Applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa to Study in the UK

On 30 March 2009, the UK Government changed student visa application rules to the Tier 4 Points-based System. In order to apply as an adult student you must obtain 40 points in your application by having:

  • A confirmed place on a course offered by an approved education provider (30 points); and
  • Enough money at the time of applying to cover your course fees and monthly living costs (10 points).

To assist with your application the Embassy has produced the following guide to the UK Student Visa Application Process.

Disclaimer: The information on this page should be taken as a guide only. It is highly advisable that each applicant takes the necessary time to read through the visa application procedures thoroughly before lodging the application. Full information on applying for a student visa in the UK can be found on the UK Border Agency website.

UK Student Visa Application Process

1. Choose the course you want to study and check it is a level accepted by UK Border Agency

2. Check the institution you want to apply to is licensed to sponsor students by the Home Office under the Tier 4 Points-based System.

3. Work out what money you require to cover your course fees and monthly living costs.

The money you will need will depend upon your course fees, the length of your course, the location of your institution and whether you will are a child or an adult. Please see the table below for guidance on total study for an adult studying at university in the UK:

Length of course

Where you will study

Maintenance (funds) needed

Nine months or less

In London

Course fees and £800 to cover living costs for each calendar month of the course

Nine months or less

Outside London

Course fees and £600 to cover living costs for each calendar month of the course

More than nine months

In London

First year of fees and £7,200 to cover living costs for nine months in the United Kingdom

More than nine months

Outside London

First year of fees and £5,400 to cover living costs for nine months in the United Kingdom

4. Obtain a visa letter from your approved education provider (you get 30 points for your visa letter), and gather all the documents you used to obtain this visa letter.

The visa letter is confirmation of your unconditional offer of a place on a course of study. Without a visa letter, your application will be refused.

5. Obtain proof that you have the money necessary to fund your studying in the UK (you get 10 points for having proof of funds).

You will need to demonstrate that your funds will cover your course fees for your first year of study and living costs for up to a maximum of nine months. Your money must be held in cash - shares, bonds, pension funds or similar savings accounts will not be accepted.

Additionally, you must show that you have held the money for at least 28 days prior to your application. Your proof of funds document must show that the end date of this 28 day period occured no more than one month before the date of your application.

Valid Evidence of Funds Documents

To prove your funds, you can provide bank or building society statements, a building society passbook, a letter from your bank confirming money or a loan, a letter from a regulated financial institution or a letter of official financial sponsorship.

A valid personal or building society statement should show:
  1. your name, or the name of a child's parent(s)/legal guardian(s) (if the applicant is a child); and
  2. the account number; and
  3. the date of the statement; and
  4. the financial institution's name and logo; and
  5. the amount of money available (this must cover your course fees and living costs).

Note: Personal bank or building society statements are valid proofs of funds for up to a month after the date of the closing balance. They are not valid for longer. New bank statements may be required if a visa application is resubmitted.

A valid letter from a bank or building society should show:
  1. your name, or the name of a child's parent(s)/legal guardian(s) (if the applicant is a child); and
  2. the account number; and
  3. the date of the letter; and
  4. the financial institution's name and logo; and
  5. the money in your account; and
  6. that there is enough money in the account (to cover your course fees and living costs).

Please scroll to the end of this page to download a sample bank or building society letter.

Letter of official financial sponsorship or government sponsor

Financial sponsorship means that you are given money to cover your course fees and living costs. Your official sponsor could be the Government of Maldives, the UK Government, the British Council or another international organization, company or university.

If you have an official financial sponsor, you will need to provide a letter of confirmation from your official financial sponsor with your application. The letter must be on the official stationery of your official financial sponsor and have the official stamp of that organization on it. Additionally, the letter should show:

  1. your name;
  2. the name and contact details of your official financial sponsor;
  3. the date of the letter;
  4. the length of your sponsorship; and
  5. the amount of money you have been given, or a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all of your fees and living costs.

If your financial sponsor is only covering some of your course fees or living costs, you must provide a sponsorship letter and submit evidence that you have the rest of the money you require (see above).

General Notes
  • If you have already paid some of your fees or accommodation before applying for your visa, this amount will be deducted from the total amount of money you need to demonstrate. For accommodation, this only applies if you are staying in university or college arranged accommodation.
  • If you are using overseas currency, you are expected to show (written on the document) the closing balance in pounds sterling. The official exchange rate used by the UK Border Agency is on the OANDA website.

6. Complete the application forms, and submit it with the visa application fee and the supporting documents (your passport, visa letter and proof of funds).

Common Errors in Student Visa Applications

Visa applications have been known to be rejected due to the following common errors.

  • CAS number not being written into the appropriate space on your application form.
  • Absence of the financial institution's name and logo on each page of the bank statement as evidence of funds.
  • Required funds for study not being held in your bank account for the required duration of 28 days. It is essential that the funds be held in your account for 28 days, even one day less can result in your application being rejected.
  • Invalid bank or building society statements because they were dated over a month before the application date.
  • Bank letters not including the required information: bank logo and name on each page, your name, the account number, date of the letter, and account balance.
  • If the offer was conditional on certain grades, not taking your original grade documents to the visa assessment centre. Do not take photocopies.

The video at the bottom of the page dicusses some of the frequent errors made in student visa applications.

Media

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