If you are coming to study on a Bachelors, Masters or Research degree you will need to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa, under Tier 4 of the Points-based system.
If you are coming to study on the Study Abroad or Exchange Programme, and will be here for more than six months or the programme contains a work placement element, then you will need to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa
If you are coming to study on the Study Abroad or Exchange Programme, and are here for less than six months, you can apply for a Student Visitors visa but please note that you will not be able to extend your visa or carry out any form of work, including voluntary.
For advice from the UKBA on which visa to apply for visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/do-you-need-a-visa/
The UKBA provide a Quick Guide to student immigration categories on their website.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). - This is a unique reference number generated for you after details about you and your course have been given to the UK Border Agency. You need will need this CAS number to apply for entry clearance or an extension to your visa.
Entry Clearance - This is the term used for permission to enter the UK which is issued by British diplomatic posts overseas
Leave to enter – This is permission to enter the UK which is granted by an immigration officer at a port of entry (the maximum leave granted is 6 months).
Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) - Is the member of staff working at the British diplomatic post overseas who is responsible for granting entry clearance.
Leave to remain - This is permission to extend your stay longer in the UK following the initial period of time granted with the entry clearance
VAF (Visa Application Form) – Is the form used overseas to apply for entry clearance
Visa national - Is someone who must have entry clearance before travelling to and entering the UK for any purpose. More information on who is a visa national
Visa: compulsory entry clearance obtained from a British diplomatic post overseas
Points Based System
To qualify for immigration permission under Tier 4(General) you have to score a total of 40 points:
This information is a guide to help you get started with your visa application. It is not intended to be a definitive representation of the Immigration Rules, nor is it intended to replace the Tier 4 Policy Guidance or any related documents. Immigration law changes rapidly. It is your responsibility to make sure you read and understand the current Tier 4 Policy Guidance and Immigration Rules thoroughly to ensure that you meet the requirements for the category.