Visas and immigration

Visas and

This page gives you information and signposting to the things you'll need to know about gaining your visa and preparing for travel to the United Kingdom.

The University for the Creative Arts has the status of a Tier 4 Sponsor.

Tier 4 Sponsor status recognises sponsors who show a good history of compliance with their sponsor duties and whose students comply with the terms of their visa or permission to stay in the UK. As a Tier 4 sponsor we take our obligations on immigration compliance very seriously.

The Points Based System (PBS) was designed by the UK government and is the means of regulating immigration to the United Kingdom from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). The scheme is administered by the UK Visa & Immigration (UKV&I). The PBS consists of five separate tiers, 1 through to 5. Tier 4 (general) is the route used for migrants who want to study full time in the UK, who are over 16 and studying at a Higher Education Institution.

The information outlined below explains the process of applying for your visa and the conditions attached to your visa once it is granted.

For general visa information you can also take a look at the applying for a visa to study in the UK video on the UKCISA website.

The process for applying for your student visa's are slightly different depending on whether you are: 

  • Applying for a new visa from your home country
  • Already in the UK and need to switch to Tier 4
  • Renew/extend your existing Tier 4 visa.

We will explain these processes in detail further down this page.

Who can apply

You can apply for a Tier 4 (general) student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 years old (or over), and you:

  • Have been offered a place on a course
  • Can speak, read, write and understand English
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - this will vary depending on your circumstances
  • Are from a country that is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

There are a few more requirements, which are set out in the UK Visas and Immigration website.


Migrants who are coming to the UK or are in the UK on a Tier 4 (general) visa can only have dependants with them if:

  • You will be/are studying on a course that is RQF level 7 (Masters degree) or above
  • The course lasts for at least 12 months
  • You are studying the course at an HEI.

This means that anyone studying on our masters or PhD programmes that are longer than 12 months can bring a dependant with them. 

Before you can apply for your Tier 4 student visa, you need to have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from us. This is proof that you have been accepted onto a specific course at a specific university in the UK.

We will only be able to issue this to you once the following things have happened.

  • We have offered you an unconditional place on a course
  • You have firmly accepted the offer
  • You have paid your £2,500 tuition-fee deposit
  • You have provided us with the supporting documents we need.

Supporting documents for your CAS

Before we can issue your CAS, you must send us copies of specific supporting documents. We recommend that you scan your documents and email them to us. Do not send us any originals by post.

The documents we need are:

  • The Immigration History check form we send you, this allows us to check you are eligible for a Tier 4 visa.
  • Your passport photo page plus any previous UK entry and exit clearance stamps or visas, and information about any previous study in the UK (name of course and date of study, if you have any old CAS’s send these). If you have never studied in the UK before, please confirm this by email.
  • Your highest academic qualification - certificate and transcript.
  • Your English language qualification (such as your IELTS certificate).
  • Your portfolio, if you submitted it as part of your application - even if you have received your offer by interview, we need a copy of your portfolio for our records.
  • The financial information you intend to use for your visa application (unless you are a low-risk student). If the terms and conditions of your financial statement are on the back of the document, please also send a copy of this page.

Getting your CAS number

We will send you your CAS number by email along with details of the evidence that you have provided to get your place at UCA, for example, details of your highest academic qualification.

You will need to enter your CAS number on your visa application. Your application will not be able to make an application without it.

You must apply for your visa in time to start the course.

More information

You can find more information about applying for your student visa on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

When you apply for your visa, you will need to give evidence that you have access to enough money to pay for both your tuition fees and your maintenance (living expenses) during your studies. 

How much money do I need?

You must prove that you have the funds to pay for your first year of tuition fees, minus any payments you have already made (such as a £2,500 tuition fee deposit). Check the tuition fees for this year.   

As well as the money to pay for your tuition fees, you must also be able to prove that you can afford to pay your living expenses. 

You need to have £1,015 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of £9,135 for a course lasting nine months or more.

How do I prove that I have the funds?

You can only use evidence that is in your or your parent/s or legal guardian/s name unless you are being officially sponsored (see below).

You will need to show that you have held the required amount for at least 28 consecutive days on a statement that is not older than 31 days from the date you apply for the visa.

Evidence you can use includes:

  • Personal bank or building society statements
  • A building society passbook
  • A certificate of deposit (a document issued by a bank which confirms an individual has deposited or invested a sum of money)
  • A letter from your bank, or a regulated financial institution, confirming your funds
  • You can find more information about what you need to provide as evidence in paragraph 188 of the UK Visas & Immigration Tier 4 guidance.

