How to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa for LSE

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

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

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:

  • All students should read "Guide to applying for Tier 4 for..." as this explains the actual rules and the format of documents that are expected.  Students who have received refusals have not referred to this guidance.
  • 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.

The application form guidance does not explain the rules,so you should not use these documents on their own.

The majority of students who received a refusal in 2017 confirmed that they had not read any of the guidance available.  LSE reserves the right not to issue you with a new CAS if you receive a refusal, so it is in your best interests to prepare for your application by reading our documentation.

Undergraduate Programmes 

How to get a CAS - new students

Your CAS number will only be issued to you after you have received an unconditional offer, completed the Financial Undertaking Form and checked your pre-CAS statement.

Your CAS will be issued by the Undergraduate Admissions team.  It cannot be issued more than six months in advance of your course start date and can only be used once.

How to get a CAS - registered students

If you are a registered student and there has been a change in your academic circumstances which requires you to apply for a new Tier 4 visa, you will need to proactively request a new CAS number from the Registry Visa Queries Team.

Request your CAS using their online form.

Read me first: Guide to applying for Tier 4 for Undergraduate Students

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

Read me second: if you are applying from overseas

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

You may be tempted just to try to refer to this guide when preparing your application. However, it doesn't explain the rules.  It simply explains the frequently asked questions we receive about the form.  If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  

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

Read me second: if you are applying in the UK

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

How to get a CAS - new students

Your CAS number will only be issued to you after you have received an unconditional offer, completed the Financial Undertaking Form and confirmed your passport details. It cannot be issued more than six months in advance of your course start date and can only be used once.

Your CAS will be issued by the General Course team.

How to get a CAS - registered students

If you are a registered student and there has been a change in your academic circumstances which requires you to apply for a new Tier 4 visa, for example you have interrupted your studies, you will need to request a new CAS number from the Registry Visa Queries Team.

Request your CAS using their online form.

Read me first: Guide to applying for Tier 4 for General Course Students

Applying for a Tier 4 visa for the General Course (pdf)

Read me second: if you are applying from overseas

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

You may be tempted just to use this guide when preparing your application. However, it doesn't explain the rules.  It simply explains the frequently asked questions we receive about the form.  If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  

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

Read me second: if you are applying in the UK 

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Infosheets for General Course Students

There are differences in the process of applying for a Tier 4 visa for US nationals and Non-US nationals.  Check the relevant infosheet for you before reading our guides.

Applying for a Tier Visa for the General Course as a US National (pdf)
Applying for a Tier 4 Visa for the General Course as a Non-US National (pdf)

If you have any questions after reading our guidance, you can contact us by completing our online query form.

Advice from your Study Abroad Advisor

If you are coming to the LSE from one of our US partner institutions, you may be receiving advice from your Study Abroad Advisor on applying for a Tier 4 visa.  We are unable to speak to Study Abroad Advisors on individual cases.  If you have any questions about your visa application for the LSE, please contact us directly.  

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

How to get a CAS - new students

If you are a new student to the LSE your CAS number will only be issued to you after you have received an unconditional offer, completed the Financial Undertaking Form and checked your pre-CAS statement. It cannot be issued more than six months in advance of your course start date and can only be used once.

Your CAS will be issued by the Graduate Admissions team.

How to get a CAS - registered students/Double Degree students spending Year 2 at LSE

If you are a registered student and there has been a change in your academic circumstances which requires you to apply for a new Tier 4 visa, for example you have interrupted your studies, you will need to request a new CAS number from the Registry Visa Queries Team.

Request your CAS using their online form.

When and where can you apply for your visa?

You can only apply for your Tier 4 visa from three months before your course start date as stated on your CAS in a country you are living in (not just visiting as a tourist).  

If you are applying for a visa to continue on the same programme, contact us for advice on when and where you can apply.

