Child students – Tier 4 (Child)

This section explains how you can apply to come to or remain in the UK as a child student under Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system.

Tier 4 is part of points-based system for immigration. It is for migrants who want to study in the UK.

On this page you can discover what the Tier 4 (Child) category is. Other pages will help you to decide whether you can and should apply in this category, and will give you the information you need to make an application.

Depending on your nationality and circumstances, you may be able to study in the UK without needing to apply under Tier 4 (General) as an adult student. However, there may be restrictions on your ability to work while you are studying here.

What is the child student category?

The Tier 4 (Child) category is for children coming to the UK to be educated between the ages of four and 17 years old. Children between four and 15 years old must be educated at independent fee-paying schools.

Tier 4 (Child) students cannot study at publicly funded schools. The only publicly funded education providers that can teach Tier 4 (Child) students are publicly funded further education college which are able to charge for i nternational students.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and you want to study a course at or above National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3, you and your Tier 4 sponsor can agree whether you should apply to us under Tier 4 (Child) or Tier 4 (General). If you want to study at NQF level 2 or below, you must apply as a Tier 4 (Child) student.

You cannot be a Tier 4 (Child) student if you have any children who are living with you or for whom you are financially responsible.

Do you need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa?

You can study in the UK without a student visa if:

  • you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;
  • you are a British overseas territories citizen, unless you are from one of the sovereign base areas in Cyprus;
  • you are a Commonwealth citizen with permission to enter or stay in the UK because at least one of your grandparents was born here; or
  • you have no conditions or time limit attached to your stay.