For this reasons there are many foreigners whose children have studies or are currently studying in the United Kingdom.
There are also so many more families who understands the benefits of UK education, and also have the resources, but are unware of how to go about the process.
The benefits of studying in the UK are enormous, but this article will not be focusing on these benefits. Instead it will only be focusing on the immigration requirements.
Training your child or children in a UK school is fact and not a fiction, but only for those with the requisite knowledge on how to navigate through the closely watched immigration huddles.
To study in the UK as a child, first, you will require a special kind of entry clearance called Child Student Visa. The Child Student Visa (CSV) is a visa category for children below the age of 17 years.
For children who already up to the age of 18 years, there is another visa category which we have discussed in a separate article.
UK Child Student Visa Requirements
The Child Student Visa is a new visa category which recently replaced the old Tier 4 (Child) student visa during the visa recalibrations by the UK Visas and immigrations.
UK Visas & Immigrations have a set rules and requirements a Child Student Visa applicant must meet before the visa is granted. We will identify these requirements and provide brief descriptions of each of them.
You can apply for a Child Student Visa if you’re between 4 and 17 years old and you want to study at an independent school in the UK.
This is particularly if you want to study a Level 3 course or a course of study that is graded above Level 3 in accordance to UK`s Regulated Qualifications Framework.
If you are aged 18 or over, then you are already passed the age for a Child Student Visa. However, if you still wish to further your studies in the UK, then you should apply for a Student Visa instead.
However, if you are aged 16 or 17, you could make a choice between the two. That is to say, you can choose between the Child Student Visa or the Student Visa.
So, while age 4 is the minimum age for a UK Child Student Visa, inversely the maximum age is 17 years, after which you are no longer qualified for the visa category.
Type of School
Another requirement is that your child must be applying to study in an independent school. The independent schools in the UK are what we refer to as private schools in Nigeria.
As a foreign student you are not permitted to study in any UK government maintained schools, which are the category of schools that are referred to as government/public schools in Nigeria.
It is also important to note that the independent school you are applying to must be one already approved by the UK Home Office as Sponsor for students.
Not all independent schools in the UK have been approved by the UK Home Office. So, to be sure, you will need to demand for the license number of the school as a student Sponsor, then confirm that they are included in the register of approved Student Sponsors.
Type of Admission Offer
Another important requirement for the CSV is that you must have an unconditional offer of a place on an approved course of study from an independent school, which is a licensed Child Student Sponsor.
In practice most schools will initially give a conditional offer of a place for studies, i.e. a conditional admission. When your admission is conditional, it presupposes that there are still things you are required to do to earn the admission.
These might include payment of admission deposit and submission of some extra documentation to the school, after which your admission will now be confirmed (made unconditional).
Type of Course of Study
Particular reference to approved course of study indicates that not all courses are accepted for a Child Student Visa. Only courses within the following conformation are permitted for a CSV:
- A course taught in accordance with the UK National Curriculum; or
- A course taught in accordance with the UK Recognised Qualification Framework (RQF), that is not a foundation course intended to prepare the Child Student for entry to a course provided by a higher education provider; or
- A course that is accepted as being of equivalent academic status to the above courses by Ofsted (England), the Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland), Education Scotland (Scotland) or Estyn (Wales); or
- A course provided in accordance with prevailing UK Independent School education inspection standards.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Next is the requirement for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter. Having met the above other requirements, your Sponsor (school of study) will issue you the CAS letter.
The CAS letter will contain certain information including details of the course to be studied, the cost of accommodation if you are staying in school accommodation, the tuition fees and any payment already made.
The CAS letter must not have been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused and the education institution must not have withdrawn its offer.
In other words, the CAS letter can only be used once for a visa application. The CAS letter has a reference number which must be quoted correctly in the CSV application form.
Also, after receiving your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies letter, you must apply for your Child Student Visa within 6 months of receiving it.
You must have enough fund to pay for your tuition, all costs associated with your course of study and to support yourself at least for one academic year (up to 9 months), without relying on public funds.
How much money you need in total upkeeps, aside money for tuition fee depends on where you will live and who will be looking after you as a child student.
You are allowed to live in the UK with one your parents to look after you. If you are going to be staying with either of your parents while studying, then you may need up £1,560 per month (for up to 9 months).
If you’re 16 or 17 and living independently, then your total upkeeps requirement will be as follows:
- £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) if you’re studying in London
- £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) if you’re studying outside of London
Note that London means the City of London and the 32 London boroughs. Anything outside of the 32 boroughs is considered outside London for the purpose of cost calculation.
You must be able to show prove of this fund in accordance to permitted terms and conditionality by the UK Visas & immigrations.
In other words, you must prove you (or your parent) have the total money required in full for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.
For instance, if you are submitting your visa application on 1st of January 2021, you’d have to show that the funds were in your bank account for at least the 28-day period ending on 1st of December 2020.
If you have a student scholarship from government or company, then you’ll need to provide evidence of this scholarship. This will definitely be confirmed by the UK authorities.
In addition to the above financial requirement, you’ll also have to pay the applicable visa fee as part of your application.
How much you pay for visa fee depends on the applicable rate at the time of your visa application.
You must have a written consent of your parent(s) or legal guardian, and this consent must be written in accordance to the required format and content.
In addition to confirmation of consent and sponsorship, the consent letter must indicate the course of study, the school and where you will be living in the UK.
Special Test for Students
For child student who are up to the age of 16 years old, the UK Visa and Immigration will require you to satisfy the genuine student requirement. For this purpose, you may be called for an interview to further establish the following:
- Your immigration history;
- Your education history;
- Your course of study and why you chose the course;
- Where you want to study and why you chose the school;
- Your reasons for studying in the UK;
- Your post study plans;
- Your personal and financial circumstances.
The above areas of interest will help the UK Home office assess whether you are a genuine student who is coming to the UK for the purpose of studies.
When to Submit Visa Application
The UK Home office advises that the earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.
Adhering to this guideline is preferred as this will help you avoid the rush hour and possible extra costs for priority and fast tracked services.
After the successful submission of your visa application at the visa application center, you’ll usually get a decision within 3 weeks.
If your visa application form is correctly completed with all required details, and adequately packaged with all supporting documents, decision could be sooner within the 3 weeks` timeframe.
Earliest Time You Can Travel to UK
If you are successful with your visa application, then you are allowed to travel to the UK up to 1 month prior to the commencement of your studies.
How long you can stay in the UK
How long you can stay depends on your age on the date you apply and the length of your course.
|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|
Note however that you may eligible to extend your stay beyond the actual initial permissible length of stay with your Child Student Visa.
You may also switch into the Student Visa category which will afford you greater opportunities and chances of settlement in the UK.
Working in the UK
If you’re 16 or over you can work part time with your Child Student Visa. That is for up to 10 hours per week during term time (while school in open).
You can also work full-time during vacations. You are also allowed to engage on a work placement as part of your course (but not for more than 50% of your course).
Child Student Visa requirements are generally the same for all applicants, but circumstances may vary from one person to another, which may warrant specific requirements for some individuals.
The supporting documents for satisfying the requirements are also relative. So, the exact requirements you will need to satisfy the UK Visas & immigration may differ in some cases, depending on your circumstances.
To be sure of what you really need for your Child Student Visa application, you may need to seek professional advice from an immigration lawyer.
In other to brighten your chances of success at first attempt, and reduce to chances of need for review/appeal, it is advisable you speak with in an immigration lawyer before you apply.