TIER 4 CHILD STUDENT VISA
The Tier 4 Child Student visa category is for non-EEA nationals aged between 4 and 17 years old who wish to study in the UK.
If you are aged 18 or over and wish to complete a course of study in the UK then you should apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa instead. Students who are 16 or 17 can apply for either visa if studying a course at or above level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework.
What are the main eligibility requirements for a Tier 4 Child Student visa?
In order to qualify for a Tier 4 Child Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You are aged between 4 and 17;
- You have been offered an unconditional place on a course of study with an education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence;
- You are able to support yourself financially and pay for your course (the exact amount of money required will vary depending on your circumstances).
You will also need to have written consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) confirming that you can travel to, and live independently in, the UK.
Children between 4 and 15 years old must be educated at independent fee-paying schools. Children between the ages of 16 or 17 year old may study at publicly funded Further Education Colleges provided that the College is able to charge for International Students and the child is a fee paying student. It is not possible for a Tier 4 Child Student to study at a publicly funded school.
What else do I need to know about the Tier 4 Child Student visa?
Your offer of a place on a course of study at a UK education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence must be unconditional, and must be one of the following:
- A course that is taught in line with the National Curriculum, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) or the independent school education inspection standards;
- A pre-sessional study course (i.e. a short course to prepare you for your main course);
- A course that is accepted as being at the same academic level as the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland), Estyn (Wales), Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland) or Independent Schools Inspectorate.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Once you have been offered a place on a course of study, your education provider will send you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. You must apply for your Tier 4 Child Student visa within 6 months of receiving your CAS.
The amount of money that you will need in order to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you will be able to support yourself financially without recourse to public funds will vary depending upon your care arrangements in the UK.
Boarding Child Students
If you are a Boarding Student, you will need to show that you have the money available to pay your school fees (course fees and board or lodging fees) for the first year of your course or for the entire course, if it is less than 12 months long.
Child Students staying with a resident carer
If you will be staying with a carer who is a resident British citizen or other UK resident, you will need to show that you have money for your course fees and that your intended carer has at least £570 per month to look after and accommodate you in the UK for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.
Accompanied Child Students under 12 years old
If you are under 12 years old, you can be accompanied to the UK by your parent or legal guardian. You will need to show that you have money for your course fees plus £1,560 for living costs for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.
Each additional Tier 4 Child Student that your parent or legal guardian is accompanying must show that they have the money for their course fees plus £625 for living costs for each month of their course, up to a maximum of 9 months.
Child Students aged 16 or 17 living independently
Tier 4 Child Students aged 16 or 17 years of age and living independently need £1,265 per month if studying in Central London, of £1,015 per month elsewhere.
Duration of Stay
You may apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa up to 3 months before the start of your course. If you are under the age of 16, you may stay in the UK for the duration of your course (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards. If you are aged 16 or 17, you may stay for the duration of your course (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 or up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months.
Conditions of Stay
Tier 4 Child Student visa holders can study at an independent fee-paying school (if aged between 4 and 15) or study at a publicly-funded further education college (if 16 or 17 and a fee-paying student).
If aged 16 or 17, Tier 4 Child Student visa holders can also work part-time during term time for up to 10 hours per week and full-time during vacations.
How our immigration barristers can help
Our immigration barristers regularly assist international child students and their family members to move to, or extend their stay in, the UK in order to pursue their education.
Our barristers are experts in the immigration options for child students and will guide you through the complex Home Office rules and policies.
We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to child students as part of a professional and friendly service.
We can also assist with
Applications for extension of stay as a Tier 4 Child Student
In order to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 4 Child Student visa you will need to be in the UK, aged between 4 and 17 years old and sponsored by an independent school. There is no requirement to show academic progress, but you will need to have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor. You will also need to have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the exact amount will vary depending on your circumstances.
Applications by parents of Tier 4 Child Students
If your parents wish to join you in the UK during your studies, they should apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa.
Applications for extension of stay as a Tier 4 General Student
The Tier 4 General Student category is for non-EEA nationals who are over the age of 16 and wish to study in the UK. You will need to have been offered an unconditional place on a course with an educational institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence, be competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking) and have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course without relying on public funds.
Applications for Short-term Study visas
The Short-term Study visa category is for non-EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK in order to undertake a short course of study, such as an English language course or a training course.
In order to qualify for a Short-term Study visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You have been accepted onto a course of study at an acceptable place of study (if applying to learn English as a foreign language on a mixed course, only some of which involves English language tuition, this will not be accepted);
- You intend to leave at the end of your visit;
- You are not travelling to the UK for work;
- You have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your intended stay in the UK, and can meet the costs of your return or onward journey;
If you are under 18 you must also:
- Have made arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK;
- Have permission from your parent or guardian to study in the UK;
Your place of study must:
- Hold a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence; or
- Hold valid accreditation from Accreditation Body for Language Services, Accreditation Service for International Colleges, Accreditation UK, Bridge Schools Inspectorate, British Accreditation Council, Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland), Estyn (in Wales), HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland), Independent Schools Inspectorate, Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Schools Inspection Service.
Short-term Study visas are normally valid for 6 months. However, you can apply for an 11 month visa if you are at least 18 years old and have been accepted on a course to learn English as a foreign language.
You can also apply for a Short-term Study visa if you are over the age of 18, studying at an overseas higher education institution and part of your course is in the UK. Your institution must hold its own national accreditation, offer only part of its educational programme in the UK and offer programmes that are equivalent to a UK degree.
You can come to the UK for a short period of research if already enrolled on an overseas degree course. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, your course must be equivalent to a UK degree and you must be carrying out the research at a UK recognised body, or a body that receives public funding as a higher education institution.
If your application for a Short-term Study visa is successful, you will be able to stay in the UK for either 6 months (for any short course, including English language courses, or short periods of research if you are aged 18 or over) or 11 months (if you are aged 18 or over and taking an English language course).
You will not be able to work (including on a work placement or work experience), carry out any business or study at a state school.
Any family members who wish to accompany you will have to make an application in their own right, for example for a Visit (Standard) visa.
Fresh applications, Administrative reviews and Judicial reviews for Tier 4 Child Students
If your application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 4 Child Student has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of making a fresh application or challenging the decision.
If the decision-maker failed to apply the Immigration Rules or Home Office policy correctly, we can bring Administrative Review proceedings to challenge the decision.
If the decision to refuse your application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can apply for Judicial Review and provide representation at Judicial Review hearings.