How to apply for a General Student Visa (Tier 4) for LSE

ISVAT are the only team authorised to provide immigration and visa advice at LSE

For information on how to apply for your General Student Visa (Tier 4) for LSE please expand the relevant section below.

 

How to use our guidance and key updates

The advice given on this page is on the basis of a September start to teaching where students are expected on campus.  A decision has yet to be made by LSE.  We will update this page when further information is available.

Updates

1 June 2020

Over the summer, ISVAT will run Zoom webinars on:

  • Preparing to apply for your Tier 4 visa
  • Meeting the Financial Requirements
  • Applying for your Tier 4 visa in the UK/Overseas
  • Working During your Studies - Information for New Students
  • Working After your Studies - What do we know?
  • The EU Settlement Scheme for new residents arriviing before the 31 December 2020

You can find dates and times for the different events in the events section of the following web page:

ISVAT FAQS

How to use our guidance

Our guidance is here to help you understand the immigration rules.  You will need to select the guidance for your personal level of study.  

There are three main guides available. These are in PDF format, so if you require an accessible version, please let the team know.

  • All students should read "Guide to applying for Tier 4 for..." as this explains the rules, requiremenst and the format of documents that are expected.  Students who have received refusals have not referred to this guidance and have only relied on the guide to completing the application forms.
  • If you are applying overseas, you should refer to the application form guidance for overseas.
  • If you are applying from in the UK, you should refer to the application form guidance for in the UK.

Common mistakes and risks applicants take

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SUMMER 2020

Receiving your CAS does not guarantee you a visa.  It is extremely important that you read all the guidance given to ensure you meet the immigration rules.  Your academic offer is separate to the immigration rules and you need to meet both the conditions of your offer and the immigration rules to join LSE in 2020/21.

You may meet the conditions of your academic offer but you must have all the required documents in place before submitting an application. Do not assume flexibility will be given.  During the summer application period 2020, if you know you will receive a transcript which confirms the name of your degree and that you have been awarded your degree and your certificate is delayed, you may be able to apply using your transcript as evidence.  Please refer to the requirements in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to check your document can be used in the section called Evidence of your Qualifications.

Minimising the risk of a refusal

Each year we see students receive refusals or follow bad advice that could have been avoided.  This section outlines the common mistakes and risks that we see Tier 4 applicants take.

  • Not reading the guidance: The majority of students who received a refusal confirmed that they had not read any of the guidance available either from LSE or external sources.   A refusal affects not only your immigration history, but also LSE's ability to sponsor international students. For this reason, LSE may choose not to issue you with a new CAS if you receive a refusal, so it is in your best interest to read the guidance and minmise this risk.
  • Taking a chance and hoping you won't receive a refusal:  Refused applicants sometimes take a chance on applying knowing their documents don't meet the requirements (printed too late, not enough money, believing that if you have a lot of money the UKVI won't care that you haven't held it for 28 days etc.).  You are highly likely to be refused and that refusal will stay on your immigration history.  It may also delay your ability to join LSE.
  • Using the same CAS for a second application: A CAS can only be used for one application.  If you have received a refusal, you must seek advice from LSE.  If you are concerned that you will not be able to be issued with a second CAS, it is still better to speak to us than get a second refusal.  The more refusals you receive affects you and LSE.  
  • Relying on forums: There are a lot of well-meaning people who will try to give you advice through forums.  If a person is a trained adviser they are most likely to direct you back to LSE for the advice you are seeking. Not everyone on forums knows the immigration rules or has applied for a UK study visa.  It's best to get in touch with us than risk the advice given on forums.
  • "My friend said ...": Whilst having friends who've applied for the same visa as you can be helpful, they are talking from their own personal experience.  A visa application is individual to you and you should seek advice from experts if you are unsure.
  • Using agents: If you are unsure about anything in our guidance, we would prefer that you contact us. Unfortunately, some refusals we have seen are where agents incorrectly apply the rules because they are not Tier 4 specialists.  Whilst we may refer some students externally for complex cases, we will always refer to immigration law specialists and not agents.
  • Relying on out-of-date information based on past applications: You may have applied for a Tier 4 visa before.  The rules change frequently and even if you applied for Tier 4 to study elsewhere in the UK, you should read our guidance to make sure you understand if there are any rule changes that affect you.
  • Not declaring all information: We are regularly asked if it matters if you leave some information out of the application form.  You must provide all the details the forms ask you for and do not leave out any important information. Likewise, if a family member has applied for UK visas for you in the past, make sure you have all the details including any issues with your applications.  Some students have received refusals because of issues with past applications they were unaware of.

