Extending Your Tier 4 Student Visa

This page explains how to renew/extend your student visa from inside the UK. The student support advisers can support you every step of the way and we strongly recommend you seek our help.

When to make a Tier 4 visa extension

If you need to extend your Tier 4 Visa, you should start getting your documents ready at least three months before your current visa expires. Not everyone can extend their Tier 4 Visa in the UK. You need to check the following if you can extend your visa in the UK or you need to apply from your home country.

  • If you are applying for a visa to start a new degree, and this degree starts more than 28 days after your current visa expires, you will not be able to extend your visa within the UK. You would need to return home and apply there.
  • You cannot apply for a Tier 4 Visa in the UK if you currently have a Standard Visitor Visa or a Short-Term Visa.
  • Make sure you apply for an extension before your visa expires. If you apply after it expires you will be an 'overstayer'. This can have serious impact on you starting your degree at the RCA and your visa application. If you have overstayed please contact us immediately at student-support@rca.ac.uk for further information.
  • Meet the Home Office's 'academic progression' requirement; this requirement may mean that you cannot apply in the UK, even if you meet other requirements, and you will have to apply from your home country.

How to make a Tier 4 Visa renewal application in the UK

If you already have a student visa to study at the RCA and need to extend this to continue your studies you first need to request for a new Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from the Registry Team.

  • We recommend you do this three months before your current visa expires.
  • Make sure you attach a scanned copy of your passport photo page and your most recent UK visa to your CAS request with details of why you require a new CAS. You may need to get a supporting letter from your Head of Programme.
  • Once checks have been made the Registry team will email you a new CAS to your RCA email address. 
If your Tier 4 Visa is sponsored by another university, you must apply for a new visa sponsored by the RCA before you can start your degree here.

Make sure that:

  • Your existing visa is still valid
  • The RCA has issued you with a CAS
  • You have checked the Home Office guidelines on changing your educational sponsor
  • Make sure your student visa will not exceed the five-year time limit to study on a student visa.

Required documents 

Tier 4 requires 40 points made up from:

A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the RCA (30 points)

  • A CAS number issued by the RCA. You can request a CAS by emailing Registry
  • If you are applying for a visa for a course for the first time: your CAS will be issued on the basis that the RCA used a previous qualification to assess that you are suitable to take the course. This qualification will be noted on your CAS under ‘evidence used to obtain offer’. You must include any such ORIGINAL degree certificate, qualification or transcript.
  • If you are applying for an extension of a student visa which was issued for the same course: your CAS will normally be issued on the basis that the RCA has used your progress and satisfactory attendance to assess
Documents demonstrating the required finances (living costs and tuition fees) (10 points)

  • You will need to demonstrate your ability to fund your tuition fees for the academic year plus a set amount for your living costs (maintenance). 
You must demonstrate for maintenance:
  • Living costs of £11,385 (£1,265 per month up to nine months ) 
  • Living costs of £7,605 for each dependant (£845 per month up to nine months)
  • If you are funding your studies personally and you do not receive official sponsorship or an educational loan, then this money needs to be held in your bank account for at least 28 days before submitting your visa application. 
  • All documents you provide to demonstrate your maintenance funds must be original. We recommend that you use a UK bank account for the purpose of showing funds for your visa application. This will make things easier for you when it comes to making the application as you will not have to get financial documents sent from another country. 

Additional  documents will be needed at the point of making your visa application.

  • Passport(s)/travel document(s)
  • Two recent passport photographs (no older than one month old)
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) (you will be required to pay this once you submit your online application).
  • English language ability (as stated in your CAS)
  • Sponsor letter (if applicable – if you are sponsored for living costs and/or tuition fees then you will need a document proving this)
  • A letter from your parent/legal guardian if they are supporting you financially, and evidence of their relationship to you
  • All documents provided should be in English. Officially certified translations are accepted where necessary
  • Application Fee
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable). You must make sure that your Police Registration Certificate is up-to-date when making your application.   

Applying with the help of Student Support

The form is customised to the answers you provide and hides questions that are not relevant. It is essential that you enter the correct information in order to submit a valid application. 

After checking your application click 'next' and you will be taken to a screen that lists the documents you are required to submit with your application. If you are a national of a country that is subject to the 'differentiation agreement' you will not be required to submit financial evidence with your application however, you must ensure that you have this evidence in case it is requested at a later date. Failure to provide original copies of these documents when requested may result in your application being refused.

Student support can offer a service where we can check your application on your behalf. You still pay the application fee.  If you would like us to help you check the application. You must make sure that you do not submit and pay for the application. Just complete sections 1, 2 and 3 only and save your application. DO NOT tick the consent box on the 'Declaration' page of the online form as you will not be able to correct any mistakes beyond this stage.

It is still your responsibility to complete the form and gather all of the supporting documents. We can also act as your correspondence address then the student adviser will receive any correspondence about your application rather than it being sent directly to you.

If you wish student support to check and the documents you can book an appointment by emailing student-support@rca.ac.uk

You should then bring your documents to the Student Support Office in order to have your application posted via the RCA Student Batch Scheme.

We will contact you to collect your BRP card, from the Student Support Office once they have been returned to us.

Submitting your Application

When you have had your form and documents checked you should agree to the declaration and select 'next'. You will need access to a printer at this point in order to print out your application.   

You will then be given an option to either send your application by post or make an appointment at a Public Enquiry Office.

Application Fee: 

  • Standard service: £475 GBP 
  • Priority service: £952 GBP 
  • Premium service: £1,085 GBP

You will be required to pay for it online in advance. Once payment has been successfully taken you will need to print the cover sheet, biometric letter and sign the declaration. 

Your Biometric Letter

When you print out your biometric letter you or your (dependants) will be required to go and have your fingerprints and a special type of photograph taken. This is called 'enrolling your biometric data'. Your application to extend your visa will not be processed until you have done this.   

How long will it take?

Applications submitted by post will have a decision within 8 weeks. However, during busy periods (September to November) it can take longer.

If you Apply for the Priority Service a decision is made within 10 working days . if you wish to use the Priority Service, choose 'priority service' and enter reference PS00000

If you go in person to a PEO then you will usually receive a decision on the same day. However, you will not receive your Biometric Resident Permit (BRP) which contains your visa within seven-to-ten working days.

Please note: Your BRP will be sent by 'signed for' service so you should ensure that someone is at your home address to sign for the delivery.

Travel outside the UK before you receive a decision

Applicants under the new system keep their passport throughout the application process. If you leave the Common Travel Area (the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and travel on the passport you used in your application before the Home Office makes a decision, you are automatically treated as having withdrawn your application. 

Your immigration health surcharge should be refunded, but your application fee will not be refunded. You will usually have to make another immigration application before returning to the UK.

It is important that you speak to a student adviser before you withdraw your application as doing so is likely to have consequences both for your current immigration status and for any future immigration applications you may make.