Do I need a visa?
As a study abroad student, you will require either a Tier 4 visa or short-term study visa unless you hold an EU passport. Having short-term study status may require prior entry clearance. Students studying for one semester and not working at an internship organised by London Met will not receive a Tier 4 visa.
A Tier 4 visa will be required if you're:
- studying for a whole academic year
- partaking in an internship if staying for one semester (arranged by London Met only)
A short-term study letter will be required for students studying for one semester and not participating in a London Met organised internship.
Prior entry clearance will be required for students taking the short-term study route (not Tier 4) from a country on the visa national list .
Visa application fees are £348 for a Tier 4 visa ($496/ NZD674) and £97 for a short-term study visa when the applicant is from a country on the visa national list, otherwise there is no charge for a short-term study visa.
Information for non EU/EEA passport holders
Use the UK Home Office's web pages to find out whether you need to apply for a visa before you come to study in the UK.
- All non EU/EEA students who participate in an internship organised by London Met will require a Tier 4 student visa.
- All non EU/EEA students staying longer than six months will require a Tier 4 student visa.
- All students holding a passport from a visa national country will require a Tier 4 student visa (if staying for more than six months) or a short-term study letter along with prior entry clearance from the Home Office (if staying for fewer than six months)
It is your responsibility to ensure that you apply in good time for a visa.
Our role as your sponsor
Under the points-based system, students who come to the UK to study must be sponsored by a specific educational institution. This means that the university you are studying at must monitor your attendance and progress, and report students who fail to attend classes to the Home Office. Under the points-based system, universities are known as Tier 4 sponsors.
Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) numbers and short-term study letters
The International Programmes Office (IPO) will issue a CAS to:
- all non EU/EEA students who hold an unconditional offer for a full year programme
- all non EU/EEA students who hold an unconditional offer for one semester and who will participate in an internship
The International Programmes Office (IPO) will issue a short-term study letter to:
- all non EU/EEA students who hold an unconditional offer for one semester of study
- all students who hold a passport from a country on the visa national list studying for one semester (prior entry clearance will be required)
Applying for a Tier 4 student visa from overseas
The points-based system requires you to score 40 points in order to be successful in getting a visa to study in the UK.
To apply for a visa you will need to:
- have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. CAS is an electronic reference number and will be issued by London Metropolitan University (worth 30 points)
- meet the maintenance requirement (worth 10 points)
The maintenance requirement is evidence that you have sufficient funds to live in the UK (in addition to the cost of your tuition fees if applicable). This level is set at £1,265 per month in inner London (which includes Holloway and Aldgate campuses) for up to a maximum of nine months. Please check the Home Office website for the most up-to-date information.
The total amount of money that you need to show for the maintenance requirement must remain in your bank account for 28 days before you make your visa application and must not go below the required amount at any time during the 28 days.
Please note: If you cannot show the funds in your own bank account, the only other relatives you can use as a sponsor are your parents (unless you have an official financial sponsor, eg a government or international organisation). If you want to use your parents' account you will need additional documents.
Information on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
Those who need immigration permission to travel to or stay in the UK for longer than six months will be charged an additional sum as part of their immigration application. This will entitle them to receive free health services under the National Health Service.
The Tier 4 online application form will automatically calculate how much of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) you have to pay and you'll be able to make the IHS payment as part of your Tier 4 visa application. Please note, once you have entered the IHS portal you will have 30 minutes to complete the payment and return to the visa application. If you fail to complete the payment within 30 minutes, you will have to restart the visa application and make a new IHS payment.
The IHS for Tier 4 students is £150 per year. Each Tier 4 dependant will also be charged £150 per year.
If this period of leave is six months or less, the amount payable is half the specified amount, ie £75 for students and their dependants. If the period of leave is more than six months, the full £150 annual amount is payable. For example, if you're going to study on a 12-month course, you're likely to receive leave that starts one month before the start of your course and ends four months after the end of your course.
If you include the period of leave allowed before the course starts and after the course ends (one month and four months respectively), this adds up to a total of 17 months of leave. This means that you'll have to pay £150 (12 months) + £75 (additional five months, so less than six months) = £225.
Who is exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge?
The following groups of people are exempt from the IHS
- British Overseas Territories citizens who are resident in the Falkland Islands
- those making an application for entry clearance of six months or less
Further details of the Immigration Health Surcharge can be found on the Home Office website. For further information please contact one of our international student advisers on email@example.com
English language requirements
The Home Office requires proof of English language ability for students applying for a Tier 4 visa who are not from a majority English speaking country.
We are unable to issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) until an approved test has been taken by incoming students and a copy of the results sent to us (the original certificate must be kept for your visa application). The test must be run by one of the two providers on the approved list.
Rather than merely meeting a certain overall level, there are minimum requirements in the different components – speaking, reading, writing and listening – that must be met.
Further information about approved testers and minimum requirements can be found on the Home Office website.
If taking an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, you must achieve a minimum of 6.0 overall and at least 5.5 in each of of the four components of IELTS. If taking a Trinity College ISE II test you must achieve a B2 level in each component.
Please note that if you do not achieve the required level in all of the components, the test will not be valid for use in your visa application.
Further information and how to apply
More information can be found on the following web pages:
- the Home Office website
- London Metropolitan University's visa and immigration advice pages
- the UK Council for International Student Affairs website (which also gives advice on other subjects concerning foreign students in the UK)
If you have any questions, please email us. Please note, we do our best to ensure the information provided here is accurate, but please check the Home Office website for the most up-to-date information and regulations.