Protecting your visa - your responsibility

The following information is designed to help you maintain and protect your Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Study at your Tier 4 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 web information.

What happens if I do not comply with the Tier 4 visa requirements?

If you do not comply with the requirements set out above and below, access to your electronic study material via Blackboard will be removed. You will be emailed and be given a period of time to comply. If you do not take action or ignore the email, 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.

Police registration

Police registration was abolished on 5 August 2022. The abolition applies retrospectively.

If you have been instructed to register with the police as a condition of your visa, even if it was issued before 5 August 2022, you do not need to register.

If you have previously registered with the police, you do not need to take any action.

Work conditions

Tier 4 students either have a work restriction or a work prohibition. For more information please see our working in the UK information.

Public funds

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 Bristol from a pre-sessional course, UWEBIC course, from undergraduate to postgraduate level or if you 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.

Personal documents

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 Bristol 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 Bristol'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).

Other changes

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 dependant
  • other relevant changes.

Full information can be found on the 'reporting a change of circumstances' page on GOV.UK.