• Tier 4 Child Student Visa - FAQs
  • 1. 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 international 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 the UKBA 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.

  • 2. What courses can you do as a Tier 4 Child student?

    A child student can do a course that is:

    • taught in line with the National Curriculum; or
    • taught in line with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF); or
    • accepted as being at the same academic level as the National Curriculum or the NQF by Ofsted in England, the Education and Training Inspectorate in Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education in Scotland or Estyn in Wales; or
    • taught in line with existing (prevailing) independent school education inspection standards.

    Additionally, you can do a short course to prepare you for your main course of study, if your chosen main course meets one of the conditions above. These short courses are sometimes called 'pre-sessional' courses.

  • 3. What is a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)?

    A confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is a 'virtual document' similar to a database record. Your education provider (also known as your 'Tier 4 sponsor') will assign a CAS to you when they give you an unconditional offer of a place on a course.

    Each CAS has a unique reference number, and contains information about the course of study and the student's personal details.

    Your education provider will tell you your CAS reference number. They will also need to give you some of the information they used (such as the course details, the documents they used to assess your suitability, and the course fees) when they assigned the CAS to you. You will need this information when you apply to the UKBA.

    A CAS is valid if it:

    • contains the same details as are in your passport; and
    • was assigned no more than 6 months before the date when you apply to the UKBA; and
    • has not been withdrawn or cancelled by your education provider or by the UKBA.

    If you do not use your CAS to apply to us during the 6 months after it is assigned to you, it will expire and you will need to get a new CAS from your education provider. If you apply to the UKBA using a CAS that has expired, the UKBA will refuse your application.

    You cannot use a CAS more than once. If we refuse your application, and you want to apply again, your education provider will need to assign another CAS to you.

    The UKBA or your education provider can withdraw or cancel a CAS at any time. You cannot use a withdrawn or cancelled CAS in an application to the UKBA.