Here are a few things to remember:

1. Funds must be in the form of cash held in your, your parent or your guardian’s account.

2. Accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, and pension funds are not acceptable.

3. Evidence of funds held in a credit card account is not acceptable.

4. A bank statement or letter is only valid only 31 days. You must submit your visa application within these 31 days otherwise it is likely to be refused.

5. Your financial documents must show that the full amount of money that you need has been in the account for 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. This means that the account must not have dropped below the amount that you need to show at any time during the 28-day period. If it does, your visa is likely to be refused. Also, the final date of the 28-day period must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you submit your application.

What if I have an official financial sponsor?

An official financial sponsor is defined in the Tier 4 policy guidance as:

  • The UK government
  • Your home government
  • The British Council
  • Any international organisation
  • An international company (the Home Office has not defined 'international company' but it seems to mean a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country)
  • Any university
  • An independent school.

If you receive funding from any of these sources, you will need a letter from them confirming how much money they will contribute towards your course fees and maintenance.

You can find more information about what information you need to provide in paragraph 180 of the UK Visas & Immigration Tier 4 guidance.

More information

You can find more information about the financial requirements for your visa application on the following web pages:

UK Council for International Student Affairs (Eligibility and requirements)

UK Visas & Immigration Tier 4 guidance

IHS: In the UK we have a healthcare system which is paid for through taxes. This means that all UK nationals and most UK residents have equal access to the National Health Service (NHS) without being charged each time they visit a doctor or hospital.

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has been introduced to help fund the NHS, and will allow migrants the same access to the NHS as UK citizens.

Who has to pay?

If you are applying from outside the UK and your visa will be longer than 6 months you will have to pay the IHS for your visa application to be valid.

If you are applying for your visa in the UK, you will have to pay the IHS for any length of visa.

How much does it cost?

The surcharge for students is £150 per person, per year of the visa. Part years of less than six months will be charged at £75.

For example, if you are studying a three year programme, you will be charged £525 (£150 per year of programme, plus £75 for the four month period at the end of the visa).

If you are bringing dependents with you each of your dependants would also be charged £525 if they are applying at the same time as you.

You can use the Immigration Health Surcharge tool on the Home Office website to check exactly how much you will have to pay.

Is anyone exempt from the charge?

Anyone applying for entry clearance for less than six months, and academic visitors coming to the UK for up to 12 months (even if they are here for more than six months) do not have to pay the surcharge.

When do I pay the Immigration Health Surcharge?

You must make your payment by debit/credit card as part of your online visa application.

When you apply for your Tier 4 student visa, you need to include all the documents listed in your CAS, application form and guidance notes.

We advise that you take a copy of all your documents and print out your application form before you send them. Keep these copies for your records in case there are any problems with your application.

You must include the following documents as evidence.

  • Cover sheet - confirmation of visa application being submitted.
  • Passport (with at least 2 clear pages that are next to each other if you are applying from outside the UK).
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if you have previously lived in the UK and have been issued with a BRP).
  • Two new passport photos that have not been used for a UK visa application in the past.
  • Police registration certificate (if applicable).
  • Tuberculosis certificate (if applicable). Please check if you are required to have this certificate.
  • Evidence confirming you have enough money (unless you are a ‘low-risk student’).
  • Evidence of any official financial sponsorship or consent to complete studies (if applicable).
  • Original certificate or transcript of previous studies as mentioned in the 'Evidence used to obtain' section of your CAS.
  • Certificate of English language qualification (only if an English test has been stated in the 'Evidence used to obtain' section of your CAS).
  • Marriage certificate (if your spouse is applying as your dependant at the same time).
  • Birth certificates (if you are using parents or guardian's bank statement or have children applying as your dependants at the same time).
  • Letter from your parents if they are supporting you financially.

Specific requirements

If your application includes any documents which are not in English (or Welsh), you must also include an original translation of each document. Each translation must contain:

  • Confirmation from the translator or translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document.
  • The date of the translation.
  • The full name and original signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company.
  • The contact details of the translator or translation company.

Low-risk students

Depending on the country you are applying from, you may not need to provide evidence of your qualifications or your money. The UK Visas and Immigration office calls this the ‘differentiation arrangement for low-risk students’. Although you are not required to provide evidence of your qualifications or financial documents you should be able and prepared to provide these if asked for by the UKVI during your application.

