Warning: don't apply too early!
Do not apply for your Tier 4 visa more than 3 months before the start date of your programme. The date of your application is the date that you pay online or pay at the visa application centre. If you apply too early, your application will be refused and you will lose the application fee.
Take your time reading the guidance and preparing your application.
Refer to the Home Office Guidance as well as the LSE specific guidance
Contact ISIS if you have any problems with your application after reading our guidance.
Step 1: Read the comprehensive ISIS Tier 4 Application Guide
Our detailed guidance has been written specifically for LSE students based on the Home Office guidance and guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs. We recommend you use this guidance when applying for your Tier 4 visa.
ISIS PDF Guide to Applying for Tier 4 - New Students - (PDF) September 2015. We recommend you do not view this in Internet Explorer.
Our visa newsletters will also keep you updated on recent developments and frequently asked questions.
Step 2: Use our guides to help you complete the application forms
How to complete the Tier 4 application form overseas [pdf] - July 2015
How to complete the Tier 4 G form inside the UK [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.
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.
Our visa newsletter on BRPs explains frequently asked questions about the changes.
Details of the scheme can be found on the UKVI webpages, as well as the schedule for the scheme.
Using the UKVI webpages
General information on applying for your Tier 4 visa can be found on the UKVI webpages.
If you are applying outside the UK, your application will cost £322 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge. To access the online application form choose option 5 "Apply".
If you are applying inside the UK , your application will cost:
Standard (postal) application - £439 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge
Premium (in-person) application - £839 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge
To access the online application form choose option 6 "Extend your Visa".
Other useful sources of advice
In addition the UK Council for International Affairs (UKCISA) provides free impartial advice and guidance.
Many students use social media to get immigration advice. You should always check with official sources. Immigration advice is very individual and 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 do I apply?
The earliest you can apply to come to the UK is three months before the start date of your programme as stated on your CAS. Embassies get very busy in July and August with student applications so apply as early as you can.
You can find processing times on the UKVI webpages. Please note these are working days and you should allow time for your documents to be returned to you.
In some countries it is possible to pay for a priority service application. Check your visa processing centre to see if this is available.
We advise against travelling out of your country of application until your Tier 4 application has been processed. You will need to provide your fingerprints and may be required to attend an interview, so you should be available to complete these requirements.
Please apply for permission to come to the UK as soon as you can, but ensure you understand the requirements of the visa.