1. 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

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 £322 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

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 can’t:

  • 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.