Student visa responsibilities

To maintain your visa rights in the UK you must continue at all times to meet the terms and conditions of your visa.

If we become aware that you are not complying with the conditions of your visa, we are under an obligation to report this to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).  On this page you will find details of the conditions you must adhere to in order to maintain your Student visa.  The UCL Student Immigration Compliance Team has created a Student visa and Sponsor Responsibilities Guide that you should review  in order to ensure that you comply with the conditions of your Student visa


A Student visa can only be used for study at the University and for the particular programme for which the visa was issued. Therefore you can only use your Student visa for study at UCL. If you have a Student visa from another university you will not be able to enrol or study at UCL unless you have made an in-time Student visa application to extend your visa and switch to studying at UCL.

To contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team, please open an enquiry via askUCL

On this page you can find information about your responsibilities relating to:


UCL are required to see originals of and keep copies of your documents. This includes the following:

Immigration documents

  • Passport
  • Travel vignette
  • Visa/BRP
  • Online immigration status
  • ATAS certificate (if applicable)

Documents used to obtain offer

  • English language evidence (if applicable)
  • Qualifications

You must be able to provide these documents for UCL at or before enrolment. If you are not able to do so you will not be able to start your studies.

If you are unable to enrol by the UCL enrolment deadline we must report this to UKVI. It is therefore important that you keep us updated if you cannot enrol before your start date for whatever reason. If you request a later enrolment date, we will consider whether you will still have sufficient time on your visa to complete your studies. If we do not think that you will have sufficient time to complete your studies, we will not allow you to enrol and your sponsorship will be withdrawn.

If you have been asked to provide copies of your immigration status (e.g. your BRP or travel vignette), have obtained a new visa or applied for a new one and need to update us, you can use the Visa Document Upload function on your Portico homepage to upload copies.  It is very important that UCL has up-to-date copies of your immigration status and it is your responsibility to update us with any changes. 

View and prove your immigration status

If you have been told you can view your immigration status online you can use the UK Visas and Immigration visa verification service to:

  • get a ‘share code’ to prove your status to others, for example employers, or educational institutions such as UCL
  • update your personal details, for example your passport number or email address
  • check what rights you have in the UK, for example the right to work, rent or claim benefits

Once you have your 'share code', you can provide this to UCL so that we may verify your immigration status.  As a visa Sponsor, UCL must also check the date on which you entered the UK to ensure you entered within the validity of your visa.  As such UCL may require you to also submit a copy of your boarding pass or flight details to confirm this. 

You will also be required to send a copy of your confirmation email from UKVI which confirms you have been granted the visa, as this provides information about the conditions of your visa. 

Who can use this service

You can use this service if you:

  • have settled or pre-settled status
  • applied for a visa and used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document on your phone

You cannot use this service if you have a vignette in your passport or a biometric residence permit to prove your immigration status.  There are different services for you to prove your right to work to an employer and to prove your right to rent to a landlord.

Attendance and absence

Attendance monitoring is undertaken by academic departments at regular points during your registration at UCL. This is to ensure that you are engaging with your studies; to identify problems as early as possible to ensure that action can be taken to advise and/or assist; and to meet the requirements set by UK Visas and Immigration for those with Student visas. 

As a Student visa holder, your visa status is dependent on your continued attendance on your programme.  UKVI rules state that UCL must report a student who is withdrawn as a result of failing to attend their programme without being granted authorised absence. This means you must maintain attendance on your programme and meet any minimum attendance requirements.

If you fail to meet your attendance requirements and/or do not provide UCL with adequate reasons why you have missed attendance we may be required to report this to UKVI and withdraw our sponsorship of your visa. This will result in the curtailment (shortening) of your visa and you will be expected to leave the UK. 

Academic departments can obtain further guidance on Student visa engagement monitoring policy on our staff only webpage

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students

Chapter 3 of UCL's regulatory framework for the enrolment and registration of Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate students contains the UCL Student Attendance Policy which applies to all Taught students at UCL. 

RegisterUCL is UCL’s platform for logging and monitoring student attendance for Taught students.  Attendance can be logged in RegisterUCL through either the upload of data from manual registers or from the use of card readers located in the majority of UCL’s teaching rooms.  Your faculty will provide you with information on how it intends to monitor your attendance on your programme.  

Postgraduate Research students

Postgraduate Research student attendance data is not captured in RegisterUCL and as such your department will report attendance on a monthly basis via Portico. In line with UCL’s Doctoral Code of Practice and UKVI requirements, departments are expected to evidence PGR student attendance at least every 30 days.

Authorised absence

If you are studying on a Student visa but need to be absent for longer than 14 calendar days, you must request a period of ‘authorised absence’ from your academic department. You do not need to do this if your absence is for up to 14 calendar days, such as if you are ill.  Please note that fees are not refunded for periods of authorised absence.

Your request will be authorised at the discretion of your academic department, based on your ability to successfully complete your programme.  As a Student visa holder, periods of absence can only be approved if you are able to successfully complete your programme within the duration of your current visa.

During vacation weeks (i.e., out of term-time), you do not need to request an authorised absence.

The maximum continuous period of absence that can be granted without suspending your studies and withdrawing your Student visa is 60 days.  If you are not able to return to your studies by the expected date given in your form, you should make an additional request to extend your absence, but this must not exceed 60 days. 

