Immigration FAQs

Student visa

Since 5 October 2020, the new points-based system immigration route opened for applications to study in the UK. UK institutions that wish to recruit international students to courses that are longer than six months duration must be licenced by the government as a Student visa sponsor for immigration purposes. The Student visa was previously known as a Tier 4 visa.

The University is a Student visa sponsor and recruits and sponsors international students under the Student route of the points-based immigration system.

To sponsor a student under this route, the University issues a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and must follow strict Home Office guidelines at all times to ensure we retain our licence to recruit international students. This is extremely important to both the University and to its international student and staff population.

The University is responsible for retaining and reporting certain information about students sponsored under the Student route.

Students applying for a Student visa must demonstrate that they meet the requirements for the visa and intend to study the course for which they were sponsored. As a Student visa holder studying at Kent, your visa is linked to the University. You cannot study with any other institution while holding a Student visa sponsored by Kent and likewise, if you hold a Student visa sponsored by another institution, you cannot ordinarily study at Kent. While sponsored on a Student visa, you must adhere to your visa conditions at all times.

An ATAS certificate may be needed in order to apply for a Student visa and study certain subjects in the UK.

Please see our ATAS webpage for full details.

Enrolment and Registration

Our terminology page details the difference between each process.

There are several guidance pages which may be helpful:

If you are waiting for the outcome of a recent visa application, you must email the following to the Student Immigration Compliance Team:

  • clear, colour copy of the full data page in your passport
  • proof of having a pending application (including documents proving you have made a valid visa application)

Yes. If you require a visa to be in the UK, you will need to upload your current passport and visa during the enrolment process. We will check your documents during registration and we'll be in touch if we need more information from you.

We have a webpage to help you understand the terminology around the registration process at Kent.

If you are sponsored on a Student visa, Registration will be completed in person. You must present your current and valid passport and a valid visa in order for us to register you for your course. We will take a copy of your documents.

It is a requirement under your Student visa conditions that you:

  • enrol and visit us to complete your registration by the deadline appropriate for your course
  • provide the University with your passport and visa
  • inform the University of any changes to these documents
  • respond to all requests by the University to present your passport, visa and other documentation for scanning in person.

Please see our webpage detailing a full list of your visa responsibilities.

As of Monday 1 August 2022, the requirement to register with the police (which applied to students from certain countries) was suspended for decisions made on Student applications.

If you received a decision (up to 1 August 2022) and were asked to register with the police, you will no longer be required to do so. UKVI have confirmed that this is retrospective.

If you have already registered with the police you will no longer be required to inform the Nationality Department of any changes to circumstances (including change of address). You should communicate any changes directly to the Home Office.

For further information, please contact the police directly (only dial 999 for emergencies) or contact Kent Union Advice Centre.  

Attendance and engagement with studies

Yes. All students, regardless of visa status, are expected to attend all timetabled events in accordance with the regulations for students.

If you are sponsored on a Student visa, it is a condition of your visa that you attend all timetabled events as the University has sponsored you to come to the UK to study.

More information can be found on the your visa responsibilities webpage and the attendance and engagement webpage.

Your attendance is recorded on Moodle. Check out our guidance on registering your attendance.  

Your Division will review attendance records on a regular basis and will follow the University's procedures for student attendance and engagement.

In addition, the Student Immigration Compliance Team will review student attendance records on a regular basis. This is to identify all students, sponsored on a Student visa, who have met our minimum threshold of non engagement.

If you feel that your attendance has been negatively impacted, please contact your Division's support team.

If you reach the threshold of non engagement for UKVI, the Student Immigration Compliance Team (SICT) will contact your Division to determine if you have concessionary evidence to support your absences. No further action will be taken if you have been in contact with your Division's support team.

If they do not have any timely and credible concessionary evidence on file, SICT will contact you via your University of Kent email address to warn you that you are at risk of breaching the terms and conditions of your visa. You will have to provide sufficient evidence to support your absences. If, after review, SICT is not satisfied that you have been able to explain or provide appropriate supporting evidence to mitigate your absences, we will withdraw sponsorship of your visa and terminate your registration.

You may have five working days to submit an appeal and provide sufficient evidence to support your absences.

Please see our appeal guidance for full details.

As a research student, you will meet monthly with your supervisor in accordance with Annex H of the Code of Practice for Research Courses of Study. Your monthly supervisory meetings are recorded on the KentVision.

For more information, please contact your Division.

As a Student visa sponsor, the University must comply with the immigration rules and guidance published by the Home Office. One of our sponsor duties is to monitor attendance and act accordingly if a student reaches our minimum threshold of non engagement (please see question three in this section for more information).

