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The Tier 4 (General) category is for adult students who want to come to or remain in the UK for their post-16 education.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and you want to study a course at or above National Qualification Framework level 3, you can apply under this category or under Tier 4 (Child) – you should discuss and agree this with your approved education provider (known as a ‘Tier 4 sponsor’). But if you want to study English as a foreign language, you must apply as a Tier 4 (General) student.

To apply as a student under Tier 4, a ‘Tier 4 sponsor’ must have offered you a place on a course of study. This is an education provider, which has been approved by us to teach international students.
If an education provider successfully applies to us for approval, we will give them a sponsor license and add them to the register of Tier 4 sponsors.

The register contains the education provider’s name and location. It also indicates whether the education provider is a Highly Trusted sponsor, or is a standard sponsor with an A (Trusted) or B (Sponsor) rating. The B rating is a transitional rating, and means that the sponsor is working with us to improve its systems.
Highly Trusted sponsors have demonstrated the highest levels of compliance with their duties. In return, they can offer a wider range of course levels and work placement opportunities.
You can check whether a UK education provider has a Tier 4 sponsor license by looking at the register of Tier 4 sponsors.

As a Tier 4 (General) student, you must have 40 points in our point’s assessment. You can score:

  • 30 points for having a valid confirmation of acceptance for studies, which you get for studying a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (also known as a ‘Tier 4 sponsor’), and for having acceptable English language skills;
  • 10 points for having enough money (also known as maintenance or funds) to cover your course fees and living costs.