Tier 4 Entry Clearance Visa Tier 4 Entry Clearance Visa

If you are applying from outside the UK for a Tier 4 student visa, you will be applying for an Entry Clearance visa. This visa will be a 30 day visa that will allow you to enter the UK. Once you are in the UK, will you need to collect your Tier 4 BRP visa either from UEA or a local Post Office within 10 days of arriving in the UK. This will depend on which option you have chosen during your visa application.  Your Tier 4 visa will then be a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Before you apply for your visa, please read our Biometric Residence Permit page which contains information you need to know when completing your application form about arranging collection of your Tier 4 visa once in the UK. You must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your Tier 4 visa application.

Please note this page has general information regarding applying from outside of the UK for a Tier 4 Student Visa and should only be used as a guide. Read the Home Office Tier 4 Policy Guidance for the full requirements.

How to apply How to apply

How to Apply

Applying for a Tier 4 Entry Clearance visa from outside the UK.

1.  Prepare to meet all the requirements and to get all the required documents ready to apply. Preparing your finances is the main requirement that you need to do in advance. If you are using a bank account, you need to show the total funds required for 28 days. Other financial documents may also take time to prepare, so start early. Also prepare how and when you are going to apply. It is also essential that you know the requirements and rules.

2.  Get a CAS Statement from UEA. If you are required to have an ATAS Certificate, you must apply for this before you are able to get your CAS.

3.  Complete the application form online. Apply online on the GOV.UK website

To find the correct form

  • Create a profile with a username and password
  • Select 'Apply for Myself'
  • In the section 'Select Visa Type' answer:
    • Reason for Visa    Study
    • Visa Type             PBS Tier 4 Student
    • Visa Sub Type      Tier 4 (General) Student

* You must select a UK postcode and intended date of travel for collecting your Tier 4 visa in the UK. See our Biometric Residence Permit page for more information and guidance.

As part of the process you will also need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS).

4.  Submit your application and supporting documents. Follow the instructions when you apply. You will either have to post your documents, including your passport, to the UK Consulate or Visa Application Centre, or you will need to take your documents with you to your interview appointment. You must submit the all original documents and photocopies. Your originals will be returned to you.

5.  Attend an interview appointment - All students applying for a Tier 4 visa will be required to attend an interview appointment, where you will also give your biometrics (a photograph and your fingerprints).

6.  Your visa will be in your passport. Most students will get their visa and passport sent to them in the post, however depending on the process you may get it at the same time as your appointment.

Apply for your Tier 4 visa online

Visa Start Date Visa Start Date

Your visa start date will be the date you plan on travelling to the UK, as you enter on your visa application form. If you apply as a Tier 4 (General) Student and the course is 6 months or longer or is a pre-sessional course less than 6 months, the earliest your entry clearance visa can start is 1 month before your course start date.
  • If your course is less than 6 months and is not a pre-sessional course, then it will start 7 days before the course.
  • A pre-sessional course is described as a course that prepares you for your main course of study in the UK.

It is important that you provide your intended travel date in your visa application. Remember that your entry clearance visa will only be valid for 30 days.

Next steps after getting your visa Next steps after getting your visa

After you receive your visa

Check your Entry Clearance visa carefully. Make sure all the information on your visa is correct, including the spelling of your name and any dates. Check that the start date is on or before you plan on travelling to the UK.

If anything is wrong or incorrect on your visa, try to get it corrected immediately before you travel to the UK. 

Remember this visa will only a 30 day visa that will allow you to travel and enter the UK. If you are not able to travel during the 30 days that the visa is valid for, you will need to apply again for a new 30 day visa (not a new Tier 4 visa). The 30 day visa is not your Tier 4 visa and you must collect your Tier 4 Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) visa after you arrive in the UK.

Collecting your Tier 4 visa in the UK

After you arrive in the UK, you will have 10 days to collect your Tier 4 BRP visa from the location listed in your letter you receive with your 30 day Entry Clearance Visa. You will need to take the letter and your passport with you to collect your visa that will last for the duration of your course. The University will provide assistance and information when you arrive to help you to be able to collect your BRP card.

For more information about collecting your BRP read our Biometric Residence Permits page.

After you have collected your Tier 4 Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) visa

Check if you are required to register with the police after you arrive in the UK. 

Check your new Tier 4 BRP visa to see if anything is not correct, including your expiry date. If you notice anything is incorrect you need to make an appointment with one of the International Student Advisors in the Student Support Centre or email us at isat@uea.ac.uk. We will try to get your visa corrected, but there is a limited time after you collect your visa that you can get it corrected.

Students' experiences of applying for a visa Students' experiences of applying for a visa

The University of Sheffield have commissioned the videos about applying for a Tier 4 visa in China and in India. These videos should help everyone, even if you are applying for a different country. Although the process might be different, it will help with your expectations of applying for a Tier 4 visa.

Applying in China

Applying in India

Entry Clearance Refusals Entry Clearance Refusals

If your visa application is refused and you feel it was wrongly rejected, then you will need to email us at isat@uea.ac.uk with a scanned copy of the rejection letter from the Entry Clearance Officer. We will do our best to help and advise you accordingly. There is no full right of appeal, but if eligible, you can apply for an Administrative Review to try and overturn the decision. You must make your request within 28 days for the date you receive the refusal notice. The process is explained in the Policy Guidance. It is advised that you seek legal advice at this point.

Administrative Reviews can be difficult to overturn a decision, because in most cases you cannot submit new or different documents. That is why it is very important to submit all the correct documents at the time of your application.

Warning: Do not allow an agent or other representative to send off your application unless you have checked through the completed forms and all the documents that are enclosed with it. Errors made by an agent or representative, or attempts to deceive can result in you being banned from entering the UK for up to 10 years.