Conditions of your stay

Conditions of your stay

This section explains the conditions of your stay in the UK while you are a student under Tier 4 of the points-based system.

When can you come?

Your course start date is the date given by your approved education provider on your confirmation of acceptance for studies (or on your visa letter, if you applied to UKBA before 22 February 2010).

If you are doing a course that lasts six months or more, or it is a course to prepare you for study (known as a pre-sessional course), you can come to the UK up to one month before your course start date.

If you are doing a course that lasts less than six months and is not a course to prepare you for study, you can come to the UK up to seven days before your course start date.

What to show at the port?

You must show your visa stamp (also known as a vignette) in your passport or your identity card at port when you arrive.

UKBA advise you to carry the documents you provided with your original application (or copies of them) in your hand luggage, including your confirmation of acceptance for studies reference number (or your original visa letter, if you applied to UKBA before 22 February 2010).

For more information, see the Arriving at the UK border section of this website.

General conditions of your stay as a Tier 4 student

While you are in the UK as a Tier 4 student, you must:

  • not claim any state benefits (also known as 'public funds') that you are not entitled to; and
  • register with the police, if this is required under paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules.

To find out more about your rights and responsibilities in the UK, including information about public funds and registering with the police, see the Rights and responsibilities section of this website.

 

Can you work while you are a Tier 4 (General) student? (Students who applied to UKBA before 4 July 2011)

You are allowed to:

  • do part-time work during term time (see below);
  • do full-time work during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course;
  • work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

You can do this work without needing to seek our approval.

For more information about work placements, see the Your course of study page.

The work you do must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme), and you must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer.

The maximum amount of part-time work you can do during term time is:

  • 20 hours per week if you are studying a course at or above UK degree level or afoundation degree course, and/or if you made your Tier 4 (General) application on or before 2 March 2010; or
  • 10 hours per week if you are studying a course that is below UK degree level and is not a foundation degree course, and you made your Tier 4 (General) application on or after 3 March 2010.

You can work full-time during vacations, within the above limits. If you have completed your course and you apply to remain in the UK under the points-based system before your existing permission to stay expires, you can work full-time (within the above limits) until your application is decided.

 

Can you work while you are a Tier 4 (General) student? (Students who applied to UKBA on or after 4 July 2011)

If you are on a course at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 at a UK higher education institution, or a short-term study abroad degree programme at an overseas higher education institution, you are allowed to:

  • work for up to 20 hours per week during term time;
  • work full-time during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course;
  • work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

If you are on a course below this level at a UK higher education institution, you are allowed to:

  • work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;
  • work full-time during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

If you are on a course at any level at a publicly funded further education college, you are allowed to

  • work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;
  • work full-time during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course, provided your education provider is a Highly Trusted sponsor or the course is at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

You can do this work without needing to seek our approval.

You are not allowed to work in the UK if you are on a course at any level with an education provider that is not a UK higher education institution or a publicly funded further education college (unless you are on a short-term study abroad degree programme at an overseas higher education institution).

If you are allowed to work, the work you do must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme), and you must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer.

For more information about work placements, see the Your course of study page.

If you are allowed to work, you can work full-time during vacations within the above limits. If you have completed your course and you apply to remain in the UK under the points-based system before your existing permission to stay expires, you can work full-time (within the above limits) until your application is decided.

 

Can you do extra studies while you are in the UK as a Tier 4 student?

You are allowed to do extra courses (such as evening courses) in addition to your main studies. The course can be on any subject, and does not have to relate to your main course of study.

You do not need to get our permission in order to do extra studies, and you do not need to tell your Tier 4 sponsor. But you must ensure that the extra course does not stop you from doing the course that you have permission to stay for.

Can you be a student union sabbatical officer?

A student union sabbatical job is a full-time, salaried, elected executive union position. The job may be either at your Tier 4 sponsor's institution or with the National Union of Students of the UK. You may take this job during your studies or in the academic year immediately after you graduate.

If you take the job while you still have time left in your permission to stay as an adult student, your Tier 4 sponsor must let UKBA know. This is because they are responsible for you until your permission to stay in the UK expires.

If you want to take the job at the end of your course, and your permission to stay as a student is about to expire, you must apply to extend your stay as a Tier 4 student. You will need to meet the Tier 4 requirements again.

A sabbatical job normally lasts for one academic year, and you may be given permission to stay to cover this time. If you are re-elected after one year, you will need to apply under Tier 4 again. You can have the job for a maximum of two years.

The requirement for a work placement to be no more than 50 per cent of your overall course in the UK does not include any period when you are in post as a student union sabbatical officer.

Your education provider must continue to meet its reporting duties while you are a sabbatical officer, but your contact with them is likely to be different because of the nature of your work.

You can do additional work, but it is restricted to part-time work (no more than 20 hours per week) during term time and full-time work during vacations, if you are not working full-time for the student union during vacations.

 

If you think your education provider is not complying with its duties

If you think your education provider is not complying with its duties as a Tier 4 sponsor, or has given false information to UKBA about you, you must tell UKBA your concerns.

UKBA treat any allegation of abuse of a Tier 4 sponsor's duties in the strictest confidence. If you have any information about such abuse, please use our reporting form on the Report immigration crime or smuggling page on this website.