Study visas

Short Term Study Visa

The Short Term Study visa category is for non-EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK in order to undertake a short course of study, such as an English language course or a training course.

Short Term Study visas are valid for either 6 months (for any short course) or 11 months (for adults studying longer English language courses). If you wish to stay in the UK for a longer period in order to complete studies then you should consider applying for a Tier 4 General Student visa or a Tier 4 Child Student visa under the points-based system.

Other visitor visas such as the Visit (Standard) – Tourism and Leisure visa and Visit (Standard) – Business visa allow visa holders to study in the UK for up to 30 days during the course of their stay.

It is not possible to bring family members as dependents on a Short Term Study visa. Dependants must apply separately and be granted a UK visa in their own right.

Requirements for a Short Term Study Visa

In order to qualify for a Short Term Study visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are over 18
  • You have been accepted onto a course of study at an acceptable place of study (if applying to learn English as a foreign language on a mixed course, only some of which involves English language tuition, this will not be accepted);
  • You intend to leave at the end of your visit;
  • You are not travelling to the UK for work;
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your intended stay in the UK, and can meet the costs of your return or onward journey.
  • You can also apply for a Short Terms Study visa if you are studying at an overseas higher education institution and part of your course is in the UK or if you are already enrolled on an overseas course and wish to come to the UK for a short period of research.

Acceptable Place of Study

Your place of study must

  • Hold a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence; or
  • Hold valid accreditation from Accreditation UK, the Accreditation Body for Language Services (ABLS), the British Accreditation Council (BAC) or the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC); or
  • Hold a valid and satisfactory full institutional inspection, review or audit from an approved body; or
  • Be an overseas institution offering part of its programmes in the UK which is equivalent to a degree.

Duration of stay

Short Term Study visas are valid for either 6 months (for any short course) or 11 months (for adults studying English language courses only).

Conditions of Stay

Whilst in the UK with a Short Term Study visa you will not be able to undertake paid or unpaid work, enter into a marriage or civil partnership or come to the UK specifically for private medical treatment.

For legal advice and assistance with a Short Term Study visa application or appeal, call our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or by e-mail d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

Tier 4 Child Students

 

If you are a non-EEA national aged between 4 and 17 years old and you have a place on a course of study in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa.

Children between 4 and 15 years old must be educated at independent fee-paying schools. Children between the ages of 16 or 17 year old may study at publicly funded Further Education Colleges provided that the College is able to charge for International Students and the child is a fee paying student. It is not possible for a Tier 4 Child Student to study at a publicly funded school.

If you are aged 18 or over and wish to complete a course of study in the UK then you should apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa instead. Students who are 16 or 17 can apply for either visa if studying a course at or above level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework.

Requirements for a Tier 4 Child Student visa

In order to qualify for a Tier 4 Child Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged between 4 and 17;
  • You have been offered an unconditional place on a course of study with an education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence;
  • You are able to support yourself financially and pay for your course (the exact amount of money required will vary depending on your circumstances).
  • You will also need to have written consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) confirming that you can travel to, and live independently in, the UK.

Course requirements

Your offer of a place on a course of study at a UK education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence must be unconditional, and must be one of the following:

  • A course that is taught in line with the National Curriculum, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) or the independent school education inspection standards;
  • A pre-sessional study course (i.e. a short course to prepare you for your main course);
  • A course that is accepted as being at the same academic level as the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland), Estyn (Wales), Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland) or Independent Schools Inspectorate.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Once you have been offered a place on a course of study, your education provider will send you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. You must apply for your Tier 4 Child Student visa within 6 months of receiving your CAS.

Maintenance Requirement

The amount of money that you will need in order to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you will be able to support yourself financially without recourse to public funds will vary depending upon your care arrangements in the UK

Boarding Child Students

If you are a Boarding Student, you will need to show that you have the money available to pay your school fees (course fees and board or lodging fees) for the first year of your course or for the entire course, if it is less than 12 months long.

Child Students staying with a resident carer

If you will be staying with a carer who is a resident British citizen or other UK resident, you will need to show that you have money for your course fees and that your intended carer has at least £560 per month to look after and accommodate you in the UK for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Accompanied Child Students under 12 years old

If you are under 12 years old, you can be accompanied to the UK by your parent or legal guardian. You will need to show that you have money for your course fees plus £1535 for living costs for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Each additional Tier 4 Child Student that your parent or legal guardian is accompanying must show that they have the money for their course fees plus £615 for living costs for each month of their course, up to a maximum of 9 months.

Child Students aged 16 or 17 living independently

Tier 4 Child Students aged 16 or 17 years of age and living independently need £920 per month if studying in Central London, of £715 per month elsewhere.

