What is the Child Student Visa?
This visa is an immigration route under the new points-based system. This means that an applicant should fulfil the minimum requirements and achieve the appropriate number of points in order for their application to be considered.
The visa has been designed for non-UK or non-Irish citizens aged between 4-17 years old who intend to study at an independent school in the UK. This school is considered the ‘student sponsor.’
There are different requirements and stipulations for applications to the visa. There are some approved courses that the applicant must be accepted to in order to be eligible for the visa.
These courses include:
- A course taught in line with the National Curriculum
- A course taught in line with the Recognised Qualification Framework (RQF) which is not a foundation course solely for the purposes of course preparation to a higher education institution
- A course which is recognised as having equal academic status to one of the above courses, and which is recognised by one of the UK’s educational oversight bodies
- A course which is aligned with Independent School inspection standards
Parental consent is required for child students who wish to apply for this route. There is also a minimum financial requirement showing that the applicant will be supported throughout the duration of the course.
There are also strict immigration rules regarding accommodation and living arrangements for the child student. Evidence must be submitted showing proof of adequate care arrangements for the applicant.
Similar to the Student Visa, once the applicant has been accepted on a course, the approved course provider will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificate. This document will contain a unique application number and must be submitted with the visa application.
What to know as the parent of a child student
If you are a parent whose child has been accepted onto an approved course of study in the UK, there are some circumstances by which you may apply for a visa to come to the UK.
If your child has been granted or is applying for this UK visa, you may apply for the Parent of a Child Student Visa.
In order to be eligible for this visa category, the following conditions must be met:
- Your child should be between 4 and 11 years old at the time of the application
- The child must be applying to or have been accepted to an independent school in the UK
- You must be the only parent accompanying your child
- You must evidence your ability to maintain yourself financially
- You must prove that your primary home is outside the UK
- You must submit evidence that you intend to leave the UK by the expiry of your visa
It is not permitted for the child’s other parent to join you on this visa. Similarly, you may not bring any other dependents unless they are on the same visa.
The length of time that the parent may stay in the UK depends on the expiry date of the child’s visa, or on the child’s 12th birthday (depending on which event happens first).
If your child is eligible to stay in the UK after the age of 12, care arrangements must be made for the child. This may be within the school they are attending or with family members.
There are limitations to the activities of a Parent of a Child Student. The parent is prohibited from paid work, studying, starting a business, making the UK their main home, applying for benefits, or switching to a different visa category.
Who is eligible to apply for the Child Study Visa?
The visa was designed to allow children from outside the UK and Ireland to come to the UK to begin their education in a world-class setting.
The criteria for eligibility include the stipulation that the child must be aged between 4 and 17 years old and have been accepted to a course of study at an independent fee paying school.
The written consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian must be submitted with the application, as well as evidence of financial maintenance for the child. Evidence of the ability to pay for the course fees and living costs must also be provided.
In terms of nationality, the visa is open to all international students and applicants from Switzerland or a non-EEA country who meet the eligibility criteria.
Documents needed to apply
As with all UK visa categories, the application process requires the submission of comprehensive documentation set by the UK Home Office to prove eligibility for the visa.
Some of the documents required include:
- Passport or valid travel document
- Proof of relationship between the parent and child (e.g., birth certificate, certificate of adoption, or a document showing legal guardianship)
- Evidence of meeting the minimum financial requirements
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies on an approved course in an accredited institute
Where relevant, applicants should submit documentary evidence from official sources, which may include employers, banks, universities, professional bodies, embassies, or government departments.
All documents in a language other than English language or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation. This translation should include confirmation that it is accurate and provide the full contact details of the translator.
How to apply for the UK Child Student Visa
The application process can be a lengthy process, and there are a number of steps that should be followed in order to maximise the chance of a successful application.
The visa application must be submitted within six months from the date of issue of the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) but no sooner than three months in advance of the course start date.
The online application form must be completed in full and all supporting evidence provided.
- Depending on the nationality of the ap, there may be a requirement to attend a visa application centre in order to provide biometric information (facial photograph and fingerprints)
- The child’s passport or travel document may be required to submit to the visa application centre, or with the application form
- The child’s school fees may be paid before the visa application. Providing proof of payment for these fees can be submitted as part of the application. If not, evidence should be given to show that there is enough money to pay the child’s school fees and maintenance
- As part of the online application form, there is a requirement to pay the application fee and the healthcare surcharge
- Depending on the child’s nationality, there may be a requirement to submit a clear tuberculosis certificate with the application
Fees and waiting time for the Child Study Visa
If you are applying from outside the UK, there is a charge of £348. If the applicant is inside the UK, the fee is £475.
It is possible that you may be able to pay for a quicker decision on your application.
It is estimated that you will receive a decision on your child study visa application within three weeks if you submit your application from outside the UK. If your application is made as an extension from the UK, it is likely to take approximately eight weeks.
Where can my child study in the UK?
In order to be granted this visa, the applicant should provide evidence of an unconditional offer on a course in an independent fee paying school issued by a licensed sponsor. The Register of Student Sponsors can be viewed at this Gov.uk link.
The course must be aligned with one of the following frameworks:
- The UK’s National Curriculum
- The Regulated Qualifications Framework (Level 3 or lower)
- Independent school education inspection standards
A course may also be deemed acceptable for a visa applicant provided that it is viewed as the equivalent of one of the above courses by one of the following bodies:
- Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) (England)
- Education Scotland (Scotland)
- Estyn (Wales)
- Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland)
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A Child Student Visa, previously Tier 4 child visa, is an immigration category designed for children outside the EEA aged between 4-17 who have been accepted to a full-time course at an approved independent school. Visas are granted for the length of duration of the course of study.
An independent school is one which is not a state-run school. These schools charge fees for attendance, while state schools are free. Independent schools operate outside the remit of government or local government control.
There are regular inspections and all independent schools must meet specific standards. Fees for independent schools may cost between £3,000 and £21,000 per year, and up to £30,000 for children who are residents of the school (boarders of a boarding school).
To apply for a Parent of a Child Student Visa, you should meet the eligibility requirements (listed above). One of the primary requirements is that you do not intend to make the UK your primary residence. You should be able to show evidence of strong links to your home country and proof that you intend to return home at the expiry of your visa.
If you need legal advice or support in applying for this visa, contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers for support with your application.