The information provided in this guide is correct at the time of publication (May 2020) however, it is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please check the government website or contact us for legal advice.
This guide applies to those who are intending on resuming their studies in the UK. You may be able to stay longer in the UK to continue your studies or start a new course.
You may be able to extend your Tier 4 Visa if you:
- Meet the eligibility requirements of this visa;
- Be in the UK;
- Have a sponsor.
When to extend your visa
You should apply for the Tier 4 General Student Visa within 6 months of receiving your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and before your current visa expires. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before the start of your new course.
Applying from within the UK
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the government has relaxed some rules in relation to visa extensions at this point in time. You will be exceptionally allowed to apply for further leave within the UK if your visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020.
This means that if you are unable to complete your studies within the current period due to COVID-19, you will be able to apply within the UK to complete that course.
You will be exempt from demonstrating academic progression during this COVID-19 period if you are required to repeat an academic year, retake a module or resit an exam. Similarly, if you would need more time to complete a course as a result of COVID-19, you will be exempt from demonstrating academic progression, for instance, where your sponsor suspends studies for the duration of any social distancing measures.
Applying from outside the UK
At the time of writing, all UK Visa Application Centres are currently closed due to COVID-19. However, you are still able to apply online for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.
You will be required to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre to obtain a biometric residence permit as part of your application once the visa application centres reopen. Please check your nearest visa application centres for information on when they will operate again.
You must provide the following documents when you apply for the visa:
- Current passport or other valid travel documentation
- Financial evidence that you are able to support yourself and pay for your course during the duration of your study
- Proof of parental consent or a legal guardian’s consent if you are under 18
- Proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian if you are under 18, for example birth certificate or adoption certificate
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the tests – for further information, check the government’s official website.
As part of the condition of your visa application, you will need to evidence that you have sufficient money to pay for your course fees and livings costs. This is referred to as the maintenance requirement.
This will mean that you must have sufficient funds to pay for the entire course if your course lasts for a year or less than a year, and sufficient funds to pay the first year of your course if it longer than a year. Your CAS will confirm how much funds you need for your course fees.
The Home Office uses a fixed scale which may or may not reflect actual living costs in the UK.
You must prove that you have either:
- £1,265 per month for living costs if you are studying in London; or
- £1,015 per month for living costs if you are studying outside London.
As a guide, you must provide evidence e.g. an original bank statement showing that you have enough money to pay for your living expenses up to a maximum of 9 months.
If you are refused entry
You will be given a written notification on why you have been refused entry to the UK, whether you can appeal against the decision and when you will be removed from the UK. Typically, you will be required to leave the UK immediately.