Guide to the Child Student Visa
The Child Student Visa is for children who are nationals of a country other than the UK or Ireland.
To be successful, applicants must:
- Have an unconditional offer on a course from an eligible independent school
- Demonstrate that they have adequate income to pay for the course and to support themselves during the course
- Have the written consent of their parent or legal guardian to study in the UK
The Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa is no longer in existence, having been replaced by the Child Student Visa.
You can apply outside the UK for the visa six months in advance of your course start date and you will likely receive a decision in three weeks.
If you are applying from inside the UK, you can apply three months in advance of the course start date and you are likely to receive a decision within eight weeks.
Child Student Visa holders aged under 16 years can stay in the UK for the length of the course (up to six years) plus four months.
Visa holders aged 16 or 17 years old are permitted to stay for the length of the course (up to three years) plus four months following the end of the course.
You may be able to extend the visa if you are eligible in order to continue studying in the UK.
Who can apply for the UK Child Student Visa?
Children aged between 4 and 17 years old can apply for the Child Student Visa. There are strict eligibility requirements involved in this immigration category to obtain entry clearance.
Applicants must ensure that the following applies to their situation:
- Must be a genuine student with a confirmed place at an independent fee-paying school
- Application is submitted within the required timeframe
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) has been issued
- Parental or guardian written consent has been confirmed
- No record of overstaying a visa or breaching immigration rules
- Adequate finances to pay fees and maintain themselves throughout the duration of the course
- English language skills to the required level
- Evidence of required qualifications
- Evidence that the child will return to their home country when their course is finished
There are several requirements related to the types of eligible courses, and only specified educational institutes may be issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to the visa applicant.
What is the points requirement?
In order to be eligible to come to the UK as a Child Student, the child must obtain the following points:
|Points type||Requirements||Number of points|
|Study (all criteria must be met)||– Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
– Eligible course
– Eligible independent school
– Aged between 4 and 17 years old
– Parental consent confirmed
|Financial||– Met financial requirements||20|
Child students must be able to demonstrate on their application that they have enough funds to be supported throughout their course.
The child student is not allowed to work until the age of 16, and then they may only work under certain conditions.
According to the Home Office (UK government department in charge of immigration), this includes the requirements below (where the child has been in the UK for less than 12 months at the time of application):
|Living arrangements||Required funds|
|Residential independent school boarding||Enough funds to pay the course fees and boarding fee for one academic year|
|Living with a private foster carer or close relative who is a British citizen or has settled status||Enough funds to pay the fees for one academic year
The carer or relative must have funds of at least £570 per month of the course (max. nine months)
|Living with the child’s parent of legal guardian||Sufficient funds to pay the course fees for one academic year
If there are no other children to be cared by the parent, £1,560 per month must be available for max. nine months
If there are other children being cared for by the parent in the UK, £625 per month must be available for each child
|Aged 16 or 17 and living independently||Sufficient funds to pay the school fees for one year
£1,334 for each month of the course up to a max nine months (if studying in London)
£1,023 for each month to a max. nine months where studying outside London
If the child student is using a student loan of government grant/ scholarship, they are required to have held the funds requirement for a period of 28 days.
How to apply for the UK Child Student Visa
To submit your Child Student Visa application, it is important to prepare carefully so as to give yourself the best chance of success.
If you are in doubt about how to apply, it is recommended that you speak with a qualified immigration lawyer who can assist you.
To apply for a Child Student Visa, follow the below steps:
- Apply to the most appropriate educational institute based on your situation
- Receive an unconditional offer from the school
- Submit a request for your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies number
- Identify your nearest visa application centre
- Book a TB test (where relevant) and identify the coronavirus public health requirements (e.g., PCR tests, quarantining, etc.)
- Ensure that you have the relevant supporting documents
- Fill out the application form
- Pay the application fee and immigration health surcharge (where relevant) to the Home Office
- Book your biometrics appointment at your visa application centre (where relevant)
- Attend your visa interview (where relevant)
- Submit your information to get your biometric residence permit (where relevant)
- Wait for a decision to be issued on your visa application
To maximise your chance of a successful application, you should ensure:
- Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements
- Gather your supporting information in plenty of time
- Ensure that your documents are presented in the appropriate format
- Complete each section of your application fully and truthfully
- Follow the advice of your sponsoring institution
Parent of a Child Student Visa
If your child holds or is applying for a Child Student Visa, you may be eligible to apply for the Parent of a Child Student Visa.
To be eligible, the following must apply to your case:
- Your child is aged between four and eleven years old
- Your child is attending an independent school in the UK
- You are the only parent of your child accompanying them in the UK
- You continue to maintain your primary residence in your country of residence
- You have concrete plans to leave the UK when your visa expires
You are permitted to stay in the UK until the expiration of your child’s visa, or until they turn 12 years old (whichever happens first). It may be possible to extend the visa, if you meet the criteria.
If your child continues studying in the UK after this age, you must make ensure that arrangements are in place to facilitate their ongoing care.
While in the UK, you are not permitted to work, study, start a business, apply for benefits, or bring another family member to the UK.
You are also not permitted to make the UK your primary residence.
What documents do you need to apply?
To apply for the Child Student Visa, you will be required to submit some of the following documents to the Home Office.
- Valid passport or travel document
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- Health certifications (where relevant)
- Evidence of financial maintenance and proof of payment of course fees (e.g., bank statements or other financial evidence)
- Confirmation of consent from parent or guardian
- Proof of payment of tuition fees, accommodation costs, etc.
- Certified translations of documents in a language other than English or Welsh
There may be additional documents required depending on your circumstances. You will be required to demonstrate your eligibility for the visa with a comprehensive set of documents.
Can you extend the visa?
The Child Student Visa is issued on the basis of the length of the period of study and the age of the applicant.
If the child is aged 16 or 17 year and is on a course that lasts longer than the maximum permitted time of three years, they will be required to apply again before the expiration date of their stay.
Applications made by international students aged 18 years and older must be made on the Student Visa route if they wish to continue their studies in the UK.
In most cases, the time you spend in the UK on a Student Visa or Child Student Visa do not count towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
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The Child Student Visa (which replaced the previous Tier 4 Student (Child) Visa), is for international child students aged between four and 17 years old, and who are not British or Irish citizens.
The visa allows eligible children to come to the UK for the duration of a specific course of study. Visa holders are only permitted to study in independent fee-paying schools.
There are a number of eligibility requirements, including financial maintenance requirements to cover the cost of school fees and living expenses for the duration of the term time.
There are approximately 25,000 international child students studying in the UK. The annual cost of an independent school for day students is just over £15,000, while for boarders, parents can expect to pay £36,000 annually.
This allows individuals to undertake short-term (usually English language) courses for up to 11 months. These courses must not be degree courses.
In most cases, an international child student who wishes to study in the UK will submit a Child Student Visa application and apply to an independent fee-paying school in order to study in the UK.
The child can generally remain in the UK for the full length of their course.
They are then permitted to stay for four months after their course finishes. After this, they will need to leave the UK unless they have applied to extend their stay or switched to another immigration category.
If your child will be studying for less than six months, you will need to apply for a Child Visitor Visa.
- confirming you have the correct documents before you apply;
- assessing the eligibility of your intended institution;
- liaising with the Home Office during your application process until a decision is reached;
- organising and liaising with your Sponsor;
- preparing a Letter of Representation for your application. This letter details your case and its merits. It will also reference any relevant UK immigration laws in support of your application;
- using expert knowledge to complete your application form to the highest standard.
Contact us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to discuss your application with one of our immigration lawyers.