To study in the UK, students need to get a Tier 4 Visa. This is a points based system where you need 40 points to qualify. Within the Tier 4 Visa, there is a category of Tier 4 Pilot Visa which is available for applying for a few universities for limited courses.
What is the Eligibility Criteria?
You are eligible to participate in the Tier 4 Pilot if the following cases:
• you have applied for a masters program with duration study 13 months or less (excluding the duration of any pre-sessional course)
• you are applying to one of the following institutions:
- Cardiff University
- Goldsmiths University of London
- Harper Adams University
- Imperial College London
- Newcastle University
- Queen's University Belfast
- The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
- University of Bath
- University of Bristol
- University of Cambridge
- Durham University
- University of East Anglia
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Essex
- University of Exeter
- University of Glasgow
- University of Leicester
- University of Liverpool
- University of Manchester
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oxford
- University of Reading
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University of Wales Trinity St. David (Swansea Campus)
- University of Warwick
- University of York
You can check the university websites to see which courses come under this scheme as not all courses are eligible.
What are the Visa concessions due to Tier 4 Pilot Visa?
You have the following advantages:
- You can stay longer after the end of your course - the total length of stay you are allowed is the full length of the course plus six months after the end of the course compared to a regular Tier 4 visa which gives you course period plus four months time.
- You can submit fewer evidential documents with your application – you will not be required to submit certificates or documents showing your previous qualifications or transcript of results and documents showing you meet the maintenance requirements. However, UKVI may ask for these documents at any time so it is better to have them on hand.
- You don’t need to submit any financial documents during the application of visa online. But you must carry the documents with you and moving forward because UKVI can request it.
- If your dependents file for a visa with you as the main applicant, they do not need to submitting financial documents.
What can one do in these extra 6 months?
- You can attempt to seek a permanent employment after studies.
- You can work full-time.
- Use the time to prepare for a proper departure.
- You can choose to take up a short term course.
What Tier 4 Pilot Visa does not change compared to the Tier 4 General Visa?
- In all cases, you must confirm on your application form that you meet the requirements and that you hold documentary evidence in the manner required.
- The Immigration Rules still apply to you; therefore, you must ensure you follow the rest of the guidance carefully.
- You still have to submit your passport, ATAS certificate and TB screening certificate where appropriate.
- If you have any concerns, speak to your University visa office in the first instance. Find more information in the Migrant Guidance Document Provided by UK Home Affairs.