Applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa

As part of the UK Government’s immigration laws, the system for applying for a visa to study in the United Kingdom is called a Points Based System (PBS). This system aims to make the process of visa application simpler for students. The section relating to students is Tier 4.

In order to apply for a Tier 4 Student visa you must complete the following steps with the University:

Step 1: Unconditional Offer

In order to apply for a Tier 4 Student visa to study in the UK you must have firmly accepted an Unconditional offer from the University.

In order you to have an Unconditional Offer you must meet all of the academic and non-academic conditions set by the University.

Step 2: Paying your Tuition Fee Deposit

We ask all new students to pay a deposit towards their tuition fee of £2000. You should only pay this deposit once you have met the conditions of your offer and are holding and Unconditional Firm (UF) offer. The tuition fee deposit will then be deducted your tuition fees.

The quickest method of paying the tuition fee deposit is by credit or debit card. To pay by credit or debit card please call +44 (0)131 474 0099 and ask to be transferred to our Finance team. When calling, please quote your name, the course you will be studying and your QMU student number (this can be found on your offer letter from Admissions).

If you would rather pay your tuition fee by bank transfer please email international@qmu.ac.uk to request the University bank account details.

If a your tuition fees are paid in full by a sponsoring body (this must be an official sponsor e.g. Government body) then you students will not be required to pay the tuition fee deposit. If you are a sponsored student you should send the Admissions Office a letter from your sponsor confirming that they will be paying your tuition fees in full.

When you hold and Unconditional offer from the University and have paid your tuition fee deposit or sent your proof of tuition fee sponsorship to the Admissions Office you should then complete a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) request form and send this to the Admissions Office along with a copy of your passport photo page. The Admissions Office will issue you with a CAS and you can then begin the visa application process.

Step 3: Applying for your Tier 4 Student Visa

Applications for a Tier 4 Student Visa require you to meet the 40 points as set out by UK Visas and Immigration as follows:

  • 30 points for having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a Tier 4 sponsor
  • 10 points for having enough money to cover tuition fees and maintenance.

The CAS Statement that QMU issues you is valid for a maximum of six months and cannot be used as part of an application more than three months before the start of the course.

The remaining 10 points are gained from showing you have the correct amount of Maintenance and Funds as per UKVI regulations.

You are required to provide original documents to UKVI as part of the application process. Photocopies are not accepted. If any documents are not in English you must have the original document accompanied by a fully certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. The translation must include:

  • confirmation from the translator / translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the full name and original signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company
  • the contact details of the translator or translation company; and
  • (if you are already in the UK and are applying for further leave) certification by a qualified translator and details of the translator or translation company’s credentials.

“Low Risk” Students

Nationals of some countries do not need to provide evidence of their qualifications or their money when they apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa. UKVI calls this the "differentiation arrangement" for "low risk students".

You are considered a "low risk" student if you are applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa to study at an institution that has Tier 4 Sponsor status, as QMU does, and:

  • you are a national of Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, or USA, and you are applying for entry clearance in your country of nationality, or for leave to remain in the UK; or
  • you hold a Hong Kong SAR passport* or a British National (Overseas) passport and you are applying for entry clearance in Hong Kong, or for leave to remain in the UK; or
  • you hold a Taiwan (ROC) passport* with a residence card number, and you are applying for entry clearance in Taiwan, or for leave to remain in the UK.

*On the application form, select 'Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China' or 'Taiwan' (as appropriate) as your nationality.

It is very important that as a "low risk" student you still obtain the evidence of your qualifications and your money, even though you do not need to send them as part of your application. This is because UKVI can request this evidence as part of their decision process and they will refuse your application if you are unable to provide it within a specified timeframe.

Tuberculosis Documentation

You’ll need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in any of the countries listed here. If your test shows that you don’t have TB, you’ll be given a certificate which is valid for 6 months. Include this certificate with your UK visa application.

Immigration Health Surcharge

An immigration health surcharge will be required to be paid by non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK to study for more than 6 months. This means that health surcharge payers will be able to access the National Health Service in the same way as a permanent resident, i.e. they will receive NHS care generally free of charge but may be charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment.

The health surcharge is payable in full at the time of the immigration application. The amount charged will be calculated based on the amount of time a migrant would be permitted to stay in the UK.

Find out further information about the immigration health surcharge.

Visit the UK Visas and Immigration website for further information on immigration matters. Alternatively, your local British Council can provide you with information on obtaining a visa.

Credibility Interviews

You may sometimes be required to attend an interview with Home Office officials, either as part of your Tier 4 application overseas, or when arriving in the UK (for example at the airport). If you are required to attend an interview and cannot show at that interview that your English language ability is at the standard required by the Immigration Rules, your entry clearance application may be refused or you may be refused permission to enter the UK. 

Please note that being issued with a CAS by the University does not guarantee your visa application will be successful. You must meet all of the requirements of the Tier 4 Student visa.

When your visa application is successful, you will be given a vignette which confirms that you have entry clearance for the UK and within 10 days of arrival you should collect a Biometric Identity Document (BID) or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from an allocated Post Office.

