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Tier 4 - studying in the UK

Please note that there have been many changes to this category in the last 12 months. We therefore recommend that if you have any questions you should contact us directly. We cannot guarantee that all of the information on this website is completely up to date.

Tier 4 of the Points Based System

Since it is part of the Points Based System, it is important to note that you can submit a Tier 4 application from within the UK even if you no longer have current leave to remain (ie even if your visa has already expired), as long as your last grant of leave was as a student and as long as you meet all of the points requirements. Please also note that whilst we have summarised some of the points requirements below, these have been changing constantly and so we recommend that you contact us with any questions in relation to your eligibility.

Who will it apply to?

Tier 4 applies to applicants (adults and children) who want to come to the UK to study, and to those already in the UK who wish to continue with their studies or enroll on a new course of study.

From 31 March 2009, anyone wishing to come to the UK to study or to extend their studies in the UK must now apply under Tier 4.

Our Services

We advise and assist applicants with all Tier 4 related matters including:

* Same-day service applications;
* Postal applications;
* Appeals where tier 4 leave is refused;
* Entry clearance applications for tier 4 entry clearance;
* Entry clearance Administrative Reviews;
* Applications for Indefinite leave to remain;
* Naturalisation/Citizenship;
* Judicial review against refusal of tier 4 applications.

If you would like to know more about our services or need help with any of these matters, contact us for a free assessment.

Requirements - Adult students

Applicants must score 40 points in total:

• 30 points for the Visa Letter (now CAS Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies electronic document);
• 10 points for Maintenance (funds).

Note that there is detailed guidance about what documents are required in order to qualify for the award of points under Tier 4. The Home Office are interpreting the guidance very strictly and you must make sure that the exact requirements are met.

If you are unsure whether you have sufficient evidence please contact us and we will confirm your eligibility.

Maintenance (funds)

You must have a minimum level of maintenance funds available to you in order to score 10 points.

The amount of money you need to demonstrate will depend on where you plan to study (inner London or outer London/rest of the UK) and also how long your course will last.

You can show reduced maintenance funds if you have an "established presence" in the UK. The definition of "established presence" is complex. If you are not sure if you have an established presence in the UK or not please contact us.

You need to show these maintenance funds every day in your account for 28 days prior to submission of your application and your bank statements must be dated within 1 month of the application date.

You should provide personal bank statements but bank statements from your parents will also now be accepted as evidence of maintenance funds.

Requirements - Child students

Applicants must obtain entry clearance before coming to the UK, either as a Prospective Student, or as a Child Student once you have enrolled on a course of study. If you are in the UK as a Prospective Student, you can apply to “switch” into the Child Student category from within the UK.

You will still be expected to score 40 points as above for the Visa Letter and Maintenance funds.

Maintenance (funds)

The level of Maintenance funds that you will be required to demonstrate will depend on the length of course that you are planning to study and who will be looking after you in the UK during your studies.


If you are successfully granted leave to remain in the UK under tier 4, you may be entitled to bring children under the age of 18, spouses or unmarried partners to join you in the UK although they must also apply for entry clearance before coming here. Alternatively, they can apply for entry clearance at the same time as the main applicant.

Refusal of a Tier 4 application

If you are refused Tier 4 approval whilst applying from within the UK, whether there is a right of appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Chamber (AIC) will depend on whether you still have leave to remain in the UK. If the decision to refuse you leaves you without any leave to remain then you will have a right of appeal.

If you don't have a right of appeal but think that the decision to refuse you is unreasonable then you may be able to challenge the decision through a Judicial Review application.

If you have been refused a Tier 4 application from outside the UK you will not have a right of appeal but there is a right to apply for Administrative Review to the Entry Clearance Manager and potentially Judicial Review.

If your application has been refused and you want to know whether you could win an appeal, see our appeals page for more information or contact us for a free assessment. We have an excellent appeals success rate of over 90%.

See our Success Stories page for more details.

Fresh Applications

Under the Points Based System, it is possible to submit a fresh Tier 4 application from within the UK, even if your previous visa has expired and you no longer have leave to remain in the UK. If you are in possession of your passport, you should be able to use the same-day service but you must still meet the points requirements.

However, there are consequences to this course of action and you are advised to contact us for more in-depth advice.

Settlement (ILR)

Grants of leave under Tier 4 will depend on the length of your course.

To apply for settlement you must complete a continuous, lawful period of 10 years in the UK in any category. Alternatively, you can complete a continuous, lawful period of 5 years in an employment category such as Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Note that leave spent in the UK as a student or on the post-study scheme does not count towards the 5-year period although it may count toward the 10-year settlement qualification period.

success stories

Tier 1 and Tier 2 Appeal and Judicial Review Victories
The Home Office have been interpreting the Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements very strictly.

We have had great success in winning many appeals and Judicial Reviews against Tier 1 and Tier 2 refusals.
read more

Entry Clearance Appeals
Decisions of Embassies and BHCs overseas sometimes fail to fairly consider an individuals case. Refusals over the last few months have often been on maintenance grounds on the basis of minor issues with documents.

We have an excellent record of overturning unfair decisions made by Entry Clearance Posts.

See more details of our recent successes.
read more