Tier 4 student visas
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Student visa (Student Route)

As an international student coming to the University to study a full-time course of more than six months you must apply for a Student visa (under the Student Route) before coming to the UK to start your course. For shorter courses, or part-time or distance learning courses, check the Before you arrive page to find out if studying as a Visitor may be appropriate.

Read the Oxford guide to applying in your home country for applications outside the UK. The guide contains full instructions on how to complete all parts of your visa application form.

The standard visa processing time is 15 working days measured from your biometric appointment or ID confirmation or, for US applicants, the date your passport arrives at the New York processing hub. If time is short, check whether you can pay extra for the Priority or Super Priority service which you need to select at the payment stage, you cannot upgrade later. 

You MUST complete the process to obtain your Student visa before coming to the UK. 
You CANNOT come to the UK as a visitor and switch visa status. We CANNOT enrol you on a visitor visa, so you would not be able to start your course. 
These are Home Office requirements that students and the University must follow.

The Student Route replaced the Tier 4 Student system on 5 October 2020

The Student route is similar to Tier 4 but includes EU/EEA and Swiss nationals starting study on or after 1 January 2021 who have not applied under the EU Settlement Scheme. EU/EEA or Swiss nationals resident in the UK before 11pm 31 December 2020 had until 30 June 2021 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.  If you have a Tier 4 visa for a previous course you do not need to change it but your new application will be under the new student route. 

1. Student visa sponsorship and your CAS

The University of Oxford is the sponsor for your Student visa, and issues your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you need for a Student visa application. Once your offer to study is unconditional (you have met all academic and financial conditions) the University will contact you by email about the preparation of your CAS. This is a unique number that will enable government officers to access information which your college and the University have provided. 

Your CAS gives information such as your course start and end date, fees,  and may list one or more of your academic qualifications on which your offer was based. Check our application guide to see if you will need to provide evidence of finances with your visa application. If you are coming for degree level study you probably won't have to provide evidence of previous qualification. 

Read this page for full information about your CAS number and frequently asked questions. 

2. Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is for security clearance from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for courses where students’ knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery. 

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate if you are studying for a Masters or DPhil in certain science subjects, mathematics, engineering, technology or medicine or a 4 year undergraduate Masters in Physics or Materials. 

If you are a nationals of an EU country, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America you do not need an ATAS certificate.

For a list of courses at Oxford that require ATAS at postgraduate level, see the Graduate Admissions website

If you are applying for a Student route visa for an ATAS subject you will need an ATAS certificate to include with your visa application. If you are coming as a Standard Visitor for a short period of study or research requiring ATAS you must have the certificate before you start the study or research. Although you don't have to submit the ATAS certificate for a Standard Visitor visa application you will need to apply for it before you come to the UK because of the long processing times. 

Read our ATAS FAQs and guide if you need to apply for ATAS. 

3. Where and how to apply for your visa

Download and read the Oxford guide to applying in your home country. Most new students and some students doing a further course must apply in their country of residence. 

If you are already in the UK, you may be able to apply in-UK for your student visa, though not if you are here as a visitor or without a visa. Our page on applying for a Student visa in the UK explains circumstances in which you can apply here.  You MUST not come to the UK as a visitor or without a visa as you will not be able to make a Student visa application from within the UK or start your course. 

For those applying for a Student visa:

  • There is a maximum five year time limit for study on courses at undergraduate degree level with exceptions for some courses. There are now no time limits for postgraduate study
  • The financial requirement for your living expenses you may need to show is £1023 a month
  • If you will be living in University accommodation you will only be able to offset a maximum of £1,334 paid in advance against the amount you need to show for living expense even if you have paid more than this to the University
  • You may be called for a Student visa interviews 
  • You must have at least one blank page in your passport or travel document for your visa sticker to be added to

Cost of visa application

The basic fee is £490 payable in local currency. You may need to pay an additional fee for a biometric appointment, and there may be additional charged services available from the visa application centre. Sometimes you can choose to have your application prioritised for an additional £500 (5 day service) or £1000 (2 day service). You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the time of your visa application - see 5 below. 

