What Is a UK Tier 4 Child Visa?

Tier 4 Child Student visa is for foreigners aged 4 – 17 coming to the UK to sit in a course at an independent school in the UK, whose studies are at or under the level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework.

This visa is also to complete a short preparatory course before main studies, for as long as such studies will not be followed by higher education studies.

Which Are the Preconditions to Apply for a Tier 4 Child Visa?

To qualify as the proper candidate for a Tier 4 Child Student Visa, you should cope with these basic preconditions:

  • Not be a national of an EEA country or Switzerland.
  • Pass the Standard Grounds for the UK Visa Refusal.
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). You should have an assigned unconditional offer of a place in a study course at an independent school in the UK. Your CAS must contain your passport details and must have never been cancelled since its issuance.
  • Tier 4 Sponsor. The school where you’ve been offered a place to study, should be listed amongst the UK’s licensed Tier 4 Sponsors.
  • Studies requirement. Your studies should be at or under the level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework. The course of study should be compliant to the National Curriculum, Regulated Qualifications Framework and Independent School Education Inspection Standards.
  • Financial Capacity. You’ve to possess adequate money to cover your existence and study costs for each month of studying period, for up to 9 months.
  • Age requirement. You have to be 4 – 17 to be able to get a Tier 4 Child visa. Moreover, you have to be under the age of 12 for your parent/legal guardian to accompany you with a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student Visa.
  • Personal status. You must not have any person depending on you. You should not have any children.
  • Register with the UK police when in the UK (If you qualify).

How to Apply for a Tier 4 Child Visa?

When applying for a Tier 4 Child Student visa you’re required to follow the usual steps as for any other UK visa application.

Application for a Tier 4 Child Visa must be submitted in the following time:

  • If you’re applying from abroad – Not earlier than 3 months before the CoS employment period starts.
  • If you’re applying from the UK to extend or switch – Before the current Tier 4 Child visa period expires.

You should travel to the UK with a Tier 4 Child Student Visa 7 days before your study course lasting up to 6 months starts, or 1 month before the start of a study course lasting above 6 months.

As a part of the application you may be invited to attend a Visa Interview also recognized as a Credibility Test. That is to evaluate if you’re a genuine pupil, by asking you questions regarding your study program, funds you’re using for studies, and the information you’ve regarding the place where you’ll be living in the UK. The interview can be in a form of a face-to-face, video-linked or telephone interview.

Which Are the Tier 4 Child Visa Requirements?

The required documents to apply for a Tier 4 Child Student Visa are:

  • Standard documents to apply for any UK visa.
  • Documents to Meet The CAS Requirement (30 Points).
    • Valid CAS number from a licensed Tier 4 sponsor. It must be issued not earlier than 6 months before the date of application for the visa.
  • Evidence of Your Education Through Which You Qualified for the CAS.
    • Certificates of your so-far educational qualification.
    • Transcripts of records about such education.
    • Alternative evidence you’ve provided to the Tier 4 sponsor when applied for a study place. This doesn’t include references or a portfolio of your work, but your sponsor has to provide details on how they’ve evaluated you towards being issued a CAS.
  • Documents for the maintenance.
  • No Evidence. If you qualify for ‘Differentiation Arrangement’. You just need to specify in the application form that you qualify under such an arrangement type.
  • Confirmation of notification for the letter receipt sent by the UK local authorities.
  • Your Biometric Information. This takes account of your digital photos and scanning fingerprints in 10 days since you arrive in the UK, if your stay here will be longer than 6 months.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge. You’ll have to pay £150 for every year of stay in the UK.

Note: If you’ll be living independently (age 16-17), your parent/legal guardian has to provide a letter confirming their approval for you to live and travel on your own.  

What I Am Allowed To Do in the UK with a Tier 4 Child Visa?

You can perform these activities during your stay in the UK with a Tier 4 Child Student Visa:

  • Studying in an Independent School in the UK for a Place Offered by CAS. As long as the working hours don’t exceed 10 hours during a week, or 20 hours/week during vacations and you’re 16-17 of age.
  • Participate in an internship  as an integral part of your studies. The period of work placement must not exceed more than 50% of the complete course period, unless that it’s a mandatory requirement of the course (if you’re aged 16-17 only).
  • Work as a sabbatical officer in the student union (for maximum 2 years).
  • Undertake a voluntary work (if you’re 16 or older).
  • Study in another course. You’re allowed to study any study subject without needing any permission, for as long as this doesn’t interfere with the overall progress in the main study course.
  • Take the Same/New Study Course for the Existing/New Tier 4 Sponsor. This applies if you’re currently enrolled in full-time studies in an independent school.
  • Start a new study course for the same tier 4 sponsor. This is possible if you’ve successfully completed studies for which you’ve initially come here. You must make an application to extend your visa period after having received the CAS from the sponsor about the new course, and during the existing Tier 4 Child Student visa validity period.

What I Am Not Allowed to Do in the UK with a Tier 4 Child Visa?

These are the activities you’re not permitted to perform in the UK with a Tier Child Student Visa:

  • Work If You’re under the age of 16.
  • Take up a permanent employment.
  • Become an entrepreneur.
  • Use public funds.
  • Bring family members as dependents. If the child is under the age of 12 the parent or legal guardian can apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa, and stay until the child reaches the age of 12.
  • Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • Participate in a foundation course before academic studies.

How Long Can I Stay in the UK with a Tier 4 Child Visa?

These are the periods how much you can be in the UK in Tier 4 Child visa:

  • Age 16 – The course period (not more than 6 years) plus 4 months.
  • Age 16-17 – The course period (not more than 3 years) plus 4 months

Note: The additional period of 4 months of stay will be given after having completed the study course.

  • Age 18 – If while you’re studying in Tier 4 Child visa you become 18 years old, you can continue studies up to the validity period of such visa. To remain in the UK above such period for continuing to study here, you’ve to apply for Tier 4 General Student Visa. The period of stay with Tier 4 Child visa since you turn 18 and further counts towards the maximum allowed study period for courses under the academic degree level.
  • If you’re financially sponsored. The period that the official sponsor allows you to study in the UK and 4 further months after the completion of studies.

Tier 4 Child Visa Application Processing Time

These are the periods you have to wait until getting a decision on your application for a Tier 4 Child Student Visa:

  • If Applying from Abroad for Tier 4 Child Visa – Up to 3 months.
  • Extending/Switching Tier 4 Child Student Visa Applications – Up to 8 weeks (standard service), up to 10 days (priority service), the same day you apply (premium service).

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a Tier 4 Child Visa?

There is a fee of £348 to apply for a Tier 4 child visa. However, you need to check the UK visa fees for any additional fees that you need to pay.