There are various visa options for studying in the UK. A migrant on visitor leave may be able to study a very short course of no more than 30 days. For longer courses there are other possibilities, see below:
Tier 4 General Student Visa
This visa is appropriate for a person aged 16 or over who wants to study a degree-level or suitable below degree-level course in the UK. In most cases the course must be full-time. The college or university offering the course must hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence and they must have issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for the applicant.
If the visa application is successful leave will be granted for the period of the course.
There is an English language requirement and there are also specific requirements for financial maintenance, which vary depending on whether the educational institution is in London or outside London, and on the length of the course. In the case of a 16- or 17-year-old they must have the consent of their parents/guardian and there must be suitable care arrangements for them in the UK.
Depending on the level of the course the student may be allowed to work part-time, up to either 10 or 20 hours per week.
The student’s dependants (partner/children under 18) may – if the student is studying at a high level – be able to apply for leave as well so they can accompany the student to the UK.
It may be possible for the student to apply to extend the visa, to take a further course of study. And, in some cases, it may be possible to apply to switch to another kind of visa.
Tier 4 Child Student Visa
A person aged between four and 17 may apply for a Tier 4 Child Student visa to study at an independent school in the UK. The school offering the course must hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence and it must have issued a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) for the applicant.
The applicant must have the consent of their parents/guardian, there must be suitable care arrangements for them in the UK, and there must be sufficient finance available to support them during their studies. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are allowed to work part-time, up to 10 hours per week.
If the visa application is successful it will be granted for a maximum period of six years four months. It may be possible to extend the visa so that the student can continue their studies and it may be possible to switch to a Tier 4 General visa if the student has been offered a suitable course.
Short-Term Study Visa
This visa is suitable for those who want to study a short course in the UK. The course can be for up to six months or, if it is an English language course, for up to 11 months. The requirements are simpler than for a Tier 4 Student visa. The school, college or university which has offered the course must hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence or be otherwise accredited but there is no requirement for sponsorship. Neither is there any English language requirement.
Applicants must be aged 16 or over and in the case of a 16- or 17-year-old they must have the consent of their parents/guardian and there must be suitable care arrangements for them in the UK. And they must in all cases show that there will be sufficient funds available to support them and suitable accommodation available.
Dependants are not permitted and extension of leave is not possible.
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