Making a Tier 4 Student visa application - from outside the UK

Please read this guidance carefully. We realise there’s a lot to read through, but if your visa is refused then you might not have time to make a new application before your course starts, and it could affect future visa applications.

The information on these pages should be read together with the Home Office’s Tier 4 Policy Guidance

Students' experiences of applying for a Tier 4 Student visa. Credit: University of Sheffield

Do you need a Tier 4 Student visa? 

You can check if you need a visa to study at the School by completing this web form. Even if you have immigration permission for the UK, you should use the form to check whether you need to do anything further. 

Important: You cannot arrive in the UK without a visa and apply for a Tier 4 Student visa from within the UK. If you do this, you could be refused entry or only admitted in to the UK for 6 months as a Visitor or Short Term Student. We cannot register you on your course with these types of immigration permission as they will not cover the length of your course. You also cannot switch from Short Term Student or Visitor to a Tier 4 Student visa from within the UK. 


How to Apply

Once you have received your CAS from the School, you will need to complete an online application. Further instructions can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.  Please note if you are from Cuba or North Korea you must apply in person. 

You need to make your Tier 4 application from the country in which you normally live.

As part of the online application, you will also be asked specific questions about your programme and your finances. To help you fill in the online application form, you will receive detailed guidance when you receive your CAS number.

After submitting the online application, you will need to submit your supporting documentation and attend a biometrics appointment to have your photograph and fingerprints taken. Please see below for further information about the documentation you need to submit.

You will have to give the date that you intend to travel to the UK. Remember that you can only enter the UK up to 1 month before your course start date. You will also need enough time for your visa application to be processed and your passport to be returned.

Attending an interview

All students are asked to attend a brief interview as part of the visa application process. This will take place at the same time that you have your biometrics taken. Further information on credibility interviews can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

The Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) allows you to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) during your studies. You will need to pay the IHS when you complete your online visa application, regardless of whether you intend to access health care in the UK, or whether you have private health insurance. Read the guidance on the surcharge.

When to apply

You can apply for your visa up to 3 months before the start date of your course. It’s a good idea to start preparing for your visa application early to make sure you have all the necessary documentation ready.

Important: You should not book your biometrics appointment before receiving your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from LSHTM. We also advise that you don’t arrange your flights to London until you have your visa.

To find out how long your visa application will take, see the information on processing times on the Home Office website

CAS Request

Request a CAS

Once you have submitted all the required documents for your offer to study at LSHTM, you should complete a CAS request form.

You can request your CAS up to and including Friday 14 August 2020. Please be aware that the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) team reserves the right to refuse to issue a CAS. All CAS requests will be processed on a first come, first served basis. We will only accept your request if, in our final opinion, we believe the relevant embassy can process your visa application in time for you to arrive in London by 21 September 2020. The IAS team may require you to make a priority visa application if it is necessary for you to be able to enrol in time, and may withdraw your CAS if you fail to provide prompt evidence of your application.

You must read the CAS Guidance to confirm what supporting documentation you need to include before sending the request form.

CAS request form (pdf)

The CAS request form must be completed using Adobe Acrobat Reader and not with another application.

You should return the CAS request form with any additional supporting documentation to The School will then assess your eligibility for a CAS, making sure you have documentation which meets the Home Office Tier 4 visa requirements. For further guidance about these requirements, please refer to the sections on finances and supporting documentation.

Once we have confirmed you are eligible for a CAS, you will receive your CAS statement by email. We will start issuing CAS for MSc students from the end of June. Research Degree students can request a CAS up to 3 months before their start date.


Top tips when preparing your financial evidence
  • Read our guidance carefully as submitting incorrect evidence with your application can lead to an automatic visa refusal.
  • You should also read sections 179-223 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to understand the Home Office requirements.
  • For financial documents which show foreign currency, make sure you write any amounts of money in pounds sterling on the visa application. The Home Office use the OANDA website's currency converter.
  • The Home Office has a list of financial institutions whose documents cannot be used in support of a Tier 4 Student visa application. Check this list if your financial institution is located in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines or Sri Lanka.
  • Use our Financial evidence checker to see whether your evidence meets the Home Office requirements!
Documents you need as financial evidence

If you have financial sponsorship

If you are sponsored by an Official Financial Sponsor, you will need to provide a letter from your sponsor confirming the amount they are contributing towards your course fees and living costs. 

For visa purposes, an Official Financial Sponsor is only one of the following: Her Majesty’s Government, your home government, the British Council or any international organisation, international company, university or an Independent School (Please refer to sections 199-204 and 210-212 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to confirm what information is required in the letter from your sponsor). 

