Can you come to the UK as a child visitor?
This page explains whether you can come to the UK as a child visitor.
The 'child visitor' category is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. If you are an EEA or Swiss national, or a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, the European nationals section explains how you can come to the UK.
To come to the UK as a child visitor, you must be able to show that:
- you are under 18 years old;
- you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months (or 12 months if you will be accompanying an academic visitor);
- you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
- you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
- suitable arrangements have been made for your travel to, and your reception and care in, the UK - and, if a foster carer or relative (not a parent or guardian) will be responsible for your care, the arrangements must meet the requirements set out in our guidance;
- you have a parent or guardian in your home country who is responsible for your care, and you can provide their address, their landline phone number; and
- confirmation that they consent to the arrangements for your travel to, and reception and care in, the UK;
- you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
- you are not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands). See the Visitor in transit section if you want to pass through the UK on your way to another country.
You must be able to show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:
- live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits;
- take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
- receive private medical treatment. See the Visitor for private medical treatment section if you want to come to the UK for this reason.
You can undertake a short course of study during your visit, if it is provided by an organisation which is:
- a licensed sponsor under Tier 4 of the points-based system; or
- accredited by an accreditation body which has been approved by the UK Border Agency (see below); or
- inspected by either the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, Estyn, Northern Ireland's Education and Training Inspectorate or the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
Our approved accreditation bodies are:
- Accreditation UK - a British Council scheme which offers an accreditation service for English language schools;
- the British Accreditation Council (BAC) - which offers a more general accreditation service covering a wide range of educational establishments and their courses;
- the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC) - which also offers a general accreditation service covering a wide range of educational establishments and their courses; and
- the Accreditation Body for Language Services (ABLS) - which provides an accreditation service for English language providers.
You may also participate in a short visit exchange programme with or educational visit to a UK school. This must be a maintained school, a non-maintained special school or an independent (fee-paying or non-fee-paying) school. You must submit full details of the school offering the programme, and full details of the care arrangements in place covering your full stay in the UK.
There are additional requirements, depending on whether you will be travelling to the UK with an adult ('accompanied') or without an adult ('unaccompanied') - see below.
For information about your rights and responsibilities while you are in the UK, see the Visitors' rights and responsibilities section.
You should provide documents to show that you meet the above requirements. The Documents page contains more information.
You may need to obtain a visa before you can come to the UK as a child visitor. The Do you need a visa? page contains more information.
Unaccompanied child visitors
If you will be travelling to the UK without an adult (someone over the age of 18), we will treat you as an 'unaccompanied child visitor'. Your parent or guardian will need to provide:
- their written consent for you to travel to the UK;
- their full contact details;
- evidence that suitable living arrangements have been made for your stay in the UK;
- the name and date of birth of your intended care;
- address where you will be living;
- relationship of foster carer to you;
- authority from your parent(s) or legal guardian allowing your carer to care for you during your stay in the UK; and
- a letter from the school to include details of the care arrangements, confirming they have or will notify the local authority. They must include the reply from the local authority if they have one.
Accompanied child visitors
If you will be travelling to the UK with an adult (someone over the age of 18), we will treat you as an 'accompanied child visitor'. If you apply for a visa, you must identify this adult in your visa application. The adult's name will appear on your visa, and you will be refused entry to the UK if you arrive in the UK without that adult. You can identify up to 2 adults in your visa application, and your visa will only be valid if you travel with at least 1 of those adults.
The adult can apply for a visa at the same time, but you must each complete separate applications.