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  • Mikhail Adam

Student Routes replace Tier 4

At 0900 on 5 October 2020 the Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) routes were closed. These have now been replaced by the Student and Child Student Routes (collectively referred to as the Student routes). Tier 4 visa holders can continue to extend their visas and bring dependants under the new rules, if they meet the requirements of the Student route.


The new Student route is intended for both European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK for the purpose of study.


We summarise some of the key changes:


  • EEA nationals will now be required to meet the same requirements to study within the UK as non-EEA nationals and will need to apply under the Student rules


  • There are increased switching permissions within the study route and increased switching between routes within the Points Based Immigration System. Students will be able to apply for further permission from within the UK, provided they meet the Academic Progression requirement and the new course of study commences within 28 days of the expiry of the current leave


  • Under the Student and Child Student routes, applicants will be able to apply for further permission to stay in the UK to study under Student Routes, unless they last held leave as a visitor; or a short-term student; or granted outside the immigration rules


  • The eight-year time limit on studying courses at postgraduate level has been removed. There is no longer a limit on the time that an individual can spend studying postgraduate courses


  • Applicants who apply for permission to stay in the UK will not be required to provide evidence of maintenance funds when they have spent longer than one year in the UK on their current visa


  • Students at higher education providers with a track record of compliance will not routinely be required to provide evidence of academic qualifications used to obtain the offer of sponsorship


  • Students who will be applying for leave as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or to study on a recognised Foundation Programme will not be required to prove evidence of maintenance funds, as it is accepted that these individuals will be earning an income during the validity of their visas


New rules in relation to English Language and Finance have also been introduced.


In summary,

  • applicants only need to prove the required level of English language to the Home Office once


  • the majority speaking English language country list has been updated to include Malta and Ireland


  • applicants who have gained GCSE/A’Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK are allowed to rely on this to prove their English language ability, replacing the ability of Child Students to rely on 6 months in the UK to prove English


  • applicants who have met the maintenance requirement on their current route are no longer required to meet it again if they have been supporting themselves in the UK for more than a year


  • applicants are allowed to rely on electronic bank statements


  • applicants are now allowed to show they meet maintenance requirements by relying on a wider range of accounts.


For further details, please contact our Immigration department.


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