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 has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.
How long it will take
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check visa processing times for your country.
It costs £328 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 can’t do
- 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
- 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 (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 Tier 4 (Child) visa
Read the full guidance on the Tier 4 (Child) student visa.
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.
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 pre-sessional study, ie a short course to prepare you for your main course.
You can’t do a foundation course, ie a 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.