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Most international students (from non-EEA countries) who wish to study in the UK for six months or more, must apply for  entry clearance as a Tier 4 (General) student  before they travel to the UK.

All the information detailed on this page, is a brief guide highlighting key points of the immigration process for international students, but for more detailed information about a Tier 4 (General) student visa, please visit or

Does this guidance apply to me?

This immigration guidance is for all international students who are nationals of countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.  

The EEA nations are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or the UK. If you are from one of these countries please read the guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) for EEA and Swiss students  instead.

If you are a:

  • British national (overseas);
  • British overseas citizen;
  • British overseas territories citizen;
  • British protected person; or
  • British subject.

Please visit for immigration information.

What do I do about immigration?

If you are a national of a non-EEA country who wants to come to the UK to study for six months or more, you must apply for  entry clearance as a Tier 4 (General) student  before you travel to the UK.

Without entry clearance, a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you will be refused entry to the UK and sent home.

Please note:

  • Preparatory short courses
    If you want to study preparatory short courses (such as pre-sessional English) which are below degree level before starting your degree, will need to enter the UK with entry clearance as a Tier 4 (General) student visa holder. This will allow you to extend your visa to progress on to another course of study. Otherwise, you will have to return home to extend your student visa.

    For the most recent changes to the Points Based System please see the UK Immigration and Visas Agency website or the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.
  • Visitors

    There are different types of visitor's visas. If you apply for a Short-term Study visa  you will not be able to extend your visa to stay longer in the UK or work part time. If you think you might want to extend your stay or work in the UK then you need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Please note that you can carry out up to 30 days of study with a General, Business, or Family Visitor visa to the UK.

    The study must be an extra activity that you do during your visit to the UK, and can't be the main purpose of your visit.

    You should apply for a Short-term Study visa if the main purpose of your visit is study.

Home Office guidance notes
If you are already in the UK or if you are applying from outside the UK, please read the UKVI guidance notes.

How much money do I need?

  • The current maintenance requirement in addition to the tuition fees is £11,385
  • The UKVI Policy Guidance gives very precise instructions about the evidence you must produce. Follow the instructions strictly or you will not meet the financial requirements.
  • You can choose to produce statements, a building society passbook, a letter from the bank or a letter from the financial institution (produce whichever one of those four things is appropriate for your situation). Your evidence must be dated no more than one month before the date you make your immigration application.
  • If you are producing a letter from a bank or financial institution, remember that the letter must confirm you have had the right amount for the 28 days leading up to the date on the letter.

What level of English language do I need?

English language requirements
Due to a recent Home Office change all applicants/students must now demonstrate their ability to understand and communicate in both written and spoken English as part of their entry requirements. This will be measured using four key components: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The level of competence required will depend upon the type of course you wish to study, please refer to our English language requirements.

Degree-level students (NQF level 6 or above) must confirm that they have a minimum level of English at level B2 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). The Home Office states that this is equivalent to Academic IELTS 5.5 and this level must be achieved in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening).

The Home Office will accept qualifications including Indian Year 12 English (CBSE Board) at 70% or higher, West African Examinations Council at C6 or higher are accepted by the Home Office as evidence of CEFR level B2.

Below degree level (NQF level 3–5) for students studying a course below degree level the minimum level of English is CEFR level B1 (Academic IELTS 4.0) in all four components, reading, writing, speaking and listening. All students at this level will have to undertake a secure English language test (SELT). This will include students studying a pre-sessional course before a degree course.

For further information and all other tests and qualifications accepted by Kingston University please see our English language requirements.

Please note: you may be interviewed by Home Office staff when you arrive at a UK airport without the help of an interpreter to assess whether or not your English language ability is to the standard required by the immigration rules.

View more information from UKVI on English language requirements.

How to obtain entry clearance, a Tier 4 student visa?

The Home Office's immigration system is known as the Points Based System (PBS). Under PBS, students are required to meet certain conditions and will need a total of 40 points to extend their student visa.

A maximum of 30 points will be awarded for doing a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider, also known as a Tier 4 Sponsor. The remaining 10 points will be awarded for having enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance). The maintenance you are required to show is £11,385.  This amount is in addition to your tuition fees.

Please read the UKVI's quick guides for students for more information and please note the most recent immigration changes, details of which are given on this page.
You must also:

  • intend to leave the UK at the end of your studies; and
  • have been offered a place of study at an institution that is included on the register of sponsors. This list confirms all organisations that the Home Office has licensed to sponsor migrant students and to employ migrant workers. Kingston University is on this list as a Tier 4 Sponsor.

Please see the UKVI guidance notes for more information.

Tuberculosis screening as part of the visa application process for entry clearance

Applicants from certain countries/regions require a certificate to show that they are free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

The list of countries/regions is subject to change depending upon local conditions.

New countries added to the list for pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening as part of the visa application process for entry clearance to the UK.

The Home Office has extended the list of countries for tuberculosis (TB) screening which will apply to migrants entering the UK for longer than six months.

Please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website for more information.

If you are from one of these countries/regions, you must carry your TB screening certificate in your hand luggage should you need to present it to an immigration officer.

How do I apply for entry clearance as a student?

For detailed information please see the UKCISA Guidance.

