Apply for a visa in the UK

Renewing or extending your Tier 4 leave in the UK.

If you're an existing student with us and need to extend your stay, please contact the International Student Advice Service. If you need a CAS to extend after completing a Pre-Sessional course, we run regular visa workshops to enable you to apply for your visa application.

The International Student Advice Service can help you with this process but you should always refer to the UK Visa and Immigration website before making a Tier 4 application.

Applying inside the UK

Can I apply to extend my Tier 4 student visa in the UK?

From 6 April 2016, you are only permitted to extend your visa from within the UK if you are:

  • Starting a new course at a higher academic level and have successfully completed your previous course. You only successfully complete a course if you are awarded the qualification for which you were granted your visa. You also have to make sure that the start date of the new course must be no later than 28 days after the expiry date of your latest visa. If there is a gap of more than 28 days following the expiry date of your current visa before your course starts, you must apply overseas;
  • A PhD student;
  • In your final year and repeating a year of study;
  • Where you are starting a new course at the same level as a previous course which you have successfully completed (meaning you have received your results and achieved the qualification for which you were studying) and
  • the new course is related to the previous course; or
  • the previous and new course combined support your genuine career aspirations.

If you are extending your visa for any other reason, such as transferring onto a longer course, or where you have not successfully completed your previous course, you will need to make your visa application overseas. Please refer to our ‘Applying from your country’ pages.

If you are currently in the UK on a different type of visa and are intending to ‘switch’ into the Tier 4 category, you should contact us prior to beginning the process so that we can verify that your visa application can be made from inside the UK.

Receiving your CAS

In order to apply for your visa, you will require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). Please refer to our CAS webpage for further details as to how you will receive your CAS.

Documents you must provide

You will need the following documents to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa:

  • All passports used to travel to the UK;
  • Two passport photographs that meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. If your photograph does not meet these requirements, your application will be returned as invalid;
  • Original qualifications and English language documents as listed in the "evidence provided" box of your CAS;
  • Financial documents to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds (see sections: Financial document required and How much money do I need);
  • Translations – if applicable. If any of the required documents are not in English, the original must be sent with a fully certified translation by a professional translator to meet the UKVI requirements;
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) - applicable if you have applied for a visa inside the UK since November 2011);
  • Police registration certificate (with your current address) – if applicable;
  • ATAS certificate if required*;
  • Your tuberculosis test result if you are from a country where you are required to take a test.

All documents must be originals, not copies. You should read the Gov.UK Home Office UKVI information for full details on which documents are required.

Students who qualify for differentiation are not required to submit documents relating to finances or qualifications.  However, we recommend you hold this evidence in case the UKVI asks for it. Students from Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and applying in their home country qualify for this. See the Home Office website for more information on differentiation.

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before applying for a visa if you're studying a certain sensitive subject, mainly science and engineering. Find out if you need an ATAS certificate (your CAS will also state whether you need an ATAS certificate).

How much money do I need?

You'll need enough money to pay for your course fees and your living costs whilst you are in the UK. The Home Office refers to this as the maintenance requirements. 

You must have:

  • enough money to pay for the course fees for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year long;
  • a fixed amount of money to cover your living costs. (You'll need to have £1,015 for each month of your course, up to £9,135 for a course lasting nine months or more).


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

  • money that you have already paid to your Tier 4 sponsor towards your course fees; 
  • up to £1,265 that you have already paid to your Tier 4 sponsor for your accommodation fees, if you will be living in university or college accommodation.

You cannot deduct any advance payment for any other type of housing, nor can you adjust the amounts if you will have no housing costs, (for example if you will be living with a relative free of charge).

Your CAS may include details of any money paid to your institution. If not, you will need to provide an official receipt issued by your institution. It must be an original paper receipt confirming how much money you have paid towards your course fees and/or your accommodation fees.

If you are a student that qualifies for differentiation you should obtain the receipt, but you do not need to include it with your initial application.

If the total amount that you are required to show the Home Office is more than the amount that you have paid to your institution for course fees and for accommodation fees (up to a maximum of £1,265) then you must have the rest of the money required.

Information on the Immigration Health Surcharge

People who need immigration permission to come to or stay in the UK will be charged an additional sum as part of their immigration application. This will entitle them to receive free health services under the National Health Service. 

The Tier 4 application forms will automatically calculate how much of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) applicants have to pay. 

How much will this cost?

The Health Charge for Tier 4 students is £150 per year. Each Tier 4 dependant will also be charged £150 per year. 

If this period of leave includes part of a year that is six months or less, the amount payable for that part of a year is half the specified amount, ie £75 for students and their dependants. If the period of leave includes part of a year that is more than six months, the full £150 annual amount is payable.

Who is exempt from the Health Charge?

  • those making an application for Entry Clearance of six months or less

Further details of the NHS Surcharge can be found on gov.uk.