Undergraduate Programmes 

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SUMMER 2020

Receiving your CAS does not guarantee you a visa.  It is extremely important that you read all the guidance given to ensure you meet the immigration rules.  Your academic offer is separate to the immigration rules and you need to meet both the conditions of your offer and the immigration rules to join LSE in 2020/21.

You may meet the conditions of your academic offer but you must have all the required documents in place before submitting an application. Do not assume flexibility will be given.  During the summer application period 2020, if you know you will receive a transcript which confirms the name of your degree and that you have been awarded your degree and your certificate is delayed, you may be able to apply using your transcript as evidence.  Please refer to the requirements in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to check your document can be used in the section called Evidence of your Qualifications.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Numbers

To be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa for LSE you will need a CAS number. It is an electronic document that will be sent to you by email.

A CAS can only be used for one Tier 4 application. Find out more about how you can get a CAS in our CAS Issuing Policy.

Step One:  Read the guide to applying for Tier 4 for Undergraduate Students

Applying for a Tier 4 for undergraduate students - (pdf)

Step Twoif you are applying from overseas read this guide

IMPORTANT: This information is in our guidance but many students are asking the difference between RQF and NQF. If your CAS states you are at NQF 6 you must choose RQF 6 on the form.

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  This guide only answers the most frequently asked questions about the application form.  It doesn't explain the rules.  

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

Step Twoif you are applying in the UK read this guide 

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Further LSE Guidance

You should refer to our infosheets which are available on the right hand side of this web page.

Disclaimer: Our advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The advice provided by ISVAT is in accordance with the current Immigration Rules and Policy guidance which is subject to change at short notice. We cannot guarantee your visa application will be successful. It is your responsibility to read all of the guidance available and ensure that you meet the immigration rules at the point you apply for your Tier 4 visa.

General Course

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SUMMER 2020

Receiving your CAS does not guarantee you a visa.  It is extremely important that you read all the guidance given to ensure you meet the immigration rules.  Your academic offer is separate to the immigration rules and you need to meet both the conditions of your offer and the immigration rules to join LSE in 2020/21.

You may meet the conditions of your academic offer but you must have all the required documents in place before submitting an application. Do not assume flexibility will be given.  During the summer application period 2020, if you know you will receive a transcript which confirms the name of your degree and that you have been awarded your degree and your certificate is delayed, you may be able to apply using your transcript as evidence.  Please refer to the requirements in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to check your document can be used in the section called Evidence of your Qualifications.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Numbers

To be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa for LSE you will need a CAS number. It is an electronic document that will be sent to you by email.

A CAS can only be used for one Tier 4 application. Find out more about how you can get a CAS in our CAS Issuing Policy.

Step One:  Read the guide to applying for Tier 4 for General Course students

Applying for a Tier 4 for General Course students - (pdf)

You can also read our infosheets:

Info sheet: General Course - US Nationals

Info sheet: General Course - Non-US nationals

Step Twoif you are applying from overseasread this guide

IMPORTANT: This information is in our guidance but many students are asking the difference between RQF and NQF. If your CAS states you are at NQF 6 you must choose RQF 6 on the form.

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  This guide only answers the most frequently asked questions about the application form.  It doesn't explain the rules.  

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

Read me next: if you are applying in the UK read this guide 

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Further LSE Guidance

You should refer to our infosheets which are available on the right hand side of this web page.

Disclaimer: Our advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The advice provided by ISVAT is in accordance with the current Immigration Rules and Policy guidance which is subject to change at short notice. We cannot guarantee your visa application will be successful. It is your responsibility to read all of the guidance available and ensure that you meet the immigration rules at the point you apply for your Tier 4 visa.


Taught Masters & Diploma Programmes

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SUMMER 2020

Receiving your CAS does not guarantee you a visa.  It is extremely important that you read all the guidance given to ensure you meet the immigration rules.  Your academic offer is separate to the immigration rules and you need to meet both the conditions of your offer and the immigration rules to join LSE in 2020/21.

You may meet the conditions of your academic offer but you must have all the required documents in place before submitting an application. Do not assume flexibility will be given.  During the summer application period 2020, if you know you will receive a transcript which confirms the name of your degree and that you have been awarded your degree and your certificate is delayed, you may be able to apply using your transcript as evidence.  Please refer to the requirements in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to check your document can be used in the section called Evidence of your Qualifications.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Numbers

To be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa for LSE you will need a CAS number. It is an electronic document that will be sent to you by email.

A CAS can only be used for one Tier 4 application. Find out more about how you can get a CAS in our CAS Issuing Policy.

