Applying for Tier 4 - current students

Using LSE specific guidance

There is a lot of information available on applying for the Tier 4 General visa.  We have referred to Home Office and UK Council for International Student Affairs guidance to provide LSE specific advice.  Whilst you may wish to refer to guidance from other institutions, our guidance is aimed at LSE students. Students have made mistakes in the past by relying on guidance from previous institutions or prior knowledge of applications.

Please ensure you check our most up-to-guidance when applying for a visa.

Step 1: Read the  Comprehensive ISIS Tier 4 Application Guide  

Guide to applying for Tier 4 for current LSE students (pdf) - August 2015 - We recommend that you do not open this in Internet Explorer.

This current version of the guide includes information on:

  • Can you apply?
  • Documents to get a CAS
  • Completing the forms
  • Financial Requirements
  • Supporting Documents
  • How and when to apply
  • What to do after you apply
  • What to do when you obtain your Tier 4 visa
  • How ISIS can help you
  • Checklist  

IMPORTANT: From the 3 August 2015 the immigration rules will change and all periods of time spent on a Tier 4 or Student visa must now be included when calculating the cap on degree level studies.  If you think you are affected by this contact ISIS immediately for advice.

Step 2: Pay your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your Tier 4 application

The IHS costs £150 per year for students. It is calculated on the basis of the length of the visa you will be granted.  For example a 12 month Masters student will be granted a visa for 17 months, so they will have to pay £225.  The IHS is mandatory and failure to pay the correct amount may lead to a refusal of your visa.

Some people are exempt, but they must still obtain an IHS number to include in their Tier 4 application.

IMPORTANT: The Immigration Health Surcharge became part of the Tier 4 application form on the 5 July 2015.  From the following times:

  • 6:59am on Saturday 4 July 2015 for applications in the UK, the new application system will not recognise that you have already paid the IHS and will ask you to pay it again.
  • 5:59pm on Saturday 4 July 2015 for applications outside the UK, the new application system will not recognise that you have already paid the IHS and will ask you to pay it again.

If you have already paid your Immigration Health Surcharge, but did not submit your Tier 4 application by these times,  you will need to take the following steps:

1. Complete a new Tier 4 application form;

2. Re-pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your application - failure to re-pay may result in your application being refused.

Further details can be found in the UKVI Questions and Answers document.

If you have any questions, please contact ISIS using our web query form.

We have been advised that you will be refunded your duplicate payment.

Step 3: Use our guides to help you complete the application forms

Detailed step by step guides to completing the application form (currently being updated).  Please ensure you are completing the correct form.

Applying inside UK. 

From the 6 April 2015, a Tier 4 application in the UK costs:

  • Standard (postal) application - £439 + Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Premium (in-person) application - £839 + Immigration Health Surcharge

How to complete the application forms in the UK (pdf) - July 2015

Applying outside UK. You will need to open this file in Internet Explorer to access the information included in the guide.

From 6 April 2015, a Tier 4 application outside the UK costs £322 + Immigration Health Surcharge.

How to complete the Tier 4 application form overseas [pdf] - July 2015

As part of your application, you must enrol your biometric information (scan of fingerprints and digital photo of your face).  See the link on the right hand side of this page for detailed information. 

If you apply in the UK, you will be able to enrol your information at the Post Office. For details of the process go to:

Post Office - biometric enrolment

Step 4: Getting your visa

Applying inside the UK

If you have applied for your Tier 4 visa in the UK, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) instead of a sticker in your passport.  This will be delivered to you by courier.  Check your BRP to see if there are any errors.  If you believe there is a mistake on your BRP, read our checking your visa web page to find out what to do.

Applying outside the UK

The Home Office have begun to introduce changes to immigration procedures after arrival in the UK.  Depending on when and where you apply for your visa, you may either receive a sticker in your passport which covers your whole course or you may be required to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) when you arrive in the UK.

Details of the scheme can be found in our visa newsletter on BRPs.

Further advice on the process can be found on the UKCISA website.

Using Home Office website

If you are applying outside the UK, the page below has a summary of the process and you can check if you can apply online (most countries).  If you apply online, you will still need to submit paper documents and your passport.  

Home Office website - applying outside the UK

Choose the link "Apply".

If you are applying inside the UK, the page below has links to the Tier 4 policy guidance and you can click "Extend your Visa" to find the application form:

Home Office website - applying inside the UK

Other useful sources of advice

Students often rely on social media to obtain advice. Immigration advice is very individual and we advise you to always check with official sources as it is very easy to get the wrong advice from someone whose situation may seem similar to you.  The rules are detailed and they change regularly.


When can you apply?

If you are in the UK and continuing on your programme, you must apply before your current visa expires.  If you need to extend your stay in the UK for a new programme, you can apply up to a maximum of three months before your visa expires.

If you have had a break in your studies and are applying for a Tier 4 visa to return, you can apply up to three months before the return date of your programme (the date will be listed on your CAS) and you can return to the UK up to one week or one month before your return date.  Applications outside the UK can vary and in some countries it is possible to request a priority service for your application for an additional fee.  You can check the current processing times at:

Visa processing times

Please note these are working days and you should also plan time for the return of your documents.

Questions or Problems

Please use our guidance to answer your questions. If you can't find the answers you are looking for, please come to our drop in service or e-mail us.

If you have a problem with your application or your application has been refused please contact ISIS immediately and we will do everything we can to help.  

You must also inform Registry if your Tier 4 application is refused as your record needs to be updated with this information and LSE is required to inform the Home Office - you can e-mail them at: