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Child student visa (Tier 4)

Overview

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:

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.

Find out about paying for a faster decision.

Fees

It costs £348 to apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa from outside the UK.

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

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 cannot do

You can:

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

Read the full guidance on the Tier 4 (Child) student 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

You should read the guidance for the full list of documents and how much money you’ll need according to your situation.

Your course

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

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

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.

Your CAS 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 blank page in your passport for your visa.

Read the full guidance for the full list of documents and how much money you’ll need according to your situation.

Apply

Read the full Tier 4 guidance before you apply.

Apply outside the UK

You must apply online for a Tier 4 (Child) visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).

Find out how to get your visa decision faster – this depends on what country you’re in. Check if your visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.

North Korea

You cannot apply online if you’re living in North Korea.

To apply from North Korea you must:

Apply in the UK

Check if you can apply from inside the UK to:

    • extend your existing Tier 4 (Child) student visa
    • switch to this visa from another visa
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:

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

Fees

For each person, you’ll need to pay:

A decision will usually be made within 8 weeks if you use the standard service.

Get a faster decision on your application

If you want to get a decision more quickly, you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.

You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision:

  • by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

Apply

You must apply online.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

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)
Switch to this visa

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

Read the full Tier 4 guidance before you apply.

When to apply

You must apply:

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

Fees

For each person, you’ll need to pay:

A decision will usually be made within 8 weeks if you use the standard service.

Get a faster decision on your application

If you want to get a decision more quickly, you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.

You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision:

  • by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

Apply

You must apply online.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

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)

Countries in the EU and EEA

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 countries. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.

EU countries

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is not an EU or EEA member but is part of the single market. This means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Citizens’ rights after the UK leaves the EU

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021.

You can read about the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU after the UK leaves the EU.

Data Source: https://www.gov.uk/child-study-visa