Responsibilities related to a Tier 4 visa
Students with a Tier 4 visa must carry out some tasks to ensure that they are less likely to encounter disruption to their course and living in the UK.
After receiving your visa
Read your decision letter
You will receive this with the documents you submitted in support of your visa application. It will explain whether your visa application has been successful and will contain important information about your stay in the UK, including any conditions you must meet. If you do not understand the letter, contact the Student Advice Service.
Check for errors
You should check all of the information on your visa sticker or biometric residence permit (BRP) immediately after receiving it. Errors can cause problems with entering the UK, staying in the UK and starting and continuing your course. Unfortunately, a significant number of students do find errors.
The most common error is the expiry (end) date. Our ‘Application Process and Required Documents’ guide has a section about when your visa or BRP should expire; you can download this from our Immigration & Visas page.
If you notice an error on your visa sticker or BRP, you must act immediately to request a correction. Instructions can be found on the UKCISA website, and you can contact the Student Advice Service if you need help.
Register with the police
Some students coming to the UK with a Tier 4 visa are legally required to register with the police within a specific number of days. When you register with the police, you will be given a police registration certificate which contains some personal information, your UK address and details of your visa sticker or BRP.
Full information and instructions can be found on the Metropolitan (London) Police website.
During your stay in the UK
Keep your BRP and passport in your accommodation
There is no requirement for you to carry identification documents around with you when you are in the UK. As such, you should keep your BRP and passport in a safe place in your accommodation. It can take around 10 weeks to replace a lost or stolen BRP, and it can be expensive, so keep it in your accommodation where it will be safe!
There may be some situations in which it would be useful to carry an identification document. For example, you may need to prove your age when buying age-restricted products or services, or entering age-restricted venues such as nightclubs. It is recommended that students use a Validate UK card or Citizencard for this, which you can get quickly and easily (and replace quickly and easily if it gets lost).
Losing your visa or BRP
If your visa sticker or BRP get lost or stolen, you may need to report this and apply for a replacement. Full information and instructions can be found on the UKCISA website, and you can contact the Student Advice Service if you need help.
Attend your classes and inform UAL about absences
UAL is required to monitor the attendance of students with a Tier 4 visa, and must report a student’s continued unauthorised absence to UK Visas and Immigration. Such a report will result in the cancellation of the student’s visa and the student being required to leave the UK.
More information about this, and what to do if you need to be absent from your classes, see our guidance on attendance and absence.
Inform the police about changes to your circumstances
If you were required to register with the police and your circumstances change after you got your police registration certificate, you must visit the police and get them to update it within a specific number of days. Examples of changes of circumstances you must report include changing your name, moving to a different UK address or getting a new visa, BRP or passport.
For a full list of circumstances and instructions on how to get you police registration certificate updated, see the Metropolitan (London) Police website.
Inform the UK Government about changes to your circumstances
Examples of changes of circumstances that you must report include changing your name, gender, contact details and UK address.
For a full list of circumstances and instructions on how to inform the UK Government, see the UK Government website.
Inform UAL about a new passport or visa
If you get a new passport or visa during your course, you must immediately inform the Immigration Compliance Administrator at your College:
Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Saint Martins: email@example.com
London College of Communication: firstname.lastname@example.org
London College of Fashion: email@example.com
UAL students with a Tier 4 visa are usually allowed to work alongside their studies. However, there are restrictions on the type of work and the number of hours of work that can be carried out.
For more information, see our guidance on working as an international student.
Travelling abroad during your course
Whilst you are in the UK with a Tier 4 visa, you must prepare carefully for any trips that will take you outside of the UK. This includes making sure you have the right type of visa for the country that you will be visiting (if necessary), and carrying a specific set of documents which will enable you to return to the UK after your trip.
For more information, see our guidance on travelling abroad.
After the end of your course
Staying in the UK
Some students wish to stay in the UK for a few years after they complete their course, to live, work or set up a business. See visa options after completing your course.
Leaving the UK
You must leave the UK on or before the date that your visa or BRP expires. It is a criminal offence to stay in the UK after your visa or BRP expires. See the UKCISA website for more information.
Some students who apply for another UK visa before their Tier 4 visa or BRP expires can stay in the UK after their Tier 4 visa or BRP expires, whilst a decision is made on their application. An example of a student in this situation may be a student who will be applying for another Tier 4 visa (for example, because they have completed a BA and are due to start a Masters course) or a student applying for another type of visa (for example, a Tier 2 (General) visa for students who have secured a job).
Problems with returning to the UK
After the end date of your course (as shown on your CAS), you must not try to return to the UK using your Tier 4 visa or BRP, even if it has not yet expired. This is because the border officer may prevent you from entering the UK because the purpose for the visa has been fulfilled; in other words, your visa was given to you to complete a specific course, and you have already completed that course.
If you have a CAS to start another course and you wish to return to the UK to apply for a Tier 4 visa for that course, you should seek advice from the Student Advice Service.
Attending your graduation ceremony
You will not be able to enter or stay in the UK (for graduation) using your Tier 4 visa in the following circumstances:
- Your Tier 4 visa has expired. Note that you cannot apply to extend your Tier 4 visa for the purpose of graduation.
- You are outside the UK and intend to return to the UK after the end date of your course (as shown on your CAS), even if your Tier 4 visa is still valid. See the Problems with returning to the UK section above for the reason behind this.
Instead, you must apply for a suitable visa to return to the UK and attend your graduation ceremony. The factsheet below contains information which will be useful for you and your guests:
Contact or visit the Student Advice Service, the University's immigration and visa specialists.