4. Tuberculosis (TB) Screening

You might need to have a TB test and get a screening certificate to show you do not have TB for your visa application if you are living in any of these listed countries or have been recently.

  • The certificate is valid for six months from the date of your x-ray so you can’t use a test older than this for your visa application
  • The TB test must be done at an approved clinic
  • If you have been living in a listed country shortly before your visa application, you will need a TB test even if you are applying in a country not on the list.
  • You only need a TB test if you are coming to the UK for more than six months, but remember to count the extra time after your course end date that will be included in your visa
  • You don’t need a TB test if you lived for at least 6 months in a country which is not on the list and you’ve been away from that country for no more than 6 months
  • If you don’t need a test but are applying for your visa in one of the listed countries make sure it is clear where you have been living on your visa application form, for example use the additional information box at the end to explain.

5. Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for access to NHS treatment

If you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months you will be required to pay the IHS as part of your Student visa application.

  • IHS needs to be paid in full for the whole of your student visa duration, see examples of what you might pay below
  • Your dependants will also need to pay this if they are able to accompany you, see visas for your family 
  • If a student (or a dependant) is making a visa application in the UK, they will be required to pay the health surcharge even if the period applied for is less than six months.

The IHS must be paid even if you have your own private medical insurance and do not intend to use the NHS. Paying the IHS means that you will have access to the UK's National Health Service on the same basis as other UK residents.  

There is full information on the IHS on the Home Office website.

Amount you will need to pay

Currently, IHS is £470 for each year or part year over six months of the visa being applied for, plus £235 for part of a year that is less than six months. The charge will soon be increased to £776 per year and £388 for part of a year. The date for the increase is expected to be 6 February 2024 or shortly after.

The charging period includes additional time added by the Home Office before your course start date and after the course end date as specified on your CAS. For 9, 10 or 11 month Masters 2 months will be added to your course end date for the visa expiry date and charging period; for courses 12 months or longer four additional months will be added to your course end date.  

As an example for Oxford courses:

  • 3 year BA degree plus 4 months added by the Home Office to course end date; 3.5 year charge i.e. £1,645 (increasing to £2,716 later in 2024)
  • 12 month Masters plus 4 months added by the Home Office to course end date; 1.5 year charge i.e. £705 (increasing to £1,164 later in 2024)
  • DPhil courses at Oxford are set at 4 years maximum submission date plus 6 months to allow for viva and corrections and then 4 months added by the Home Office to the course end date; 5 year charge i.e. £2,350 (increasing to £3,880 later in 2024).

Ask your department (graduate students) or college (undergraduate or visiting) student if you need clarification on the exact start and end dates that will appear on your CAS.

You will pay the charge in the local currency, where you apply for your visa, and exchange rates will often mean the calculation is more than the amount above.

If you are considering making an early application before the increase, you need to check very carefully that you are fully eligible when you apply. Bear in mind that the earliest you can apply is 6 months before the course start date given on your CAS. 

IHS reimbursement scheme for students from the European Union or Switzerland who have a European Health Insurance Card: if you do not work and do not intend to work in the UK and you have an EHIC issued by your country of nationality you might be eligible for a refund of the Immigration Health Surcharge paid as part of your Student Visa application.  Before deciding whether to apply for a refund be careful to assess the effect this will have on your access to healthcare both if you are relying on EHIC cover or you later decide to work, as this could invalidate your EHIC. For further information read the UK Home Office's page, Immigration health surcharge for EU and Swiss students in the UK

6. Giving biometrics and visa processing times

After you have completed your visa application you will need to book a biometric appointment to give a face scan and fingerprints, after which your visa application will be processed.  European and Swiss applicants are not usually required to have a biometric appointment, but instead can use an identity confirmation app. The standard visa processing time following biometrics is 15 working days but you can sometimes pay for a Priority or Super Priority service for a quicker visa decision. The priority services are not always available in all locations, so check availability before making your appointment. UKVI has an information page about the Priority and Super Priority Visa services.  If your application is going to take longer than 15 days UKVI should contact you. 

