Differentiation arrangements

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. 

If you are submitting your application in the UK through International Student Support, you will need to present these documents at your International Student Support appointment before submitting your visa application even though these will not be uploaded to your visa application.

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) OR because they are studying a course that is part of the Tier 4 Pilot which has been rolled out to a select group of universities, including the University of Exeter. 

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.

Due to our low visa refusal rates, the University of Exeter was selected to participate in the Tier 4 Pilot scheme. This means that all Masters students on a course of 13 months or less qualify for the differentiation arrangements. Your CAS should state that your course is part of the Tier 4 Pilot. 

As well as the reduced documentation requirement, as a Tier 4 Pilot student you will be given a 6 month wrap-up period at the end of your visa to organise your next steps. This is enough time to undertake an internship, look for a job with a Tier 2 sponsor, or just finish your sightseeing.

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.