Immigration and visas

New Student Visa route

On 5 October 2020, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) introduced a new immigration system that includes a new Student Visa route. The Student Visa is replacing Tier 4 so, over the next few months, we will replace the term "Tier 4" where this is mentioned on our webpages and in documents, and will instead refer to the "Student Visa route". 

We do not anticipate that there will be any significant changes in visa requirements for our current Tier 4 students, but we will advise students further once the full immigration rules for the new route are published and in use.

Making sure you have the correct visa

Great news that you're coming to the University of Plymouth to study. The last thing you want is any hold-ups on your new adventure so you'll need to make sure you've got the correct visa in place to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Our Student Advisers are the only members of staff at the University of Plymouth authorised to give immigration advice to University of Plymouth students. They are regulated under OISC guidelines to give immigration advice which is offered free of charge and without discrimination.


The OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) is an independent organisation that monitors immigration advice and services. The organisation also operates within the Code of Ethics for those advising international students devised by UKCISA: the UK Council for International Student Affairs and AISA: the Association of International Student Advisers.

Please read our Client Care Agreement for international students before receiving advice from the International Student Advice service.

Types of visa

1. Tier 4 (General) student

This is the visa you'll need if you're a non-European Economic Area (EAA) student intending to study a course of six months duration or more. If you're on a shorter course but may need to extend your visa and/or intend to work, then you should also apply for Tier 4 (General) student. See our advice on making your application.

2. Short-term study visa

You'll need this if you're a student intending to study a course of six months duration or less. If you're from a country where you require a visa, apply before travelling, otherwise you can apply on entry at the border. Think carefully whether the short-term study visa is suitable for you or not; remember that if you choose this route there will be no option to extend your stay beyond six months and you won't be able to work. If you do decide to stay in the UK for more than six months, you'll have to return to your home country to make a new entry clearance application. Find more information about short-term study visa application.

3. No visa required

If you're an EEA or Swiss national and you've been accepted on a course of study, you're free to enter the UK and you have the right to live here for the duration of your study. Your spouse and dependent children will usually be able to join you in the UK.

4. Standard visitor visa

This only applies if you're coming to Plymouth to attend your graduation ceremony. Please see the Home Office website for the list of documents you will have to provide with your application.

EEA Students

If you're an EEA student you may have a registration certificate. This is a document, issued to EEA or Swiss nationals, that confirms your right of residence under European law. You don't need to have a registration certificate to enter, live in or work in the United Kingdom but you can apply for one if you feel it would be useful to be able to demonstrate your right or residence.

If you're a Croatian national who's been accepted on a course of study, you're free to enter the UK and have the right to reside in the UK for the duration of your study. However you'll need to apply for a registration certificate if you want to work in the UK. You should also apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving your home country.

Find more information on applying for your registration certificate on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Exchange students

If you're a non-EEA student coming to study as an exchange student, or on a short course of less than six months at Plymouth University, you'll need to obtain either Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance, short-term student entry clearance. 

If you're an exchange student on a programme of six months duration or less you may be recommended by UK Visas to apply for a short-term study visa. However, if there's a chance of any of the following you'll need to apply for Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance:

  • you'd like to do some part time work whilst studying
  • you'll need to apply for a visa for another European country.

Pre-sessional students

All non-EEA students who want to study on a pre-sessional English programme and then progress to a degree programme in the UK, will need to obtain a Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance visa before travelling.

As a pre-sessional programme student you'll need to use your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) and your conditional degree course offer letter to apply for your Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance visa. You may be granted an initial student visa for the duration of the pre-sessional programme. Once you've completed the pre-sessional programme and have met any other conditions, such as academic requirements, you'll be issued a new CAS for your degree course or you may be issued with a joint CAS which can be used for your pre-sessional programme and follow on degree. 

We can help you extend your Tier 4 student visa in the UK so that you can begin your degree programme. Get in touch at

Find out more about our pre-sessional English courses.

Are you already in the UK?

If you're an international student coming to study at Plymouth and you're currently in the UK you will require specific documentation.

Find out more information about Tier 4

How much money will you need?

Visa application fee from 6 April 2018 onwards

Tier 4 and dependants Visa application fee
Outside the UK £348
Standard application in the UK £475
Priority application in the UK £952
Premium application in the UK £1,085

Required financial evidence for Tier 4

You must show that you have one year’s full tuition fees plus £1,015 per month for the remainder of your course for living costs (up to a maximum of nine months of your course = £9,207).

If you're a financially sponsored student, your sponsor must be officially recognised as such (e.g. British Council, a government, an international organisation or company, a university). If your sponsor is not meeting all your costs then you must provide proof that you have the remaining funds available.

Your tuition fees can either be held in your bank account for the 28 days required or you can pay them directly to the university. Your CAS can be updated with any additional fee payments you make if you inform the University.

Making your application

Passport? Offer letter? Financial evidence? Advice on the documents you'll need to submit your visa application and what to do when you receive it.

Find out more about the application process.

We're here to help

Unsure how to answer a question on the application? How much money you need? Or whether your documents are suitable? Then get in touch with us at ISA. We want your application to be successful.