Start typing and hit "Enter" to search.

Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

Tier 4 of the Points Based System: Students.

Get In Touch


If you are an educational institution and looking to enrol students from outside the EEA, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 sponsor licence. The Tier 4 sponsor licence allows holders to sponsor international students to come to the United Kingdom to study full time in their chosen institution. Importantly, a Tier 4 sponsor refers to an educational institution that offers full-time courses to students (including international students) in the UK.

The Home office has stressed that sponsorship is a privilege and not a right. This means sponsor licence holders who benefit from overseas student migration would need to do all they can to ensure that the system is not abused. Tier 4 sponsor licence holders are also expected to ensure that the student migrants applying to come to the UK via their institutions must be eligible to do so and the educational provider genuinely wishes to teach them. The granting of a sponsor licence is a statement of trust by the Home Office to the education provider; with this trust comes responsibility. The Tier 4 sponsor licence holder must act in compliance with the Immigration Rules and regulations in the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance. It is also important to note that Tier 4 licence holders would still need to apply for a Tier 2 licence to sponsor Tier 2 migrants.

How To Apply For A Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

To apply for a Tier 4 sponsor licence, you will first need to establish whether your educational establishment meets the sponsor requirements as laid out in the guidance. You also need to ensure that you meet the requirements as laid out in the section above. Once you have completed these steps, you will need to lodge an application online and pay the relevant fee.

As well as lodging the online application, you will also need to attach the documents that are required by sponsor guidance appendix A. These documents include the following:

  • proof that you are based in the UK
  • proof that you are operating and trading lawfully in the UK
  • proof that you have registered for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs where required to do so
  • a written record of a fire risk assessment conducted by a competent person
  • evidence to show that you have the relevant planning permission or local planning authority consent to operate the relevant type or class of organisation at your trading address
  • any documentation required to show that your sites, exceptional arrangements and/or partnerships, where applicable, meet all of the relevant requirements of the ‘Sites and teaching partnerships’

Eligibility Criteria/ Conditions For A Sponsor Licence

As you might expect, there are stringent criteria applied to those who wish to sponsor international students for their UK based study. As sponsor licence holders can help migrants come to the UK, the licence comes with significant responsibility.

UKVI layout the following eligibility criteria for institutions who wish to become Tier 4 sponsor licence holders:

  • You must be a genuine education institution that is operating legally in the UK
  • You must set appropriate education standards that have been approved by an appropriate education authority
  • Be a fit and proper establishment that is capable and eligible of catering to international students

As long as you fit these criteria, you can apply to become a Tier 4 sponsor licence holder who can sponsor international students wishing to study in the UK. If you need to establish whether your institution is eligible, get in touch today and speak to us about your query.

Please note that only higher education institutions can become Tier 4 sponsor licence holders; the route is not available to academies or state-funded schools (including those with sixth forms).

What Are the Sponsorship Management Roles When Applying for a Sponsor Licence?

When you want to become a Tier 4 sponsor licence holder, one of the most important considerations is who will take on the sponsorship management roles? You will allocate these roles to relevant staff members who will be in charge of the administration of the sponsor licence on UKVI’s Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

Below we have laid out the roles that must be nominated in order to comply with UKVI’s rules:

  • An authorising officer – this will be a senior, competent person who will be responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS
  • A key contact – this staff member will be your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
  • A level 1 user – this person will be responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS

While it may be prudent to have several people performing these roles, they can actually all be performed by the same person. It will be down to your institution to decide how these roles are allocated, but you must ensure all staff members who will use the system are eligible to do so. As well as level 1 users, you will also be able to nominate level 2 users after you have received your licence. These users are restricted from many of the functions of the sponsor management system.

Requirements Needed For A Sponsor Management Role

Staff members who take up roles on the SMS will need to be eligible to do so. The following criteria must be met in order for a staff member to be eligible:

  • Cannot have an unspent criminal conviction
  • Cannot have been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months
  • Has not been reported to UKVI
  • Have not broken the law
  • Cannot have been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months
  • Must not have failed to pay VAT or another excise duty

You and your allocated staff must also:

  • Be based in the UK most of the time
  • Not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
  • Not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking
  • Not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements

As well as the above, your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff within your organisation. You can also opt to use external agents to assist. As long as your employee fits these criteria, you may add them to sponsorship management roles.

How Many Confirmation Of Acceptance Can I Apply For?

If you are a new educational establishment or just new to sponsorship, you will be wondering how many Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) you can apply for during your Tier 4 sponsor licence application. The simple answer is that you can apply for up to 50% of your current student body if you are an established educational institution. If you are new, then the guidelines state that UKVI would consider any reasonable request. In practicality, this will need to be carefully tailored to the type and size of establishment that you have.

Once you have nominated your estimated number of Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) requests, your Tier 4 sponsor application will be considered. There are several factors that are taken into account when it comes to how many you will be allowed. They will base much of this on your individual situation and the number is difficult to predict. If you want to discuss your specific requirements, get in touch with our team of immigration solicitors today. We can help you estimate how many CAS requests that you may need based on the information you have. We can also help with the application process. So, if you need more information, get in touch today.

Related Article: Read ‘Sponsor License applications - Tier 2, Tier 5, Tier 4

Some of our Happy Clients

Reiss Edwards Awards

ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated
Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge
ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija dealt with my case and I found her very professional and experienced in dealing with my application. The care and attention to detail was exceptional. I would definitely recommend Reiss Edwards!".

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into steps that are easy to follow. Cruised to 3 successive wins on my Tier 1 graduate/entrepreneurship visa which allowed us to play our part in making the UK a better and healthier place!".

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

Hakeem Salam

"I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them".

Top Notch Immigration Service

"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them".

Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation".

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, I was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that I wasn't disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle their case, contact Reiss Edwards".

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

Read More

Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

Read More

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

Read More

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

Read More

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee...

Read More

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A mas...

Read More

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigrat...

Read More

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija ...

Read More

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into st...

Read More

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

Read More

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva th...

Read More

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recomme...

Read More

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listen...

Read More

Hakeem Salam

"I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter a...

Read More

Top Notch Immigration Service

"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled ...

Read More

Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration...

Read More

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They ac...

Read More

Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the a...

Read More

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

Read More

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my expe...

Read More

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a ...

Read More

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused...

Read More

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people....

Read More