UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) made changes to the Immigration Rules with effect from April 2016 which to existing Tier 4 students as well as anyone applying for leave on or after this date. The main changes that affect Regent’s students are outlined below.

Changing courses

Tier 4 visa students sponsored by Regent's may only change their course without applying for a new visa first, if:

  • The new course is at degree level or above
  • The new course is not at a lower level than the course for which the CAS was originally issued and the student was granted leave
  • The student will be able to complete the new course within their current period of leave, AND
  • The University confirms that:
    • The new course is related to the previous course, part of the same subject group, or involves deeper specialisation, OR
    • The previous course and new course in combination support the student's genuine career aspirations


Students sponsored on a Tier 4 (General) visa cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity. Business activity includes working for a business in a capacity other than employee in which a student has a financial or other significant beneficial interest. This includes:

  • Setting up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership and the business is either trading or establishing a trading presence
  • Being employed by a company in which a student holds shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in trust) OR
  • Working for a company where a student also holds a statutory role, such as a director

Calculation of time limits under Tier 4

The new rules say that the period of leave granted and the level of course for which the leave was granted will be counted towards the caps on study, rather than the periods and courses actually studied.

Academic progression

Tier 4 (General) students cannot study a course at a lower level than their previous course.

English language requirements for US study abroad students

Third country nationals applying under Tier 4 (General) to study a short-term study abroad programme in the UK as part of their degree at an HEI in the USA will be exempt from the Tier 4 English language requirements.

Also in this section

Visas & immigration
Agents in your country
Advice and guidance
Information for International Students