Responsibility for your Tier 4 (General) student visa
The following information is designed to help you maintain and protect your Tier 4 (General) student visa.
Study at your Tier 4 sponsor institution
When you enter (or re-enter) the UK you must intend to study full-time at UWE Bristol as we are your Tier 4 sponsor. If you do not enroll as expected, we will report this to the Home Office. For further information see our enrolment and attendance webpages.
The condition to register with the police is imposed on people of certain nationalities who come to the UK for more than six months. You can check the list of countries whose nationals need to register in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules.
If you are required to register, the condition should be printed on your vignette, your BRP or the letter that you received when your passport was returned to you by UK Visas and Immigration. Please note: You must register with the police within seven days of arriving in the UK. Even if your accommodation is only temporary, you must register online within seven days of arrival. You can update your address at a later date (please read the ‘updating’ section for details).
If you do not register with the police or notify them of changes, the Home Office can refuse future immigration applications or remove you from the UK. You might be barred from returning to the UK for a certain period.
The first stage of registration is on line. No more than seven days after you arrive in the UK, take the following steps:
- if you live in Bristol* (or plan to do so once you arrive in the UK), visit the Avon and Somerset Police Force's website
- click ‘Create an Account’
- enter a personal email address which you know you can access easily; create and enter a password which you can confidently remember, then enter it again in the ‘Confirm password’ field; tick the box to accept terms and conditions; click ‘Register’
- log on to your email account and open the message from Avon and Somerset Police; click the link reading ‘Confirm your account;’ on the new web page which appears, click ‘login’
- enter your email address and password, then click ‘log in’
- click ‘Create a new registration’
- click ‘Student’
- start completing the form:
- Page 1 (Personal Details): Although Religion is a required field, you do not have to disclose a religion. You are free to select Declines to Disclose, None, Other or Unknown, according to your preference.
- Page 2 (Contact): If you are already in the UK, enter the address at which you are already staying, even if this is temporary (eg a hotel, a friend’s house etc.). Otherwise, tick Unknown. Your telephone number in your own country is not a required field.
- Page 3 (Family Members): Your relationship status is required. However, you do not need to enter the details of your spouse or civil partner if they are not required to register with the police.
- Page 4 (Study Details): The name of your tutor and your UWE ID number are not required.
- Page 5 (Travel/Visa Details): Your date and port of arrival are not required if you are not yet in the UK. If you don’t have your BRP yet, enter the VAF number which can be found in the upper right part of your vignette (the visa in your passport), just below the ‘Valid until’ date. In the Leave to Remain (Valid Until) field, enter the date your Tier 4 expires based on the full length of your course. This date should appear on both your BRP and the letter you received when your documents were returned to you when your visa was issued.
- Submit the form
You will then be able to book an appointment to visit the police station and complete the process. Appointments are limited, but it does not matter if the date you choose falls after the seven day period, even if it is several months in the future. Completion of the online submission in time is sufficient to meet the seven day requirement.
At the appointment you will be asked to pay a fee of £34 in cash. You should also take with you your passport and (if you have it) BRP. You will be given a certificate which you should keep in a safe place with your travel documents. You will need to produce your certificate when you apply for your next visa. Whenever the details recorded on the certificate change, you must inform the police – see Updating below.
*If you live or plan to live outside the Avon and Somerset police force area, visit the Police website and use the Find Your Neighbourhood function to find out which police force you should register with. Follow the link to the relevant force’s website for instructions.
You must report changes to any of the following:
- your passport
- your BRP (including replacement of a lost BRP)
- your visa
- your name
- your address (including moving between police force areas)
- your place of study
- your relationship status (eg you get married)
Updating is now an online process (even if you did not register online). If you go directly to the police station you will not be seen unless you have first created an account and booked an appointment.
When using the online system for the first time, follow the instructions under Registering above to create an account and book an appointment. If you already have an account, log in and follow the instructions.
There is no charge for updating your details.
If none of your details has changed, there is no need to register online.
- You are instructed to register with the police in error (eg
yours is not one of the listed nationalities, or your stay in the
UK is too short):
- Methods of correcting this error vary according to circumstances, and you should speak to an immigration adviser if you wish to do so.
- If you choose not to correct the error, you should attempt to register with the police following the instructions above. It is unlikely that the police will allow you to register. In this case you are advised to retain evidence that you tried to comply with this condition, even though it was given to you incorrectly. For example, you could ask the police to confirm in writing that you tried to register with them. Even if the police will not allow you to register, or confirm this in writing, you are still not obliged to have this error corrected.
- You are not instructed to register, but you think you should
- There is no need to register or take action to correct the error. However, we recommend that you register with the police regardless.
