Making a Tier 4 (General) application in UK

Last modified: 18 July 2016

This information is based on the changes to the Immigration Rules which came into force on 6 April 2016 and the Home Office's Tier 4 policy guidance version 07/16, to be used for all Tier 4 applications on or after 18 July 2016. We update it as soon as possible after any changes. However, if you have printed this webpage, we advise that you check on our website that it is still the most recent version.

You may need to make a Tier 4 application while you are in the UK.  For example, you may need to apply because:

  • you need more time to undertake re-sits or to repeat part of your course
  • you are switching to a new Tier 4 sponsor
  • you are extending your stay in the UK to work as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or as a Doctor or Dentist in training, or for the Doctorate Extension Scheme,  all of which are done with Tier 4 leave

This section guides you through the eligibility and application process.  It is important that you check first that you are eligible to apply and that any time limits on study in the UK do not affect your application.

Can you apply in the UK?

Last modified: 18 July 2016

In order to apply for a new Tier 4 visa in the UK your new course of studies must start no more than 28 days after the end of your current leave, if the gap between the end of your current leave and the start of your new course (as stated on your CAS) is longer than 28 days then you must leave the UK and apply from your home country.

In addition to this the Immigration Rules only allow people who were last granted leave in certain immigration categories to make a Tier 4 application in the UK. If you currently have a Tier 4 (General) student visa then you must currently be sponsored by:

  • a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as an HEI (higher education institution); or
  • an overseas higher education institution and you have been undertaking a short-term study abroad programme in the UK; or
  • an embedded college offering pathway courses (this does not include pre-sessional courses); or
  • an independent school

If you do not know if this applies to you then ask your Tier 4 sponsor.

You can also apply in the UK if you currently have leave in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 4 (Child) student
  • Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrant
  • Tier 2 migrant

You can also make a Tier 4 application in the UK if you were last granted leave as a student under the old Immigration Rules that were in place before the Tier 4 student Rules were introduced in March 2009.

If your last grant of leave was not one of the categories listed above then you must return to your home country and apply for a Tier 4 visa from there. There are currently two exceptions to this. If you wish to apply under one of these exceptions, we advise that you speak to an immigration adviser before you apply and that you include a letter with your application explaining your situation.


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Submitting your application

Last modified: 29 March 2016

You complete and submit the form online, then you submit your supporting documents to the Home Office by post (a "standard" or "priority" application) or in person (a "premium" application).

You can download the following flowchart to guide you through the application process: 


This flowchart is designed to act as a summary of the steps involved in applying for further leave to remain under Tier 4 (General). It does not contain detailed information about the Tier 4 requirements, and is only an overview.

Applying via your Tier 4 sponsor

Your institution may provide a service where they can check your application and send it to...

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The application form

Your application date is the date you pay the fee and submit the application. You must apply before your...

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After you apply

Someone who has started a Tier 4 application can decide to withdraw it or cancel it before they get a decision...

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Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Last modified: 10 December 2015
Leave to remain is issued as a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). A BRP is a plastic card (similar to a credit card), which contains your personal information, your biometric information (photograph and fingerprints) and your immigration status and conditions. There is nothing placed in your passport.

Receiving your BRP

Leave to remain is issued as a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)...

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Start and end dates

Your leave to remain will start when the Home Office makes a decision on your Tier 4 application...

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Last modified: 22 February 2016

Note: this information only applies to Tier 4 applications made in the UK.

The options available to you in the event of your Tier 4 application being refused by the Home Office will depend on:

  • the date on which you made your application (this is the date you paid the fee and submitted the application online); and
  • whether you still have time left on your previous leave.


If you made your application before 20 October 2014 and it is refused by the Home Office it is likely that you will have a right of appeal against the decision to refuse your application to an independent immigration Tribunal.

If you made your application on or after 20 October 2014, you will have the right to apply for administrative review instead of a right of appeal. The Home Office will review its decision to see if it made a case working error. You will also have the right to apply for administrative review where the Home Office has granted you the incorrect length of immigration permission or placed incorrect conditions on your immigration permission.

If your application is refused the Tier 4 application fee will not be refunded.  However, if you paid the immigration health surcharge (IHS) as part of your application this will be refunded in full.


You are likely to have the right of appeal, meaning you can ask an independent court ...

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Administrative review

If you applied for leave to remain as a Tier 4 student or a Tier 4 dependant on or after 20 October 2014 and your application is refused...

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