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What are the new UK rules for a Tier 4 Student Visa?

As of 1 January 2021, the post-Brexit immigration rules were enforced. Now, all foreign applicants including EU citizens require a Study Visa to study in a UK university – and need to score 70 points in order to be eligible. 

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    Your immigration lawyer will consider your case and offer bespoke advice, and they will advise you on the optimum route to take to achieve your desired result.

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    The UK’s points-based system  

    As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016, freedom of movement between the country and the 27 remaining EU member states has come to an end. While EU citizens already living in the UK can apply for Settled Status, EEA migrants who enter after 1 January 2021 will need to apply for a UK Visa.  

    The UK’s new points-based system does not only apply to EU citizens, however: all overseas migrants are subject to the same rules.  

    Investor visa

    The new rules for a Student Visa in 2021 

    The Tier 4 Student Visa has consequently been amended in line with the points-based immigration system. As of 5 October 2020, the visa has been replaced with what is now known as the ‘Student Route’. What this means is that anyone who originates from overseas and who wishes to study in a UK university, college or school will need to apply for a Student Visa and score 70 points to be awarded one. 

    Fortunately, the 70-point threshold is relatively straight-forward.  

    You can score points as follows: 

    • 50 points for receiving a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from your prospective university or college 
    • 10 points for meeting the Student Visa financial requirements 
    • 10 points for meeting the English Language requirements  

    Students outside of the UK can seek this visa up to six months before their course officially starts. Previously, students had only three months to apply under the Tier 4 rules. The UK Government extended the application period to give prospective students plenty of time to apply. That, and UKVI were typically getting swamped with applications in the summer before September when most courses start. 

    Course requirements for a Student Visa  

    To be eligible for a Student Visa, you also have to meet specific course requirements. 

    Full-time courses must be either one of the following: 

    • A course which will result in a qualification below degree level (RQF Level 3, 4 or 5) with 15 hours per week of study 
    • A course which will result in a qualification at degree level or above (RQF Level 6, 7 or 8) 

    Part-time courses must be: 

    • A course which will lead to a qualification that is above degree level (RQF Level 7 or above) 

    Other courses can be: 

    • A recognised foundation programme, for example, for postgraduate doctors or dentists 
    • An English language course  

    Do you need help applying for a Study Visa? Our lawyers can assist you.


    If you live outside of the UK and you’re applying from your country of origin, you can expect to pay £348 for your Student Visa. If you’re already in the UK but you intend on switching your current UK Visa to the Student Route, it will cost you £475. 

    It is important to note that these fees do not encompass all the other mandatory immigration and application fees you need to pay. For example, the Immigration Health Surcharge which lets you access the NHS – although this is discounted for students.  

    You will also need to pay lawyer fees if you hire an immigration lawyer to assist you with your Student Visa application.  

    There is also a fee to register your biometric information and to sit the English language test if you haven’t already. 

    Extending the Student Visa  

    In line with the new post-Brexit immigration rules, the Home Office has created a new Graduate Visa for overseas students who graduate in the UK. This route will allow you to remain in the UK and study for a further 2 years – or 3 years if you have completed a PhD.

    With this route, you can search for work and enter a career or position in relation to your degree while in the UK. This visa will only last for two to three years though, meaning towards the end of its expiry, you will need to switch onto a Skilled Worker Visa or a different immigration route.

    How can IAS help?

    Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we assist the future’s ‘best and brightest’ in securing a university place in the UK. Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a wide range of prestigious universities which are highly renowned all over the world. Students from every corner of the globe flock to the UK every year – and we’re on hand to help you become the next rising star in your dream university.

    Get in touch with us today to learn all about our expert Student Visa advice sessions.

    Our immigration lawyers can even fill out your application for you as part of our unique application service. Your personally assigned immigration solicitor will even send a Letter of Recommendation to accompany your application to the Home Office which highlights the merits of your case and your character.

    Call us today on 0333 305 9375 to book an appointment. An immigration lawyer can speak to you no matter where you are in the world, either via phone or via video call. If you prefer, you can also arrange to speak to us in person.

    We can help you if you need help with your Student Visa application.

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