International Student Team
Visa Advice Service: Making a Tier 4 (General) Student immigration application in the UK
Fully online T4 applications - date of application
The UKBA are currently undertaking a live service pilot whereby Tier 4 students may apply for their visa fully online. This method of applying has implications in terms of the date on which you are considered to have made your application and therefore when you must have the funds in place in order to show evidence of your finances. Please contact us if you wish to apply using this method. Alternatively, you can still complete your application using the online Print and Send application. See UKCISA website for full details.
Application forms and guidance
Before you try to apply from within the UK, you must check that it is possible to switch into Tier 4 from your current immigration category. For example, if you currently hold a dependant visa, you will not be able to apply for Tier 4 within the UK.
New Tier 4 Policy Guidance and helptext documents are regularly published and the latest guidance should be used for all T4 applications made from inside the UK on or after that date.
Applying online: 'Print and Send'
If you are applying from inside the United Kingdom, you should use the Tier 4 General online 'Print and Send' application form, which you can find using the links below, along with guidance on completing the form:
- UK Border Agency: Adult Students - Tier 4 (General) - Applying from inside the UK
- Tier 4 of the Points Based System - Policy Guidance
- Apply online: under the list of forms, look under 'T' for 'Tier 4 Student 'print and send' application for leave to remain (permission to stay) in the UK, and a biometric residence permit, as a Tier 4 Student or as a dependant of a Tier 4 student'. See note at the top of this page regarding the other option, 'Tier 4 Student online application' - contact us if you wish to use this method!
- UKBA Help Text leaflet for form TIER 4 (General)
- UKCISA: Where, when and how to apply
If you decide to post your application, you should send your application form with all the required documents* to the postal address shown at the end of the printout of your online 'print and send' application form.
It is highly recommended that you send your application(s) by Special Delivery from the Post Office. This will ensure the safety of any important documents you send and will allow you to track the delivery of your application form (via a bar code) online. It will also allow you to prove to your sponsor that the application was delivered to a UKBA address.
If you apply by post, we recommend that you post your application with plenty of time to spare before the date your visa expires - you can apply at any time and you do not need to wait until your visa is close to expiry.
Once you have posted your application(s) you may receive a letter confirming that your application has been received (though this is rarely provided now that the application is completed online) and a letter inviting you to enrol your biometrics. Please take this letter to your College and they will keep a copy as evidence of your continuing right to remain and study. Please contact us if you do not receive any communication from the UKBA within one month of posting the application (using our enquiry form below).
* together with any application forms for dependents applying at the same time as you - this will be part of the same printed form.
Applying using the paper Tier 4 application form
You will now only need to use the paper application form if you:
- want to use the Super Premium Service; or
- are applying with 10 dependants or more
If you believe this applies to you, please contact us before you apply.
Those making applications for student extensions under the Points-Based System (and their dependants) will be required to attend centres where their fingerprints and an image of their face will be taken, as part of the extension application process. For those making applications in person, this will be done when they attend to make their application, so they will not need to make a separate journey. A student's extension will not be granted that day (i.e. the day that they give their fingerprints and facial image), but later, when an 'identity card' (generated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is posted out to them.
Enrolling your biometrics when you apply by post
When you submit your 'print and send' application by post you will receive a letter inviting you to enrol your biometrics at a post office.
You do not need to book an appointment at one of the 17 post offices offering biometric enrolment. However, you must have been sent an invitation from UKBA to attend one of these centres. Applicants using the service will need to pay an additional fee to Post Office Ltd.
If your Tier 4 application is successful, you will receive their biometric card in the post, within 1-2 weeks of receiving their other documents (passport, etc) back from the Home Office, through the post.
For information about identity cards and biometrics (fingerprints and photographs), go to the UKBA website:
- Biometrics and United Kingdom identity cards
- UKBA photographic guidance
- Replacement identity card for foreign nationals because of changed personal details or because the card has been damaged, lost or stolen.
An email service has replaced UKBA biometric residence permit helplines (0300 123 2412 and 0300 123 4699). You will need to email:
- BRPDelivery@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk if there is an issue with the delivery of your biometric residence permit;
- BRPError@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk if there is an error on your biometric residence permit;
- BRPLost@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk to report the loss or theft of a biometric residence permit; and
- employerBRPverification@ukba.gsi.gov.uk if you are an employer or sponsor and you want to confirm that a biometric residence permit is valid.
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.