Submitting a Visa application

Completing your application online

  • The Tier 4 student visa application process is now fully online.
  • You'll need to register to create an account. You'll then be able to start filling out the online application form. You'll be able to save it and return at any time.
  • The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge will automatically be calculated for you.
  • You'll be able to pay the fee online. The fee for the Standard Service is £488 to submit your application online and then post your documents (plus £448 per dependant if applying at the same time).
  • You can select the Premium Service which costs £948 (plus £948 per dependant if applying at the same time). This service will require you to make an appointment and your application should be processed in one day, unless you are asked to attend a Credibility Interview, in which case your application may take several week to complete.
  • An International student advisor will be happy to check your application for you before you pay the fee and submit your application. You can make an appointment for this by contact us.
  • After you have completed the application online, you will be given a personalised check list of all documents that the UKVI will require. These must either be posted if you have selected the standard service or taken with you if you have used the premium appointment service.
  • Once you have submitted your visa application you will receive a letter from the Home Office asking you to submit biometrics; this can be done at any Post Office with this facility.  Under normal circumstances a decision on your application will take 8 weeks, but this is not guaranteed.
  • Once you have submitted your application, you can stay in the UK until you have received a decision.

Financial documents required


The immigration rules are very strict about the financial documents that you have to submit for your visa application. You'll need to provide very specific financial documents as outlined in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

You can demonstrate that you have enough money by providing one of the following:

  • Personal paper bank statements;
  • Electronic bank statements;
  • Official letter from an authorised bank confirming funds;
  • Official letter from an authorised financial institution confirming loan funds.

Which Financial Institutions are accepted?

There are some financial institutions that are not accepted by the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration department.  If you're using a bank statement from one of the below countries, please refer to the Immigration Rule: Appendix P to check whether your financial evidence is from an acceptable financial institution:

  • Cameroon
  • India
  • Ghana
  • Pakistan
  • Iran
  • Philippines
  • Bangladesh
  • Sri Lanka

Can I use my parent's bank account?

Yes, you can use a bank account in your parent's or guardian's name (or names). If you wish to do this, you must also include evidence of their relationship to you. (If you are a student who qualifies for differentiation you should obtain this evidence, but you do not need to include it with your initial application.) If you'd like to use your parent's funds then you'll need to also provide:

  • your original birth certificate, or a notarised copy, showing the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application;
  • if you are adopted, the original certificate of adoption, or a notarised copy, showing your name and the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application;
  • if you have a legal guardian, an original court document, or notarised copy, which shows the name of your guardian(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application.

You must also provide an original signed letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s), confirming the relationship between you, and confirming that they consent to the funds being available to you for study in the UK.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides further details about evidence that could be submitted but is not currently listed on the Tier 4 Policy Guidance. Please refer to the UKCISA website for more information.

How do I show I have an official financial sponsor?

An official financial sponsor is defined in the Tier 4 policy guidance as:

  • the UK government;
  • your home government;
  • the British Council;
  • any international organisation;
  • an international company (the Home Office has not defined 'international company' but it seems to mean a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country);
  • any university;
  • an Independent School.

If you receive funding from any of the above sources, you will need a letter from them confirming how much money they will contribute towards your course fees and maintenance. If your official financial sponsor is also your Tier 4 sponsor and they have included details of your financial sponsorship in your CAS, you do not need an additional letter. The letter must show:

  • your name;
  • the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor;
  • the date of the letter;
  • the length of the sponsorship;
  • the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you, or a statement that all course fees and living costs will be covered.

If you are a student who qualifies for differentiation, you should obtain this letter and keep it safe, but you do not need to include it with your initial application.

If your official financial sponsor is not covering all of your course fees and maintenance, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the rest of the money required.

Financial documents

Your financial documents must be presented in the correct format.

Original paper/electronic statements

Personal bank statements, either original or electronic, covering a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application, must include all of the following:

  • Your name, or the name of parent/legal guardian if applicable;
  • Your account number;
  • Your bank's name and logo;
  • The amount of funds in your account (the balance should show that there are sufficient funds in your account to cover the cost of any unpaid tuition fees and the required maintenance funds);
  • The funds required must have been in your bank account for a continuous period of 28 days;
  • Your statements must not be more than one month old.

If you are using electronic bank statements then each page must be stamped by the bank or your bank must issue a letter confirming the authenticity of your electronic bank statements.

Bank letter

You can provide a bank letter confirming funds have been held for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application. This can be the easiest and most simple way to provide the evidence that you have the correct amount of maintenance.  The letter must include all of the following:

  • your name, or the name of your parent/legal guardian; 
  • the date of the letter;
  • the account number;
  • the financial institution's name and logo;
  • the amount of funds in your account  - this must be sufficient to cover the cost of any unpaid tuition fees and the required maintenance funds;
  • written confirmation that the funds listed have been in your bank account for a continuous period of 28 days and that the balance has not fallen below the required amount;
  • any letter issued by your bank must be used to apply for a visa within 31 days of the closing balance date indicated.

Loan funding document

A letter confirming educational loan funds must include the following:

  • Your full name;
  • The date of the letter;
  • The loan provider/financial institution's name and logo;
  • The funds available as a loan;
  • that the loan is provided by your national government , their state or regional government, a government sponsored student loan company or is part of an academic or educational loans scheme;
  • The letter confirming your loan funding must be dated no more than six months before the date your visa application.
Contact the International Student Advice Service:
+44 (0)1225 876277

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