Applying to enter the UK as a Tier 4 (General) Student without a current student visa.

A video showing the visa application process for two international students from China: 

Latest News:


Changes will be brought in from the end of February 2015 starting with people who apply in Pakistan.  It will extend to everyone who applies from anywhere in the world apart from the UK from 31 July 2015.  

Please note that very little information is currently available about how the system is going to operate, so this summary cannot provide a full picture. It may contain inaccuracies and be subject to change:          

  1.  People who are applying for entry clearance will be asked what town they intend to stay in when they first arrive in the UK.           
  2.  They will be given a short-term entry clearance vignette (i.e. sticker) in their passport that gives them 30 days in which to both travel to the UK and go to a particular Post Office near the town they identified in their application, to collect a ‘Biometric Immigration Document’ (‘BID’) which shows their leave to remain for the rest of the course (and an appropriate period afterwards).
  3.  Applicants will no longer be issued with an entry clearance before they travel that covers the length of their course.           
  4.  Along with their entry clearance, they will receive a ‘decision letter’ explaining how and where to collect their BID after they arrive, and what leave it will show.                      
  5.  The Home Office hopes to create a system whereby “neither the…decision letter nor the short term…vignette can be used as evidence of the applicant’s leave or rights”. Whether this will be the case remains to be seen.                       
  6.  There will be no fee to pay to collect the BID from the designated Post Office branch, although there will be a fee to arrange to collect the BID from a different Post Office branch. “The applicant will be required to present their travel document [i.e. passport] and the decision letter, and security cleared post office officials will carry out an identity check. This will not include a biometric check.”                            
  7.  “Arrangements will be in place for family member and third party collections…The evidence to be provided in all cases is the travel document and decision letter.”  [Ref: www.ukcisa.org.uk/
  •  National Health Service (NHS) Surcharge: Please note that very little information is currently available about how the system is going to operate, so this summary cannot provide a full picture. It may contain inaccuracies and be subject to change: The Immigration Act 2014 introduces an NHS health surcharge provision which is likely to come into effect from April 2015. This will take the form of an up-front payment, by each migrant, of an amount expected to be £150 for students and £200 per person for other categories for each year of stay; the process for collecting the surcharge will be incorporated into the UK visa application process. The surcharge will be applicable to all non-EEA citizens who are applying for Tier 1, Tier 2 (excluding Intra-Company Transfers), Tier 4 or Tier 5 visas which are longer than six months in duration. [Ref: www.UCEA.ac.uk]                            
  • Tuberculosis testing: Please check if you need a Tuberculosis test certificate before you apply for your visa.  Countries including Nigeria, China, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Pakistan and many others now need a test before applying.  Your visa will be refused if you do not have a TB Certificate when required to do so.  A list of Home Office Approved TB testing clinics can be found at the Home Office website.

 Key Facts

1)The cost of a Tier 4 visa from outside of the UK is currently £310

2) Most countries require you to complete an online Tier 4 application; you can access the online application form here (exceptions below)

3) An example of the completed online form is available here:Example online application form

4) You can find out the likely processing times here: https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

Applying for your visa from outside of the UK
Applying for your visa from outside of the UK.

As well as your completed online form and bank statements (plus birth certificate and parental letter if using parental bank statements); you also need to provide several other documents with your application. You will need to provide one photocopy of each document, as well as the original. You will also need to provide professional translations of documents which are not written in English.

  • The fee for your application 
  • Passport(s)
  • Passport photographs
  • The original qualification (shown in your Aston CAS e-mail) that Aston used to assess your suitability for the course 
  • You may need a tuberculosis test: https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit for the UK – but only if you already have one 
  • You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. ATAS only affects a few students, mainly research students studying in the School of Engineering & Applied Science or the School of Life & Health Sciences. Find out more about ATAS
  • You should check to see if your country has specific bank statements which will be accepted by the Home Office; download the list of countries and institutions here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-rules-appendix-p

Please ensure your documents meet the criteria as listed in the Tier 4 application guidance before applying; if you have any worries please contact us for advice. The Tier 4 application guidance is available here



 Key Facts

Please note from 6th April 2014 nationals of all countries, including low risk, may be invited to attend a credibilty interview.

What are credibility interviews?
I still feel like I need some help, who do I contact? 

We offer free confidential immigration advice and support for applicants for Aston University; if at any point in the application process you need further advice or support please do not hesitate to contact us.

Page last updated 21/01/2015 JM

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