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How easy is it for my child to study at a school in the UK?

There are nearly 29,000 non-UK students studying at independent (fee paying schools) in the UK. They will have got there by successfully applying for a Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa. The key thing to remember with this type of visa is that you need to have applied to a school and been offered a place before the visa can be granted. The school offering the place must be the registered holder of a sponsorship licence. It is also possible for parents to travel with their child and live in the UK for the duration of their studies: but they have to apply separately for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa.

Accuracy is the key

As is the case with all visa applications to the UK, it is very important to provide full and accurate answers to the questions on the application form. It remains the case that the UK government is looking to restrict immigration and rejections are common. Usually this is because the form hasn’t been completed to the satisfaction of immigration officials. It is worth getting expert advice if you haven’t done this before.

Do I need to apply?

At the present time you only need to apply for a visa if you come from a country outside of the European Economic Area (all the EU countries and Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway plus Switzerland). This is, however, likely to change after the UK leaves the EU, which the new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is saying will be 31 October, whether or not the UK reaches a deal. After the UK leaves EU citizens will likely be subject to the same rules as any other foreign national.

Am I eligible?

To apply for a Tier 4 Child Visa you need to be aged between 4 and 17 and looking to attend an independent schools in the UK. An independent school is a school that isn’t funded by the state and is funded by student fees. You can’t apply to attend a state-funded school. You will also need to have been offered a place on a course of study by that school, have the consent of your parent or guardian and have enough money to to cover your course and living costs. Applications can be made up to three months in advance of the courts starting and it usually takes about three weeks to get a decision. The UK government currently charges £348 for the application and you’ll also have to pay for the health surcharge of £400 per year to qualify for medical treatment. If you are under-16 you can stay for up to six years and four months and if you are aged 16-17 you can stay for up to three years and four months.
Full details of requirements can be found on the UK government’s website: gov.uk
The Independent Schools Council website, which represents over 1,300 independent schools in the UK, is a good place to search for a school: isc.co.uk