If you are self-funded

If you are funding your studies yourself or by a parent/guardian, you should take note of the following points:

  • You need to demonstrate the minimum required amount of money, and that you have held it in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days.
  • The money you show must be in cash funds in the bank e.g. current or savings accounts. Other accounts or funds will not be accepted e.g. shares, bonds, overdrafts, lines of credit and pension funds.
  • You need to show that funds have not gone below the minimum required, even for one day, or even by a small amount.
  • The evidence must have been issued no more than one month before the date of your application.
  • If necessary, you should provide evidence that is translated into English (see sections 16-18 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance).
  • The bank account you use must be in your name (joint accounts in your name are acceptable but not business or corporate accounts).
  • If you are being funded by a parent or guardian, you can submit bank statements in their name but you also need to provide evidence of your relationship and a letter of permission from them. Go to sections 199-202 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for further information.
  • As part of the visa application, you are required to declare that the funds will be available to you for the duration of your studies.

You must read section 213 onwards of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for full details of the Home Office requirements.

If you are taking out a loan

If you are funding your studies through a loan, this must be in your name. There are also rules about what type of loan is acceptable. Read section 220 (v) of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to find out more.

How much money you need to show

Students coming to study for 9 months or more will need to show:

  1. enough funds to cover the first year’s tuition fees; and
  2. £11,385 for living costs (= 9 months at £1265 per month for a student based in London). Even if your course is longer than 9 months, you only need to show 9 months’ living costs at £1265 per month. You need to show this amount even if you plan to live rent-free (for example with family) in the UK.

Students coming for less than 9 months will need to show:

  1. enough funds to pay the tuition fees, and
  2. £1265 for each month of the course (this would apply to a student taking the split-study mode who wishes to come on a Tier 4 Student visa).
Paying your tuition fees

We recommend that you apply for the visa before paying tuition fees to LSHTM. As part of the visa application you will need to prove you have the funds to cover your fees.

Tuition fees invoices will be sent during August – please do not try to pay your fees until you have received your invoice. More information about payment of tuition fees.

Supporting documents

English language requirements

All students must meet LSHTM’s English Language requirement to meet their offer condition. This means you cannot be issued a CAS until you submit evidence of the required English language level to the Admissions Team.

When you make your visa application, you do not need to include evidence of your English Language level because LSHTM will state in the CAS that we have assessed your English language level as part of the admissions process.

Different arrangements for applicants from low-risk countries

All Tier 4 applicants must have the required maintenance funds for their studies.  However, the UK Home Office has set out differentiation arrangements for some applicants. Those who qualify for these arrangements do not have to provide evidence of finances or qualifications with their visa application. However, you must submit copies of these documents with your CAS request so that we can confirm you meet the Tier 4 Student visa requirements.

To qualify for the differentiation arrangements you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a national of one of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, United Arab Emirates, the United States of America or a British National Overseas; AND
  • Apply for your Tier 4 Student visa in your country of nationality.

If you qualify for these arrangements, you will have to declare on your application form that you are applying under the differentiation arrangements set out in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance and that you hold the documentary evidence required.

Even if you qualify for these arrangements, the Home Office sometimes asks low risk applicants to submit this evidence after receiving their visa application. Failure to comply with this request will mean your application will be rejected.

Other supporting documents

You will need to submit the following documents with your Tier 4 Student visa application:

  • A valid passport: This should be the same passport which you submit as part of your application to the School as we use this information to issue the CAS. If you get a new passport before your CAS is issued, then please email with the new passport information and provide copies of your new passport (front cover, photo page, visa and any UK endorsed pages).
  • Original evidence of qualification(s): You will have to submit the original evidence of qualifications used to obtain your offer to the School, as specified by Registry in the e-mail containing your CAS number. If you need us to return your original evidence of qualifications, please contact Registry. You should allow up to 7 days for delivery of your documents.
  • The visa application fee: The fee is £335, payable in local currency.
  • Two recent passport photographs
  • Please note that you are also required to submit photocopies (to the visa application centre) of all documents you are submitting for your visa application. We recommend that you also take extra copies for yourself.

Documents in a language other than English: Any supporting documents not in English must be sent with a fully certified translation by a professional translator that can be verified by the Home Office. Please refer to sections 16-18 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for full details of what is required.

    Receiving your visa

    After the Entry Clearance Officer has finished assessing your visa application, your passport will be returned with a decision letter.  If your application is successful, your passport will contain a vignette (sticker).  This vignette is valid for 30 days and you must enter the UK during this period.

    Make sure that you check the following information is correct on the vignette:

    • Valid from date (up to one month before the CAS start date)
    • Valid until date (30 days from the 'valid from' date)
    • Your name, passport number and date of birth
    • The sponsor licence number (you can find this on your CAS Statement)

    If any of the above is incorrect, please contact your visa application centre immediately.

    The decision letter will give the type of visa you have been issued and details of the post office where you will need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days of arrival in the UK.  Make sure that you keep this letter safe, as you cannot collect your BRP without it.

    Travelling to the UK before the course starts

    For courses lasting 6 months or more, you can normally come to the UK up to a month before your course start date. Do not travel before the start date on your visa as you will not be allowed to enter the UK.

    Important information if your visa application is delayed

    If you are not able to register on 21 September 2020 for reasons beyond your control, you must contact the Registry as a matter of urgency to see if it will be possible for you to register at a later date. You should not attempt to enter the UK without contacting the Registry, as you may be refused entry at the UK border.


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