Applying for Tier 4 - current students

No visa is guaranteed, but the best way to submit an application that is likely to be successful is to spend time reading the LSE specific guidance and the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.  Most students who encounter problems with their immigration permission have not read the information.

Step 1: Read the ISIS Tier 4 Application Guide

Read this guide before you start the application form.  It refers to the specific rules and guidance which enables you to check whether you are in a position to submit a successful application. 

We highlight the essential parts of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance and we strongly recommend that you read these as it will help you submit a successful application. 

Guide to applying for Tier 4 for current LSE students (pdf) - December 2015 - We recommend that you do not open this in Internet Explorer to avoid seeing an archived version.

Step 2: Use our guides to help you complete the application forms

Applying inside UK. 

IMPORTANT: Rule changes from the 6th April 2016 may mean that you are no longer eligible to apply to extend  your Tier 4 visa in the UK e.g. if you have transferred programmes and your visa expires before your new programme finishes.  Contact us for advice before submitting a Tier 4 application.

Read our guide to completing the application form in the UK:

How to complete the Tier 4 application form in the UK - February 2016 (PDF)


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

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

Step 3: 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.

The IHS payment system does not take into consideration the complexities of PhDs.  If you are a PhD student extending mid-programme or for the Doctorate Extension Scheme, please contact us for advice on paying the IHS.

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.

There is a limited period of time to get corrections made.

Applying outside the UK

You will be granted a temporary vignette (sticker) in your passport which will enable you to enter the UK.  You will then be required to collect a Biometric Residence Permit from the Post Office you have selected.

Your BRP is your evidence of your immigration permission to be in the UK.  We recommend that you store this safely and only carry it when travelling.  Replacing a lost BRP can take up to eight weeks by post, so we recommend that you find an alternative document to use as proof of ID e.g. a driving licence.

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 our team 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: