The information you need about your visa during your studies.
We have specialist knowledge in UK Visas and Immigration procedures, guidance and audits and are on hand if you have any queries relating to sponsorship under Tier 4. The Home Office regularly updates visa and immigration guidelines and we work to ensure the university and its students are compliant with respect to these. We also work with internal departments on a consultancy basis regarding Tier 2 sponsorship and other work routes.
The International Student Advice Service offers one-to-one advice and casework for all students, graduates or prospective students. They should be your first point of call for any immigration related queries or concerns. We have included as much information as possible in the pages below but if you have any questions or would like to arrange an appointment with one of our advisers you are very welcome to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details, see our International Student Support webpages.
While you're here
Before you can enrol with Bath Spa University, you will be required to show the university your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card. Not all students will need a BRP card; if you need a BRP card this will be indicated on the decision letter that accompanied your temporary (30 day) visa vignette. If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months, the visa in your passport will be valid for the length of your course and you will NOT need a BRP.
If you have a Tier 4 visa you will not be permitted to enrol until after you have picked up your BRP. (unless your visa application is in process) During registration, you will need to do/bring the following:
- Complete the compliance form for Tier 4 students; this will ask for your personal details such as your term time address and phone number in the UK
- Your full passport (we will need to see the original Entry Clearance)
- Your current visa (your BRP card);
- If you have submitted a Tier 4 visa application in the UK you will need to bring evidence that you have submitted your application, the online confirmation of your submission and the postal receipt confirming you have sent off your documents to the Home Office
- The original academic qualifications as listed in the evidence text box of your CAS
- The original English language qualification the university has used to assess your English; this will also be listed in the evidence text box of your CAS
- Your ATAS certificate (if this was required as part of your visa application).
If you are an international student on a visa that is not a Tier 4 visa (such as a short term study visit or a dependant visa) you will need to bring your visa and passport to registration.
Please see the Registration and Enrolment page for more information.
Travel and holidays
During official University vacation periods, you may wish to travel to other countries. When you travel, you must always have a valid visa and a passport for the country/countries you wish to visit. If you are still awaiting a decision by the UK Visa and Immigration on a visa application, you shouldn't book any travel until you have received your visa.
If you hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) rather than a visa vignette in your passport, you must ensure that you take this on your travels as you will need to present this upon entry to the UK. Do not attempt to enter the UK if your BRP is no longer valid. Take care of your passport and visa whilst on holiday.
Most countries require visitors to have a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months left, before they will admit someone as a visitor. Therefore, ensure your passport has at least this amount of validity remaining.
If you would like to travel around Europe, a Schengen visa will grant you entry to most countries. Please contact International Student Advice for more information and support about applying for a Schengen visa.
The Schengen Area is the area including 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders, so travel here is extremely simple once you have the Schengen visa.
Please note, you will require a separate visa to enter Ireland as a visitor. Your Tier 4 visa does not grant you entry to Ireland under the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS). However, you are able to transit through Ireland to the UK with a Tier 4 visa.
Travel during term time
You are not permitted to travel during term time. If you do have to leave and re-enter the UK during term time, you will need to have a written permission from Bath Spa University. You will need to carry this with you as Border Force Officers at the UK Border may ask you to explain why you are travelling during term time whilst registered as a full-time student.
If you need to leave the UK as a field trip or as part of your course or research, please contact International Student Advice Service ahead of departure so we can ensure you are fully prepared.
Exceptional circumstances (travel during term time)
We understand that there may be personal circumstances as well as festivities and celebrations held in your home country or culture that may fall at times of the year when you are expected to be in full-time study. You need to be aware that you are expected to attend and engage with your studies at all points during your course however in exceptional circumstances you are welcome to contact us if you'd like to discuss this further or apply for authorisation to travel.
Doctorate extension scheme
This scheme is designed to give students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification an additional 12 months of Tier 4 immigration permission in which to look for and start work in the UK. During this period you would still be sponsored by Bath Spa University.
To be eligible to apply for a CAS under this scheme you must be a doctoral candidate at Bath Spa. With current Tier 4 leave. This means you must be studying for a PhD qualification or for one of the doctorate qualifications listed in Annex 5 of the Tier 4 policy guidance as acceptable postgraduate research qualifications.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
This is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which gives you security clearance to study certain subject areas. You're required to submit an ATAS certificate with your Tier 4 application for entry clearance, if it required.
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all international students subject to existing UK immigration permissions, who are applying to study for a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK.
You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to 9 months before the starting date of your course. Early applications are strongly advised. Most applications are completed in 20 working days but can take longer, especially during peak periods.
