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Immigration Corner | I want to study in the United Kingdom

Published:Monday | June 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am 16 years old and I would like to take a particular course in the United Kingdom at an independent school. My cousin who lives there thinks that there is a specific visa that I can apply for to take it. Would you please advise me if this is so?

- TK

Dear TK,

Persons can apply for the tier-four (child) student visa if they are between four and 17 years old and if they want to study at an independent school in the United Kingdom.

To do this, persons must also have a place on a course; have the consent of their parent or guardian; and have enough money to cover the course fees and living costs.

Those persons must also be from a country that is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and meet the eligibility requirements. Just as an aside, persons should be aware that there will be no change to the rights and status of European Union (EU) nationals living in the United Kingdom, nor United Kingdom nationals living in the EU, while the United Kingdom remains in the EU.

The earliest that persons can apply for a visa is three months before starting the course. Persons will usually get a decision on the visa application within three weeks. This, of course, will be dependent on where the application originates. Hence, it is advised that applicants check visa processing times from the country where the application is made.

It cost £335 to apply for a tier-four (child) student visa from outside the United Kingdom and as part of the application, persons will also have to pay the health-care surcharge. As such, it is advisable to check how much it will cost before making the application.

The age of the applicant and the length of the course of study will affect how long a person can stay over there. If persons are under 16 years of age when making the application, they can stay the length of the course, up to six years plus four months afterwards. If 16 or 17 years of age when making the application, they can stay the length of the course, up to three years plus four months afterwards. Persons can arrive there up to one week before the course starts, if the course lasts six months or less; up to one month before the course starts, if the course lasts more than six months.

With respect to this visa, persons are permitted to study at an independent school; apply from outside the United Kingdom; and apply to extend the stay. Persons can also work if they are 16 years old or over: part-time during term for up to 10 hours per week; full-time during vacations; on a work placement as part of the course, but not for more than 50 per cent of your course time; as a student union sabbatical officer for up to two years.

Please note that persons cannot study at an academy or a local authority-funded school, also known as a maintained school, or further-education college; get public funds; take a full-time permanent job or be self-employed; work as a doctor or dentist in training; work as a professional sportsperson, for example, a sports coach, or entertainer; settle in the United Kingdom on this visa; bring in family members, 'dependants'. Please be aware that if parents want to accompany the applicant, they will need to apply for a 'parent of a tier-four (child) visa'.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK).