Child Student Visa

The Child Student visa is available to 4-17 year-olds who wish to study at an independent school in the UK. The intended course of study must meet various requirements, and the applicant may also need to satisfy financial provisions. Consent from the applicant’s parent or guardian will also need to be provided.


Course requirements

To apply for a Child Student visa, the applicant must have an unconditional offer from a licensed Child Student sponsor. The sponsor must be an independent school; the course of study cannot be at a local authority-funded school or academy, or institute for further or higher education. The course also can’t be a foundation course in preparation for higher education.

The intended course of study must be taught in line with one of the following:

  • The National Curriculum;
  • The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) at level 3 or below; or
  • The independent school education inspection standards.

Studying on a course of the same level as above is also permitted, if accepted as such by one of the following:

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

The sponsor will need to provide the applicant with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) – this is a reference number that will be needed to submit the application.

Financial requirement

The exact financial requirement an applicant will need to meet depends on their intended living situation in the UK.

If they satisfy the eligibility requirements, one parent of a Child Student aged up to 12 can apply for a Parent of a Child Student visa. If successful, the child can live with them in the UK. If an applicant intends to live with their parent in the UK, then they will be required to show:

  • They have enough money to pay for one year’s academic tuition (up to 9 months), and
  • £1,560 for up to 9 months, which covers the applicant and their parent.

If the parent is accompanying any additional Child Students to the UK, they will also need to demonstrate an additional £625 a month for each extra child.

Applicants can also live with a foster family or close relative, who must be British or settled. If this option applies, the financial requirement is as follows:

  • The applicant must show they have enough money to pay for one year’s academic tuition (up to 9 months), and
  • The foster family must have at least £570 a month, for up to 9 months.

Applicants aged 16 or 17 who will live independently must show that they have:

  • Enough money to pay for one year’s academic tuition (up to 9 months), and
  • Either £1,334 per month if studying in London or £1,023 per month is studying outside of London

Applicants who will board at their sponsoring school must show they have sufficient funds to pay their boarding and course fees for up to 9 months.

The relevant funds, as listed above, must be held by the applicant or their parent for at least 28 days, with day 28 of that period falling within 31 days of the application’s submission.

There are some exceptions to meeting the various financial requirements. No financial requirement applies when:

  • The applicant is in the UK, and has held a Child Student visa for at least 12 months immediately prior to applying, or
  • If the applicant is a national of certain countries; a full list can be found here on the gov.uk webpage, or
  • If the applicant is a British National (Overseas).

Conditions of stay

Permission will be granted for the duration of the intended course of study plus 4 months; the duration of the course will depend on the applicant’s age.

  • If the applicant is under 16, the course can last for up to 6 years
  • If they are 16 or 17, the course can last for up to 3 years

An applicant may come to the UK up to 1 month before the course starts. Child Student visas may be extended if all requirements are met.

Applicants aged 16 or over may work part-time for up to 10 hours during term time, and full-time during the holidays, as well as undertake work placements as part of their course.

Child Students visas will be granted with various conditions such as no access to public funds and full-time permanent employment. They are also not able to bring dependents; as explained above, a parent can apply for a Parent of a Child Student visa.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 11/02/2019