Tier 4 (General) Visa
This guide gives you some useful information to make a straightforward Tier 4 visa application. However, the ultimate responsibility lies with you. You must start preparing your application early and pay lots of attention to detail.
You should wait until you have obtained your Tier 4 visa before booking any non-refundable tickets for travel.
In this section
Documents you will need for your Tier 4 application
It is your responsibility to collect the documents you need for your visa application and you should make sure that you understand the Tier 4 requirements and responsibilities as stated on the UKVI guidance
What documents are required?
Your current passport
It must be valid when you make your application and when you arrive in the UK. It must also contain at least one full page that is blank on both sides.
Two passport sized colour photographs.
They must meet the Home Office requirements
The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a virtual document similar to a database record. SRUC will issue you with a CAS once you have an unconditional offer and we are satisfied that you are likely to successfully apply for a Tier 4 visa.
Evidence of English language proficiency
If you have applied to study a degree level course you do not have to send an English certificate with your Tier 4 application. However, if your course is below degree level you will need a Home Office approved English certificate (SELT)
To meet Tier 4 financial requirements, you must be able to prove that you have enough money to cover for the first year of your course fees plus a set maintenance. This financial evidence must meet Home Office requirements (see below).
You’ll need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and you have been in any of the listed countries for more than 6 months immediately preceding your Tier 4 application.
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all international students studying postgraduate qualifications in certain sensitive subjects to apply for an ATAS certificate. If you are required to apply for an ATAS, SRUC will inform you during the application process.
Evidence of qualifications listed on your CAS
For each qualification listed, you must provide either:
a. The original certificate of qualification (the original not a copy) clearly showing:
• your name
• the title of the award
• the date of the award
• the name of the awarding institution.
(UKVI will not accept provisional certificates whether original or a copy) or
b. The transcript of results (the original not a copy) clearly showing:
• your name
• the name of the academic institution
• the course title
• the confirmation of the award
Translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh
If a document is not in English, it must come with a fully certified translation. It must contain confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the date, the translator full name and signature, and the translator/translation company’s contact details.
‘Low risk applicants’
If you are applying for entry clearance in your country of residence or leave to remain in the UK, and you are a national of one of the countries on Appendix H of the Immigration Rules, you are not required to include the financial and qualification documents with your application. You must, however, confirm on the form that you meet the requirements, and that you hold documentary evidence in the manner required. The UKVI may request these documents at any time during the application process.
NOTE: ALL DOCUMENTS MUST BE ORIGINAL
Students must show that they can cover the first year course fees and living costs for 9 months at £1,015 per month (£9,135 for nine months). The evidence of money that you use must be:
- cash funds in the bank (savings or current accounts); or
- official financial or government sponsorship; or
- a loan letter (provided by your government, or by a government sponsored student loan company)
1. Cash Funds
The statements must show:
- your name or your parent’s/legal guardian’s name
- the account number
- the date
- the financial institution’s name and logo
- the money in your account
- That you have held the money for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application
If you are using money held by your parents or legal guardians you will also need to provide:
- Your original birth certificate showing the name of the parent providing the funds
- an original signed and dated letter from your parents confirming the relationship between you and that the money in their account is for your studies
The following documents are acceptable as proof of cash funds:
NOTE : If you use electronic bank statements, these should be stamped on every page. Alternatively, you can provide a supporting letter from your bank on company headed paper, confirming the authenticity of the statements provided
2. Official financial sponsorship letter
The letter must be on official letter-headed paper with an official stamp, and must show:
- your name
- the name and contact details of your official financial sponsor
- the date of the letter
- the length of your sponsorship
- the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you or a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all of your fees and living costs
3. Loan letter
The letter must be the original (not a copy) and must clearly show:
- your name
- the date of the letter (no more than 6 months before your application)
- the financial institution’s name and logo
- the money available as a loan
- that the loan is provided by your national, state or regional government, a government sponsored student loan company or is part of an academic or educational loans scheme.
How to complete the online application if you are applying from outside the UK
You can apply for a Tier 4 in your country of nationality or your country of residence.
You will need to register on the Visas and Immigration Website and complete the online application form.
The online form asks you to specify what type of Tier 4 application you are making:
- Tier 4 (General) student visa: for most applicants
- Tier 4 (Child) student: for children (SRUC does not sponsor Tier 4 (Child) visas)
- Tier 4 student visa (Chevening, Marshall and Commonwealth scholars): for applicants with a Chevening Scholarship or fellowship, a British Marshall Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship or a Commonwealth Scholarship
Check the visa application times in your home country for an indication on how long it will take for your application to be processed.
For a Video Tutorial on how to complete the online form, watch the video below.
NOTE: If you are using overseas currency you should state in writing on your application form the closing balance in pounds sterling. You should use the official exchange rate on the OANDA website.
Submitting your Tier 4 application
BRP collection Location
Once you have submitted the online application form, you will need to click on the 'Biometric Residence Permit Collection' tab on the application portal. The nearest post office to collect your BRP from will be automatically selected for you.
