the number provided on the letter confirming the grant of leave.

Recommended Pages

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