Immigration and Visas

Tier 4 (General Student) Visa Guide

If you are a non-EU/EEA National you will need a visa that allows you to study in the UK. Most students will apply for a General Student Visa (TIER 4 visa under the Points Based System – PBS) to study in the UK.

Even students classed as non-visa nationals will need to apply for the correct permission to study in the UK.

Tier 4 visas are suitable for full-time undergraduate or postgraduate programmes, including pre-sessional courses.

Under the PBS, you must be sponsored by a University, which is registered with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as a Tier 4 sponsor.

Tier 4 visa applications require 40 points:

  • 30 points for a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number from the University
  • 10 points for demonstrating you have the required funds to support yourself in the UK.

Please note on 12th November 2015 the Home Office removed the established presence provision for the maintenance requirement, so you are required to show £1,015 per month towards living expenses for the duration of your studies, or nine months, whichever is shorter.

Your visa application will be refused if you do not meet these requirements.

Find out more information about bringing dependents to the UK while you study.

When should I apply?

Once you have firmly accepted your unconditional offer and received your CAS you can start to prepare your visa application. The earliest you can submit your application is three months before your course start date. However, you can start preparing your application in advance, ensuring you have the correct documents and sufficient funds in your bank account.

Please check your CAS letter carefully. If you notice any errors please email as soon as possible so the errors may be rectified.

Applying from Overseas

For detailed information on applying for a Tier 4 Visa from your home country, please visit the UKCISA website.

To apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa from outside of the UK, you need to complete an online application form, with the exception of students living in North Korea who must apply in person.

You will then need to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre. To find an application centre, please visit the Visa Application Centre (VAC) website.

When you attend your appointment you will need to take your printed application form with all of your supporting documents for your visa.

At the visa application centre you will have your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) taken. In addition you may be interviewed. You may be asked to discuss why you want a Tier 4 Visa. You should be prepared to explain why you decided to study in the UK, why you chose to study at the University of Northampton and why you chose your course.

Whether you are making your first visa application for entry clearance or applying to extend your visa in the UK you are required to provide the correct supporting documents.

We advise you to refer to the Home Office Tier 4 Policy Guidance to make sure that all of your documents meet the Home Office requirements. The date of application is the day that you submit and pay for your application online. Please do not submit or pay for your application until all of your supporting documents are ready.

Renewing your visa in the UK

Continuing students:

Please note, if you are applying to continue your studies in the UK, your new course must start within 28 days of the expiry of your permission to stay.

If you are progressing onto a new programme of study and applying in the UK, please follow the guidance below:

  • Please ensure that you have the appropriate funds to make your application. This includes your tuition fees and living fees. Please note you will also need to have sufficient funds to pay for the NHS Health Surcharge and your visa application fee.
  • When you have received your unconditional offer, please pay your tuition fees and email a copy of your receipt and CAS request to both and
  • When your CAS is ready you will receive an email from the CAS Team advising you to contact International Student Support Services (ISSS).
  • When you have prepared all of your supporting documents you will need to make an appointment with ISSS. Please go to the Student Help Desk to book an appointment. Please ensure you have registered an account with UKVI and completed as many sections of the application as possible prior to attending.
  • ISSS will provide you with your CAS and check your application and supporting documents before you submit your application. We will then send your completed application to UKVI for processing.

To start the application process please visit the UKVI website.

CAS Letters

Students who require a Tier 4 (General) Student visa will need a valid CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) in order to make a Tier 4 application. The CAS is an electronic document that confirms that we are willing to act as your sponsor for your studies in the UK.

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