International Student Team
Visa Advice Service: Making a Tier 4 (General) Student immigration application in your home country
Application forms and guidance
If you are applying from outside the United Kingdom, please go to:
- UK Border Agency: Adult Students - Tier 4 (General) - Applying from outside the UK
- UKCISA: When, where and how to apply
Depending on which country you are making your application from, you may have to (or have the option to) apply online. You will also need to complete Appendix 8 - this is only available as a PDF document and must be completed manually and submitted with your supporting documents.
If you cannot apply online in your country, you should complete form VAF 9 with your personal details, plus Appendix 8:
Visa application processing times
Visa application processing times vary considerably from country to country and at different times of year.
Additional information for applicants:
- UKBA - 'Studying in the UK'
- Replacement identity card for foreign nationals because of changed personal details or because the card has been damaged, lost or stolen.
Please note that unless you are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, you are required to obtain entry clearance before coming to the UK. Students should NOT enter as visitors or student visitors with the intention of studying or applying for Tier 4 upon arrival because it is not possible to apply within the UK for leave to remain if a person entered as a visitor or student visitor. Visitors and student visitors need to return to the country where they normally live to apply for entry clearance as students, and visitors may not study at all. Students who do not yet have a Confirmation of Admission letter prior to their departure should apply for entry clearance as prospective students. Please see the websites above for more information.
Watch the visa application process
For an insight into the student visa application process from a student's perspective, we recommend that you watch these films from 'We Are International' which take you through the experiences of applicants in China and India. 'We Are International' is a collaborative project which aims to support international students planning to study in the UK.
- UK visa application in China
- UK visa application in India
- 'We Are International' on Twitter (@weareintl)
Pre-entry tuberculosis screening under immigration powers
Check whether you are required to obtain a certificate proving that you are free from tuberculosis (TB) before applying for your visa. On 21 May 2012, the UK government announced its intention to extend pre-entry screening to nationals of 67 countries. In India you must now be screened for TB before you apply for your student visa. For other countries, you must establish whether you require this pre-entry clearance. Testing depends on where you apply, not on your nationality. See:
- Pre-entry tuberculosis testing in India: screening requirement for Tier 4 applications a requirement from 01 November 2012 - link includes a list of clinics
- List of current and new countries in which TB testing is required
- Visa application centres:select your country and when TB testing becomes a requirement, you will find instructions here.
External sources of information
- British Council: Visas, pre-departure information and orientation
- British Council - First Steps: A pre-departure guide for international students coming to study in the UK 2011-12
- Working while you study in the UK
- A smoother journey - The British Council's role in visas and immigration
The International Student Team of the University of Cambridge makes every possible effort to ensure that the information and advice it provides is up-to-date and accurate, but accepts no legal liability for errors or omissions, and reserves the right to make changes without notice. Furthermore, the International Student Team accepts no legal liability for the outcome of any action you may take after seeking our advice.