Tier 4 Financial Requirements

Financial evidence is a key part of the visa application and the most common reason for visa refusals. It is very specific and we encourage all students to check their financial evidence with us before they apply for their visa

The general rule is that you need to show that you have enough money to cover both your tuition fees and your living costs.

You will need to do the following:

1) First you need to confirm how much money you have to show. For your initial visa application, you will need to show you have enough money for your tuition fees plus living costs (maintenance).  

    • For your tuition fees, by default this is the whole tuition fee amount as shown on your CAS and will just be for your first year of study. Or if doing a 1 year masters course, it will be the whole tuition fee.                                                        
    • Living Costs is usually £9135. Most full time students who are on a course lasting at least 9 months will need to show this amount. For those doing shorter courses like Pre-sessional English, the living cost amount is broken down as £1,015 per month of the length of the course for a maximum of 9 months. We always try and advise for everyone to show the max £9135 amount to be safe

2) Then you must show that you have held this total amount for a of minimum 28 consecutive days before you apply for your visa

3) You are allowed to hold this money as foreign currency in an overseas bank account. You must make sure the the money you are holding in foreign currency is equivalent to the correct money in Great British Pounds (GBP) and the UKVI will only use the exchange rate on the OANDA website and they will not consider any other kind of exchange rate tool. The UKVI will use the exchange rate from the day you pay for your visa application. 

You will usually prove you have held this money by providing some form of official financial evidence and it must show personal, readily available cash. This means you must show this money held in a current(checking) or savings account in your name or your parent's name. You cannot use evidence from:

  • Stocks or Shares

  • Investment Portfolios

  • Credit Cards

  • Bank accounts in the name of a family business

  • Private bank loans unless you plan to hold the cash for 28 days before you apply for your visa(then normal bank statement rules apply)


You are allowed to deduct any tuition fees you have already paid for your course from the total amount you have to show
It is important to show you have paid this amount for the deduction to take any effect and you will usually do this by getting your CAS updated. If you want to rely on these deductions to show a lower amount of money then you must make sure your CAS is updated BEFORE you apply for your visa. 

For example, your tuition fees are £10,000 and living costs are £9135. Before you complete your visa application, you pay £5000 toward tuition fee. Your CAS is updated to show these payments.

£10,000 + £9,135 = £19,135
£19,135 - £5000 = £14,135

You need to show £14,135 held for 28 consecutive days

NOTE: You cannot deduct money paid towards accommodation. The living costs (maintenance) is set at £1015 per month (£9135 max). This is because you can only deduct money paid towards accommodation (Max £1265) if you are paying the University directly. But all accommodation on campus is owned by our third party partner UNITE students. 




The Home Office will only accept certain documents to prove you meet the financial requirement. The documents they will usually accept are:

  • Official Bank Statement in your name or your parents name* 

  • Official letter from bank or regulated financial institution in your name or your parents name

  • Official financial sponsorship letter (see separate section below)

  • Certificate of Deposit (see separate section below)

The most popular way to show you have met the financial requirement is using Bank statements.

*Please see "Documents from parents/legal guardians" for information about using parents financial evidence. 

The bank statement is required to have all of the following information to be considered as valid: 

  • your name or your parent’s/legal guardian’s name; and 

  • the account number; and

  • the financial institution’s name and logo; and 

  • the amount of money available. 

The 28 day qualifying period

The bank statement ideally needs to show a series of transactions covering a full 28 consecutive day period and within this 28 day period, the money held cannot have dipped below the total amount you should be holding. 

Must be new

This bank statement also needs to be new. This means that the closing balance (the last transaction date) needs to be dated within 31 days preceding the date you pay for your visa application. Sometimes the date the bank statement is printed can be used as the closing balance but it should be the actual closing balance. If the closing balance is dated more than 31 days before the date you pay for your visa application then the bank statement is invalid. 

The Format 

The bank statement you submit with your visa application should be:   

  • Original bank statements direct from the bank; or

  • Ad hoc bank statements printed on the bank’s letterhead; or  

  • Electronic bank statements bearing the official stamp of the bank. The stamp must appear on every page of the bank statements. 

You should not use bank statements you print yourself online. We cannot guarantee these will be accepted.


