Visa Categories of Students

While applying for a Tier 4 visa, students have to make their application based on any of these three categories, having different criteria to be followed.

General student

Students applying in this category have to study in Britain, in an above degree level in publicly funded institutions or study for more than 15 hours a week. Students of this category are allowed to work for 20 hours a week and can increase to fill time hours during holidays. It is possible for dependants to join students of this category.


Students applying in this category have to study full time in an independent school until the age of 18. The working hours are as above; however dependants are not allowed in this category.

Study through work

Students applying in this category study courses based on work experience and placements. The working hours are as above; however dependants are permitted here if the applicant will stay in the country for more than 12 months.

Educational institution obligations

Students applying in this category have to be sponsored by educational institutions that prove that they are approved sponsors. This is possible by their proving that they are bona fide establishments and not non-accredited or commercial establishments. With the certificate of sponsorship from the institution, the student has to abide by the rules and requirements of the source. Moreover, the institution has to report the non-enrolment and non-attendance of the student.

Additional information about visa application

Students receiving this Tier 4 visa should remember that this is a temporary immigration route where spouse and dependant immigration is temporary and depends on the visa issued to the applicant. Although family visa services like marriage visa, fiancé visa, De Facto visa or unmarried person visa are still valid despite the new system, they do not apply to these visa applications.

The interview process

Once you have made an application for a Tier 4 student visa, an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will confirm that the information you give them is sufficient to make a decision in providing you with the visa. If required, you may have to provide some additional information for your application to get approved. Once the application is approved, you have to be ready for an interview.

The interview is carried out mainly for the ECO to clarify any parts of your application and to be satisfied that your intention to study in the UK is genuine and possible. It is quite normal for you to feel nervous and uncomfortable during the interview; dont worry as the ECOs will work at making the process as painless and comfortable as possible for you.

To make the interview better, you have to be familiar with your study plans, and know why you had actually chosen the particular educational institution for your studies. Explain how you want to use the course to help you in your career.

Let the ECO know that you are well aware of the living costs in the UK, the cost of the course and mention your finance source for your course. You should be able to prove that you have sufficient money to pay for your expenses while in the UK. Also, be as clear as possible on what you intend to pursue as your career in your country and what you intend to do on returning to your home town. If the ECO is satisfied with your answers, you can be sure that your visa will be in your hands in some time.