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Visas & immigration

All international students need to consider the additional time and effort that might be required to obtain an appropriate visa. Without a valid visa you may not have a legal right to study in the UK and may be denied entry to the country.

All international students should read everything we provide here and the policy guidance published by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

The following information will help you determine whether or not you need a visa, which type of visa you might need, how to apply for a visa, how to meet the requirements for your visa and whether or not you need to register with the Police. More comprehensive information is provided by UKVI.

Please ensure you read the following pages and the UKVI guidance thoroughly. If there is anything you do not understand please contact our International team who will be happy to help you.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) regularly makes amendments to the Policy Guidance. It is essential that you check the latest requirements of the UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance before submitting a Tier 4 visa application. While the information on these pages has been provided in good faith and every effort is made to keep this this website up-to-date, the RCM accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.

UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance

Top tips for Tier 4 Visa holders

The advice below is for students who require a Tier 4 Visa, which will be the case for most visa-holding students. Students who are studying at the RCM for a period of less than six months should consult our information on Short Term Study Visas instead.

Take some time to settle in

You will be granted permission to come to the UK up to one month before the start of your course. You can use this time to settle into life in the UK before your studies begin.

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You can't switch from a tourist to a student visa

You cannot come to the UK on a Visitor Visa and apply for a Tier 4 Visa while you are here. You will have to go back to your home country to apply for a Tier 4 Visa.

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Check the cost of applying for your visa

Visa application costs vary depending on where you apply and whether or not you use a priority service. You can check the latest fees using a simple tool on the Home Office website. 

Visa fees online calculation tool

Remember to plan your finances

Financial planning is extremely important and so is providing evidence that you have adequate finances to support your life and studies in the UK. Please be sure to check how much money you need and how to prove you have it.

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Remember to translate your documents

If any of the supporting documents for your visa application are not in English you must have them translated and the translations must be certified. 

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Check the restrictions on working in the UK

Tier 4 Visa holders can work in the UK alongside their studies subject to certain conditions. 

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Continuing your studies on a new course

If you have just completed a course on a Tier 4 Visa and plan to continue your studies on a new course you will need to apply for another visa. You can do that in the UK if your current visa is still valid or, alternatively, back in your home country. It is normally cheaper to apply in your home country, but easier for the RCM to assist you if you choose to apply in the UK. 

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Registering at the RCM while your visa decision is pending

If you have applied for your new visa in the UK and are still waiting for a decision from UKVI in September, the RCM may be able to enrol you before your new visa arrives. However, we strongly advise against relying on this. You should make every effort to apply for your new visa before your new course starts.

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Immigration advice at the RCM

The RCM’s international support staff aim to provide free, impartial, high quality immigration advice to RCM students, including offer holders. We can advise on Tier 4 (General) Student visa applications, Short Term Student visas, visa conditions during study and settlement applications for EU/EEA students.

We also provide information on visas for family members, Schengen visas and options to remain in the UK after graduation. In addition, we offer more general support with welfare-related matters, such as opening bank accounts and accessing healthcare in the UK.

You can find more information about the service we provide and who to contact in our Statement of Service.


If you have any questions about applying to the RCM as an international student please contact our friendly International team who will be happy to offer advice.

International team

International student enquiries