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.
How to apply
Step 1: Read our guide to applying for Tier 4
IMPORTANT: We will be updating our guidance in May and producing guides for your specific cohort. Please ensure you read our updated guide at the point you are able to apply.
Our guidance has been written specifically for LSE students based on the Home Office guidance. We recommend you use this guidance when applying for your Tier 4 visa.
ISIS PDF Guide to Applying for Tier 4 - New Students - (PDF) April 2016. We recommend you do not view this in Internet Explorer as you may have an archived edition.
Our visa newsletters will also keep you updated on recent developments and frequently asked questions.
Step 2: Use our "How to " guides to help you complete the application forms
These guides complement our guides to applying for Tier 4. They should not be used on their own as they do not explain the rules. Students who have only referred to these guides often face issues with their applications.
How to complete the Tier 4 application form overseas [pdf] - July 2015
How to complete the Tier 4 G form inside the UK [pdf] - February 2016
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 introduced changes to immigration procedures after arrival in the UK. You will receive a temporary sticker in your passport which is valid for 30 days to enable you to travel to the UK. You will then need 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.
Using the UKVI webpages
You should always refer to the Tier 4 Policy Guidance when completing your application. This and general information can be found on the UKVI webpages.
Other useful sources of advice
The UK Council for International Affairs (UKCISA) provides free impartial advice and guidance.
Many students refer to social media to seek advice. This can be a risk because whilst a person may seem to have similar circumstances to you, immigration advice is very individual.