In most circumstances, applications for a Student Visa Extension in the UK — Tier 4 (General) should only be made using the online application.
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa extension in the UK to study at UEL if:
- You are currently studying at UEL on a programme of study or have an unconditional offer of a place on a programme, and
- You have been issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for UEL, and
- You currently hold a valid Tier 4 visa or one of the other types of visa which allows you to switch to Tier 4 in the UK (see below)
Only the following categories of visa allow switching to Tier 4 in the UK:
- Tier 4 (or old style student visa)
- Tier 1 (Post Study Work) only
- Tier 2
Note: If you are not in the UK as one of the above categories, you must leave the UK and apply for Entry Clearance from your home country. See applying for Entry Clearance.
Note: You can normally only apply to extend your Tier 4 visa in the UK, if you are in the UK with a Tier 4 visa issued for study at a Higher Education Institution or Independent school but not at a college.
UKVI rules require you to show 'Academic Progresion' when applying for a Tier 4 extension in the UK. This means that you can only apply in the UK if your visa extension application represents the UKVI definition of academic progression. Academic progression needs to be assessed by the University before a CAS can be assigned. This applies to both applicants and continuing students. A CAS cannot be issued if you are in the UK and you do not meet the requirements for academic progression.
Examples of Academic Progression include:
- successfully completing an undergraduate degree and moving on to a Master's degree
- extending your Tier 4 visa in order to complete a course because you only have re-sits or re-takes to do, or because you had re-sits or re-takes in the past
- where you are studying an integrated Master's degree, and are progressing from the lower to the higher level qualification
Examples which do not meet the Academic Progression rules:
- not completing one course and moving to another
- completing one course and then moving to a lower level course
- in most cases, completing one course and then moving to another at the same level
- changing course from a three year degree to a four year sandwich degree
- extending your studies for any reason other than due to re-sits or re-take modules
The time spent on study at degree level by Tier 4 (General) Students is limited to five years, with some exceptions. See 'Limit to time spent in the UK with Tier 4 leave' for further details.
Who can apply in the UK?
- £457 - Standard applications: Online applications/ supporting documents sent by post. Normally, decisions on applications are made within 4 - 8 weeks and documents returned a week later, but in some cases can take longer.
- £916 - Priority Applications: Online applications/ supporting documents sent by post. Normally decisions on applications are made within 10 days. Special rules apply for the process, which are explained on the UK Government website
- £1,047 - Premium Applications: (inclusive of £100 booking fee) Appointment at Public Enquiry Office. Normally, decisions on applications made the same day and your new visa sent a week or so later, but in some cases can take longer.
Please note: If booking a premium appointment, you must complete the Tier 4 student online application and book your appointment at the end of the process. The fee includes a £100 deposit for your appointment, which is non-refundable should you fail to attend the appointment or cancel with short notice
Note: The Public Service Centre (PSC) in Croydon is the nearest to London but also the busiest. It is therefore sometimes quicker to get an appointment at one of the other PSCs (Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool or Sheffield).
The other application option available is:
- £7,000 + Premium fee + application fee - Super Premium Service: This is a very expensive service where you Home Office / couriers will come to a place of your choosing to collect your application, biometrics and documents and a decision is made on your application within 24 hours. Up to 4 main applicants can apply at the same time using this service. See Home Office website for more information.
You must make your application in the UK before your current visa expires. UEL is very unlikely to issue you with a CAS if your visa has expired. In addition, if you submit your Tier 4 application more than 28 days after your visa has expired, your application will automatically be refused by UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office).
We always advise that you apply for your visa extension as early as possible, ideally around 3 months before your visa expires, if you meet all the requirements.
You can apply for an extension in the UK under Tier 4 if you:
- are currently studying and continuing on the course that you have already started (this does not include students who are on a break) or
- are moving on to a new course which starts no later than 28 days after your visa expires
- meet all the other Tier 4 requirements.
If you do not meet these rules, then you must return to your home country and you may be able to make an application from there.
If you have failed to successfully complete your previous course for which you were granted Tier 4 leave (meaning you have not achieved the qualification), you will not be able to demonstrate academic progress and will be required to apply from overseas if you wish to make a Tier 4 application to study a new course.
Note: You cannot apply in the UK if you are not currently studying (i.e. you are on a break). If you are unsure as to whether this applies to you please contact email@example.com.
When to apply
There are 3 options for making a Tier 4 Extension application in the UK:
- Standard Service. Apply online and send your supporting documents by post. A decision is usually made within 8 weeks
- Priority service. Apply online and send your supporting documents by post. A decision is usually made within 10 days
- Premium Service. Apply online and make an appointment with UK Visas and Immigration to submit your supporting documents at the appointment. A decision is usually make within one working day
- In your own home using the Super Premium Service
The Online application form:
This is suitable for all Tier 4 applicants and their dependants, except those using the Super Premium Service.
You will need to register and create an account. See our Guide for details on how to do this.
Complete as much of the application form as possible but do not confirm or agree to declaration.
You must attend an appointment or drop in session with ISA team. You will need to bring your UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) account log-in details and all your supporting documents. We will check your application for you before you submit it.
When you have made the amendments as recommended by the advisor, complete the declaration and payment. Save a copy of the PDF of your application.
You will then need to print the application cover sheet and collate your supporting documents.
- Please note that the date of application for online applications is the date that you submit the application and pay the fee online.
You must use the Tier 4 General application form to extend your Tier 4 visa for your studies at UEL, or if you already have a Tier 4 visa for a different course at UEL or for a course at another institution and you want to study at UEL. If in doubt, always seek advice first by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The process for standard (postal) applications is as follows:
- Submit your Tier 4 application online and send your cover sheet and supporting documents by Special Delivery within 15 working days.
- Receive an email confirming submission of the application
- Receive a letter telling you to make an appointment to provide your biometrics at a designated Post Office
- Attend your biometric appointment
- Your application will then be considered by a UK Visas & Immigration case worker
- A decision letter will be sent to you. If successful your documents will be returned to you with your decision letter
- Separately your Biometric Residence Permit will be sent to you.
Note: If you are applying in person using the premium service, normally you can expect 1 to 5 (above) to happen on the same day and if your application is successful 6 and 7 (above) usually within a week. If you haven't received your BRP within 2 weeks of a positive decision on your Tier 4 application, you must contact the number provided on the letter confirming grant of leave.
The amount of time you can study at degree level (NQFL 6 or above) on a Tier 4 or Student visa is limited to five years.*
When applying for a Tier 4 visa, the amount of time you have previously spent studying in the UK will be considered. When calculating the five-year limit, all time spent studying in the UK at degree level or above, whilst on a Tier 4 visa or pre-Tier 4 visa student visa, will be taken into account.
If you applied for your Tier 4 visa on or after the 3rd August 2015, the length of the visa will be counted rather than the length of studies as previously.
There are some exceptions. This does not apply to:
- Architecture students
- PhD and other some other Doctorate students**
- Students whose UG course was 4 or 5 years in duration who are now applying for a Masters course. NB; this does not normally apply if you take longer than expected to complete your course, for example to undertake re-sits.
*For study below degree level, there is a separate limit of three years.
**PhD students and applicants: You are exempt from the time limit while you study for your PhD. However, you will not be granted any further leave under Tier 4 once you have completed your PhD if this further grant of leave would result in you spending more than eight years in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) student.
If you are unclear as to whether this applies to you, please email email@example.com.