The UK Border Agency has announced details of next month’s changes to the rules on foreign students under the age of 18 who come to the UK on exchanges and educational visits.
From 1 January 2010, students from countries outside the European Economic Area will be able to apply to enter the UK for up to six months on an exchange or educational visit to a state-maintained school, a non-maintained special school, an independent fee-paying school or an independent non fee-paying school. They will not require entry clearance, unless they are nationals of countries who require a visa to enter the UK – visa nationals.
This provision replaces and supersedes the temporary concession that permitted such visits until 31 December 2009. If we have 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 in force provided you remain in the UK.
If you apply for entry clearance (or, in the case of non-visa nationals, permission to enter) at a port in the UK under the new provision, you will need to satisfy the entry clearance or immigration officer that:
- 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 as described in paragraph 46A (viii) of the Immigration Rules 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;
- the care arrangements also meet the requirements described in paragraph 46A (iv) of the Immigration Rules if you are under 16 (or under 18 if you are disabled) and will be cared for full-time for more than 28 days by adults who are not your parents or close relatives;
- 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 – you should provide, for example, a letter from them confirming this; and
- you are not intending to study at an educational institution that holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence or accreditation from an accreditation body approved by the UK Border Agency, or that is inspected by a public review body (Ofsted, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education, Estyn, Northern Ireland’s Education and Training Inspectorate, or the Independent Schools Inspectorate).
You can find out how to apply for a visa (as a child visitor) on the visa services website.
More information about the requirements for entry as an exchange or educational visitor under paragraph 46A (viii) of the Immigration Rules will be published on this website on the 31 December 2009.
The changes to paragraphs 46A (iv), on foster care arrangements, and 46A (vii), on inspection by public review bodies, will apply in relation to all child visitors.
For a full list of changes to the Immigration Rules from 1 January 2010, see the UK Border Agency news story from 10 December 2009.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Studying in the UK, Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: