study in uk

Overview

You can apply for the UK Tier 4 (Child) student visa if you’re aged between 4 and 17 and you want to study in the UK.

You should 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.

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

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:

study at an independent fee-paying school (if you’re aged between 4 and 15)
study at a publicly-funded further education college (if you’re 16 or 17 and you’re a fee-paying student)
apply from inside or 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
You can’t:

study at a publicly-funded school
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 Child At School visa.

Eligibility

You must have:

an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a qualified education provider
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.

Confirmation of acceptance of 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.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

a current passport or other valid travel documentation
2 passport size colour photographs for yourself and for each parent or guardian applying with you, with names written on the reverse side
proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
proof of parental or other legal guardian consent
your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

Your documents will usually be sent back within 14 days.

Apply outside the UK

You must apply online for a Tier 4 (Child) visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in - check with your visa application centre.

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