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Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa

Tier 4 (Child) student visa

You can apply for the Tier 4 (Child) student visa if you’re aged between 4 and 17 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK.

You must also:

  • have a place on a course
  • have the consent of your parent or guardian
  • have enough money to cover your course fees and living costs
  • be from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • meet the eligibility requirements

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021. You and your family can apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

How long it will take

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

How long you can stay

Your age and the length of your course of study will affect how long you can stay.

Age when you apply How long you can stay
Under 16 Course length (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards
16 or 17 Course length (up to 3 years) plus 4 months afterwards

You can arrive in the UK:

  • up to 1 week before your course starts if your course lasts 6 months or less
  • up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months

What you can and can't do

You can:

  • study at an independent school
  • apply from outside the UK
  • apply to extend your stay

You can also work, if you’re 16 or over:

  • part-time during term for up to 10 hours per week
  • full-time during vacations
  • on a work placement as part of your course, (but not for more than 50% of your course time)
  • as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years

You cannot:

  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school) or further education college
  • get public funds
  • take a full-time permanent job or be self-employed
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson (for example a sports coach) or entertainer
  • settle in the UK on this visa
  • bring in family members (‘dependants’) – if your parents want to accompany you, they’ll need to apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 (Child) visa

Eligibility

You must have:

  • an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
  • enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances.

Your course

You can do a course that’s taught in line with:

  • the national curriculum
  • the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
  • independent school education inspection standards

You can also do a course that’s accepted as being at the same academic level by:

  • Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
  • HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland)
  • Estyn (in Wales)
  • Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland)
  • Independent Schools Inspectorate

You can do a short course to prepare you for your main course, such as pre-sessional study.

You cannot do a foundation course that will prepare you for direct entry to a higher education institution.

Confirmation of acceptance for studies

Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your application.

YourCAS can cover both the pre-sessional course and your main course of study.

You must apply for your visa no later than 6 months after you’re sent the CAS.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • proof of parental or other legal guardian consent
  • proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian
  • your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.

Extend your visa

You may be able to apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 4 (Child) visa.

You must:

  • meet the eligibility requirements of this visa
  • already be in the UK
  • be sponsored by an independent school

When to apply

You must apply:

  • within 6 months of getting a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
  • before your current visa expires – but no more than 3 months before the course start date on your CAS

You can stay in the UK until you get your decision.

Switch to this visa

You may be able to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 4 (Child) visa.

When to apply

You must apply:

  • within 6 months of getting a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
  • before your current visa expires – but no more than 3 months before the course start date on yourCAS

You can stay in the UK until you get your decision.

What happens next

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

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