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 Tier 4 Visa

Many students will need to extend their student visa at some point during their stay in the UK.  This may be because you need additional time to complete an existing course, or you may wish to begin a new course of study.  It can seem complicated to understand what the visa requirements are, but do not worry, International Support are available to advise and assist you through the application process.​​​​​​​​

Applying for Tier 4 (General) Student Visa extension

It is very important to keep a note of your visa expiry date.  This will either be located on your visa inside your passport or on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card.  We advise you to make a note in your diary approximately 3 months before your visa is due to expire to enable you to make the necessary preparations to either extend your current leave under Tier 4, to switch to another Tier of the Points Based System or  to make plans to return home, depending on your circumstances.

Post Study Work Visa

The announcement made by the Government regarding a new 2 year post-study work visa, is at this stage only a proposal. The Government will need to lay down legislation in Parliament for any new scheme to come into effect.  We currently have no further detail other than what was contained in the original announcement, although early indications are that the scheme will not come into effect until Summer 2021.

We will update our website as soon as the UK Government provides additional information about this new visa route.

What do I need to do to extend my student visa?

You will be required to complete an online application form and submit a series of documents in support of your application.  Before you complete the online form, it is important that you carefully read through the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.​​

You are strongly advised to make an appointment with International Support at least 6 weeks before your current visa expires. Before your appointment, International Support will send you an email giving instructions on how to prepare for your appointment.    

You should email to make an appointment.

Maintenance requirements

You must meet certain financial requirements in order to be awarded the necessary points to obtain your Tier 4 Visa.  The amount you must demonstrate depends on the length of your course.

You need to show  maintenance (living costs) of £1015.00 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.  You will also need to show any outstanding fees you have with the university at the time of your visa application.

How long must the money be in an account?

When you make a Tier 4 (General) Visa application, you will need to provide evidence that you have maintained the required funds for a minimum of 28 days prior to submitting your application.  During this period, the funds must not drop below the required amount even if it's just for one day

Immigration Health Surcharge

In addition to the visa application, applicants will also be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge  at the point of submitting their Tier 4 Visa application.  This is not optional and will apply to applicants and family members applying for an extension to their current visa.  The surcharge for students and their dependents is £300 per year of visa granted.  For further information regarding this, please contact for advice. 

Supporting documentation

You must submit supporting documents as evidence of your visa application.  The supporting documents may vary depending on your individual circumstances, however in general, the documents required for an application under Tier 4 (General) Student Visa are:

  • CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number;
  • Current passport;
  • Any previous passports that you have used to travel to and from the UK during your period of study (if applicable);
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if applicable);
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable);
  • Documents that show an official name change e.g. marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Certificates of qualification and/or transcript of results;
  • ATAS certificate (if applicable)
  • Letter from your official financial sponsor - only if you are sponsored by your home government etc. (if applicable);
  • Bank statements covering a period of 28 days prior to your submitting your application.  The account should be in your name or your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and must clearly show your required level of  maintenance on the date of your application.  Statements must be no more than 1 month old,  and must be in the correct format as specified in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance. If the bank account you are using is in the name of your parent(s)/legal guardian(s), then you must show your birth certificate/family registration or court document and a letter of financial consent from your parent(s)/legal guardian(s). 

How to submit your application

The Home Office have introduced a new system for making a Tier 4 (General) application in the UK.  Under the new system, you submit your application online, pay the immigration health surcharge, biometric enrolment fee (currently £19.20) and the visa application fee.  Once you have submitted the online application, you will be directed to Sopra Steria’s website to book an appointment at either a UK​VCAS​ service centre or at an enhanced service centre.  Attendance at a UKVCAS service centre will be free of charge, attending an enhanced service centre will incur an additional cost and the understanding is that this charge will be between £60 to £125 depending on the selection of prime time/non-prime time slot or weekend appointment.  The nearest centre to Edinburgh is in Glasgow.

As part of the online application, you can scan and upload your documents prior to your appointment or with assistance at your appointment.  International Support can help you with the uploading of documents prior to your appointment as there may be change for doing so at your appointment.  It is recommended even if you choose to scan and upload your documents prior to your appointment, that you the hard copies of all your original documents to your appointment in case there have been any issues uploading your documents.

Attend the appointment

Make sure you take the appointment confirmation, passport and supporting documents with you to your appointment.
As part of the interview process, you must have your photograph and your fingerprints taken – this is known as your biometric enrolment and you have already paid for this as part of your application fee.

Once you have attended your appointment, you will be able to leave with all your original documents as you are no longer required to submit original documents with your application.  You will also get your passport returned to you at your appointment, however, you should not travel outside the UK until you receive a decision on your application.

Application decision

When your application has been processed by the Home Office, you will receive a letter or email notifying you of the outcome and if your application has been successful, your BRP will be sent to the correspondence address within 7-10 working days. 

What if my application refused?

If your application is refused, please contact International Support as soon as you have received the notification.

Applying with dependants

If you have any dependants applying in the UK at the same time as you, you will have to enter their information as part of your online application.

Your dependants can apply for immigration permission to remain with you if:

  • you are government sponsored and your course is over 6 months long; or
  • you are doing a post-graduate course of 12 months or longer at a Higher Education Institute; or
  • you had Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 Student leave for your previous course where the course was over 6 months long; and
  • your permission is current; and
  • your new immigration application is for a course over 6 months long; and
  • your dependants already have Tier 4 Dependant or Student Dependant leave; and
  • you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant.

Each dependant will need to show maintenance (living costs) of £680.00 for each month of the main Tier 4 applicants leave, up to a maximum of 9 months.​​

Need help?

The International Support team can help you submit the application online and check your supporting documents before attending your appointment.  In order to make an appointment to meet with an advisor, please email us or call us on 0131 455 2272.

Please be aware that International Support can check your application, but it is your responsibility to ensure your application is correctly completed and all supporting documents required are submitted
It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your application is processed in good time. You MUST apply for a new visa BEFORE your current visa expires.

International Support offer guidance only. They should not be viewed as legal representation and the guidance offered is to be viewed strictly as guidance not legal advice.

International Support and Edinburgh Napier University are NOT part of the Home Office/UKVI.
Edinburgh Napier University is a separate and independent body from the Home Office/UKVI and has NO power or ruling over immigration decisions.​​ | Edinburgh Napier Mobile App