Sections

Tier 4 (Child) student visa

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

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

You should 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

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

If you’re under 16 then you will be granted a visa for the length of your course (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards.

If you’re aged 16 or 17 then you will be granted a visa for the length 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
  • up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months

Eligibility

You must have:

  • an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a qualified education provider
  • 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 Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)
  • independent school education inspection standards

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

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

  • 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

Confirmation of acceptance of 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:

  • 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

You will also need to provide the following:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • 2 passport size colour photographs for yourself and for each parent or guardian applying with you, with names written on the reverse side
  • your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

Applying for a Tier 4 (Child) visa

If you’re applying outside the UK then you must apply online for a Tier 4 (Child) visa.  You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.

Apply in the UK

You can only extend your existing visa or switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK.

Extend your visa

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

You must:

  • meet the eligibility requirements of this visa
  • already be in the UK

You should apply during the last 3 months of your current permission to stay and no later than 6 months after your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) has been assigned.

Switch to this visa

You may be able to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 4 (Child) visa. You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility to switch to this visa

You can apply to switch into this category if you’re a:

  • Tier 4 (General) student
  • prospective student
  • student under the Immigration Rules in place before 31 March 2009

You should apply during the last 3 months of your current permission to stay and no later than 6 months after your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) has been assigned.  You must already be in the UK to apply.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • study at an independent fee-paying school (if you’re aged between 4 and 15)
  • study at a publicly-funded further education college (if you’re 16 or 17 and you’re a fee-paying student)
  • apply from inside or 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 can’t:

  • study at a publicly-funded school
  • 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 (eg 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 Child At School visa