7. When your visa is issued

When your application has been decided you should receive a confirmation email which gives details of the full length of your Student visa permission. Check your junk mail folder as well as your inbox. 

If your Student visa application is for a course longer than six months a 90-day travel vignette/sticker will be stuck into your passport when your visa is approved to allow you to travel to the UK. On arrival in the UK you will need to collect your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit), with the full visa duration for your course, from the main Post Office in Oxford or a Post Office nearer to your residential address.

European and Swiss nationals will normally have their student permission granted in the form of an eVisa and will not have a passport sticker or BRP to collect. 

8. When can you come to Oxford?

The date you can arrive in the UK will be the 'valid from' date on your visa. This will usually be seven days before the ‘intended date of travel’ you put on your visa application but cannot be earlier than one month before your course starts.  You should not attempt to enter the UK before your travel visa is valid. If you are coming for less than six months, and are not on a pre-sessional course, you will be issued with the full-length visa which is stuck into your passport before you travel but it will only start seven days before the course. 

9. Your responsibilities once you arrive in Oxford

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) collection

You must collect your BRP before your vignette expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is the later.   Your email decision letter when your visa is granted includes instructions. Please collect your BRP promptly so that you can enrol; your college will need to have an electronic copy of both your passport id page and the BRP. Do also carefully check the information on the BRP card.  If there is an error please see Section 11 below.

Passport scanning

When you start at the University, your college will need an electronic copy of your passport id page and visa as required by the UKVI. This will be collected electronically this year and your college will explain the process to you when they begin your enrolment. Recognised students will need to liaise with the Student Information team who will manage their enrolment. See your Student visa obligations. European and Swiss nationals granted an eVisa will need to provide a share code. 

Police Registration

Police Registration was abolished on 5 August 2022 and new students are no longer required to register with the Police on arrival even if stated on their visa; current students do not need update their details. For further information see the UKCISA website

10. Student and University obligations for visa holders

The University is required to tell the Home Office if you do not arrive for enrolment, leave your course, suspend your studies, or if you are absent for a long period. Please keep your college or department up-to-date with any changes in your circumstances, including your contact details and any matters that may affect the progress of your studies.

It is your responsibility to keep to the conditions of your visa and to make sure you do not stay beyond its end date, unless you have put in a renewal application. If you break the conditions, you could be prosecuted or made to leave the UK and it could make it more difficult for you to get another visa.

Your visa will be issued for study at the University of Oxford only, for the course and duration specified on your CAS statement. You will usually be granted an additional two or four months after your course end date depending on the length of your course.  

For information on renewing / extending your visa while you are in the UK, travel, working during your study and your legal responsibilities, visit during your studies.

11. Correcting errors

It is possible to amend an error which appears on your Biometric Residence Permit once you have collected this in the UK. The Home Office should be advised of any error within 10 working days of collecting your BRP. A mistake can be amended free of charge by emailing the Home Office.  For more details, visit the Home Office webpage and follow the instructions.

BRPs are not issued with an expiry date later than 31 December 2024. If you see this date on your BRP this does not need to be reported as an error. Refer to your visa decision notification email to check your visa expiry date. UKVI have explained that you will not need a BRP after this date as you will be able to prove your immigration status online. UKVI say they will update their information on how to prove your immigration status in early 2024.

If you have been issued with a visa for the length of your course which is stuck into your passport and you think there is a mistake, please contact student.immigration@admin.ox.ac.uk attaching a copy of the visa sticker in your passport.

12.  Visas for your Family

For information about whether family members would be able to accompany you to the UK as dependants and how to apply for a visa, please see our Visas for your family page.

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