Apply for a Tier 4 visa
If you are an international student studying in the UK for more than six months, you may need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa before you enter the UK. Find out if you need a visa.
Please refer to the UKVI Tier 4 policy guidance which sets out the exact requirements for a Tier 4 application.
When to apply
You can only apply for a Tier 4 visa once you have been issued with your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.
Once you have obtained your CAS number, the earliest you can apply for a Tier 4 student visa is three months before the start date of your course.
You should apply as early as you can to account for any delays in processing times.
How to apply
You must apply online for a Tier 4 student visa and pay the fee (plus an additional fee each for any dependants). You should read through the UKVI’s full guidance on applying for the Tier 4 visa before you apply.
During the application process, you will be given the opportunity to choose where you want to pick up your biometric residence permit card upon arrival in the UK. You can choose to enter an alternative location number which will allow you to collect your card from the University of St Andrews when you matriculate. To do this, enter the code 2HE357 in the alternative location number field when you come to this during your online application process.
You must also pay an immigration healthcare surcharge of £300 per year of study; this surcharge will be collected at the point of visa application.
After you complete the online application, you will be required to make an appointment to have your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) taken at a visa application centre. After your biometrics have been recorded, you will be required to submit your biometric receipt (obtained at your biometric appointment) along with your supporting documents.
In order to be eligible for a Tier 4 visa, you must satisfy the immigration rules for Tier 4 of the points-based system. This requires that you score assessment ‘points’ against two sets of objective criteria to achieve an overall pass more of 40 points.
After you apply
The embassy will consider your application. Depending upon where you apply, your documents will be sent back to you by secure mail or you will be contacted to arrange to collect them.
The amount of time a visa application takes varies. During busy periods (May to October), it can take up to eight weeks. In some countries, you may be able to get your visa application fast tracked using the Priority Service. Contact your visa application centre to find out if this service is available in your country.
Your returned passport will contain your visa as a vignette on one of your passport pages. You should check that all of your information is correct on your visa and that it has the University of St Andrews sponsor licence on it (V63Q719H2).
Once your visa has been issued, you will be given a short-term entry clearance to enter the UK within 30 days of your specified date of travel. Please ensure you use the correct date of travel when coming to the UK.
You must collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) within 10 days of arrival in the UK.
Your supporting documents need to be originals and not photocopies. You should also provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English.
You also need to make sure that you have one blank page, front and back, in your passport or travel document where you visa vignette will be attached.
Low risk nationals
If you are from a low risk country, you will typically only need to submit the following supporting documents as part of your application:
You should be aware, however, that you may be requested to provide the full range of documents at any time during the visa application process, and you should make sure you are able to do so in case this happens.
All other nationals
If you are not from a low risk country, you must supply the following supporting documents as part of your application:
- passport or other valid travel identification
- one extra photograph that meets the UKVI photo rules
- the academic certificates and transcripts the University used to assess you suitable for entry (this will be noted on the preliminary CAS email sent to you)
- financial evidence (see below)
- ATAS certificate, if applicable
- tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
- If you are undertaking a course under degree level (such as a Foundation programme or pre-sessional course) you will need to provide evidence of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at CEFR Level B1 (Level 4 in all four components).
- If you are under the age of 18 at the time of your application, you must supply a letter from your parent or guardian confirming their relationship with you, that they give consent to the visa application, and that they consent to you living in and travelling to the UK independently. You must also provide evidence of your relationship to your parent or guardian, such as a birth certificate, certificate of adoption, or a court document naming them your legal guardian.
You will also need to provide financial evidence that you can support yourself during your studies. You will need to submit a bank statement showing the specified amount of money has been held in your account consistently for 28 days before the application dates. It must also contain the account holder’s name and account number.
The amount of money you must demonstrate will depend on the length of the course you are undertaking:
- More than nine months: tuition fees for the year (as stated in the CAS) plus £9,135.
- Less than nine months: tuition fees for the year (as stated in the CAS) plus £1,015 per month for the duration of the course.
You can also use the following as evidence of your finances:
- money that has been paid in advance to the University (shown in the CAS)
- a maximum of £1,265 that is paid to the University for accommodation (shown in the CAS)
- University of St Andrews sponsorship, scholarship, bursary or discount (shown in the CAS)
- official financial sponsorship (you must provide an original letter from the organisation which details the funding).
If you are relying on a parent or legal guardian for financial support, you must provide their bank statement along with proof of their relationship to you (birth certificate, adoption certificate, or legal guardian document) and a letter from your guardian confirming that they are financially responsible for you.
If the money in your account is not held in pounds sterling (GBP), you must provide a printed-out conversion of the closing balance from your home currency to pounds sterling from OANDA.