Protect your Student visa status

You must read and adhere to your Student visa responsibilities. Please note that the responsibilities outlined are not comprehensive and do not represent a full statement of immigration or visa requirements.

It is your responsibility to be aware of your own visa conditions and to keep up to date with any changes to immigration rules during your stay in the UK in order to protect your immigration status.  

The Student Immigration Compliance Team may withdraw your Student visa sponsorship and report this to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This  may result in you no longer being a registered student at the University of Kent, your visa will be curtailed and you will be required to return to your home country.

The Student Immigration Compliance Team monitors the status, attendance and engagement of all Student visa sponsored students through regular audits.

Your visa is your responsibility and knowingly not complying with its terms and conditions may have severe consequences on your immigration status, as well as any future applications.

If you have breached/or know you may breach one of the conditions of your Student sponsorship (as outlined in your visa responsibilities) you must inform your Division or the Student Immigration Compliance Team immediately.

For more information, please see the Student visa withdrawal guidance page.

Working whilst studying

Students sponsored by a Higher Education provider can work during their studies. Check what your vignette (entry clearance or residence permit) or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) for your working conditions.

You cannot work at all if your immigration documents say either of the following:

  • No work
  • Work prohibited

Your immigration document (vignette, BRP or digital status) will state how many hours you are allowed to work during term time. Usually:

  • degree level students can work 20 hours maximum per week in term time
  • below degree level students can work 10 hours maximum per week in term time

You can work full time during official term vacation periods. Please check with your Division and the published term dates.

Term time is the weeks within which teaching and associated academic obligations are scheduled (ie not during vacation period, such as Christmas or Easter). The University has three terms each year: Autumn, Spring and Summer - see the University term and closure dates.

You are not limited to working 10 or 20 hours a week in vacation periods. If you want to work more than your usual restricted hours, your employer is required by law to conduct a right to work (RTW) check which may include you supplying a status letter.

Most Student visa holders on degree programmes have immigration permission that starts up to one month before the course start date and expires four months after the course completion date.

If you are a postgraduate taught (Masters) student, even if you have submitted your dissertation, you are still in term time until your expected completion date and cannot therefore work full time hours until AFTER that date.

If your visa shows a different number of hours per week than stated above or states 'no work' this could be an error.

Please contact the Kent Union Advice Centre to check your visa and, if appropriate, they can help you report the error to UKVI.  

There are some kinds of work you must not do: 

  • A permanent job
  • Self-employment and business activity
  • Work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
  • Entertainer which includes actors, musicians, dancers and other performers, though there is an exception for students doing work placements on degree-level dance, drama and music courses
  • Doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.​

More information can be found on the UKCISA website.

No. You can only work up to the number of hours stated on your visa per week in term time. You cannot work more than those hours each week.

The University of Kent is sponsoring you to be in the UK to study. If you breach your Student visa conditions we may withdraw sponsorship of your visa. This means that you will no longer be a registered student at the University of Kent and you will be expected to leave the UK.

Your visa is your responsibility and knowingly not complying with its terms and conditions may have severe consequences on your immigration status, as well as any future applications.  

No. If a work placement/Year in Industry is an integral and assessed part of your course (ie work is marked and contributes to your final degree classification), and does not take up more than 50% of your course, you are allowed to undertake it.

Usually, we will issue you with a CAS for the whole duration of your course, including your work placement year. We will monitor you during your work placement and let UKVI know that you will be working for part of your course.  

You must co-operate with your school and find a suitable placement.

You must keep in touch with your Divisional placement team and inform them immediately if your circumstances change.

You must update your address on KentVision if required as per your visa responsibilities.

If you do not secure a placement you must let your Division know immediately.

Your Division will submit a Change of Course request on your behalf and you will be transferred the to same course, but which does not include a work placement/Year in Industry.

The Student Immigration Compliance Team will report the change of your completion date to UKVI and your visa will be curtailed to the appropriate wrap up period.

If you want to add a work placement/Year in Industry you should speak to your Division regarding a Change of Course.

If your course does not include a work placement/Year in industry, when the change is approved, your completion date will be pushed back a year (ie moved from 2025 to 2026). As a result, you will need to spend longer in the UK and make another Student visa application.

Visa extension

Technically, your visa cannot be extended and instead you will submit a new CAS application and apply for a new student visa to cover the duration of your course. For ease, we will refer to this process as a visa extension in this section.

You may be required to apply for a CAS to extend your immigration permission if:

  • you are a current Kent student
  • your visa expires before your course completion date
  • you are required to be in the UK until your course completion date.

You must firstly apply for a CAS in order to then apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You will not be able to continue your studies at Kent without providing us with proof that an application to UKVI was made on time.  

