Tier 4 (General) student visas

If you're a national of a country that is outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, and you want to study in the UK on a course lasting longer than six months (or 11 months for some English language courses) you'll need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa under the UK Points Based Immigration System. If you're unsure whether you need a Tier 4 visa, find out on the Home Office website.

The UK points based immigration system requires that you score 40 points in order to be issued with a Tier 4 (General) student visa. You need to score these points in the following areas:

  • 30 points for the Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) – this is an electronic record sent to the UK Home Office by the University to confirm your details and your offer of a place at London Met. Please don't submit your Tier 4 visa application without the correct CAS number as it cannot be added at a later date.
  • 10 points for maintenance (tuition fees plus living costs) – please see the financial requirements to find out how much money you'll need and the correct format for your documents.

The more prepared you are before making your visa application the less risk there is of making a mistake. In order to become more familiar with the UK Home Office's visa and immigration requirements you should read its advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

All applicants should read the Home Office UKVI Tier 4 policy guidance before applying for the Tier 4 student visa.

How to apply

You apply for a Tier 4 student via online unless you are applying from North Korea, in which case you must apply in person. You can find full details of the Tier 4 visa application process on the Gov.UK website. To start your application you will need to register and then complete the online form in English. After paying the application fee (currently £348) you must book an appointment at your nearest visa application centre in order to submit your biometric details (fingerprints and facial image).

When to apply

The process of obtaining a Tier 4 student visa can take up to eight weeks for a standard application, so you should begin to prepare as early as possible. If you leave it too late your visa may not be granted in time and you will be unable to start your course. London Met cannot permit students to join their course after the latest enrolment date as stated in your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). For more information take a look at the dates and deadlines for international students.

The date when you apply for your visa (entry clearance) must be:

  1. before you have travelled to the UK
  2. no more than three months before the start date of your course
  3. no later than six months after your CAS was issued

Your visa start date will be no more than one month before the actual start date of your course.

You can find out more about how long it will take to process your application on the Gov.UK website.

Immigration Health Surcharge

An Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £300 per year is applicable for students studying a course lasting six months or longer. This entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS) at no extra cost during your stay in the UK. 

The IHS will be refunded where an application for leave to enter or remain is refused.

Further details of the NHS Surcharge can be found on the Home Office website.