Arriving in the UK

As a student looking forward to beginning your studies in the UK you will need to start preparing for your journey. As part of your preparation we want to make sure you have everything you need to get through the UK border as securely and quickly as possible. The following advice explains some of things you can do to help with this:

  • Make a note of a suitable UK contact including full name, address and a phone number which will be required when you complete your landing card.
  • Ensure you complete your landing card before you meet the Border Force officer in the UK.
  • If you carry your passport in a protective wallet, please take it out before you present it to a Border Force officer.
  • Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents) to a Border Force officer.
  • Have your university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement/Offer letter and medical card (if you have one) in your hand luggage that you carry with you on to the aircraft. If you don’t have a CAS statement, please bring thorough details of your course of study.
  • There are restrictions on food products that you can bring to the UK from outside the European Union, even for personal use. Restrictions apply to products made from meat, dairy, fish, eggs and honey, as well as some fruit, vegetables and plants (e.g. bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and tree bark).
  • There are also restrictions on the amount of goods such as tobacco, alcohol and gifts you can bring in the UK. If you exceed your allowances all of your goods can be taken away from you.
  • Never bring in counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, firearms (including realistic imitations), offensive weapons (including knives) or indecent or obscene material.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the conditions of your visa including the number of hours you are allowed to work.
  • You must declare any sums of cash of €10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the European Union.

If you would like further information on any of the above please check the UK Visas and Immigration website  for more information.

We have received information from Lothian and Borders Police relating to security procedures at Edinburgh Airport. If you are arriving at Edinburgh Airport please consult this information before you leave Security procedures at Edinburgh Airport.

Arriving at the University

Matriculation and Document Checks

ALL International fee paying students, regardless of their nationality or visa status, must provide their passport/visa/immigration documents to the University for checking. Immigration document checks take place at matriculation. If you are unable to provide your immigration documents you will not be able to matriculate.

The University is also required to check original copies of the qualifications which were used to obtain your place at the University.  All new international students should bring original copies of your qualifications with you to matriculation.

When you arrive in the UK, you will have 10 days in which to collect your visa card (also know as a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or Biometric Identity Document (BID)). It is recommended that you go to the directed Post Office during your first week (induction week). You will be expected to bring your BID/BRP to the Registry Information Desk during the first week of teaching so that the Recruitment and International Liaison Office can take copies.

Police Registration

Are you from one of the undernoted countries?

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Does the your visa in your passport state that you have to register with the police within 7 days of arriving in the UK?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you will need to register with the Police within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. You will have to go to Police Headquarters in Edinburgh to register. The Police will not issue the Registration Certificate on the same day and you will need to visit the Police Headquarters at a prearranged time, approximately one week later to collect the certificate.

When you register with the Police, you must take:

  • One passport sized photograph
  • Your passport
  • Registration fee of £34 (cash only)
  • Documentation relating to your studies i.e. your matriculation card or letter of offer, and letter of
  • sponsorship, if applicable.
  • Contact Details

For further information see the Police Scotland website.

Police Headquarters
The Nationality Department
Fettes Avenue
Edinburgh EH4 1RB
Tel: 0131 311 3131

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 09.00 – 12.30

To get there from campus, take the number 30 Lothian bus into the city centre or the train from

Musselburgh to Edinburgh Waverley then you can either get the number 24, 29 or 42 Lothian Bus from the city centre – check that the number is on the bus stop. For a bus route map please visit Lothian Buses.

Protecting your Tier 4 Student Visa

We are proud of the support we provide to International Students studying with us, and the contribution those students make to the University community. The policies and procedures set out below are designed to ensure that International Students can continue to enjoy their education at Queen Margaret University whilst at the same time satisfying the legal requirements placed on them and the University by the UK Government.

  • You can only study full time. Part-time study may violate your visa conditions.
  • If you suspend your studies for a fixed period of time or withdraw from your studies we will no longer be able to sponsor you and you will need to return to your home country. Failure to leave the UK will violate your visa conditions.
  • You must not work more than 20 hours per week in term time (which includes resit periods during vacation or the writing up period for taught postgraduate and research degree students).
  • The University cannot continue to ‘sponsor’ you if your progress is not satisfactory.

In being granted our licence, a number of requirements are placed on the University by UKVI. These include:

  • Undertaking appropriate action at the recruitment, application and selection stages to ensure that offers are made to genuine students.
  • Keeping a copy of each student’s passport and visa documents as well as holding safely and updating each student’s contact details.
  • Reporting to the UKVI any student who fails to enrol on their course within the enrolment period.
  • Reporting any unauthorised student absences (including missing expected interactions or contacts).
  • Reporting any changes in students’ circumstances (e.g. temporary or permanent withdrawal, reduction in the length or hours of the course)

UKCISA have produced a useful page of useful information for Tier 4 students’ visa responsibilities. You will also find the complete list of information relating to your visa conditions on the UKVI website.

Further Advice and Guidance

Within the University, visa and immigration advice can only be given by the Recruitment & International Liaison Office. Students should not rely on advice from family, friends, or other staff in the University.

Students can make an individual appointment by emailing international@qmu.ac.uk or calling in to the drop-in advice sessions on Mondays 1400-1700 and Thursday 1000-1200.      

Contact us

For further information, please contact international@qmu.ac.uk. Alternatively you can call us on +44 131 474 0099.