Overseas recruitment

Information for Overseas students

Types of student visa

Type of student visa Who can apply?

Tier 4 (Child) student 

You can apply as a child student under Tier 4 of our points-based system if you are between 4 and 17 years old. If you are between 4 and 15 years old, you must be coming to the UK to be educated at an independent fee-paying school.

Child visitor

You can apply as a child visitor if you are 17 years old or under and you want to come and study in the UK for up to 6 months.
You cannot switch and apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa while you are in the UK as a child visitor. If you want to apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa, you must apply from the country you live in.

Tier 4 (General) student

You can apply as an adult student under Tier 4 (General) of our points-based system if you are coming to the UK for your post-16 education.

Student visitor

You can apply as a student visitor if you are 18 years old or over, you want to come and study in the UK for up to 6 months, and you do not want to work while you are here.
You cannot switch and apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa while you are in the UK as a student visitor. If you want to apply for an Tier 4 (General) student visa, you must apply from the country you live in.

Prospective student

You can apply as a prospective student if you want to come to the UK to help you decide which course to study, or if you plan to start a course of study within 6 months.
You will be able to switch and apply for a Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child) student visa while you are in the UK.


16 and 17-year-old students applying to come for more than 6 months

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you and your approved education provider (also known as your sponsor) should agree whether you need to apply under Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system. If you will be studying a course below National Qualification Framework level 3, you must apply under Tier 4 (Child). If your course is at National Qualification Framework level 3 (or equivalent) or above and is longer than 2 years, we recommend you apply under Tier 4 (General).

Further Information

This UK Border Agency link below guides you to useful links that explains how you can apply for permission to come to or remain in the UK as a student or a student visitor and provides quick guides containing an overview of the different routes, and can assist you in deciding on the right route for you. 

Please take into consideration that the route you choose will depend on your age, and on the length and level of the course that you want to study.

Quick guide for students

Student visitors

Adult Students Tier 4 - (General)

Child students Tier 4 - (Child)

Students in the UK under the Immigration Rules in place before 31 March 2009

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