General student visa (Tier 4)

Switch to this visa

You may be able to change (switch) to a Tier 4 (General) student visa if you’re in the UK under any of the following visas or schemes:

  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion)
  • Tier 4 (Child)

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend - including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

When to apply

You must apply:

You can stay in the UK until you get your decision.

Ways to apply

If you want to get a decision more quickly than the standard 8 weeks, you can apply for priority service - there’s a limited number of places each day.

Application type Time for a decision Cost per person
Standard 8 weeks £475
Priority 10 days £952

You’ll also need to provide biometric information and pay the healthcare surcharge.

Apply for the standard service

You can apply online for the standard service. Pay the fee at the same time.

Apply for the priority service

You must fill in a request form before you can use the priority service. Send it to the email address on the form.

Only the first 60 requests received each day after 8:30am (Monday to Friday) are accepted - you’ll get an email saying if you’ve been successful.

Once you’ve been accepted for the priority service you should apply online for yourself and any dependants within 24 hours. Pay the fee at the same time.

Send your supporting documents by registered post or courier to the address given in the priority service acceptance email. Send your dependants’ documents in the same envelope.

Your documents should reach UK Visas and Immigration no later than 2 days after you applied.

Provide your biometric information

You must also pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken. You’ll be told how to do this after you’ve applied. You’ll have to do it within 2 working days if you’re using the priority service.

You’ll get a biometric residence permit if your application to extend your visa is successful.

Pay the healthcare surcharge

For all applications you must also pay the healthcare surcharge for each person. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply for your extension.

What happens next

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)