Low-risk countries include:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • British National (Overseas)
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan (those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan).

More information

You can find more information about applying for your student visa on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

If you are applying for a new visa from your home country, this is how the process works.

When to apply

Before you apply for your visa, you must know the date you are planning to enter the UK, this is because your entry visa will start on the day you specify. You will then have 30 days to enter the UK from this date. You do not have to have purchased flights when you apply, just know the month you wish to travel.

You can apply for a visa up to three months before the start of your course. How long it takes to process will depend on where you are applying from, but you should get a decision within three weeks. Take a look at the visa processing times for your country.

Applying for your visa

1. Fill in the online application form and pay the correct fee including paying the immigration health surcharge and entering the post code of the collection location for your BRP (further information about this will be in your CAS email). Important information if you are applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa: Your course start and end dates must match the details on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If you are extending your visa in the UK your course start date will not be the date you originally started studying. Home Office information about the immigration health surcharge.

2. Print out your completed application form and cover sheet.

3. Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)(if required). Attend the VAC.

4. Provide your biometric data and attend a credibility interview if required.

5. Submit your signed application form, supporting documents and passport, either at the VAC or by post.

6. Your visa will then either be granted or refused. If it is refused, you must contact our International Admissions team and send them the copy of your refusal notice. We will then be able to advise you on your next steps.

7. Your documents and passport will then be returned, you will have a short entry clearance visa vignette (sticker) in your passport which will be valid for 30 days, you will also have a letter informing you where to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from once you arrive in the UK.

8. Check that all the details on your visa are correct, if they are not please contact before you travel.

9. Travel to the UK on or after the 'valid from' date on your visa, remembering to bring the letter that informs you where and when to collect your BRP.

10. Once you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your BRP from the location noted on your letter, this should usually be available 10 days after the date you stated you intend to travel and check that all the details are correct, if they are not please email if after 2 weeks your BRP is still not available to be collected please contact

If you are applying from North Korea you will need to use a printed application form, rather than applying online. You will then pay your fees at the Visa Application Centre. The rest of the process is the same.

You can print out the VAF9 form and guidance notes from the UK Visas and Immigration website.

30-day visa

If your application to study in the UK is successful, you will be issued with a 30-day entry clearance visa. This is issued as a vignette (sticker) in your passport. It allows you to enter the UK during a 30-day period starting on the date you entered on your application that you would be travelling to the UK, but does not give you permission to stay, you will need to collect your BRP from a post office once you enter the UK.

Your visa sticker is valid for 30 days only. If you do not travel to the UK within this time, your visa will expire and you will need to apply for another 30-day visa. You will have to pay a fee for this. 

You can only apply for a new visa from within the UK if your current visa falls into one of the following categories.

  • Tier 4 (General) Student
  • Tier 4 (Child) Student
  • Tier 4 (Child) Student
  • Tier 2 Migrant.


  • The start date of your new course (as given on your CAS letter) is less than 28 days from the end of your current visa. If your current visa expires before this, you will need to leave the UK and apply from your home country.
  • If you are currently on or have previously held a Tier 4 (general) visa you must also be able to demonstrate academic progression:
    • To demonstrate academic progression, your new course must normally be above the level of the previous course for which you were given Tier 4 leave. For example, if you have completed an undergraduate course (BA) the next level would be a Masters program (MA).
    • Study at the same level is sometimes allowed, providing that the second course either provides a deeper specialisation or the new course combined with your existing course will help your genuine career aspirations. We will require a written statement from you to demonstrate this.
    • If your new course is at a lower level than your previous course, it will not represent academic progression and any application to extend your leave will be refused.
    • In order to demonstrate academic progression you must have successfully completed (meaning you have achieved the qualification for which you were studying) the previous course for which you were last granted Tier 4 leave or, if you have changed courses with the same sponsor, the course you changed to. You can demonstrate this by having received the award or through formal written confirmation from your sponsor.
    • If you have failed to successfully complete (or have not yet completed) your previous course, you will not be able to demonstrate academic progress and will have to apply from overseas if you wish to make a Tier 4 application to study a new course. A student who has been studying A-Levels, and achieves a qualification in at least one of the subjects they have been studying, will be considered to have successfully completed their course.
    • Qualifications obtained through supplementary study cannot be relied upon to meet this requirement.

