Bishop & Sewell

What is it?

The Tier 4 General visa enables those aged 16 and over to study in the Uk at a school, college or university that holds a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence.

What are the main requirements?

In order to qualify for a Tier 4 General visa the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:

  • they have been offered an unconditional offer of a place on a course;
  • the course is with a licenced Tier 4 sponsor and they have been assigned a confirmation of acceptance for studies document (‘CAS’);
  • they can speak, read, write and understand English to a required standard;
  • they meet the maintenance requirements issued by the Home Office; and
  • they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

How long can I stay and what are the conditions of my stay?

Applicants will be granted leave in line with the duration of their course with additional time at the start and end of the course to settle in and arrange their affairs.

Applicants can apply to extend their leave or apply for new leave, however, those who have previously studied in the UK will only be granted additional leave if:

  • they will be studying at a higher academic level than previously; or
  • they will be studying at the same level as previously but their new studies relate to, and adds to, their previous qualification or they meet one of the other exceptions to the academic progression rule; or
  • they will be resitting exams or repeating modules; or
  • they are applying for the first time to a new institution to continue a course that they started elsewhere.

Applicants who will study at a higher education institution (HEI) or an overseas HEI will be granted permission to work in part time roles for a limited number of hours. The exact amount of hours a Tier 4 General student can work will depend upon course. Self-employment and permanent employment is not permitted.

An applicant cannot continue to study in the UK indefinitely and a five year cap is placed on study above degree level with only certain exceptions.

The Tier 4 General category is not a route that leads to settlement in the UK. Once an applicant has completed their studies, in order to remain in the UK they will be required to switch to another visa category. If they do not meet the requirements of other categories, they will be required to leave the UK at the end of their studies.

How we can help?

The requirements of the Tier 4 General visa are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the Immigration Rules and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome. They will also fully advise on the requirements to be satisfied for extension applications.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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