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UK Student Visa - Tier 4 (General)

The Tier 4 General is the UK student visa category; created for students who are over the ave of 16 and are looking to study in the UK.

Points required for a Tier 4 general student

The Tier 4 General (student visa) is a point based system application; applicants will need to score a minimum of 40 points in order to qualify under In order to qualify under this category (Tier 4 General Student), you are required to score 40 points.

  • 30 points for holding an authentic confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) which will be issued to you for having acceptable English Language prowess, and for studying an acceptable level course with an approved education institution or Tier 4 Sponsor.
  • 10 for financial capability to meet cost of living, maintenance and fees for the course.

Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)

A confirmation of acceptance of studies (CAS) is a ‘virtual document’ akin to a database record. The CAS contain a unique reference number that shows that the university has offered you a place to study in their institution subject to no other conditions

A CAS is valid if the following apply: -

  • The personal details of the applicant on the CAS is the same with what is on the applicant’s passport; and
  • The CAS was issued within six months of the Tier 4 (general) visa application; and
  • Neither the Home Office nor your education institution has not withdrawn the CAS.

Please note that, after a successful issuance of a CAS, it must be used within 6 months, failure of which would result in the expiration of the CAS. A visa application with an expired CAS will result in an automatic refusal.

The CAS may not be used two times. The implication of this is that in the event of a refusal, the educational institution will need to issue another CAS (if you want to reapply).

Importantly, you are expected to be making an application to:

  • Undertake a full-time course in the United Kingdom that fulfills the added requirements below: or
  • Partake as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in an acknowledged Foundation Programme in the United Kingdom; or
  • Take up job in the United Kingdom as a sabbatical officer of the student union.

In case you are to do a full-time course which is not a Foundation Programme, it is required that the course would:

  • Issue you a qualification that is higher than level 6 of the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or equivalent;
  • Be part of your higher education course in a foreign institution as a short-term ‘study abroad’ programme;
  • Be a course in English Language which would be higher than level B2 of the common European Framework Reference for Languages (CEFR); or
  • Be a course at any level of English Language if you are a student sponsored by a government; or
  • Require a minimum of 15 hours of organized daytime study weekly (daytime is 08:00am to 06:00pm from Monday to Friday).

In case the course is not an English Language course or is lesser than level 6 of the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or its equivalent, it is required that the course would:

  1. Be a course accredited at level 3 of the Qualifications and Credits Framework (QCF) or National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or higher; or a course approved at level 6 in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) or higher, if your study will be with a Sponsor that is highly Trusted; or
  2. Be a course accredited at level 4 of the QCF or NCF or higher; or a course approved at level 6 of the SCQF or higher, if your study will be with a sponsor that is rated as an A (Trusted) or B (Sponsor); or
  3. Be a course you study as preparation for the major course of study in the United Kingdom.

A National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 3 is equivalent to a United Kingdom ‘A level’. While the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree of the United Kingdom.

What does academic progression mean?

An individual who has studied in the United Kingdom in the past under Tier 4 (General) or in line with the Rules in existence before the 31st of March 2009, he/she cannot be issued a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) on or after the 4th of July 2011 by the the Tier 4 sponsor except:

  • The new course depicts academic progression from the former course of study;
  • He/she is retaking an examination or is redoing an academic module;
  • He/she is applying to be transferred to another institution so as to complete the course that he/she has previously started.

More so a CAS may be issued to you in order to enable you take up a new course of study higher academically than that previously done; or so that you can take up a course that contributes extra features to the course done at the same academic standing.

Can I do extra courses and/or studies while you are in the UK as a Tier 4 student?

You are allowed to do extra courses (such as evening courses) in addition to your main studies. The course can be on any subject, and does not have to relate to your main course of study.

You do not need to get the Home Office, UKBA permission in order to do extra studies, and you do not need to tell your Tier 4 sponsor. But you must ensure that the extra course does not stop you from doing the course that you have permission to stay for.

Challenging a Tier 4 student visa refusal

If the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) rejects your application for a Tier 4 General student visa, you are permitted to lodge an Administrative review against your application’s rejection in no more than 28 days after which the letter of refusal was received. The decision of the ECO will be reviewed by the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) based on the reasons lodged that supports the request for Administrative Review.

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