Step One: Read the guide to applying for Tier 4 for Taught Masters Students

Applying for a Tier 4 visa for Masters students (pdf)

Step Twoif you are applying from overseas read this guide

IMPORTANT: This information is in our guidance but many students are asking the difference between RQF and NQF. If your CAS states you are at NQF 7 you must choose RQF 7 on the form.

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  This guide only answers the most frequently asked questions about the application form.  It doesn't explain the rules.  

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

Step Two: if you are applying in the UK read this guide

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Double/Joint degree students

If you are studying one of our double/dual degree programmes, please refer to our info sheet for advice on Tier 4 visas for your programmes.

Double/joint degree info sheet (pdf)

Tier 4 Part-time

Whilst there is a provision to be able to study part-time under Tier 4 at Masters level and above, LSE has decided not to sponsor new applicants under this route.   It is a much more restrictive route than the Tier 4 full time visa but you are still required to meet the same as a full time student rules when applying for your visa:

  • You cannot start your programme on a full-time basis and then switch to part-time using the same visa.  To be able to study on a Tier 4 part-time, you would need to leave the UK and re-apply for a visa before you change your mode of attendance;
  • You cannot work on a Tier 4 part-time visa or undertake a work placement;
  • You cannot bring dependants with you.
  • The UKVI have confirmed you can access the NHS but you will need to pay the full amount of the Immigration Health Surcharge for the length of your programme.  This is £300 per year of study plus the additional time you would be granted on your visa.

Further LSE Guidance

You should also refer to our infosheets which are available on the right hand side of this web page.

Disclaimer:  Our advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The advice provided by ISVAT is in accordance with the current Immigration Rules and Policy guidance which is subject to change at short notice. We cannot guarantee your visa application will be successful. It is your responsibility to read all of the guidance available and ensure that you meet the immigration rules at the point you apply for your Tier 4 visa.

Research Degree Programmes

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SUMMER 2020

Receiving your CAS does not guarantee you a visa.  It is extremely important that you read all the guidance given to ensure you meet the immigration rules.  Your academic offer is separate to the immigration rules and you need to meet both the conditions of your offer and the immigration rules to join LSE in 2020/21.

You may meet the conditions of your academic offer but you must have all the required documents in place before submitting an application. Do not assume flexibility will be given.  During the summer application period 2020, if you know you will receive a transcript which confirms the name of your degree and that you have been awarded your degree and your certificate is delayed, you may be able to apply using your transcript as evidence.  Please refer to the requirements in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to check your document can be used in the section called Evidence of your Qualifications.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Numbers

To be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa for LSE you will need a CAS number. It is an electronic document that will be sent to you by email. Find out more about how you can get a CAS in our CAS Issuing Policy.

Extending your Tier 4 due to an extension of your thesis submission date

If you have received an extension on your thesis submission date, which takes you beyond the current expiry date of your visa, it is permitted under the immigration rules that you can extend your visa.  It is simply seen as an extension to continue on a course of study that you need to complete.

We are aware that some PhD students are currently under the impression that extending their Tier 4 visa for a new thesis submission date is a 'violation' of the rules and will have a detrimental effect on future UK visa applications, especially for work visas.  Checks will need to be made when the CAS is issued e.g. checking that your extension does not take you beyond the permitted time limits and that you have ATAS clearance if required.However, these are to help you avoid a refusal. Also, if your new thesis submission date is still within the current validity of your visa, you would be unable to extend initially.  However, the information below on vivas and corrections would provide an alternative option here.

We are concerned that students who may genuinely benefit from an extension are not looking into this option because they think it will be detrimental to their future plans.  We strongly urge any PhD students considering an extension to their thesis submission date and subsequently their Tier 4 visa, that you contact the team directly for advice. ISVAT are the specialists in Tier 4 immigration advice at the School and advice from other sources may cause unnecessary concern.

Extending your Tier 4 visa at the end of your studies.

You should note that if you are required to extend your visa beyond the original end date, this will affect when you are able to start working full time. You will be unable to work full time until after the new programme end date as stated on your CAS has passed.

Step One: Read the guide to applying for Tier 4 for Research Degree Students

Applying for the Tier 4 visa for Research Students (pdf)

Step Two: if you are applying from overseas read this guide

IMPORTANT: This information is in our guidance but many students are asking the difference between RQF and NQF. If your CAS states you are at NQF 8 you must choose RQF 8 on the form.

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  This guide only answers the most frequently asked questions about the application form.  It doesn't explain the rules.  

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

When you reach this stage, you need to read the text as well as refer to the screenshots for the supporting advice. FAQs are in red. 

