29 December 2009
Changes to the UK Student Visa and child visitor rules
Next month the UK immigration rules relating to foreign students under the age of 18 who come to the UK with change.
The UK Border Agency has announced that from 1 January 2010, students from countries outside the European Economic Area who wish to come to the UK for exchanges and educational visits will be able to enter the country for up to six months.
This is possible for visits to a state-maintained school, a non-maintained special school, an independent fee-paying school or an independent non fee-paying school.
Applicants will not require entry clearance, unless they are nationals of countries who require a UK visa to enter the country.
This change replaces and supersedes the previous temporary concession until 31 December 2009, but if the Border Agency has granted you permission to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of that concession on or before 31 December 2009, the permission will remain provided you remain in the UK.
Under the new provision, if you apply for entry clearance or in the case of non-visa nationals permission to enter, on arrival in the UK you will need to satisfy the entry clearance or UK immigration officer that you meet a number of requirements including:
You are under 18;
You intend to leave the UK on completion of the exchange or educational visit, which must not last for more than six months;
A school has approved the exchange scheme or educational visit - you should produce, for example, a letter from the school or the organisation arranging the exchange;
Suitable travel, reception and care arrangements are in place for your stay here, and there are sufficient funds for your support;
The care arrangements that are in place for you comply with relevant UK care requirements;
You have a parent or guardian in your home country who is responsible for your care and who confirms that they consent to the visit and to any foster care arrangement and you should provide, for example, a letter confirming this; AND
You are not intending to study at an educational institution that holds a Tier 4 UK Student Visa sponsorship licence or accreditation from an accreditation body approved by the UK Border Agency, or that is inspected by a public review body.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their UK Visa applications at the British Embassy.