If you currently have leave as a Tier 4 Child Student, are aged 16 or 17 and have finished a single course that was at least six months long within your last period of entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain or are applying for a continued study on a single course where you have completed at least six months of that course, then you will be able to demonstrate an ‘established presence’ in the UK. If you are able to demonstrate an ‘established presence’ then you will only need to demonstrate availability of maintenance funds for 2 months.

Duration of Stay

You may apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa up to 3 months before the start of your course. If you are under the age of 16, you may stay in the UK for the duration of your course (up to 6 years) plus 4 months afterwards. If you are aged 16 or 17, you may stay for the duration of your course (up to 3 years) plus 4 months afterwards.
You can arrive in the UK up to 1 week before your course starts if your course lasts 6 months or less or up to 1 month before your course starts if your course lasts more than 6 months.

Conditions of Stay

Tier 4 Child Student visa holders can study at an independent fee-paying school (if aged between 4 and 15) or study at a publicly-funded further education college (if 16 or 17 and a fee-paying student). If aged 16 or 17, Tier 4 Child Student visa holders can also work part-time during term time for up to 10 hours per week and full-time during vacations.

Dependants (Family Members)

If your parents wish to join you in the UK during your studies, they should apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa.

For expert advice and assistance with a Tier 4 Child Student visa application or appeal, call our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or e-mail d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

Tier 4 General Student 

If you are a non-EEA national aged 16 or over and would like to study in the UK, then you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa.

If you are under the age of 16 and wish to complete a course of study at an independent fee paying school in the UK then you should apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa instead. Students who are 16 or 17 can apply for either visa if studying a course at or above level 3 of the National Qualification Framework.

Requirements for a Tier 4 General Student visa

In order to qualify for a Tier 4 General Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged 16 or over;
  • You have been offered an unconditional place on a course of study with an education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence;
  • You are able to support yourself financially and pay for your course (the exact amount of money required will vary depending on your circumstances);
  • You are able to speak, read, write, and understand English to a required standard.

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will also need to have written consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) confirming that you can travel to, and live independently in, the UK.

Course requirements

Your offer of a place on a course of study at a UK education institution holding a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence must be unconditional, and must be one of the following:

  • A full-time course leading to at least at a level 6 qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (equivalent to bachelor degree level);
  • An overseas course of degree level study equivalent to a UK higher education course being run by an overseas higher education institution;
  • A full-time course with at least 15 hours of daytime study leading to a level 3 qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (equivalent to AS/A Level);
  • A recognised foundation programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist (if you have finished a recognised degree in medicine or dentistry, received your degree from a registered Tier 4 sponsor and spent your final year and at least 1 other year of studies leading to that degree in the UK).

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Once you have been offered a place on a course of study, your education provider will send you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. You must apply for your Tier 4 General Student visa within 6 months of receiving your CAS.

If you have previously studied in the UK, your new CAS must confirm that either:

  • You will be studying for a new qualification at a higher academic level;
  • You will be studying for a new qualification that is at the same level as previous studies but relates to, and adds to, your previous qualification;
  • You will be resitting exams or repeating modules; or
  • You are applying for the first time to a new institution in order to complete a course that you commenced elsewhere.

Maintenance Requirement

General Requirements

In order to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you will be able to support yourself financially without recourse to public funds, you will need to show that you have enough cash funds to cover:

  • Any course fees remaining due for the first year of your course, or the entire course if it is less than one year long (the exact amount required will be stated on your CAS); and
  • Your living costs (If you will be studying in inner London, you will need £1,020 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months. If you will be studying elsewhere in the UK, you will need £820 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months).
Established Presence

If you have an ‘established presence’ in the UK, you will need to have enough money to pay the course fees for the first year of your course (or the entire course if it will be less than one year) plus money to cover two months' living costs only.

You will have an ‘established presence’ if you currently have leave to remain as a Tier 4 General Student, a Tier 4 Child Student, a Student under the Immigration Rules in place before 31 March 2009 or a Postgraduate doctor or dentist and during your last period of leave you finished a single course that was at least six months long, or you will continue to study on a single course and you have already completed at least six months of that course, or you are applying for leave to remain as a Tier 4 General Student on the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Source of Funds

Anyone can pay your course fees directly to your Tier 4 sponsor on your behalf. However, any evidence of money for living costs must be held in either your name or the name of your parent(s) / legal guardian(s). 

If you wish to rely on funds provided by anyone else, the third-party will need to transfer the funds to your account (or to your parent or legal guardian's account) and the funds will need to be held for at least 28 days before you apply for your Tier 4 General Student visa.

Time Limit on Studies

Below degree level: 3 year cap

Any new Tier 4 General Student application must lead to you spending no more than 3 years studying courses that lead to a qualification below degree-level. The three year limit can be spent studying a single course or several courses as a Tier 4 General student, and the cap applies whether the Tier 4 General Student visa application is made inside or outside the UK.

The cap does not include time spent in the UK studying courses below degree level as a student under the Immigration Rules that were in place before 31 March 2009, as a Tier 4 (General) student when you were 16 or 17 years old, as a Tier 4 (Child) student when you were 17 years old or under, under any other category of the Immigration Rules.

Above degree level: 5 year cap

Tier 4 General Students may study courses that lead to a qualification at degree level for a maximum of five years. Leave granted before your previous course started (maximum 1 month) or after your previous course finished (maximum 4 months) does not count.

There are some exceptions to the 5-year cap:

  • If you have successfully completed a UK degree course which was at least four years long, and you are making a Tier 4 application to study a Master's degree at a higher education institution (recognised body or institution in receipt of public funding), the limit is six years;
  • If your Tier 4 application is to study a PhD (or one of the postgraduate research qualifications listed in Annex 6 of the Home Office’s Tier 4 Policy Guidance) at a higher education institution, there is no limit while you are studying the PhD.;
  • If you have already completed a PhD (or one of the postgraduate research qualifications listed in Annex 6 of the Home Office’s Tier 4 Policy Guidance) in the UK, any new Tier 4 application is subject to an 8-year limit (including courses below degree level, but not including Tier 4 leave granted under the Doctorate Extension Scheme);
    Courses in architecture, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and science, or music at a conservatoire, are exempt from the limit;
  • If you have completed a UK degree, and your current Tier 4 application is to study certain legal qualifications, the legal qualification is exempt from the limit.  In England and Wales the relevant qualifications are a law conversion course, a Legal Practice Course and the Bar Professional Training Course.  In Northern Ireland the relevant qualifications are a Masters in Legal Science (MLegSc), the Solicitors Course and the Bar Course.  In Scotland the relevant qualifications are an accelerated graduate LLB and a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

The Home Office will not grant further leave if your current Tier 4 application means that you will exceed these limits, unless there are ‘compelling and compassionate circumstances’. 

Tier 4 Interviews and the Genuine Student Rule

UK Visas and Immigration interviews most Tier 4 General Student applicants before granting them a visa to come to the UK. You can expect to be asked questions about your immigration history, your education history, your course, where you want to study, reasons for studying in the UK, your post study plans and your personal and financial circumstances. The Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise your application for a Tier 4 General Student visa may be refused.

Duration of Stay

You may apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa up to 3 months before the start of your course. If you are granted a Tier 4 General Student visa, you may arrive in the UK up to one week before the start of your course if the course will last for less than 6 months, or up to one month before the start of the course if the course will last for more than 6 months. The length of time that you may stay in the UK will vary according to the type of course that you will be studying.

Conditions of Stay

As a Tier 4 General Student visa holder you may study and work to the extent that your visa permits.

Family Members

Tier 4 General Students can be joined or accompanied by a dependant spouse/civil partner, unmarried partner or child under 18 years old if they are either:

  • Studying on a course that is at least NQF level 7 (Master’s degree level) and lasts 1 year or more; or
  • A new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts 6 months or longer; or
  • A Doctorate Extension Scheme student

Family members must be financially supported during their stay in the UK, and have funds available to them in addition to the money that the main Tier 4 General Student visa holder has to support themselves. The amount of money required will vary depending upon the length of the course, the location of the course in the UK and whether the course has finished or is ongoing.

For expert advice and assistance with a Tier 4 General Student visa application or appeal, call our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or e-mail d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

Parents of Tier 4 Child Students

The Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa is for non-EEA parents of children who are in the UK with valid leave and studying at an independent fee-paying day school under Tier 4 of the points-based system.

A parent can accompany their child up until the child turns 12 years old. Leave is usually granted for 6 or 12 months at a time and can be extended up until the child has reached age 12.

The parent must not intend to make the UK their main home and so must demonstrate that they have adequate and reliable funds for maintaining a second home for the duration of their stay in the UK.

It is not possible to bring family members as dependents on a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa. Dependants must apply separately and be granted a UK visa in their own right.

Requirements for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student Visa

In order to qualify for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are the parent of a child under 12 years old;
  • Your child has valid leave to study at a Tier 4 institution;
  • You maintain a second home outside of the UK;
  • You do not intend to work or study while in the UK;
  • You can adequately maintain yourself without recourse to public funds;
  • You intend to leave the UK when your leave expires;
  • You are able to meet the cost of your return or onward journey.

Duration of Stay

The Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa is usually valid for either 6 or 12 months. After this, extensions are granted for 12 months at a time until your child reaches 12 years of age. You will be given a shorter visa and will not be able to extend your stay if your child is going to have their 12th birthday in the next 12 months or finish their final year at school in the next 12 months.

Conditions of Stay

Whilst in the UK with a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa, you will not be able to make your main home in the UK, take paid work or study.

For legal advice and assistance with a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Student visa application or appeal, contact our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or e-mail d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

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