Please note that frequent and successive periods of absence will not normally be permitted and your registration will not be extended to take into account the period of absence.  If you need to take an absence of longer than 60 days, you will need to apply for an interruption of study

Programme Transfers

UCL is required to report any significant changes in your studies to UKVI. If any of the following are applicable, your Student visa may be affected and therefore you should seek guidance from the Student Immigration Compliance Team:

  • You apply for a programme transfer at UCL
  • You change your study location
  • The length of your programme becomes shorter or longer
  • You will complete a work placement


Early course completion 

If you complete your programme earlier than expected, this means that you have been awarded your degree before the course end date stated on your CAS.

UCL is required to report early course completions to UKVI. Once this report has been sent to UKVI, your visa will be curtailed to a new expiry date. UCL will email you to confirm when your early course completion has been reported to UKVI. This email will also contain information regarding your new visa expiry date.

Please note that if your visa has been curtailed as result of completing your studies early, you are still subject to UKVI’s rules around curtailment. This means that if you leave the UK but wish to return, for example to attend your graduation ceremony, you will not be able to do this on your current visa, and will need to obtain alternative leave, such as a Standard Visitor visa

Withdrawing from your programme

UCL is required to report to UKVI if you withdraw from your programme. In this case your visa will be curtailed (shortened) and you will be expected to leave the UK. 

Covid-19 and visa curtailments

If you require immigration advice in relation to COVID-19, please open an enquiry via askUCL

Interruptions and repeats of study

UCL is required to report to UKVI if you interrupt your programme of studies or if you need to take resits/repeats of study that do not require attendance.  In this case your visa will be curtailed (shortened) and you will be expected to leave the UK.

If you are interrupting your studies, you will need to re-apply for a new visa before you return to UCL to re-commence your studies. Please begin the process of obtaining your new Student visa at least 3 months before your intended return date to UCL.  You will need to arrange for a CAS request form to be completed and submitted to the compliance team via askUCL which can found on the website

If you are intending to return to UCL during your interruption as you are required to take re-sits, you will need a Standard Visitor Visa.  You can also visit the .GOV website for more information. 

Covid-19 and visa curtailments

If you require immigration advice in relation to COVID-19, please open an enquiry via askUCL

Change of immigration status

If you change your immigration status by moving into another visa category you must inform UCL straight away.  You can use the Visa Document Upload function on your Portico homepage to upload copies of your new immigration status.  It is very important that UCL has up-to-date copies of your immigration status and it is your responsibility to update us with any changes. 

Contact details

UCL must hold on your student record, your UK contact address, telephone number and email at all times.  If you change your contact details at anytime during your studies you are required to provide us with updated details as soon as possible.  You can update your contact details on your Portico homepage.  

Working in the UK

Your Student visa allows you limited working rights in the UK. Please see our guidance for further information about this: Working in the UK

As a Student visa holder, you must not work more than the maximum number of hours allowed by your visa or do any prohibited work. Failure to adhere to the work conditions of your visa can result in cancellation of your visa, fines and/or a ban on entry to the UK and so it is imperative that you ensure that you do not breach your working rights.

Work placements

If you are a Student visa holder, you are only permitted to undertake a work placement in the following circumstances:

The work placement must:

  • be an integral and assessed part of your programme
  • take up no more than 50% of the total time that you spend on your programme

If your work placement meets the above requirements, you will be permitted to work (paid or unpaid) for more than 20 hours per week.  However, you must not be self-employed, or employed as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson, or an entertainer.

As your visa sponsor, UCL will report the details of your work placement to UK Visas and Immigration.  This applies whether your work placement takes in place on the work placement premises, remotely or abroad. 

PGR students who wish to undertake a work placement must obtain confirmation from their supervisor that the placement is an integral part of their PhD research.  It is only in these circumstances that we will be able to continue to sponsor your student visa.

If you have any questions about undertaking a work placement as part of your programme, you should seek guidance from both your academic department and the Student Immigration Compliance Team.

Police registration

The police registration scheme ended on 4 August 2022 and therefore is no longer a requirement. As such, you no longer need to do this, even if you were previously told to.

Student visa advice

If you have further queries regarding your visa status you can contact the Student Immigration Advice Team by opening an enquiry via askUCL

After you have finished your studies

As part of your Student visa application you will usually receive an additional period of leave after you have finished your studies.  Once you have passed the official end date of your programme (as stated on your CAS) and you are therefore in your post-study period, you may do the following:

  • Enter and leave the UK
  • Work full-time in the UK, if your conditions of leave permit you to work.  Please click here to find out more about working after your studies. 
  • Study in the UK
  • Visit areas in the UK
  • Apply to remain in the UK under an appropriate alternative route (e.g. Tier 1 and Tier 2). Please click here for information about non-Student visas. 

Please note that if you do travel during your post-study period, Border Force officials will need to be satisfied when you are entering the UK that you will either complete the activity you intend to carry out and leave the UK before your visa expires, or that you will submit an in-time visa application to extend your leave in the UK.  You should therefore carry any relevant documentation with you when you travel to show to the Border Force officer if required.  

Graduate visa

You may also be interested in applying for the Graduate visa.  The Graduate visa is available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UCL and who have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application.  Please see our website for further information about this visa.