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)| - May 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: Information on paying the Immigration Health Surcharge and the introduction of Biometric Residence Permits is currently  only available on this page.  Please read the information below carefully.

Step 2: Pay your Immigration Health Surcharge before applying for your Tier 4 visa

IMPORTANT: There are currently issues with calculating the amount of Immigration Surcharge that is required to be paid.  We recommend that all current students in the process of extending their Tier 4 visa / applying to return for re-takes should contact ISIS before paying the surcharge.

The Immigration Health Surcharge was introduced on the 6 April 2015.    Payment is currently separate to the Tier 4 application form but you must obtain an Immigration Health Surcharge number before submitting your application for a Tier 4 visa.

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

Some people are exempt from payment.  However, they must still obtain a number for their Tier 4 application.

Follow the steps below to pay your surcharge:

  1. Read the information on the UKVI web pages explaining about the Immigration Health Surcharge.
  2. Find out when you need to pay the surcharge or if you are exempt from payment.
  3. Calculate how much your surcharge will be using the Home Office calculator. You should use the course dates as stated on your CAS.  Doctorate Extension Scheme students must refer to ISIS as the calculator does not give the correct amount of surcharge if you use the dates on your CAS.
  4. Create an account and pay for your Immigration Health Surcharge. If you have dependants, you can add their details at the same time you make payment. There are various ways you can pay, but payment may be higher due to the exchange rate. Keep a copy of the email you are sent by the Home Office with your Immigration Health Surcharge number as reference.  You will be required to write this number on your Tier 4 application form.

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)|

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]

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 on the UK Visas and Immigration| web pages, as well as the schedule| for the scheme.

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: |