If you have been studying a pre-sessional English language course and then apply to study a substantive course that will be considered to be academic progress. If you have completed a substantive course then wish to undertake a pre-sessional English language course at a lower level, before another substantive course, this will represent academic progression if:

  • You have been assigned a single CAS to cover both the pre-sessional course and the substantive course; and
  • The substantive course is at a higher level than the previous course for which you were last granted Tier 4 leave. (In all other circumstances, undertaking a lower level English language course between two substantive courses will not represent academic progression.)


  • You are making a first application to complete an existing course commenced at a Tier 4 sponsor that had its licence revoked.
  • You are applying to resit an examination or repeat a course module or have in the past repeated a module so need to extend your visa to complete the course at UCA.
  • You are applying to complete the PhD or other doctoral qualification for which you were last given Tier 4 or Student leave (including where you are completing the qualification at a new sponsor).
  • You are applying to complete the qualification for which you were last given Tier 4 or Student leave after a period as a student union sabbatical officer.

If you can apply from inside the UK this is how the process works.

We do recommend that you speak to one of our  as they can help you make your online application , check your supporting documents, send your documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKV&I), track the progress of your application and take secure delivery of your returned passport and new visa.

1. Create an online account with UKV&I.

2. Complete the online self-assessment form and application form.

3. Collect all your documents to support your application.

4. Make an appointment to meet with a specialist adviser, taking with you all your supporting documents and a copy of your CAS letter or email. They will check your application and advise you about anything else you need.

5. At the appointment, complete your online application and pay the application fee including the Immigration Health Surcharge.

6. The adviser will print out the cover sheet for your application and post your supporting documents to the UKV&I office.

7. Once your application has been received you will be contacted to do your biometric enrolment.

8. Once you have provided your biometric data, your application will be considered by a caseworker.

9. Your documents and new visa (on a Biometric Residence Permit) will be returned to the specialist adviser. They will ask you to collect it from them. If, for any reason, your visa is returned to you directly, please bring it to the Campus Registry as soon as you receive it so that we can take a copy.

There are some premium options for making a visa application from inside the UK. There is a priority postal service and an in person service.

For the priority postal service:

You must fill in a request form before you can use the priority service. Send it to the email address on the form. Do not fill out the online form until you know if you have been successful in getting the priority postal service.

Only the first 60 requests received each day after 8:30am (Monday to Friday) are accepted - you’ll get an email saying if you’ve been successful.

Once you’ve been accepted for the priority service you should apply online following the above steps for yourself and any dependents within 24 hours. Pay the fee at the same time.

Send your supporting documents by registered post or courier to the address given in the priority service acceptance email. Send your dependants’ documents in the same envelope.

Your documents should reach UK Visas and Immigration no later than two days after you applied.

You will receive a decision in 10 days.

For the in person priority service:

  1. Complete steps 1 to 5 as above.
  2. Book an appointment online to take your application and supporting documents to a UK Visas and Immigration Public Enquiry Office. The specialist adviser will then print out the cover sheet for you.
  3. Attend your appointment and provide your biometric data.
  4. You should receive a letter on the day of your appointment which confirms the outcome of your application.
  5. Your new visa (on a Biometric Residence Permit) will be returned to the specialist adviser. They will ask you to collect it from them. If, for any reason, your visa is returned to you directly, please bring it to the Campus Registry as soon as you receive it so that we can take a copy.

Depending on what you are applying for, you will need to pay the following fees.

  • Applying for a new visa (from outside the UK): £335
  • Extending or switching by post (from in the UK): £457
  • Extending or switching – premium postal (from in the UK): £916
  • Extending or switching in person – premium service (from in the UK): £1047

You will also need to pay the same fees for any dependents.

More information about student visas

You can find more information about applying for your student visa on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Your permission to stay in the UK is issued as a biometric residence permit (BRP). This is a plastic card, which contains your personal information, your biometric information (like photograph and fingerprints) and your immigration status and conditions.

You can use your BRP to confirm your:

  • Identity
  • Right to study or work in the UK
  • Right to any public services or benefits you’re entitled to.

After you arrive in the UK you must collect your BRP within 10 days. You must collect it from the Post Office branch detailed in your decision letter. If you do not collect your BRP you may have to pay a penalty charge. The immigration office may also cancel your permission to stay. You will also not be able fully enrol on the course, if you are having any problems collecting your BRP you must contact

If you will be under 18 at the point you collect your BRP you will need a responsible adult to collect your BRP for you, this can be someone you nominate in advance who is in the UK (either a resident or someone on a visa) or we have registered members of staff at each campus who can collect it for you. To arrange this please contact in advance of you entering the UK.

When you collect your BRP from the Post Office, it is important that you check that all the information is correct, such as:

  • Your name and date of birth
  • Your Tier 4 (General) student visa status
  • The correct Sponsor licence number
  • The start and end dates of your permission to stay
  • Whether you can work and how many hours a week
  • Whether you need to register with the police (if applicable), this may be on the BRP or on the letter that accompanies the BRP.

Find out more about what a biometric residence permit is and what it can be used for.

What to do if any of the information on your BRP is missing or wrong

You must check your permit carefully when you receive it, to make sure that all the details on it are correct or if anything is missing. If you find a mistake, you must email within 10 working days of receiving the permit - otherwise you may be charged for a replacement and will have to apply again. For help with this please email 

What to do if you lose your BRP

If your permit is lost or stolen, you must report the loss or theft to the UK Visas and Immigration office as soon as possible by emailing

You must also report the loss or theft to the police and obtain a police report and a crime reference number, as soon as possible.

If your BRP is lost or stolen while you are in the UK, you must apply for another permit within three months of reporting the loss or theft of your original permit. This will cost you £45.

If your permit is lost or stolen while you are outside the UK, you must apply for a replacement visa in order to re-enter the United Kingdom. You must then apply for a new BRP within one month of re-entering the UK.

For help with this please email 

Find out more about getting a replacement BRP.

As a Tier 4 Sponsor we take our obligations on immigration compliance very seriously, the following information will explain the conditions of your visa that you must keep to and what The University of the Creative Arts must do to remain compliant with our Tier 4 Licence.

Your responsibilities

When you get your Tier 4 student visa, there are some conditions that you may have to meet, otherwise the UK Visas and Immigration office may withdraw your permission to stay.

It is important that you follow the immigration regulations during your stay in the UK. It is your responsibility to:

Registering with the police

You may have to register with the police. If so, you must do this within seven days of your arrival. You will be contacted in advance of your arrival with information on how to do this.

You must re-register with the police any time you change your permanent address or extend your visa.

You will need to register with the police if:

  • Your visa is for longer than 6 months.
  • You are 16 or older.
  • You are from one of the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen.
  • You are in the UK and are changing to a visa which requires you to register.

You do not need to register if:

  • You have dual nationality with a country that is not on the list above.
  • You have permission to live permanently in the UK.
  • You are a family member of an EEA citizen.

Registering costs £34, you will need to pay at the police station or at the organized registration session during your enrolment. When you register, you should take with you:

  • Your passport.
  • Two passport-sized colour photographs.
  • Your biometric residence permit (BRP), if you have one.
  • Details of your course and place of study.

If you do not register with the police, you could be fined £5,000 and put in prison for six months. Registering late can count against you next time you apply for a visa.

Study and attendance

The main reason for your stay in the UK is to study therefore we have a duty to monitor your study and attendance. It is very important that you attend all your classes and lectures and submit your coursework when it is due as any non attendance or non engagement with your course will need to be reported to the UKVI. Failure to attend at the expected levels could result in you being withdrawn from the course and your visa cancelled.

You are expected to:

  • Attend all lectures, tutorials, seminars, projects, examinations and enrolment as scheduled for your course of study.
  • Achieve an attendance level of at least 80% throughout your course.
  • Arrive for classes on time and stay for the duration of the session.
  • Tell the Campus Registry office (by email or written note) if you are not able to attend your class for any reason.
  • Tell the Campus Registry office (by completing an ‘authorised absence’ form) if you are ill or have an accident or need to return home for an emergency - we may ask you to provide evidence of the reason for your absence, for example a letter from your doctor.
  • Tell the Campus Registry office about any other reason you will be absent from a class.

We will grant compassionate leave where appropriate.

You are not allowed to take holidays during term time under any circumstances.

If you decide to leave your course early you must tell us immediately. If you are returning home or going to a different institution to study, please provide us with details so that we can notify the UK Visas and Immigration office.

You must provide us with the following before you can be fully enrolled on your course:

  • A copy of your passport and visa.
  • Up-to-date contact details in the UK – you can do this through the student portal (MyUCA).

