A simple guide to study in the UK


Many students around the world aim and want to study in the UK for many reasons. In this article we will provide you a simple but comprehensive guide to obtain a Tier – 4 student visa.

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What is on this page?

  • Introduction
  • Entry clearance
  • Education body
  • Requirements for the student visa
  • Application time and fee
  • Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Travel
  • CAS letter
  • Academic Requirements
  • Maintenance
  • Deductions
  • Supporting documents
  • What would you do next?

Entry Clearance

To obtain a Tier 4 student visa, prospective students have to apply for Entry Clearance from the UK High Commission. The category of student is divided between minor and adult students. An adult student is someone who would like to study in the UK for post-16 education under Tier 4 (general). A child student is a person aged between 4 and 17 years and intends to study in the United Kingdom.

Education Body

The educational body where a student wants to study must be an approved education provider. If you enrol at a place of study which is not a registered sponsor or on the list of the registered sponsors then you cannot apply for a student visa. You can check the list of all registered sponsors for the 2018/19 academic year on our website under the category of Immigration in step 2.


  • The student must be registered or enrolled with an approved education provider and this will provide you with 30 points.
  • You must have the required funds, and this will further provide you with 10 points.
  • The applicant must when required to do so on examination or at interview prove the proficiency of English language of a standard to be expected from such individual as specified in his/her CASS letter (letter issued by the college or University).
  • The entry Clearance officer must also be satisfied that you are a genuine student and the purpose of your stay in the UK is purely studies. (Although, you may be allowed to pursue part time work both during and after term time i.e. on vacation. This is subject to a weekly and hourly cap)
  • You must be from a country that is not in the European Economic Area or Switzerland

Application Times and Fee

You may apply 3 months before you start your course and a decision is usually made in three weeks. Visa processing times vary by country and can be checked online. It costs £348 to apply from outside the UK and it is the same price per person for any dependents you wish to bring along.

Immigration Health Surcharge

You will have to pay the immigration health surcharge during the online application process by debit or credit card and you need to return to the application (after paying) in 30 minutes maximum.

If you want to figure out how much you will be paying, there is a webpage where you can calculate your cost by answering a few questions. If you’re applying online, you’ll be asked for your start and end dates on your certificate of sponsorship and your course dates if you’re applying as a student.

 If you’re applying by post, you’ll also be asked for the type of visa you’re applying for, your passport or travel document number and an email address.

From 8 January 2018, if you are applying for a student visa or on a Youth Mobility Scheme then you have to pay £300 IHS per year. For all other applicants, the IHS will be £400 per year.


You can arrive in the UK up to 1 week before if your course lasts 6 months or less or up to one month before if your course is more than 6 months. Once here, you cannot get access to public funds, work in certain jobs like work in certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach or study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (maintained school).

 You may be able to bring in family members and they must demonstrate sufficient funds to take care of themselves during their stay.

CAS: The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies

A student must obtain a CAS letter, which is issued by an approved education provider. Each CAS has a unique reference number. The CAS also provides information about the intended educational course for which it is issued and other personal details.

 You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS and an entry clearance or leave to remain must be made no more than three months before the start of the course. A CAS will expire if it is not used for entry clearance or where it is left unused for six months from the date of issue. Most importantly, a CAS can be used only once.

Academic requirements

The course which is pursued by a student must meet the Home Office’s minimum educational/academic requirements and must be a full-time course of study and must take place on the premises of the education provider except where the applicant is on work placement.


The student must also hold sufficient funds to maintain himself in the United Kingdom, this will provide you with 10 points. If the applicant is applying as a Tier 4 Migrant, they must provide specified documents that demonstrate the funds have been held for a consecutive 28-day period of time.

The financial sources required to prove maintenance will depend on the length of the course and where the course will be held

Length of Course Location Amount of Maintenance Required
9 months or less Inner London Course fee + £1265/each month for living costs. Required for the 9 months or less dependent upon the length of the course
9 months or less Outer London and anywhere else in the UK Course fee + £1015/each month for living costs. Required for the total duration of the course which is 9 or fewer months


You can deduct the following from the total amount of money that you need as part of your immigration application

Supporting Documents

The student must provide documentary evidence that he has access to the funds or the funds have been available to him for a consecutive period of at least 28 days and within the last 31 days before the date of application. Following documents are accepted by Entry Clearance officers and the Home Office

  • Personal bank or building society’s statement.
  • A building society’s passbook.
  • A letter from another financial institution which is regulated by the FSA etc.
  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation (blank page needed for visa)
  • proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
  • proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian if you’re under 18
  • your (Tuberculosis) TB test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • This list is by no means exhaustive. You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances. (A yellow fever test result may be required and so may a birth certificate. It is important that individual circumstances may vary greatly.)

Where a student is sponsored by any government or other institute or organisation, the details must be available either through CAS or a letter is required from the sponsoring body. The letter must confirm the length of the sponsorship and that it will cover the financial obligations of the student.

Tier- 4 Student visa is a complex area of Immigration law. For further information and advice, you can ask the Legalally’s experienced Immigration lawyer instantly through our E-consultation from anywhere in the world.

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