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. You can check visa processing times for your country.

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.

  1. Step 1 Check if this visa is right for you

    You might be eligible for different visas depending on:

    • where you'll be studying
    • how long your course is
    • how old you are
    1. Check which visas you're eligible for
    2. You are currently viewing: Check what you can and can't do on this visa
    3. Check what courses you can study on this visa
  2. Step 2 Prepare the evidence you need

  3. Step 3 Apply from outside the UK

    1. Apply from outside the UK and book an appointment £348
    2. Check where your visa appointment will be

    You should get a decision within 3 weeks of your appointment. You may be able to pay more to get a decision faster.

  4. or Apply from inside the UK

    1. Apply to extend if you're already in the UK on a Tier 4 (Child) visa £475
    2. Apply to switch to this visa if you're already in the UK £475

    You should get a decision within 8 weeks from when you apply. You may be able to pay more to get a decision faster.

  5. Step 4 Attend an appointment

    You'll be told when you apply if you need to bring anything to your appointment.

    At your appointment you’ll have your fingerprints and photograph (‘biometric information’) taken.

    You'll be told when a decision has been made about your visa.

  6. Step 5 Check what you can bring with you to the UK

  7. Step 6 Check what you need to show at the UK border

    1. Check what you need to show at the UK border

    If you're not accompanied by an adult, the official at the border will check that you know where you're going and how you're getting there.

    If you said in your application that you would be accompanied by an adult, they need to be with you when you arrive at the border.

  8. Step 7 After you arrive in the UK

    1. Find out how to get your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

    If you applied from outside the UK, your BRP will need to be collected within 10 days of you arriving. Check your BRP to find out when you must leave the UK.

    If you break the conditions of your visa you may not be able to return to the UK again.

    You might be able to extend your visa once you're in the UK.

    1. Check if you can extend your visa