Student visa essential information

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires the University and the students it sponsors to adhere to the following rules:

Providing current documents for scanning, keeping contact details up to date and abiding by the conditions of your visa:

  1. We will check and keep a copy of your passport, previous UK visas and current UK visa (vignette or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card) as well as your ATAS certificate, if required
  2. If you obtain a new passport or visa, or extend your visa during your time with us, you must provide new copies of these to Student Visas. Should you fail to do so, your registration status at the University could be affected
  3. If Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance is one of your study conditions, you must apply for new ATAS clearance within 28 days of approval of any extension that exceeds three months from the previous course end date. You must also also apply for new ATAS clearance if your course or research change. Failure to secure a new ATAS certificate that reflects these changes may affect you registration status at the University
  4. You should keep your own copies of all your documents. Carry these with you when you travel but keep them separate from the originals in case of loss or theft
  5. You must update the University on any changes to your UK contact address, telephone number and emergency contact details so that we can maintain accurate records. You can update your own information via the University’s student portal. You should ensure these details are kept up to date at the start of every term
  6. You must report certain changes in circumstances to UKVI
  7. You must abide by the conditions of your visa. These conditions include any work conditions or requirements to register with the police. If we have substantial reason to believe that you have broken the conditions of your visa, we may obliged to report this to UKVI as it is one of our duties as a Student visa Sponsor. For more information on the work conditions please see Working in the UK during your studies

For further information, please see UKCISA: Protecting your Student visa status

Changes to your course:

  1. We must notify UKVI if you withdraw from your programme, fail to successfully complete your course or if your course ends early. This may result in your visa being curtailed
  2. If you suspend your studies for longer than 60 days or take a supplementary year without attendance, we will have to inform UKVI and you will be required to leave the UK. You will then need to apply for and obtain a new visa overseas prior to returning to the UK to complete your course. This would be subject to you meeting the visa requirements in place at the time and not exceeding the applicable Student visa time limit
  3. Your Student visa is issued to study the course listed in your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). We must inform UKVI if you transfer programme as you may be required to obtain a new visa. This may require a trip home to apply for and obtain a new visa, subject to the Academic Progression requirements
  4. If you are required to obtain Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance to study your course, you must apply for a new certificate if your course or research change, or your course end date is extended by more than three months. Studying without valid ATAS clearance that accurately reflects your study activity is a breach of your immigration conditions and may have a negative impact in your immigration record
  5. If you successfully complete your course early, or exit with a lower award, we must notify UKVI. This may result in your visa being curtailed
  6. Should you leave the UK to study or work abroad as part of your course, should your study location change for any reason, or should you undertake a placement as part of your course, we may be required to inform UKVI
  7. If changes to your studies mean that you will require a new visa, you must seek visa advice from us as soon as possible. To be eligible for a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) you would need to meet the Academic Progression and Time Limit requirements. It is therefore important to get advice before you continue with the rest of your studies
  8. Whenever we must notify UKVI of changes in your circumstances, we are expected to do so within 10 days of the change taking place; we will usually email you 24 hours before making the report.

For further information, please see Changes to your course

Engagement in and support during your studies:

1. To achieve academic success most students will need to engage fully; studying and attending lectures, seminars, tutorials, and labs/workshops provides opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully achieve the outcomes of our taught programmes. Non-engagement can be an indicator that a student is not thriving academically or personally and for international students with a Tier 4/Student visa, engagement monitoring is essential to ensure visa compliance.

2. As part of our duties as a Student visa sponsor, we are required to monitor your engagement with your course of study to ensure you are actively and consistently following your course. Please see the following examples of academic activities we will be monitoring; this list is not exhaustive:

  • Attending required lectures, seminars or tutorials
  • Undertaking required laboratory work
  • Undertaking research or fieldwork
  • Submitting essays, assignments and attending examinations

3. During the pandemic, if you are studying by distance learning, including study overseas, where possible we will monitor academic engagement using expected online contact points such as:

  • Logging into online learning portals,
  • Attending virtual lectures and tutorials
  • Online submission of coursework

5. Our aim is to provide you with academic and pastoral support so that you can complete your studies successfully. If you are experiencing any difficulties, you should speak with your supervisor or personal tutor as soon as possible so that they can help you resolve any issues. Should you fail to engage in your course or be absent from studies without permission for an extended period of time, we may be required to inform UKVI. This can result in your visa being cancelled.

6. We monitor attendance and engagement for all students, please see the University Policy for Student Engagement and Attendance for more information.

7. We have a team of trained student immigration advisers in Student Visas who can help you with any queries regarding your Student visa

For further information, please see the UKVI government guidance website

Supplementary study

  1. A Student visa is issued to study a particular course at a particular institution. Some supplementary study is permitted as outlined in the Student visa Guidance under 'Supplementary courses'
  2. Supplementary study should not negatively impact academic progress on your main course of study
  3. Students should not be registered on two full-time programmes at the same time. This could be seen as studying a without valid immigration permission and breaking your visa conditions
  4. If you are planning to start a course with a different sponsor before completing your course at Bristol, it is important that you contact us for advice in timely manner. Depending on the timeline, it may not be possible to remain registered at the University of Bristol after you have secured a visa with a different Student visa sponsor
  5. If you wish to start a course with us before finishing your pervious programme of study, it is important that you contact us for advice in timely manner. We can help you determine a correct timeline for your new visa application that would not break your Student visa leave conditions


  1. Overstaying is a breach of immigration law and is considered to be a criminal offence. There is no ‘grace period’ when it comes to overstaying. If you overstay your visa, it is in your best interest to leave the UK as soon as possible: the length of time you overstay by would affect the likelihood of being granted a UK visa in future
  2. Overstaying falls under General grounds for refusal. You can learn more about these under ‘Requirements’ on this UKCISA webpage
  3. Any periods of overstaying would need to be declared in all future UK visa applications. You may subject to a time bar from the UK, depending on how long you have overstayed by, which is why we would urge you to contact us for advice as soon as possible if you think you may be affected by this. If you do not declare overstaying to UKVI, you may be accused of deception, which can lead to an even longer time bar
  4. Depending on the circumstances and the length of time you overstayed by, the University may not be able to sponsor you for another Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) in future. The possibility of continued Student visa sponsorship in these instances is assessed on a case-by-case basis

Adverse immigration history and criminal convictions

  1. Certain criminal convictions and adverse immigration history, e.g. overstaying, breaching visa conditions, past visa refusals, deportations, some outstanding NHS debts etc. can prevent you from getting a Student visa as they fall under ‘General grounds for refusal’
  2. You can read more about these under ‘Requirements’ on this UKCISA webpage
  3. It is important that you declare any such events when asked about them in your visa application. Not declaring adverse immigration or criminal history to UKVI could lead to being accused of deception. Deception itself is one of the general grounds for refusal and can result in a 10-year time bar from the UK
  4. If you think that any of the general grounds for refusal apply to you, it is in your best interest to contact us for advice before proceeding with your application. When asked, you should always declare any such history in your application for admission or for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  5. The University reserves the right to refuse issuing CAS to anyone who may fall under general grounds for refusal. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis
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