If you need to extend your Tier 4 visa in order to complete your studies, it's important to be aware of the best time to prepare and submit the application.

When to apply

Extending your Tier 4 visa should be straightforward if you prepare well in advance.

  • If you will be making a Tier 4 visa extension application in the UK, you will need to be ready to make the application before your current visa expires. In some cases, we may advise you to make the Tier 4 visa application earlier than this
  • If you will be making a Tier 4 visa application outside of the UK, you will need to plan the timing of your application to be sure that you can arrive back in the UK in good time to continue with your studies

When to start preparing

The process of gathering necessary documents and evidence for your visa application sometimes takes longer than you expect. We advise that you start preparing for your Tier 4 visa extension at least 3 months before you need to make the visa application.

If you want to discuss your individual circumstances and get advice on preparing your Tier 4 visa application, you can contact the International Student Advice Service.

Getting documents in time

You will need to make sure that you will have all of the documents and evidence ready in time to apply. Some documents take longer than others to get. You should be aware that some can take 1-2 months to be either ready or issued to you. Your situation and circumstances will determine which documents you need for your application. See our guidance on the documents needed for your Tier 4 application.

When to Request a CAS

You can request for the university to issue you with a new CAS at any time. We recommend that you this when you know that you will need to extend your Tier 4 visa. See our information and guidance about CAS for extending your visa.

It is important to note that a CAS statement can only be issued to you when the university is  satisfied that you have met the right requirements.

Adding a work placement

If you are applying for a visa extension because you are adding an official work placement to your programme of study, you should note that there are specific rules which will decide when you should make your visa application. We recommend that you contact the International Student Advice Service to discuss this, as it is important you are aware of how these rules apply to you.

See also, our guidance on changing your programme of study.

Students coming back to study after a period of interruption

If you interrupted your studies and returned to your home country and now need new Tier 4 visa to return to study, you will need to make your new Tier 4 visa application from your home country or country of ordinary residence. During your interruption period, you will receive communication from the university, asking you if you intend to return to complete your programme. If you indicate yes, you will be sent instructions about how to get your new CAS statement. If you are an interrupted student and you want to discuss your individual circumstances and get advice, Contact the International Student Advice Service to discuss.