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Changes to UK immigration system

Avi Tayler and another student sat in kitchen at Prince Consort Village
The UK’s immigration system is changing following Brexit. A new student visa route has been introduced and this has been opened for all international students, not just EEA nationals, on 5 October 2020. 

If you are currently applying for your visa, you should be aware that you may be affected by some changes.

UKVI has published updated guidance for Student visa applications.

If you already submitted your tier 4 visa application before 5 October, you should not experience any changes.

If you are applying for your visa on or after 5 October, you will notice some changes. The most important of these are:

  • Visas issued under the new route will be called “Student visas” not “Tier 4 visas”
  • The questions in the application forms have been updated to refer to Student visas instead of Tier 4 visas
  • The link to start an application if you are outside the UK can be found here
  • The link to start an application if you are inside the UK can be found here
  • Most of the advice in the RCM’s Tier 4 application guidance should still be correct, although some parts of the forms may look a little different. 
  • UKVI has published updated guidance for Student visa applications

There is one major change that is important to note if you have a previous valid UK visa and are applying inside the UK. Applicants will now automatically meet the financial requirements for a Student visa if they have been in the UK for at least 12 months with valid permission on the date of application. We hope this may help some students who were waiting for bank statements! However, it is very important to note that this change is not applicable if you are applying outside the UK.

The conditions for Student Visas (e.g. regarding working in the UK) remain the same as for Tier 4.  

Like all higher education institutions in the UK, the RCM has only just received the updated visa guidance. We are working hard to review our information, but this will take some time, as we need to seek clarification from UKVI on some points. In the meantime, if you are submitting a visa application and need help, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. We will be happy to check an application before you submit it, or arrange a Teams call to assist you.


If you are currently submitting a visa application, our friendly international team will be happy to offer advice.

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