Differentiation arrangements

We know that international students will be worried by the Covid-19 situation and what it means for their immigration status and their studies in the UK. We are hosting live webinars throughout the summer to help students understand the latest visa advice and to assist them with preparing their visa applications. Check out our schedule of events HERE.

UPDATE (June): UK Visa Application Centres and English language testing centres are slowly re-opening however travel is restricted. The ATAS application service is now open. 

The Home Office has introduced a number of immigration concessions for students, outlined here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students.

UKCISA regularly updates their advice for students here: Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students.

Students will also want to keep up-to-date with the University’s response to Covid-19 on our FAQ pages here: University of Exeter – Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information and Advice.

Finally, the trained immigration advisers in International Student Support are here to help with any questions or concerns you have during this difficult time. Please email us at visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk and one of our advisers will respond as soon as possible.

Students that qualify for differentiation do not need to submit evidence of Money or Qualifications with their initial visa application. In most cases, this means that you will only need to submit your passport with your application form and application fee. 

It is important to be aware that you must still meet the financial and qualifications requirements on the date that you submit your online application. Documents proving that you met the requirements can be requested by UK Visas and Immigration at any time during the application process. 

Who qualifies for 'differentation arrangements'

Students can qualify for Tier 4 differentiation arrangements because they are a national of one of the ‘low risk’ countries listed in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules (see below for the list). 

If you are required to obtain ATAS clearance, a TB certificate (if applying outside the UK), or a Police Registration Certificate (if applying inside the UK), you will need to submit these documents even if you qualify for differentiation. In certain cases, other documents will also be required (for example, if you are under 18). Our Document List contains full details. 

If you are a national or a passport holder of one of the following countries and you are applying in your country of nationality or in the UK, you do not have to submit evidence of your money with your Tier 4 application. 


Macau SAR
Bahrain Malaysia
Botswana Mauritius
Brazil Mexico
British National (Overseas) New Zealand
Brunei Oman
Cambodia Peru
Canada Qatar
Chile Serbia
China Singapore
The Dominican Republic South Korea
Hong Kong (SAR) Taiwan (with ID card number)
Indonesia Thailand
Kuwait  Tunisia
Japan United Arab Emirates
  United States of America

The full list is in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules.

If you are eligible for differentiation arrangements, then any of your Dependants are also eligible for differentiation as long as they are: 

  • making their application at the same time as you 

  • in their country of nationality or in the UK.

This essentially means that they do not have to provide proof of finances with their initial visa application. Again, UKVI can request this at any time, so you should be prepared to provide it if requested. 

If they do not apply at the same time as you, they will be required to include full evidence of their finances with their visa application.

» Money

Find out the amount of money required and how you can show this.

» CAS & Qualifications

Describes how you meet the visa conditions using your unconditional offer and previous qualifications.

» Document list

A comprehensive final checklist for your Tier 4 visa application.