The Tier 4 General Student is a Point Based Immigration category; where points are awarded for Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and Funds for Maintenance in order to qualify for leave to remain under the route. An individual can choose to switch to the Tier 4 General Student Visa if he/she is already residing in the UK on a valid visa and is permitted by the Immigration Laws to switch from their current visa unto the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.
The individual can make an application for the Tier 4 (General) Student visa category, if he/she was previously granted or is given authority to remain in the United Kingdom under any of the following visa categories:
It is important to note that there is cap on how long you can study on a Tier 4 visa. Usually your sponsor, in this case the University would normally have checked if you have exceeded this cap before issuing you a CAS.
As a general rule, you cannot spend more than 5 years on a Tier 4 visa. You may only extend after 5 years on either exceptional circumstances or if you are applying to study a PhD.
The immigration rules are clear on the fact that the 5 years includes all other periods including the extra period added to your visa after your course. This means that if you were granted a leave for 4 years and you had to extend your visa because you had an extra year, this counts towards your 5 years.
If you have started the course on a Tier 4 before you reached 18 years of age, the time spent on Tier 4 in this instance does not count towards the 5 years cap. Also time spent on any level below NQF level 6 may not count. There are different caps on other NQF levels for Tier 4 visas.
Also, if and when a Tier 4 visa is curtailed, only the period before the visa was curtailed will be counted.
Feel free to contact us today if you need assistance from one of our immigration lawyers.