Step Two: if you are applying in the UK read this guide

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Tier 4 Part-time

Whilst there is a provision to be able to study part-time under Tier 4 at Masters level and above, LSE has decided not to sponsor new applicants under this route.   It is a much more restrictive route than the Tier 4 full time visa but you are still required to meet the same as a full time student rules when applying for your visa:

  • You cannot start your programme on a full-time basis and then switch to part-time using the same visa.  To be able to study on a Tier 4 part-time, you would need to leave the UK and re-apply for a visa before you change your mode of attendance;
  • You cannot work on a Tier 4 part-time visa or undertake a work placement;
  • You cannot bring dependants with you.
  • The UKVI have confirmed you can access the NHS but you will need to pay the full amount of the Immigration Health Surcharge for the length of your programme.  This is £300 per year of study plus the additional time you would be granted on your visa.

Further LSE Guidance

You should also refer to our infosheets which are available on the right hand side of this web page.

Disclaimer:  Our advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The advice provided by ISVAT is in accordance with the current Immigration Rules and Policy guidance which is subject to change at short notice. We cannot guarantee your visa application will be successful. It is your responsibility to read all of the guidance available and ensure that you meet the immigration rules at the point you apply for your Tier 4 visa.

Language Centre Pre-sessional Programmes

Information for Language Centre Students

Given the current COVID-19 situation, the Language Centre have decided not to run their English Language pre-sessional programmes in Summer 2020.  Further information can be found here.

Tier 4 will not be in place when the pre-sessional programmes run in Summer 2021.  We will update this section of the web page when we have full details of the new immigration routes.

Disclaimer:  Our advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The advice provided by ISVAT is in accordance with the current immigration rules and policy guidance which is subject to change at short notice. You are therefore strongly advised to check our web pages before submitting any visa application or travelling to the UK. It is your responsibility to read all of the guidance available and ensure that you meet the immigration rules at the point you apply for your Tier 4 visa. 

Your Family

Tier 4 Dependants

The rules for dependants can be complex and we recommend seeking advice from our team before submitting an application.  The information below only refers to Tier 4 dependants and should not be used in the context of applications for dependants of other Points Based System routes.

Who are 'dependants' under Tier 4?

Under the Tier 4 immigration rules your 'dependants' are:

  • husband or wife
  • civil partner 
  • unmarried or same sex partner (you must have lived together for at least two years).

You and your partner must be aged 18 or over on the date you are due to arrive in the UK

  • children aged under 18* (on the date you are going to arrive in the UK)

If you come to the UK without your child, it can be more difficult to bring them to the UK later. The Tier 4 rules state that you can only bring your child / children with you to the UK if your partner is also coming with you to the UK. If your partner is going to stay outside the UK, your child /children cannot come with you. The exceptions to this are:

  • if you are the only parent or
  • you have 'sole responsibility for your child / children or
  • there are 'serious compelling reasons' which mean you and your partner cannot come to live together in the UK

The rules also state that to qualify as a 'child' they must 'not be living an independent life'.

Who can bring dependants?

 You can bring your dependants to the UK if

  • you are studying at postgraduate degree level for nine months or more
  • you are fully sponsored by your government for a programme of study longer than six months

If you have already been studying in the UK   your dependants will be able to continue to stay with you in the UK as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • you have a Tier 4 Student visa  and
  • your current visa is for a programme of study longer than six months and 
  • you are applying for a programme of study longer than six months and
  • your visa has not yet expired or it expired less than three months ago and
  • you and your family apply together and
  • your family member currently has or had permission (within the last three months) as your dependant.

Family members already in the UK

If you meet the Tier 4 rules to bring dependants:

  • you are studying at postgraduate level for nine months or more, or
  • you are fully sponsored by your government for a programme of study longer than six months; and
  • your family are already in the UK as your Tier 4 dependants;

they can apply to continue to stay in the UK with you.  They can apply inside the UK before their visa expires (this date should match your visa end date) or they can apply outside the UK. Contact ISVAT for further advice on your options.

If your family are in the UK with different immigration permission, they can become your Tier 4 dependant.  As long as they are not in the UK with permission as a visitor or have 'temporary admission' or 'temporary release', they can apply inside the UK.

If you don't meet the Tier 4 rules to bring dependants
If your dependants are already with you and you do not meet the requirements above, but you have already been studying in the UK on a programme that is longer than six months, the rules state that they can continue to stay with you in the UK if:

  • you have a Tier 4 Student visa or Student Visa
  • your current visa is for a programme of study longer than six months
  • your visa has not yet expired or it expired less than three months ago*
  • you and your family apply together (if you are not applying, your dependants have to apply from outside the UK)
  • you are applying for a programme of study longer than six months
  • your family member currently has or had permission (within the last three months) as your dependant

* but the rules also state that you cannot submit an application in the UK if you have overstayed beyond the end date of your visa for more than 14 calendar days.  We advise you to always apply before your current visa expires.

Additional rules for child dependants

The Tier 4 rules state that you can only bring your child / children with you to the UK if  both parents are going to be in the UK. This means that if your partner is going to stay outside the UK, your child /children cannot join you.

The exception to this is if you are:

  • the only parent or
  • you have 'sole responsibility' for your child / children or
  • there are serious compelling reasons which mean you and your partner cannot come to live together in the UK

The rules also state that to qualify as a 'child' they must 'not be living an independent life'.  Read the PBS dependant's guidance for further details.

Babies born in the UK

If you are pregnant or your partner is pregnant, you should seek advice from ISVAT about the implications for your visa in the UK.  You may be able to obtain a short approved absence for maternity/paternity depending on the point your at in your studies. If you plan to interrupt your studies, you will be unable to remain in the UK.

Babies born in the UK are not automatically entitled to a British passport.  If you or your partner have a baby in the UK, you do not need to apply for immigration permission for the baby unless your baby needs to re-enter the UK after travel.  Non-visa nationals are advised not to re-enter their baby as visitor as they will not be entitled to access NHS services without health insurance.

Your child will only be eligible for free NHS care until they are three months old.  At this point you will need to obtain a visa for them and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Advice on applying for a Tier 4 Dependant visa for your baby can be found on the UKCISA website:

Babies born in the UK

How do my family apply?

If you have a Tier 4 Student visa, your dependants apply as 'dependant of a Points Based System migrant'. Each dependant completes a separate application form and pays a separate fee if you are applying outside the UK or at separate times.

The dependants of a PBS migrant application form is available as an online form in the UK. If your dependants are applying at the same time as you, their form will be combined with your application.  If they are applying separately, you will need to complete a form for each dependant.

Home Office website

If your dependants apply at the same time as you and receive a refusal, your application may also be affected so it's important to get it as correct as possible.

Maintenance funds for your dependants

Dependants of students studying in inner London are now required  to show £845 per month living costs up to a maximum of nine months dependent on they leave that will be granted.

For example:  PhD student has an extension of six months. They will only be required to show six months of living costs. 

BUT

The dependant will need to show nine months living costs because they will be granted 10 months leave on their visa.

The exception to this rule are dependants of students applying for the Tier 4 "Doctorate Extension Scheme" as they are only required to show that two months of living costs  are available to them.

If you have a scholarship and it is intended to cover costs for your family, you can use the scholarship to cover the maintenance funds for your dependants. The scholarship letter must state that funds are also intended for your dependants and explain how much money is allocated for the support of your dependants.

Even if you receive a scholarship and you are using this to support your dependants, it can only be used as evidence if this is confirmed on the letter.

It is important that you and your dependants all show sufficient funds. If there are insufficient funds for all applicants, even if you have enough money to cover your costs, all applications will be refused.

If your dependant is a 'low risk'  national, they can benefit from 'differentiation arrangements'. However, you must still prepare evidence of your finances for your dependants as it can be requested.   

How to apply for a Tier 4 visa for LSE

Can my dependants work in the UK?

Yes, if you are coming to study on a full time postgraduate degree programme at LSE for longer than 9 months your dependants are able to work. Details of the type of work they are able to do can be found on the UKCISA web site.

Non-Tier 4 Dependants

What options do I have if my family are not eligible for the Tier 4 Dependant Visa?

If your family cannot come to the UK as your dependants under the rules, they may choose to come to the UK as Standard Visitors.  This would allow them to come to the UK for a maximum  of six months in any 12 month period. However, this route is not intended for successive visits or for them to be residing in the UK, so you should ensure this is not the case.

Visitors cannot do any work (paid or unpaid) and they cannot use the National Health Service (NHS) except in emergencies. 

We advise that your family to has private health insurance to cover their visits to the UK.

For details go to:

UK Visas and Immigration- Standard Visitors

Inviting your family/friends to visit you

If your family or friends will visit you in the UK during your studies, they may choose to come as a Standard Visitor.

You will need to provide them with a letter of invitation confirming that you are inviting them to visit you, where they will be staying and the potential length of the visit.  LSE is unable to provide a letter for your visitors' visa applications, but we can provide a Certificate of Registration from the Student Services Centre which will confirm you are a registered student at LSE.

Further advice

UKCISA

Home Office

External sources of advice


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