How to apply for a Tier 4 visa within the UK

You must have current leave in one of the following categories to extend your Tier 4 visa within the UK:

You can also change (switch) to a Tier 4 visa. Check if you’re eligible to switch

If you are a current student and you need extra time to complete your course, contact one of our immigration advisers to check if you can apply in the UK.

Download our guide to completing the Tier 4 online application from within the UK [PDF 1.41 MB]

Points-based assessment

To extend your student visa, you must pass a points-based assessment by scoring 40 points. You must score:

  • 30 points by supplying a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a licensed sponsor (i.e. the University of Sussex)
  • 10 points if you can show you have enough money (£1015 per month up to a maximum of £9135) to pay for your course fees and living expenses for up to nine months.
  • Applying if you have Tier 4 (General) leave

    If you have Tier 4 (General) leave, you can only apply for a Tier 4 in the UK if your current visa is sponsored by:

    • a UK-recognised body, or a body in receipt of public funding (i.e. the University of Sussex)
    • an overseas higher education institution and you have been doing a short-term study abroad programme in the UK
    • an Embedded College offering Pathway Courses, such as the International Study Centre (ISC). This does not include pre-sessional courses
    • an independent school.

    You must have successfully completed, and been awarded, the qualification you have been studying and that your current Tier 4 visa was issued for to be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa within the UK. 

  • When to apply

    You can apply up to three months before the course start date on your CAS.

    If you are starting a new course, we email you with your CAS number after your offer is unconditionally confirmed.

    If you are continuing on the same course, ask for a CAS when you are within six months of your current visa expiry date.

    If you already have a valid visa such as a dependant visa, spouse visa, or indefinite leave to remain and don’t need a CAS, let the relevant office for CAS queries at Sussex know.

    If the new course starts more than 28 days after your visa expiry date, you must return home to get a new visa.


    If you apply after your visa expiry date, you will be an 'overstayer'. This is an illegal status in the UK, and we cannot register you on your new course if you are an overstayer.

    If you do not have a current visa and are an overstayer, email

  • How to apply

    You must apply online via the UKVI website.

    You’ll also have to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

    You can apply in three ways:

    Standard service (£457)

    After you submit your application, send a cover sheet and your supporting documents to UKVI within 15 working days.

    Your application date is when you submit the application online. You should apply on or before your current visa expiry date.

    UKVI then send you a letter which tells you how to enrol your biometric information for your biometric residence permit

    Find a post office to enrol your biometric information.

    You should receive a decision within eight weeks from the application date.

    Priority service (£916)

    UKVI process your application within 10 working days, as long as you post your documents and enrol your biometrics within two working days of submitting your application.

    Premium service (£1,047)

    You book an appointment at a UKVI premium service centre and submit your cover sheet and supporting documents at the appointment.

    You will receive a decision on the day of your appointment, and your visa will be sent to you within 10 working days.

    The date of your application is when you submit the application online. You should apply on or before your current visa expiry date.

    The appointment can take place after your visa expiry date, but must be within 45 days of the date of application.

    Your application will be rejected if you do not attend the appointment and enrol your biometrics, and you will become an overstayer if your current visa has expired.

  • Visa application documents

    You need:

    • biometric details. You must enrol your fingerprints and facial image (known as 'biometric information') at a specified Post Office
    • Police Registration Certificate - include this if you have a requirement to register with the police. It is important that it is up-to-date with your current address.
    • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. If you want to study certain science- or technology-based subjects, you must apply for a clearance certificate online through ATAS before applying for a visa. 
      We include ATAS information in your offer letter if this applies to you. 

    If a document is not in English, it must come with a fully certified translation. See page 13 for more guidance (Home Office policy guidance on Tier 4 PDF).

    Make sure you have photocopies of all documents. All documents should be original unless otherwise stated.

    You may have to submit other documents depending on your circumstances.

  • Submiting proof of visa application to Sussex

    You must show us a photocopy of your current visa and the cover sheet from your online visa application as proof that you have applied.

    We cannot register you for a new course without this.

    Email if you think you have applied after your visa expiry date.

  • Credibility interviews

    You may be asked to attend a credibility interview by UKVI. 

    During the interview, a UKVI staff member will assess if you meet the English language requirements and if you are a 'genuine student.'

    They may ask you questions about:

    • your course and your plans for when you finish your course
    • why you chose to study your subject
    • how you are funding your studies
    • how you meet the English language requirements for the course.

    If you do not attend your interview, your application is likely to be refused.

    If you are called for interview your application is likely to be delayed beyond the normal eight-week processing time.

    Find out more about UKVI credibility interviews [DOCX 17.79KB].

  • Biometric residence permit

    Your visa will be issued as a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

    You must bring your BRP to the Student Systems & Records Office (SSRO) Office if you are an undergraduate or Masters student, or the Research Student Administration Office (RSAO) Office if you are a PhD student.

    Check all the details on your BRP are correct, including:

    • your name, nationality and date of birth
    • your visa expiry date
    • university sponsor number - this should be P2W0CWXJ9
    • your working conditions
    • police registration condition if applicable.
  • Switching institutions

    Tier 4 visas are only valid for use on the course of study at the university they were issued for. 

    If you have a Tier 4 visa that was issued for study at another university, you must apply to extend your visa before you can enrol at Sussex.

  • Dependants

    Your partner and children may be able to apply to extend their stay with you as dependants 

    If your course is less than six months long, your family members cannot apply to be or remain your dependants.