Key points

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS): when you have accepted an offer of a place at Kingston University, you will be emailed details of what you need to do about immigration including how to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is a unique number which ties together you and Kingston University, who then becomes your Tier 4 sponsor (your academic sponsor as opposed to a financial sponsor). Your CAS must not be more than six months old. You will be allocated a CAS number which will be generated electronically. This number and a CAS report giving details relevant to your studies will be automatically sent to the Home Office. A copy will be emailed to you, this is not an official document, it is for your information. However, please check that this is correct and include all the documents mentioned, when you submit your Tier 4 application
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS): if you are a postgraduate student or an MEng student and will be studying or researching one of the areas listed by the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), you must also have an ATAS clearance certificate. Please see the ATAS information to find out more and to see a list of the courses affected. Please note that your CAS will also state if you need to apply for ATAS.
  • The forms and Home Office guidance: you will need to download and read carefully the UK and Visa Immigration information for students. Please note that it contains links to other documents that you need to print off and complete or read carefully:
    • Tier 4 Policy Guidance (this guidance is relevant to both Entry Clearance applications made from abroad and for students who are already in the UK and wish to continue studying)
    • Tier 4 Application form VAF9
    • PBS Migrant guidance  
    • PBS Appendix 8 General student
  • Certificates: You are required to submit proof of the qualification which you used to gain entry to Kingston University. You will need to provide original certificates, the same as stated in the CAS statement.
  • Financial proof: you will have to show that you have funds of £11,385 for maintenance plus any unpaid tuition fees. 
  • Points you need to claim:
    • 30 points for 'attributes' also referred to as your 'Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies'; and
    • 10 points for 'maintenance'. 

Part of the entry clearance application procedure will involve attending an appointment to give your fingerprints and have your photograph taken.

Please note you have to pay a fee for an entry clearance/visa application, see the visa fees information.

You will also have to pay the Health charge if you are coming to study in the UK form more than 6 months. This is £150 a year.

Warning: You are responsible for the information given on your entry clearance/visa application to study in the UK and therefore do not allow an agent to send off your application unless you have checked and agreed the information provided. If incorrect or misleading information is submitted the Home Office will penalise you, this could be a ban preventing your entry to the UK up to 10 years.

Important notice: do not apply for your Tier 4 student visa more than three months in advance of your course start date.

If you receive your CAS statement earlier than this, please do not use it until you are within three months of the start date of your course or your visa will be refused.

To find out more information including processing times visit the UK visa and immigration website.

Contact your local British Embassy or Consulate General in your home country. To find the nearest one, visit the Government website.

Please see more information on Tier 4 (General) student visa and also  UKCISA for full details.

What supporting documents should I include with my application?

You must include all the documents stated on your CAS and used to obtain the offer of study. Failure to do so could lead to a visa refusal.

Your 40 points will be based on the following:

  • Confirmation of a unique Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from your approved education provider (Kingston University), and the documents used to obtain this.

    To obtain a CAS number you must accept the unconditional offer from Kingston University and pay the required deposit (only applicable to postgraduate taught students). The Kingston University Admissions team will send you an email asking if you need a CAS. You will be asked to provide a copy of your passport (main page) if it has not already been collected and confirmation/evidence of any relevant tuition fees and/or accommodation fees paid to date ie copy of a transaction showing a bank transfer to our Credit Control team. Confirmation of your CAS number will be provided to you in an email and you will need to confirm the same CAS number on your visa application form.
  • Bank statements confirming that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees for the first year and maintenance of £11,385  for living costs, see below. Please note that you must be able to prove that the money has been in your or your parents account for 28 days. Do not submit your Tier 4 application unless you meet this requirement or you visa will be refused.

    If your studies are wholly funded by an official financial sponsor, you do not have to provide separate evidence of your savings. See the UKVI definition of an official financial sponsor, view the Tier 4 policy guidance PDF, scroll down to page 50, paragraph 199. You just have to provide a letter from your financial sponsor confirming that they will pay for your tuition fees and living costs. If you are partly funded by an official financial sponsor, you need a letter from them about the element of your costs they are paying for, but you also need to show, through your bank statements, loans or letter from your bank or a regulated financial institution  that you can meet the remainder of the amount set out in the policy guidance.

    Please note the amount of money you need to show for your living costs will depend upon the length of your course.

You will need to show £11,385 for maintenance for all full-time courses of 12 months or longer. The maintenance amount can be either in your or your parents' bank account and held for 28 consecutive days.

Note: Kingston University is considered INNER London

If you are going to be living in University halls of residence the maximum amount you will now be able to offset against your maintenance is £1,265 even if you have paid more.

Children under the age of five years do not need to provide biometric information as part of the application process.

Important notice
Please note that all institutions are required by law to report to the Home Office any Tier 4 visa holders who do not enrol and any student who does not meet the Home Office attendance requirements.

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 student visa who does not complete enrolment you will be reported to the Home Office. If after enrolling you do not attend lectures or meet attendance requirements, you will be reported to the Home Office.

If you plan to change your mode of attendance, withdraw or take a break in your studies, you are advised to contact the International Student Advisory Centre (ISAC), immediately for advice.   

What if I am studying for less than six months?

If you are coming to study for six months or less, you can choose to come to the UK on a short-term study  visa rather than a Tier 4 student visa.

If you are sure that you do not want to work or that you will not want to apply to study in the UK for longer than six months then you can apply for a short-term study  visa.

If you are not a visa national (please check if you need a visa), then you can apply for the short-term study  visa at your port of entry, ie. at the airport. However, if your visa is refused you will not have the right to appeal from within the UK and you would have to return home.

If you intend to work in the UK or study for longer than six months, you must apply  for a Tier 4 student visa:

  • 'Students on short-term study visas  are not allowed to do any work (even as part of a course).
  • 'Students on short-term study visas  are not allowed to apply to spend more time in the UK (even if your studies are extended). 

Contact us

Student Life Centre: Immigration Advisor
Tel: +44(0)20 8417 7313

International students
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