You must also:

  • Register for your course on time each academic year.
  • Follow our procedures if you want to defer or suspend your studies or withdraw from your course.
  • Return home if you defer or suspend your studies, withdraw from your course or your course is terminated.
  • Act within the immigration rules if you change education provider – it is a criminal offence to register for studies at an institution other than the one shown on your visa. Students switching institutions need to make a new visa application as soon as a CAS is produced for them.
  • Act within the immigration rules if you change your course to a shorter course. If you applied for your current visa using a CAS, we will report the change to the UK Visas and Immigration office.

If you do not keep to these conditions, you may be suspended or withdrawn from your course. You may also be breaking the terms of your visa.

Our duties

By law, we must report certain information to the UK Visas and Immigration office. This includes notifying them if:

  • You do not enroll on your course before the last day of the enrolment period.    
  • You fail to attend a class or lecture, and we have not agreed to it.
  • You do not submit work for a specific number of times, and we have not agreed to it.
  • You defer, postpone or take a break from your studies for any reason.
  • You change to a shorter course.
  • You complete your studies early.
  • You withdraw from your studies before you have finished your course.

The UK Visas and Immigration office can end your immigration permission to stay early if they are notified of one of these issues.

We will monitor your continued attendance on your course and if it is reported that you have missed multiple sessions we must withdraw our sponsorship and withdraw you from the course meaning you will have to return home immediately.

Find out more about these duties in Annex 1 of the UK Visas and Immigration office's Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

More information

You can find more information about the conditions of your student visa on the following web pages.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (Protecting Tier 4 status)

UK Visas & Immigration Tier 4 guidance

Working in the UK will help you develop your English language skills and make a great addition to your CV. It's also a great way to meet new people and experience another side of British life.

However the main purpose of the Tier 4 visa route is for you to come to the UK to study. Where you are permitted to work, the intention is that this should be to supplement your income whilst studying.

There are limits on your working hours that depend on when you applied for permission to come to or stay in the UK, the type of course you study and what type of sponsor you are studying with.

Your visa will state how many hours you are allowed to work, it will be either 10 or 20 hours a week during term time and full time during official vacations.

It is your responsibility to not exceed these limits, doing so will mean you are breaking your visa conditions and could face a significant fine, having your earnings seized and have your visa cancelled.

The UKCISA website gives you full information about this. But here is a summary.

How much work you can do

  • If you are enrolled on a Bachelor’s degree course or higher (RQF 6) you are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time.
  • If you are enrolled on a course below RQF level 6 you are allowed to work for up to 10 hours a week during term time.
  • During holiday periods there are no restrictions on how many hours you can work.
  • You cannot take a gap year and work full time in the UK. If you want to defer your studies for a year, you should leave the UK and come back when your studies start again.
  • If you complete your course and you apply to stay in the UK under another visa, you are allowed to work full-time until your application is decided.

The type of work you cannot do

  • You must not work in a full-time permanent role.
  • You must not be self-employed, or work as a freelancer.
  • You must not work as a professional sportspersons, coach or entertainer.

Getting the balance right

While your visa may allow you to work up to 20 hours a week, to get the right balance of work/study/social life, we recommend that you only take on part-time work for a maximum of 15 hours a week. 

More information

We have a team of specialist advisors in our campus libraries. They are trained to help and advise you on working during your studies, as well as things like visa issues, finances, healthcare and registration.

Our  can also advise you on finding a part-time job.

Work Placements

Some of our courses allow for a short work placement during the course, during this you can work beyond the 20 hour a week limit as long as the placement is authorized by UCA before you start the placement.

Short-term study visa

This visa is suitable for you if you are studying a short course, on exchange, or on an English language programme, or need to repeat anything at the end of your course for less than 6 months.

You can apply for a short-term study visa if:

  • You are doing a short course of study in the UK
  • You are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • You meet the other eligibility requirements.

With this visa you can:

  • Do a short course of study in the UK, such as an English language course or a training course
  • Do a short period of research as part of a degree course if you are studying abroad.

You cannot:

  • Study at a state school
  • Work (including on a work placement or work experience) or carry out any business
  • Extend this visa
  • Bring family members (‘dependants’) with you - they must apply separately
  • Get public funds.

You can stay in the UK for:

  • 6 months – for any short course (including English language courses), or short period of research if you are 18 or over
  • 11 months – if you are 18 or over and taking an English language course.

Find out more about the short-term study visa.

Schengen visa

A Schengen visa allows you to visit certain countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) (and Switzerland) and to travel between these countries using only one visa.  

A Schengen visa is very useful if you plan to travel around Europe during or after your studies.

Find out more about the Schengen visa.

Please contact our  at the Library if you need to apply for Schengen Visa.