Friday, November 11, 2011


Students seeking admission to UK are covered in the fourth tier of the new points based UK immigration service. Tier 4 focuses upon overseas students who wish to gain entry clearance to study in the UK.
Under this category, the educational institution will act as a sponsor, offering a place which a student has accepted. Each sponsoring institution will be required to vouch for the ability of students.
Students are granted leave to enter the UK for the purposes of completing their course at a specified institution. The grant also takes into account the time needed to conclude affairs and attend graduation.
Changing from one course to another at the same establishment will not require a new visa application; however, changing a sponsor or obtaining a UK tier visa extension will require a further application to be lodged.
This visa does not provide the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR) or permanent residency and does not lead to British naturalization as a UK citizen.
Students are divided into three categories when applying for a UK visa at this level. Each category requires the satisfaction of separate criteria as set out below :
  • General student - Students studying in Britain at or above degree level in a publicly funded institution, or engaging in more than 15 hours of study per week. In this category, work is permitted for 20 hours each week rising to full time hours during holiday periods. Dependents are permitted to join students in this category.
  • School - Students in full time study at an independent school up to the age of 18. Working hours are the same as the general student category but dependents are not permitted.
  • Study through work - Students on courses of work experience or placements. Working hours will be the same as the other two categories and dependents will be permitted in instances where the principal applicant will be in the country in excess of 12 months.
Educational institutions offering study places to overseas students will need to attain the status of approved sponsors by demonstrating that they are bonafide establishments, rather than non-accredited or purely commercial operations.
Certificates of sponsorship act as verification from a college or university that students making UK visa applications will abide by the rules and requirements of their course. Educational institutions are also required to report non-enrollment and non-attendance.
Dependents of students making a successful UK visa application are permitted to enter the country. However, spouse and dependent immigration in these circumstances will also be temporary and their leave to remain will depend on leave awarded to the principle applicant (the student).

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