TIER 4: AN OVERVIEW
How to apply
Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS) covers international students. In order for a non-EEA international student to study in the UK, their prospective University or College must issue a valid CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies). On this basis, the student applies for their Tier 4 visa.
Please note that the CAS is not an actual paper document, but is rather a record on a database. Each CAS has a unique reference number, and contains information about the course of study for which it has been issued, and the student's personal details.
You will need to show that you have enough funds to cover the course fees for your first period of study, and living costs for up to nine months. The living costs required will rise if you have any dependants.
Changes to the Tier 4 route
The effect of recent changes to this route has been to make conditions on studying in the UK more demanding, for example by raising the standard of English language ability required. In addition, there is the potential now for candidates to be invited to attend an interview to establish that the candidate is a 'genuine student'.
The options for students following their period of study have also diminished somewhat, following the closure in April 2012 of the Tier 1 Post Study Work route. Instead, students who wish to remain in the UK may wish to consider the replacement Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route, or - if a suitable Sponsor can be found - Tier 2.
Despite these changes, the UK higher education market remains healthy amongst many nationalities, as most international students receive an excellent quality education, in a friendly and cosmopolitan environment.