Tier 4 Extension & Post-Study Work Options

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If you are a non-EEA or Swiss international student currently studying in the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa and you want to extend your stay in the UK there are several different visa options available which can allow you to do this.

You may wish to continue to study in the UK, at a Masters of Post-doctorate level, in which case you can apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa extension. Alternatively, if you are hoping to secure a full-time role within a UK business or company, you could switch to a UK Work Visa. Depending on the type of role you are looking for, you can do this with either a Tier 2 Skilled Work Visa, or a Temporary Tier 5 Worker Visa. If you are interested in setting up or taking over a business after you have graduated, you could apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. This type of visa is very competitive. However, if you have a genuine and credible business and funds to support your business plan it may be appropriate for you. Alternatively, you could be eligible through the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route.

If you are graduating on a Tier 4 Visa and you are interested in your post-study work options, we can help. Our qualified immigration lawyers can spend time assessing your eligibility and best options. We will talk you through your next steps and guide you through your new visa application or Tier 4 extension process. One of our lawyers will also prepare a Letter of Representation to accompany your application. This will outline your case and its merits as well as referencing any relevant UK immigration laws. Our services also include full application completion and a thorough document check. We can help you understand if you are eligible for a Tier 4 Student Visa extension, as well as giving you advice on your post-study work options. Get in touch by calling 0333 363 8577 or making an enquiry online to speak with one of our lawyers now.


Am I eligible for a Tier 4 Student Visa extension?

The UK government provides Tier 4 Visa holders with the option of visa extension. This is possible for those wanting to continue their educational pursuits in the UK. If you are an adult or child student on a Tier 4 Visa, extension is possible for those who want to study another Higher Education qualification.

This qualification must be at either their current educational level or above. The government also allows students to have a Tier 4 Visa extension for those needing to retake a module in order to complete their course. There must be an unconditional offer of studies in order for the Tier 4 Visa extension to be granted.

How do I switch from a Tier 4 to Tier 2 Visa?

Before a Tier 4 visa expires it’s possible to switch to a Tier 2 Visa. As a skilled worker in the UK, you will be staying for a further 5 years in gainful employment. A person wanting to stay in the UK may choose to look into the employment prospects available to them.

There are over twenty thousand businesses in the UK that hold a Sponsorship Licence and can employ a foreign national. Going from Tier 4 to Tier 2 the person has to have an undergraduate degree and a credible job offer.

The job offer must have a salary of £20,800 to apply for the Tier 2 Visa.

Read our complete guide to switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

Switching from a Tier 4 Visa to a Tier 5 Visa- am I eligible?

A common road for foreign nationals switching visas is temporary work. This is a popular post-study work visa in the UK. A person who is currently studying in the UK can switch from a Tier 4 to a Tier 5 visa. In order to switch from a Tier 4 to Tier 5 Visa, you must have an undergraduate degree.

Young people (18-30) are also able to switch from a Tier 4 Visa to a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, although this is dependent upon their nationalities.

What if I am studying a Post Doctorate Degree?

A foreign national studying in the UK as part of their P.H.D holds the ability to remain in the country if they so wish. The Doctorate Extension Scheme enables P.H.D students to pursue other paths for a period of time.

These pathways may be entrepreneurial aspirations or real-world experiences, but they must be under the employment or guidance of a registered Sponsor of Tier 2 employees. A higher education institution is able to sponsor this visa for a period of 12 months.

Following this, a person on the Doctorate Extension Scheme may choose to transfer onto either a Tier 2 or a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

What is a Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

A Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is available after one has pursued at least an undergraduate degree in the UK. Graduate entrepreneurs are not subject to sponsorship in order to be applicable for this visa, the visa is valid for a period of ten months before you have to make the switch. There does need to be the demonstration of funds there to support yourself and the entrepreneur may only start their business career in the UK after the visa has been granted by the government.

What is a Family Visa and how can it help me stay in the UK?

If a Tier 4 Visa switcher has links in the UK it is possible to further a stay in the UK by being sponsored by a partner or by a family member. This route requires a UK partner or close family member to act as the sponsor for a non-EEA spouse, the person switching to this visa needs to prove they will not be relying on public funds and this type of Spouse or Family Visa lasts approximately 2.5 years.

How can IAS help?

At IAS, we understand international student’s desire to want to remain in the UK upon graduation. Our highly-qualified team of immigration advisers have assisted many other international students with applications to either extend or switch their visas after graduation.

Our services include:

  • assessing your best post-study work or Student Visa extension options;
  • ensuring you have the satisfactory documents to complete your application;
  • writing a Letter of Representation describing your case and its merits to the Home Office;
  • dealing directly with the Home Office during your application process;
  • providing a full, high-quality completion of your application form.

Get in touch with an experienced immigration lawyer by calling 0333 363 8577 or making an enquiry online about your post-study visa options or the possibility of a Tier 4 Student Visa extension today.

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Case studies

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