Download example bank statement here

Example bank statement

For example, you work out you need to hold £21,000 as your financial requirement. You plan to pay for your visa application on the 2nd February 2017. The bank statement you provide is from your current account and shows more than £21,000 held from the 1st January 2017 to the 1st February 2017.

The lowest amount the money ever dipped within this 28 day period was £21,485 but never below £21,000. This means the correct money has been held for 28 consecutive days. Also the closing balance is within 31 days preceding the date you want to pay for the visa application. This bank statement will be valid.

 An alternative to bank statements is to obtain an official letter from your bank or regulated financial institution. If you want to rely on this then the letter must be official and contain the following information:

  • The wording must be very clear that the correct funds have been held for consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your visa application

  • your name or your parent’s/legal guardian’s name; and

  • the account number; and 

  • the date of the letter; and 

  • the financial institution’s name and logo; and 

  • the money in your account; and

  • that there is enough money in the account (to cover your course fees and living costs)

The Format

The official bank letter you submit with your visa application should be:   

  • An original letter printed on the official bank letterhead 
  • Obtained directly from the bank  
  • Will usually bear the stamp of the bank and/or signed


Download example bank letter here

Example bank letter


Official Financial Sponsorship means you are being financially sponsored for your studies in the UK by one of the following:

  • Her Majesty’s Government
  • Your Home government, 
  • The British Council  
  • An International organisation, 
  • An international company, 
  • A university or 
  • A UK independent school.

It does not mean sponsored by family. If you are sponsored by any of the above then you will usually get an official letter from your sponsor explaining how much money for financial sponsorship you will be getting.

If your sponsor will be covering all of your tuition fees and more than £1015 per month for living costs then this official letter by itself will suffice as financial evidence. 

However, if your financial sponsor is only covering some of your course fees or living costs, you must show that you have the rest of the money needed using the usual methods above. e.g. Your own bank statement

You must make sure that your financial sponsor is an official sponsor. If they are not an official sponsor then the UKVI will refuse the application. For example, using an International Company as your official financial sponsor but the company is then not deemed an "international" company. If you are unsure about whether your financial sponsor will be official, please contact us to check.

Federal loans

If you will be getting a loan from your government for educational purposes (e.g. American FAFSA or Sally Mae) then this is seen as an educational loan and can be accepted as financial evidence. If you are unsure then please contact us to check.

This is a very specific kind of financial document and we try to advise not to use this if possible.

These are documents issued by a bank which confirm an individual has deposited or invested a sum of money, and is popular in visa applications from China. e.g. Bank of China, China Construction Bank, China Citic Bank  

The UKVI will accept certificates of deposit but to be accepted they must meet the following rules: 

  • the certificate of deposit must have been issued within 31 days before the date of applicationat
  • least 28 days must have elapsed between the date of the deposit and the date of issue of the certificate

The certificate of deposit must be original and be in your name or your parents name. It must also show you have enough money to meet the financial requirement. 

We advise to try and avoid the use of certificates of deposit as the UKVI will not always accept them. If you must use a certificate of deposit then please contact us to check it before you apply for your visa.


Download example certificate of deposit here:

CoD example

The most common reason for visa refusals is incorrect financial evidence. The most common reasons are:

  • Did not hold the correct money for 28 days or did not clearly show money was held for 28 days (e.g. only showing one date on bank statement)
  • Let money dip below the required amount within the 28 days
  • Used financial evidence that was too old (not dated or closing balance within 31 days of intended application date)
  • Did not use original documents
  • Paid for visa application and then started holding money for 28 days. 
  • Financial evidence did not contain all the relevant information (Logo, account number, name, date, bank details, official financial sponsor information)
  • Used invalid financial evidence (e.g. Credit card statement, Stocks/Shares, Family Business account, payslips, other family members accounts that weren't parents or own)
  • Forgot to include documents (e.g. did not include birth certificate if using parents bank statement)
  • Financial sponsor was not classed as an "official" financial sponsor
If you are unsure about whether your financial evidence is acceptable then please contact us before you apply for your visa. 

Remember that once you apply for your visa, no changes to any documents can be made.

There are some banks/financial institutions that are banned from use by the Home Office. If you provide any financial evidence from these banks then your visa application will be automatically refused.

Please check that your bank/financial institution is not on this list before you submit your financial evidence.

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