Changes for Tier 4 Student Visa now in effect

Changes to the Tier 4 system are part of an ongoing review of the points-based UK immigration system, designed to further strengthen the system and aid legitimate students in entering the country.

The changes mean new requirements and some restrictions for Tier 4 Student Visa applicants, but those applicants who have submitted and paid for their application before 3 March 2010 will be considered against the rules at the time of application.

The new Tier 4 requirements include:

  • The minimum level of English language course that Tier 4 (General) students can study has been raised to level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) but exceptions can be made if you are a government-sponsored student or if you want to study a pre-sessional English course that meets certain requirements.
  • If you are applying under Tier 4 (General) to study a course that is below degree level and is not a foundation degree, you may only work 10 hours per week. 
  • If you are applying under Tier 4 (Child) and you are 16 or 17 years old, you may only work 10 hours per week during term time. 
  • If you are applying to study a course under Tier 4 (General) for six months or less, you will no longer be able to bring your family members.
  • If you are applying to study a course lower than degree level (excluding foundation degree courses) under Tier 4 (General), your dependants will not be able to work (unless they qualify to work in their own right under Tier 1 or Tier 2 of the points-based system).

Further changes to the UK immigration system for Tier 4 is expected to be introduced from April 2010.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge UK Visa applications with the British Embassy.