Applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa is not very complicated. You will need to understand the process, and you must have all the required documentation also known as supporting documents ready before you apply for the visa. Here are the steps you can follow to obtain a UK Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.
1. Get your Passport
Once you decide to come to the UK for higher education, you should get your passport ready if you already don’t have one. Depending on the country you are in, it might take a while until you get your passport. You will need your passport to apply to the university for admission, to take English language test and you cannot apply for student visa without your passport.
2. Make a List of Potential UK University
UK Tier 4 (General) Visa is tied to a “Register of licensed sponsors”. In another word, you must take admission to a UKVI approved university/college before you apply for your student visa. Finding the right university is a very important task as you will spend most of your student life at the university. Also, a good university will help you shape your career the way you are planning it to be. Depending on the course you want to study and the location you want to stay, you must research and find the best suitable university for yourself. You must consider the quality of education, student life, UKVI license status, course content, tuition fees, living expenses, support for international student, duration of the course and scholarships opportunity when you are choosing a University. Based on your criteria, make a list of potential UK universities that you want to apply. Learn more on how to choose a UK University. You can also get help from a UK University representative in your country.
3. Contact the University Before you Apply
You should contact all universities you shortlisted and ask them about admission and visa requirement for the country you are in. You should also ask about the application process and scholarships opportunities. Some Universities might refer you to their website for information, and the most university will be willing to help you with your admission and visa process. You can also get help with your admission process from your local UK university representatives.
4. Take UKVI Approved English Test
Proving your knowledge of the English language is one of the key requirements for your student visa application. Most universities will also not accept your admission application until you provide the proof that you have passed a Secure English language Test (SELT) and your results are either similar to the admission & UKVI requirements or higher than the admission & UKVI requirements. Check the Gov.uk website to learn more about the English Language requirements.
5. Open a Bank Account and Deposit Required Balance
To obtain a UK student visa, you also need to prove that you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees and your living expenses in the UK if you are granted a student visa. The amount you will need to show in your bank account will depend on your course fees and the city where your university is situated. When you contact your prospective universities, ask them about the amount you will need to deposit in your bank account. It is preferable to open the bank account in your name, and you must show that you held the money in your account for at least 28 consecutive days period, within last 31 days from the day you are submitting your visa application. To avoid any unnecessary hassle, it is strongly recommended to deposit your first-year tuition fees and living expenses in your bank account and not to withdraw the money until your visa is approved. You can, however, pay your tuitions fees from the deposited amount and keep only the living expenses in your account.
Check how much money you will need to deposit in your bank account using our interactive UK student visa maintenance fund calculator.
6. Get your Documents Translated (If applicable)
UK Universities and UKVI will not accept documents in a different language other than English. You must get your document translated which will increase your chance to get your admission application accepted.
7. Apply to the University
After your research and getting all the required information, choose at least 2 or 3 universities and apply to all 2 or 3 universities for admission. Make sure you submit a complete application form with all the required documents. If needed, get someone to review your application. One of the most important parts of your university application is your personal statement. You must provide an excellent personal statement.
8. Pay your Tuition Fees
When you received an unconditional offer letter, your next step is to pay your tuition fees. For some universities, you can pay 50% of your first-year tuition fees before you get your visa and many universities will ask you to pay your first-year tuition fees in full. If you had your tuition fees deposited in your bank account, you could pay from your account. But if you only deposited your maintenance fund in your bank account, you shouldn’t withdraw or pay your tuition fees from your bank account. Instead, pay your tuition fees from an alternative source. If you are not paying 100% of your first-year tuition fees, you will need to show the outstanding tuition fees in your bank account along with your living expenses (See step 5 for more information).
9. Take your Tuberculosis Test (Also Known as TB Test)
If you are a resident of any of these listed countries and you are coming to the UK for more than six months, you will require to take a Tuberculosis (TB) test and submit your test result with your visa application.
10. Get your Passport Size Photograph Taken
Depending on the country you are applying from, you might need to submit a passport size photograph with your visa application. You should get your passport size photograph taken from a professional photo studio.
11. Get your CAS Letter/CAS Number
Once you pay your tuition fees, your university will send you a CAS letter or a CAS number. You will need this number to apply for your Tier 4 Student (General) Visa.
12. Apply for our Visa Online
Once you have your CAS number and all required documents including your English test results (if applicable), bank statement, you must apply online for your UK Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. Visit UKVI online visa application page to apply for your student visa.
13. Find a Visa Application Centre & Book an Appointment
After you submit your visa application online, you will need to find your nearest UKVI visa application centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken for your biometric residence permit (your visa card) as part of your visa application process. After locating your nearest visa application centre, you will need to book an appointment to submit your application and documents and relevant fees. Most of the visa application centre can help you pay your visa fees and UK healthcare surcharge (known as ‘immigration health surcharge’ or HIS).
14. Pay your Visa Fees
Once you made your student visa application online and selected an appointment at your nearest UK visa application centre, you can pay your visa application fees online at the gov.uk website when you are submitting your application form. If you do not have a credit or debit card, you can get someone else (your relative or friend) to pay your visa fees if they have a debit or credit card. If you do not have any debit or credit card, you can pay your visa application fees at the UK visa application centre when you attend your appointment. Check how much you will need to pay as your visa application fees.
15. Pay UK Healthcare Surcharge Fees
As part of the UK visa application, you must pay your UK healthcare surcharge fees (known as ‘immigration health surcharge’ or HIS). Same as your visa application fees, you can either pay your surcharge fees online at gov.uk website or your visa application centre. If you have dependents applying with you, you will also need to pay healthcare surcharge fees for your dependents. Check how much healthcare surcharge fees you will need to pay.
16. Choose Premium Visa Services
Most of the UK visa application centre offers premium visa services which may include processing your application faster or helping you check your documents to make sure you have all the relevant required documents. If you are interested in premium visa services, you should check all available premium services offered by your nearest visa application centre and choose the ones you are interested in. You might have to pay an additional fee for premium services.
17. Attend Your Appointment
You will have to attend your appointment at the visa application centre. You cannot send someone else to process your visa application in your place. Make sure you bring all of your supporting documentation (original and one set of photocopies) with your when you are attending your appointment. You will also need to bring a copy of your online visa application and proof of any fees paid online. During your appointment, your fingerprint and photograph will be taken which is a mandatory requirement for your visa application.
18. Attend Visa Interview (if applicable)
You may be asked to attend an interview in person or on the phone. You must attend your interview if you are asked to do so. Otherwise, your visa application will be refused.
19. Track your Application
You will be notified by email when a decision on your visa application is returned to the visa application centre (this is the process for most of the countries, there might a different process for your country of residence. Check your nearest visa application centre website for more information). You may also be able to sign up for an SMS notification to stay up to date with your visa application progress.
20. Collect your Documents / Get your Documents Shipped
Once you know that a decision has been made on your visa application and your documents are returned to the visa application centre, go and collect your documents and visa application decision. You will need to bring your receipt issued by the visa application centre and your identification documents to collect your documentation. You can also send a representative to collect your documents but you will need to provide them with a letter of authorization signed by you, and they will need to bring their government-issued identification documents. Along with your submitted documents, you will also be given a letter to either confirm that you were granted a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa or explaining the reasons for refusing your visa application.
21. Book your Air Ticket and Fly
Once you have your student visa approved, you can then book your air ticket and come to the UK to study.