You can apply for a Child Student visa if you’re between 4 and 17 years old and you want to study at an independent school in the UK.
- have an unconditional offer of a place on a course at an independent school
- be able to show you’ll have access to enough money to support you in the UK and pay for your course
- have the consent of your parent or guardian to study in the UK - you’ll need to prove this when you apply
If you’re 18 or over, apply for a Student visa instead.
This visa has replaced the Tier 4 (Child) student visa.
If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.
The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:
- you have a later deadline - for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 - for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse
Otherwise you need a visa to study in the UK.
Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.
When to apply
When you can apply depends on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.
Applying from outside the UK
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.
You’ll usually get a decision within 3 weeks.
Applying from inside the UK
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.
You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.
You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.
How long you can stay
How long you can stay depends on your age on the date you apply and the length of your course.
|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|
When you can travel to the UK
You can arrive up to 1 month before your course starts, but no earlier than the start date given on your visa.
Staying longer in the UK
You may be able to:
- extend your visa if you’re eligible, for example to continue your studies in the UK
- switch to a Child Student visa from another visa if you’re already in the UK
- £363 to apply for a Child Student visa from outside the UK
- £490 to extend or switch to a Child Student visa from inside the UK
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
How much you pay depends on how long your visa lasts. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.
What you can and cannot do
You can study at an independent school.
If you’re 16 or over you can work:
- 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)
- study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school) or further or higher education institution
- get public funds (benefits)
- take a full-time permanent job or be self-employed
- work as a professional sportsperson (for example a sports coach) or entertainer
- apply for settlement
- bring family members (‘dependants’) - if a parent wants to accompany you, they’ll need to apply for a Parent of a Child Student visa visa
If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Child Student visa.