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UK Tier 4 Student visas

Imperial & Legal provides services to identify a type of visa you require and apply for it. We work with children and adults, and we also help to apply for a visa for main applicant’s family members.

What we do

  • Advise on the list of required documents;
  • Prepare and submit a visa application;
  • Provide immigration support till you’ve finished your studies in the UK.

English is an international language, and speaking it fluently is a skill that will benefit anyone.

Besides, UK education is considered prestigious and gives your child a ticket into future. Another good thing is that they will be able to switch to a different visa category later (e.g. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)) and get British citizenship.

Please refer to our section Education for more details about education system and educational institutions in the UK. There you can also read about educational services we provide.

To study in the UK, you need to apply for a student visa which comes in three types:

  • Tier 4 (General) student visa,
  • Tier 4 (Child) student visa,
  • Short-term study visa.

Student visas do not make you eligible to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. However, time spent in the UK on this route can be added up for ILR based on 10-year residence requirement.

Tier 4 (General) student visa

UK student visa eligibility

    • You must be 16 or over,
    • You must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor in the form of a confirmation of acceptance for studies,
    • You must speak, read, write and understand English on a certain level based on the requirements of an institution and other circumstances (HEIs can choose to assess a student’s knowledge of English themselves). You can pass SELT only with an approved provider,
    • enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances,

Your course

You can do a course that’s one of the following:

    • full-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 6 on the Ofqual register
    • part-time leading to a qualification that’s at least level 7 on the Ofqual register
    • an overseas course of degree level study that’s equal to a UK higher education course and is being run by an overseas higher education institution
    • full-time, with at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study, leading to a qualification which is at least level 3 on the Ofqual register
    • a recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist

How long you can stay

You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:

  • up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less
  • up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months

How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.

Documents you must provide

When you apply for Tier 4 student visa you must provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation with 2 blank pages
  • 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 if you’re under 18
  • proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • study
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer
  • apply from inside or outside the UK
  • apply to extend your stay
  • work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have
  • You may be able to bring in family members (dependants).

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • work in certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • study at an academy or a local authority-funded school (also known as a maintained school)

If you’re continuing your studies

You can get a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) for a new course only if you have previously studied in the UK and you are:

  • re-sitting exams or repeating modules
  • applying for the first time to a new institution to complete a course you started at an institution that lost its Tier 4 sponsorship
  • applying to extend your stay to complete your studies because you’ve done (or want to do) a work placement or study abroad programme
  • completing a PhD or other doctorate that you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • applying after working as a student union sabbatical officer to complete a qualification you started studying under your last Tier 4 (General) student visa

If you’re starting a new course

  • at a higher academic level than your previous course
  • at the same level and related to your previous course or career aspirations – it must be degree level or above at a Higher Education Institution (HEI)

Tier 4 (Child) student visa

UK (Child) student visa eligibility

  • aged between 4 and 17
  • an unconditional offer of a place on a course at an independent school in the UK (a licensed Tier 4 sponsor) in the form of a confirmation of acceptance for studies,
  • have the consent of your parent or guardian
  • proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances

Your course

You can do a course that’s taught in line with:

  • the national curriculum
  • the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
  • independent school education inspection standards

You can also do a course that’s accepted as being at the same academic level by:

  • Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
  • HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland)
  • Estyn (in Wales)
  • Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland)
  • Independent Schools Inspectorate

You can do a short course to prepare you for your main course, such as pre-sessional study.

  • Course length (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards (if you are under 16),
  • Course length (up to 3 years) plus 4 months afterwards (if you are 16 or 17),

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

Documents you must provide

When you apply for Tier 4 (Child) student visa you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation with two blank pages
  • 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
  • proof of your relationship with your parent or guardian
  • your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • study at an independent school
  • apply from 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 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 (for example 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

To discuss your requirements, please contact our specialists or call us on +44 (0)203 490 41 21.

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