Your immigration conditions prohibit you from accessing 'public funds', which means certain welfare benefits and local authority housing.
If you apply for a welfare benefit that you do not qualify for, you will be breaching the conditions of your immigration permission. You may also have problems obtaining an immigration extension in the UK, or if you try to apply for entry clearance abroad (in many categories, not just as a Tier 4 student), you may be barred from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months (and in some cases, five or ten years).
Extending your visa
You may need to extend your visa if you are planning on continuing your studies at UWE from a pre-sessional course, UWEBIC course, continuing your studies from undergraduate to postgraduate level or need a visa extension for a resit.
The deadline for sending an in-time application to extend your stay in the UK is the final day of your current leave. You need to start thinking about it at least four months before this date. You will need some time to check what requirements you need to meet, and what documents you will need to show. If you need to apply for an ATAS certificate this can take some time. Planning four months in advance will give you enough time to get your bank account in order, so that you meet the requirements about holding a certain amount of money in your bank account for a specific period. For a Tier 4 application this is 28 days but, for some other types of application, it is 90 days.
Make sure you have copies of:
- the whole of your passport, except for the blank pages.
- the front and back of your BRP, if you have one.
- your police registration certificate, if you have one.
Remember to take fresh copies whenever any changes are made to any of these documents. If you lose any of these documents, it will help you to replace them.
Please note that your BRP is your visa. If it is lost or stolen, you will have to replace it. Replacement is time consuming, expensive – it costs £56 within the UK, with an additional fee of £189 if you lose your BRP abroad and need to re-enter the UK. Replacing a lost card could also interfere with travel plans. We recommend you do not carry your BRP as proof of age when going out for the evening, but obtain a Citizencard. These are available free from UWE Bristol – to apply, go to an Information Point.
Protecting your personal information
Ensure that you protect your personal documents and information. If you are contacted by someone who you do not know, or by someone claiming to be a representative of your bank, or an official organisation, such as the Home Office, remember that it could be a scam.
Criminals use all kinds of ways to trick you into paying them money, or giving them valuable information about yourself. Your bank will tell you what information it will not request from you by phone or email, so make sure that you are aware of this. Be wary of providing personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone, text message or email.
Keep all Home Office correspondence
- Make copies of everything you give to the UK immigration authorities when you make an immigration application (every page of the form, and every document you provide along with it).
- Keep the receipts from Royal Mail showing the date you post anything to the UK immigration authorities (you should always use special delivery or recorded delivery).
- Keep any letters you receive from the UK immigration authorities, and the envelopes that they sent them in (so you have proof of the date they sent them), and any receipts they give you.
- Keep all the paperwork and documents you have that evidence each of your journeys to and from the UK (photocopies of the tickets, letters or documents relating to the bookings, the ticket stubs that are given back to you by the travel operator – or even better, the whole ticket).
Change of address
UWE is required to have a record of your current address and contact details. These will be checked with you at registration and as part of your termly contact.
If there any issues with your Tier 4 visa, the Home Office will write to you. It is therefore important that you keep the Home Office informed of your current address. You may have given a temporary address, or UWE's address, when you applied for entry clearance in your home country. If you did you must report a change of address to the Home Office once you have a proper UK postal address.
If the Home Office only has your institution's address, and not your personal address, this may mean you do not receive important correspondence from the Home Office.
How you inform the Home Office that you have changed your address depends upon whether your visa is in the form of a biometric residence permit (BRP) or is in the form of a vignette (that is a sticker in your passport that you obtained before travelling to the UK):
- BRP - Notification of change of circumstances (form MCC)
- Vignette - Online visa address update service form
You must also report your change of address to:
- the police, if you have a Police Registration Certificate;
- your official financial sponsor, if you have one;
- your home country's Embassy or High Commission, if they require it.
For practical purposes, we advise that you also inform your bank, your doctor's surgery, your insurance companies and your driving licence issuer (and also, if you own a vehicle in the UK, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority/Agency).
You must also report a number of other changes of circumstances to the Home Office including:
- name and nationality
- appearance, gender or if your date of birth is incorrect on your current visa
- details of new passport
- criminal convictions
- changes to relationships with family members who have leave to be in the UK as your dependent
- other relevant changes.
Full information can be found on the 'reporting a change of circumstances' page on GOV.UK.
What happens if I do not comply with the Tier 4 visa requirements?
If you do not comply with the requirements set out above, access to your electronic study material via Blackboard will be removed. You will be e-mailed and be given a period of time to comply. If you do not take action or ignore the e-mail, your access to Blackboard will remain locked. Continued failure to react could lead to the withdrawal of sponsorship of your visa, which would mean you having to leave the University and the UK.