Tier 4 Pilot Scheme

The University of Exeter has been chosen to participate in the Tier 4 Pilot scheme since 2018. A small number of UK Universities are participating in this scheme which provides Masters students the opportunity to benefit from a streamlined visa application process. Institutions have been invited to participate in the scheme by the Home Office, based on historically low visa refusal rates.


Students starting a Masters level course of 13 months or less at the University of Exeter can apply under the scheme.

You are also eligible if you have a combined CAS which covers both your pre-sessional and Masters courses.

Key Facts

If your programme is part of the pilot, this means:

  • You do not need to submit financial or academic documents with your visa application. In most cases this means that you will only need to submit your passport with your application form and fee.
    • If you are required to submit an ATAS and/or TB certificate with your visa you will still need to submit these.
    • You must still meet all of the financial and academic requirements, including possessing the required funds for at least the 28 days before you submit your visa application. UK Visas and Immigration may request to see your financial or academic documents while processing your application, so you should familiarise yourself with the Tier 4 documentation requirements and be able to obtain the relevant documents if you need them.
    • You will also be required to present your academic qualifications when you register at the University.
  • You will be given a 6 month wrap-up period at the end of your visa.
    • Non-pilot students are usually given between 2-4 months additional time at the end of their visa to organise to return home or apply for further leave. As a pilot participant, you will be given 6 months from the end date of your programme 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.
  Meet the Tier 4 Rules? Submit with your visa application?
Passport Yes Yes
Photos Yes Yes
CAS number Yes Yes - on the application form
Academic qualifications as listed on your CAS Yes No
Money Yes No
ATAS (if applicable) Yes Yes
TB certificate (if applicable) Yes Yes

Your CAS will state that you are a part of the Tier 4 Pilot. You will also need to tick the relevant box on your visa application form. Remember that although you do not need to submit most documents with your visa application, you do still need to meet all of the Tier 4 requirements, so make sure that you have read our Tier 4 advice in full.

If you decide to submit academic or finance documents anyway, they must meet the strict Home Office requirements otherwise your application is likely to be refused.


If you are eligible to apply under the Tier 4 pilot scheme then any of your Dependants who are making a Tier 4 dependant visa application at the same time as you, are also eligible to take part in the pilot. 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.

Please contact us if you have questions about any aspect of your visa application.  For more information specifically about the Tier 4 pilot scheme please see UKVI  and UKCISA.