If you require an extension to your visa to continue your course, you must request a new CAS number from the Student Immigration Compliance Team.

The Student Immigration Compliance Team is responsible for issuing CAS's to all current, eligible students who are continuing to study with the University of Kent.

For advice on completing the CAS form and the visa application process, please contact the Kent Union Advice Centre.

Leaving my course early and curtailment

The definition of curtailment can be found in our glossary, and is:

"The curtailment of visa permission means that the expiry date of your Student visa is curtailed (or cut short) by the Home Office, effectively giving you a new, earlier visa end date."

You can find your course completion date in KentVision. Click the My Details tile and then click the My Course Details tile.

You must make sure you are aware of your course completion date and official term dates.  

The wrap up period is the period of leave given to students after their official course completion date. 

The table below gives examples of the length of wrap up periods for student visa holders.

Duration of courseLeave granted after completion
12 months4 months
6-12 months2 months
Pre-sessional (less than 6 months)1 month
Course less than 6 months7 days

The University is required to report changes in circumstances such as intermissions, withdrawals, and early course completions to UKVI. This will result in your Student visa being curtailed, which means that your original visa will be shortened in length.

If you successfully complete your course early, you will usually be given the same wrap up period after your new course completion date as you were given for your original course completion date. For example, if you finish your course in three years instead of four, you should still receive a four month wrap up period.

However, if you have not successfully completed your studies (ie in the case of intermissions, withdrawals) and this is reported to UKVI, then your permission to stay will be shortened to 60 days from our report, unless you have less than 60 days left on your visa.

If your visa is withdrawn while you are outside of the UK, curtailment is immediate and you should not attempt to re-enter the UK using your BRP.

Despite any period of leave being granted as displayed in the table in question three, if you leave the Common Travel Area (Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) or are overseas at the time of curtailment, any leave you have will be invalid.

If you leave the UK after the completion of your course and wish to return, for example to attend graduation you may want to contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team before making travel plans to ensure that you do not face any issues at the UK border.

We strongly recommend that you seek free, impartial immigration advice from Kent Union Advice Centre.

Typically, the Home Office will contact you by email to provide you with a new visa expiry date after curtailment.

If your wrap up period is not subject to any curtailment you may be entitled to leave and enter the UK as often as required. However, if on return to the UK a Border Force officer is not satisfied with your reasons for returning to the UK or that you will adhere to the terms of your visa, they can make a decision to refuse entry to the UK, as with any other visa category.

Who can I contact?

Applicants and new courses

If you are a student starting a new course at the University of Kent, take a look at our apply for a CAS guidance (applicant). For further information, please contact the Admissions team.

Current students

If you are a current student and require a CAS to extend your visa to complete your current course, or if you are switching courses, take a look at our apply for a CAS guidance (current students). For further information, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team.

If you are applying for a Student visa to start a new course at the University of Kent, contact the Admissions team.

If you are applying to extend your Student visa to complete your current course, or if you are switching courses, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team.

If your CAS needs to be updated because you made a fee payment to the University, please see our guidance on how to apply for a CAS.

Important information on fees

Your CAS will be produced based on your financial status at the time you request the CAS and will state any tuition and accommodation fees outstanding to the University.

If you have made a fee payment after we have assigned your CAS please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team. We will liaise with the Income Office regarding your payment and update your CAS accordingly.

It is recommended that if you intend to make any fee payments, you do so prior to applying for your CAS.

Please read our webpages on applying for a visa from within the UK or how to apply for a CAS.

Contact the Kent Union Advice Centre, who are trained immigration advisers in the area of Student visas, can offer impartial immigration advice and assistance with your visa application.

If you have questions about a specific process, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team.

Health and vaccinations

As part of your immigration application, you will need to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Whether you need to pay depends on the immigration status you are applying for.

The immigration health surcharge gives you access to the UK's National Health Service, and if you are a European student with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may be able to apply for a refund of the cost of the immigration health surcharge. Find out if you are eligible for an immigration health surcharge refund.

You will need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than six months and are resident in any of these listed countries.

Please see the government website for more information on the tuberculosis test.

Family members

Your family members (known as dependants) might be able to apply to join or remain with you in the UK.

A dependant is either:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner
  • your unmarried or same-sex partner
  • your child under 18 years old (including if they were born in the UK during your stay)

Your family members must apply online for a visa to come to the UK.

More information can be found on the government's Student visa webpages.

You should apply for your dependants’ visas at the same time as you extend your Student visa or switch to the Student route.

If you can’t do it at the same time, your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas at a later date from outside of the UK.

More information can be found on the government's Student visa webpages.  

Last updated