You will need to make an appointment for your Biometrics at a Visa Application Centre. At this appointment, you will have your fingerprints and photograph taken.
During your visit at the Visa Application Centre, you may be asked to attend a Skype interview with an UKVI officer in the UK. The purpose of this interview is to make sure that you are a genuine student and that you can hold a conversation in English. Some prior preparation will help you relax when talking to the UKVI staff member.
How to prepare for the interview?
Immigration History: The UKVI member of staff will ask you if you have had any previous UK visa refusals, or if you have breached your visa conditions in the past.
Education history: They may ask you about your previous education and how it relates to the course you want to study in the UK. If your previous studies are not related to the new one, you should be able to explain why you have decided to change study fields.
Your course and SRUC: You should be able to talk confidently about your course content, dates, modules etc. You should also be able to explain what you know about SRUC and your chosen campus.
Future plans: Think about how your course will help you achieve your future career plans.
Personal and financial circumstances: Ensure that you are very clear about the availability of your funds; and if these are covered by your family, make sure you know well your parents financial circumstances. If you are being sponsored, you should know what exactly is covered with your scholarship and when will the funds be available to you. If you have a loan, you must confidently explain how you will pay this back.
You should also have knowledge of the cost of living in Scotland (i.e: accommodation, transport, etc.…)
Why the UK as a study destination: If there are similar courses offered in your country of origin, think why you have chosen to incur extra costs to study in Scotland and how a UK degree may help you achieve your goals.
You can request a copy of your interview transcript and we suggest that all students do this.
It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. This payment is in addition to the visa application fee and is not optional. Paying this fee means that you will be entitled to use the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK.
The form will automatically calculate the correct IHS fee from your course dates.
NOTE: Remember that the day you pay for your Tier 4 application fee online will be your official 'date of application' (your documents used as proof of funds must have been issued no more than 31 days before the 'date of application'.
What will happen next?
If your visa is granted
Your visa will be issued as a vignette (sticker) in your passport, valid for 30 days. You should travel to the UK within these 30 days and collect your Biometric Residence Permit within 10 days of when you said you would arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).
If your visa (or the accompanying letter) state that you must register with the police, do this within seven days of arriving in the UK.
If your visa vignette contains errors
When you receive your visa, double check that everything is correct (your name, date of birth, work conditions, sponsor license…). If anything is incorrect, ask for it to be changed immediately, ideally before you travel to the UK.
If your visa is refused
Please do not panic, contact us immediately as we may be able to help.
You should email us the refusal letter as soon as possible along with the copy of the documents that you sent with your visa application. We may ask the UKVI for an 'administrative review'. The fee is £80 if you applied for your Tier 4 in the UK, or free if you applied from abroad. We must make the request for administrative review within 28 days of the date you received your refusal notice, so it is very important that you contact us immediately after.
Your responsibilities under Tier 4
Students holding a Tier 4 visa are required by law to fulfil certain criteria and have specific duties. It is important that you understand and comply with these responsibilities and co-operate with SRUC in fulfilling our shared Tier 4 obligations. Any breach could have a serious impact on your studies and continued stay in the UK.
Your responsibilities under Tier 4 of the points-based system
Some nationals are required to register with the police within seven days of arrival in the UK. To check whether you need to register, please see guidance from the UK government about registering with the police.
Students are expected to attend classes and complete all of the requirements for the course. SRUC has an obligation to inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of any student who fails to engage with their course of study.
Study only at SRUC
A Tier 4 visa is only valid for the institution that it was issued for. However, it may be possible to change course of studies within SRUC.
Work in the UK
Your Tier 4 visa allows you limited working rights in the UK. For most students at degree level this is 20 hours per week during term-time and 10 hours per week for students below degree level. Violating these restrictions can result in cancellation of your visa, fines and/or a ban on entry to the UK.
Please see the Home Office guidance for further information about this.
No recourse to public funds
Your immigration conditions prohibit you from accessing 'public funds', which means certain welfare benefits and local authority housing. Using the National Health Service or being exempt from Council Tax does not count as accessing 'public funds'.
SRUC’s responsibilities under Tier 4 of the points-based system
SRUC is required to:
- Keep copies of your visa and passport.
- Keep up to date contact details for you (and keep a record of any changes of address).
- Report to the UKVI if you do not enrol on your course during the enrolment period stated on your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS).
- Monitor your attendance and progression and report to the Home Office if you do not attend or progress.
- Notify the Home Office of any changes to your status. For example if you suspend or interrupt your studies, if you change course while at SRUC, if you finish your course earlier than expected, or if you change visa category.
- Report to the Home Office if we suspect that you are breaking the terms and conditions of your visa.
Find out more about living and studying in Scotland
Living in Scotland
With a little preparation and knowledge this can be an exciting opportunity to learn and grow and be part of something new!
Read about international entry requirements and accepted language tests.