Who can apply?
If your child is under the age of 12 and is about to study at an independent school in the UK, you might be eligible to accompany your child to the UK, provided that you are able to meet certain requirements.
Age and Independent School Student
The most important requirement is that your child is under the age of 12 and already studying in the UK at an independent fee-paying day school, or is about to begin the course. But you also need to prove that you will be able to maintain and accommodate yourself, as well any dependants, while in the UK.
Usually when you are applying at the same time as your child for a visa, you need to demonstrate that you have enough funds available to pay school fees for an academic year, and also that you have at least £1,535 per month of stay, up to a maximum of nine months, if you have no other children. If there are other children accompanying the applicant, an additional £615 per month for each child would be required, again up to a maximum of nine months.
If your child already holds leave you would also be required to show that you have enough funds to cover school fees, housing costs and living costs (such as travel, utilities and food). However, you might not have to show the same level as that set out in the Tier 4 rules, explained above.
Nonetheless, it requires careful consideration before submitting an application if for some reason you would fall short of the maintenance and accommodation requirements set out by the rules.
Plan to leave the UK at the end of the visit
As part as your application you also need to prove that you have the intention to return to your home country at the end of your visit e.g. you should maintain a home outside the UK as well as be able to meet the cost of the return journey.
Application process and fees
In order to apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 child visa you must submit an online application before you travel. The visa currently costs £516, and you can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. You should usually receive the decision within 3 weeks.
How long I can stay?
The visa is usually granted for a period of up to 12 months. After this time you might be eligible to extend your stay in the UK for another 12 months, until your child reaches 12 years of age.
Immigration Health Surcharge
If you are a non-EEA national applying for leave exceeding six months, as part of your application you are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Currently you will pay a charge of £300 for each period of 12 months’ leave granted.
The Parent of a Tier 4 child visa is a great way to enable a child to study abroad without being forced to live apart from their parents. Nonetheless, while in the UK with leave as the Parent of a Tier 4 Child, there are also certain rules dictating what is and what is not allowed e.g. you will not be able to study yourself, take paid work or receive any public funds.
If you are able to meet the following requirements outlined above and wish to accompany your child to the UK, we are able to help you with the complex visa application process.
Please feel free to share and comment to raise awareness of these issues. Also, if you have been affected by any of these immigration rule changes and need a quick chat with a UK Immigration Solicitor, do not hesitate to contact Tito Mbariti for a free one-off, no-obligation general immigration advice consultation via either phone, facetime, Skype or Face to Face.
Tito Mbariti is a solicitor specialising in UK immigration, European Law and Human Rights law at Cross Border Legal Ltd in Leicester, he has been practising immigration law for several years with clients from various parts of the globe. He is a strong advocate of Human Rights for all, passionate about voicing important issues affecting migrants and their families in the UK. Tito is the founder and editor of Cross Border Legal, a UK Immigration and Human Right law blog.