Read me first: Guide to applying for Tier 4 for Taught Masters Students

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

Read me second: if you are applying from overseas

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

You may be tempted just to use this guide when preparing your application. However, it doesn't explain the rules.  It simply explains the frequently asked questions we receive about the form.  If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  

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

Read me second: if you are applying in the UK 

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

There is now a provision to be able to study part-time under Tier 4 at Masters level and above.  The School is currently considering when/if this may be offered to students.  However, 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 fulltime 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 due to increase to £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

Information for Research Degree Students

How to get a CAS - new students

If you are a new student to the LSE Your CAS number will only be issued to you after you have received an unconditional offer, completed the Financial Undertaking Form and checked your pre-CAS statement. It cannot be issued more than six months in advance of your course start date and can only be used once.

Your CAS will be issued by the Graduate Admissions team.

How to get a CAS - registered students

If you are a registered student and there has been a change in your academic circumstances which requires you to apply for a new Tier 4 visa, for example you have interrupted your studies or you are applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme, you will need to request a new CAS number from the Registry Visa Queries Team.

Request your CAS using their online form.

Read me first: Guide to applying for Tier 4 for Research Degree Students

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

Read me second: if you are applying from overseas

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

You may be tempted just to use this guide when preparing your application. However, it doesn't explain the rules.  It simply explains the frequently asked questions we receive about the form.  If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  

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

Read me second: if you are applying in the UK 

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Tier 4 Part-time

There is now a provision to be able to study part-time under Tier 4 at Masters level and above.  The School is currently considering when/if this may be offered to students.  However, 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 fulltime 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 due to increase to £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.

Pre-sessional Programmes

Information for Language Centre Students

This information is for students studying the English language pre-sessional programmes in the Language Centre.

Getting a CAS

When you apply for your place on the pre-sessional programme, you will be asked details about the CAS number you require. You will only be able to receive a joint CAS if you have an unconditional offer for your main degree at LSE.

Your CAS will be issued by the Graduate Admissions team. Please note that if you are only issued with a CAS for your pre-sessional programme, you must succesfully complete the programme, even if your outstanding condition was not for English Language.  Failure to sit the final exam and successfully complete the programme will mean you cannot apply for your new visa in the UK.

Further information can be found on our infosheet.

When and where can you apply for your visa?

You can only apply for your Tier 4 visa from three months before your course start date as stated on your CAS ,in a country you are living in (not just visiting as a tourist).  

IMPORTANT: If you are attending a Language Centre pre-sessional English programme to meet the conditions of your LSE offer, you must contact ISVAT for advice on your options to apply for a Tier 4 visa in the UK before joining your main programme.

Read me first: Guide to applying for Tier 4 for Pre-sessional Language Centre Students

Applying for a Tier 4 Visa for the Language Centre (pdf)

Read me second: if you are applying from overseas

Completing the application form overseas (pdf)

You may be tempted just to use this guide when preparing your application. However, it doesn't explain the rules.  It simply explains the frequently asked questions we receive about the form.  If you haven't read the guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa, you need to start there.  

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

Read me second: if you are applying in the UK 

Completing the application form in the UK (pdf)

Further LSE Guidance

The International Student Visa Advice Team (ISVAT) have produced a number of information sheets which you can refer to including advice on Biometric Residence Permits and Meeting the Financial Requirements. 

If you have any questions after reading our guidance, you can contact us by completing our online query form.

If you are in the UK, you can attend one of our drop-in session for any quick questions. Details of drop-ins and how to sign-up in advance can be found here.

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 (same sex relationships only)
  • 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 twelve months or more, or
  • 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 twelve 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

The immigration rules changed on the 24 November 2016.  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 12 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.

EEA Family Members

ISVAT specialise in the UK student immigration rules.  We are able to signpost you to information on EEA Family Member permission, but are unable to advise on the application process or the documentation required. Further information for EU nationals can be found on the UKCISA web site. 

Further advice

UKCISA

Home Office

Twitter

SSC ISVAT LSE_ISVAT

RT @LSE_ISVAT: Just graduated? @LSE_ISVAT are able to continue advising you up until the point that your LSE Tier 4 expires.

11 hours ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

SSC ISVAT LSE_ISVAT

RT @LSE_SSC: Want to get ahead of the game? Submit your application to volunteer as part of the Off Campus Support Scheme prior to Student…

11 hours ago

Reply Retweet Favorite