Your responsibilities and our responsibilities
As a Tier 4 student, you must ensure that you satisfy the Home Office terms and conditions of your immigration permission for the duration of your visa. This is a legal obligation and failure to do so may result in BSU withdrawing its sponsorship of your visa.
Useful information about the terms of your visa and protecting your immigration status can be found on UK Council for International Student Affairs.
During your studies you must:
- Ensure that your visa is valid throughout your studies;
- Check your Bath Spa student email account regularly throughout studies. Respond to communications from academic and BSU staff when required;
- Submit all assessments and sit all exams that your course requires;
- Attend all the sessions of your course with no unauthorised absences;
- Ensure that you comply with visa working restrictions (see the Working in the UK section below). If you breach this restriction and work illegally, we will withdraw your Tier 4 sponsorship;
- Re-enrol for your course on time each year.
- Leave the UK if your interrupt your studies or withdraw from BSU.
- If you change your immigration status by moving into another visa category you must inform BSU straight away.
You must notify Bath Spa University and in some cases, the UK Home Office if:
- You require a visa extension to complete your studies;
- You leave the UK for any reason during your course, or you withdraw, defer or intercalate your study;
- Your contact details change;
- There have been other changes in your circumstances (you’ve secured a credit bearing work placement, you’ve had changes in campus location etc.).
You must notify the Home office if any of the following change
- Name, nationality
- Appearance, Date of birth, gender
- 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
You must seek authorisation or guidance from International Compliance and Advice if:
- You wish to change your course in any way (see ‘Changing your course’ below);
- You wish to leave the UK for study purposes (overseas field trips, placements or research);
- You are seeking an authorised absence during your term time.
Furthermore, as a Tier 4 Sponsor, Bath Spa University is expected to ensure that we and our students are compliant with the Tier 4 system and the immigration rules. If we fail to comply we are at risk of losing our ability to recruit and retain International Students. Consequently, we take our duties under this legislation very seriously.
The University is required to:
- Hold a copy of your passport and visa documents. If you obtain a new passport during your studies, you must provide the Compliance Unit with the details. If you apply for a new Tier 4 visa or change visa category you must provide the Compliance Unit with the details immediately;
- Keep up-to-date accurate UK contact details including both address and telephone number;
- Inform the Home Office if you do not arrive as expected;
- Monitor the attendance of Tier 4 students and report unsatisfactory attendance to the Home Office (students will be informed before this course of action is taken);
- Inform the Home Office if there is a change of circumstances with your studies, for example if you change course, intercalate, discontinue or complete earlier than the course end date given in your CAS;
- Inform the Home Office if we believe you are breaching the conditions of your leave (e.g. working over the permitted allowance).
Working in the UK
Your Tier 4 visa vignette or BRP will indicate how long you are permitted to work each week during term time. For Bath Spa students with Tier 4 visas this will either be 10 hours or 20 hours a week during term time. Outside of term time you may work longer hours per week.
Normally, if you are studying with a valid Tier 4 (general) student visa at undergraduate or postgraduate degree for six months or longer, you are permitted to work:
- no more than 20 hours per week during term time;
- full-time during official vacation periods.
You are also permitted to take up any work placements that form an assessed part of your course, providing the work placement does not amount to more than 50% of the course. Please note any work placement is considered a change in circumstances that we must report to UKVI so you must contact us prior to a placement starting.
If you breach these restrictions, it means that you are working illegally and your Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.
Tier 4 students:
- can only be employed on a temporary basis, they cannot be employed on a permanent contract;
- cannot be self-employed or set up a business;
- cannot be employed as a professional sportsperson or as an entertainer.
Your employer will also be required to submit a Right to Work check to confirm it is legal to employ you. Expect them to ask to see your passport and BRP. Do not let them keep these documents under any circumstances; it is illegal for them to do so. They should simply take photocopies of these for their records.
You can find further information about work which is and is not permitted on the UK Visas & Immigration pages.
Balancing work with studies
Please note that the primary purpose of a Tier 4 (general) student visa is to study. Although you are permitted to work 20 hours per week during term time, it is advised that before committing to any employment, you consider the time required for timetabled study as well as independent study, course work, revision for examinations and additional reading. We recommend that you do not commit to working any more than 15 hours per week during term time.
Working after completing your studies
The four-month period of leave after the course end date on your CAS is issued by UK Visas and Immigration to allow students time to wrap up any affairs prior to leaving the UK, or to arrange an alternative immigration category (such as Tier 2) and is considered to be a period of vacation. Therefore, you will be able work full-time for the remaining leave after completion of your studies.