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The University of Southampton
Student Services

FAQ Tier 4 Pilot Scheme

The University of Southampton has been invited to join a select number of UK universities in the Tier 4 pilot scheme. 

The Tier 4 pilot scheme allows students (and their dependants) applying for full-time masters programmes that are 13 months or less in duration a more streamlined visa application process and additional time on the end of their visas after their programme end date.  Please find below questions relating to eligibility and what this means if you are an eligible student.

If your question has not been answered then please contact us through the online enquiry form here.

Who is eligible?

Students applying for Tier 4 (general) student visas to study a postgraduate masters programme of 13 months or less in duration.

What does it mean for eligible students?

Eligible students will be given an additional 6 months on their visa after their programme end date (instead of the normal 4 months for programmes of 12 months or longer).  During the 6 month period after your programme end date you can work or seek employment (Tier 4 work restrictions still apply) or use this time to complete your studies if you need to resit exams.

Students eligible to take part in the Tier 4 pilot will not have to provide their academic qualifications or evidence of funds in support of their visa application.  ATAS and/or TB certificates (if applicable) will still need to be provided.

Please note that the Home Office (UKVI) may still request academic qualifications and evidence of funds during the visa application process (as spot checks) so these should still be prepared prior to application.

Do I still need to submit ATAS and/or TB certificates?

ATAS - if your programme of study requires ATAS clearance, you must submit your ATAS clearance certificate with your visa application.

TB certificate -  if you are from a country that requires a TB certificate, you must submit this with your visa application.

Does this mean that I don't need to meet the Tier 4 requirements in terms of funds?

You must still meet the Tier 4 requirements with regard to maintenance and tuition fees.

If I am eligible, can I opt out of the Tier 4 pilot?

If you are eligible to apply for the Tier 4 pilot, you cannot opt out.  You will automatically be considered under the Tier 4 pilot scheme.

I'm doing a pre-sessional English course on a Tier 4 visa. Can I apply to extend for my masters under the Tier 4 pilot?

Yes.  You can apply under to extend your visa under the Tier 4 pilot inside the UK if your masters is 13 months or less in duration.

I have a joint CAS for my pre-sessional and masters. Am I still eligible?

Yes.  The University will confirm that the duration of your masters meets the requirement for the Tier 4 pilot on your CAS.

I am in the UK on a Short-term Study Visa. Can I switch to Tier 4 in the UK for my masters?

No.  You cannot switch from the Short-term Study Visa to Tier 4 in the UK.  To apply for a Tier 4 for your masters you will need to leave the UK and apply for entry clearance.

Should I send my academic qualifications and bank statements anyway?

No. You should only submit your academic qualifications and bank statement (or financial sponsorship) if you are requested to do so.

If you send them when they have not been requested, the Home Office (UKVI) will assess them and if they do not meet the requirements your application will be refused.

I have been accepted onto a Masters with Integrated Preparatory Study. Am I eligible?

No.  The Masters with Integrated Preparatory Study programme is a fully integrated programme and so exceeds 13 months in duration.

Will my dependants be included under the Tier 4 pilot scheme?

If you and your dependants apply for your visas together, your dependants application will be considered under Tier 4 pilot so they will not have to evidence finances and will also be given 6 months at the end of your programme on their visa.

If your dependant applies for their visa after you have made your visa application, they will be required to evidence funds with their visa application.  However, they will still be given the same 6 months at the end of your programme of study.


I am currently studying a masters that is less than 13 months in duration. Can I apply for an extra 2 months in the UK?

No.  The Tier 4 pilot only applies to students commencing masters in the 2018/19 academic year.

I am applying for a 2 year masters - one year taught and one year placement. Am I eligible?

No.  The placement year is an integral and assessed part of the programme so the overall programme length of your course is 2 years.  The programme does not meet the eligibility requirements for the Tier 4 pilot scheme.

Is there a different Tier 4 online application form that I should use?

There is not a separate application form.  The Home Office (UKVI) plan to update the Tier 4 online application forms (outside and inside the UK) by the end of February 2018.   As students cannot apply more than 3 months before the programme start date, the new online forms should be ready in good time for eligible students to apply. 

Once the Home Office (UKVI) have updated their online application forms, we will update our website and podcasts accordingly.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

If you are uncertain about anything or you have a query, then our comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs) page may have the answer.

Visa drop-in and appointments

Visa drop-in and appointments

You can talk to one of our visa advisors by coming to a visa drop-in session or you can book an appointment for an in-depth discussion.

Enquiry form

Enquiry form

You can contact us through our online enquiry form.  We strongly encourage people to contact us through the online enquiry form rather than to directly email us.

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