Tier 4 visa pilot
Guidance for one-year full-time master's course applicants applying for a Tier 4 visa.
The pilot scheme
The Tier 4 visa pilot scheme provides one-year master's students on a full-time programme the opportunity to benefit from a streamlined visa application process, and six months extra time on their visa to look for work.
The pilot has been running since 2016/17 and continues to cover visa applications made before 5 October 2020 for entry in 2020/21.
The pilot will officially come to an end on 5 October 2020. Visa applications made on or after 5 October 2020 will not qualify to apply under the Tier 4 pilot scheme.
The scheme is highly valued by participants and remains an attractive offer for eligible international applicants.
- You do not need to include documentation to show you meet financial requirements with your visa application
- You do not need to include evidence of your academic qualifications with your visa application
- You still need to meet Tier 4 Immigration Rules
- You may still be asked to provide documentation as part of the application process, or in a spot check
- You will be granted six months' leave after your course ends, which is useful if you want to look for work while you are in the UK
You can find further information in Annex 6 of the Tier 4 policy guidance on the government website.
You are eligible for the pilot scheme if you are applying for a Tier 4 visa to start a one-year full-time taught master's degree or research master's degree (MRes) before 5 October 2020. This includes combined pre-sessional and master's degrees where the duration of the master's is no more than 12 months.
Any visa application made on or after 5 October 2020 will not be eligible for the Tier 4 visa pilot scheme.
You are included in the pilot if you are applying for entry clearance overseas or if you are applying from within the UK following successful completion of an undergraduate or previous postgraduate degree.
You are not eligible if you are applying for a one-year visa extension to complete an undergraduate exit master's qualification or the second year of a two-year postgraduate degree.
Submitting supporting documents online
You do not need to include your qualification documents or financial supporting documents with your visa application.
This Tier 4 pilot scheme is only available to a few students at certain UK institutions, and the online application form has not been changed to include the scheme's different rules. This means that although the form asks you to send documents with your visa application, you do not need to include them if you are applying to study at Bath.
ATAS certificate and TB screening certificates
You still need to submit an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate and/or at tuberculosis (TB) screening certificate if the course you are applying for, or the country you live in, means your application requires additional clearances.
Amending an existing Tier 4 visa
If you have already received the decision on your visa, and were granted the standard four-month extension after the end of your course, you can apply to request an extension of a further two months once you are in the UK, through our Student Immigration Service.
Financial or qualification documents
One of the benefits of this pilot scheme is that you do not need to submit financial or qualification documents. If you submit documents and they do not meet Tier 4 requirements, your application will be refused.
Maintaining funds for 28 days
It is essential that you meet Tier 4 requirements at the time you submit your online application, including the requirement to maintain funds for 28 days.
Although you do not have to submit these documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) under the pilot scheme, your caseworker may ask to see them, or carry out spot checks. If you cannot provide them your application will be refused.
It is also essential that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and cover living expenses while you are in the UK.
If you have received a conditional offer for your main course, based on successfully completing your pre-sessional programme, you will initially receive a visa for the pre-sessional programme only. You will benefit from the pilot scheme later, when you make a visa application for your master's course.
Dependants who make a Tier 4 dependant visa application at the same time as an eligible main applicant are also eligible to take part in the pilot scheme. However, if they do not apply at the same time as you do, they must include full evidence of their finances with their visa application.
Your application should be more streamlined than most students' applications, since your caseworker has to assess fewer documents. However, we cannot guarantee faster processing times.
What our former students say about the Tier 4 Visa Pilot
“I stayed in an internship after my studies. I think the Visa prolongation definitely helps because it gives you more time to find something.” (MBA Business Administration)
“I travelled around Europe after finishing my dissertation, then applied to switch for a working visa as I had secured a job as a KTP associate. I started in mid-November and have been working since.” (MSc Innovation and Technology Management)
“I have managed to secure a job (Business Development Manager) with Zenith Global after finishing my 6 months internship with them. The 6 month-internship was as a result of having 6 months extra on (my) visa” (MBA Business Administration)
“The extension staying in the UK is useful …I used it for travelling and attending graduation ceremony …Tier 4 (Pilot) is a good opportunity for students.” (MSc Management with Marketing)
“Actually these extra (6 months) were very useful in my case: I was able to get a scholarship from the University to continue my PhD. If I did not have this 6 month-extension on my visa that would have made the process to apply for a new one much harder. Having these 6 months allowed me to stay in the UK (and) enjoy the country, start to do some work for my PhD while waiting for my new visa.” (MSc Automotive Engineering)
“The 6 month extended visa encouraged me to apply for jobs and internships as I knew I stood a greater chance compared to students without the visa. Hence, it's a great morale booster and a motivation to apply. After completing my course in the UK, I travelled around UK and Europe for a bit.” (MSc Marketing)