Long and short term courses

Courses longer than 6 months

All students who cannot apply through the EU Settlement scheme arriving after the 1st January 2021 must apply for their Child Student or Student visa.

Existing Tier 4 visas remain valid.


Child Student visa is for

  • a person aged between 4 and 17 who wants to study at an independent school in the UK, which is a student sponsor.
  • a person aged 16 or 17 who wants to study a course at or above Regulated Qualifications Framework level 3 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6 can choose either to apply as a Child Student at an independent school or as a Student.

Student visa is for

  • a person aged 16 or over who wants to study with a sponsor on a course of further or higher education, a pre-sessional English course, a recognised foundation programme, on the Doctorate Extension Scheme or to take an elected post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
  • A person who is aged 16 or 17 and wants to study with a sponsor that is an Independent School on a course at Regulated Qualifications Framework 3 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework 6 and above can apply as either a Student or as a Child Student.

The register of licensed student sponsors can be found here

When to apply and the application process

You must apply before you travel to the UK but in some cases, students currently here, may be able to apply from within the UK.

As part of your application you will need to prove your identity and how you do this will depend on where you are from and what type of passport you have. You will either –

  • have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre
  • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document (you’ll also create or sign into your UK Visas and Immigration account)

You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.

Fees and processing time when applying from outside the UK

The compulsory Student Immigration Health Surcharge - £470 per year of visa – is paid for during the visa application and provides access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) on generally the same basis as UK permanent residents.

  • visa costs £490 for the complete course of study + £776 health surcharge per year of visa
  • decision within 3 weeks
  • application up to 6 months before you come to the UK

Documents you'll need for your application

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your course provider (school)
  • written consent from both parents or legal guardian for your study in the UK
  • your visa application
  • your living arrangements and care in the UK
  • your travel to the UK

You may also need to provide

  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • proof of your relationship to your parent or guardian (for example a birth certificate or other government issued document showing their names)
  • evidence of the qualifications you used to get a place on your course - if this was required by your course provider
  • your tuberculosis (TB) test results - only from listed countries
  • written consent for your application from your financial sponsor if you’ve received sponsorship for your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months

Short term courses up to 6 months

From 1st January 2021 EU/EEA and Swiss students can come to the UK for tourism and to study for up to 6 months without needing a visa. If you plan to stay for longer than 6 months, and do not have EU Settlement status, then you need to apply for a Child Student or Student visa.

Non EU/EEA and Swiss students need a short-term study visa.

  • costs £200 and includes use of the National Health Service (NHS)
  • decision within 3 weeks
  • application up to 3 months before you come to the UK.

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