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The Compliance team is responsible for ensuring the University remains compliant with external requirements across a range of sector areas, including Consumer Protection Legislation.  This is done through awareness raising across the University, reviewing and monitoring relevant policies and publications, and providing training, information and advice across the University.

The team is also responsible for all matters relating to UKVI Tier 4 visa compliance across the University, co-ordinating work across Registry, Schools and other Units to ensure that all staff, students and applicants are aware of their responsibilities and requirements, and providing advice, information and guidance on all matters relating to Tier 4 visa compliance.

The Compliance team is responsible for the organisation and delivery of events to support compliance, including Matriculation and Advising in both Semesters, and the annual Tier 4 student engagement event in Semester 2.  Staff in the team work with other teams and Units to deliver effective, efficient and student-centred activities, systems and events to ensure that all students can Advise, Matriculate and meet their Tier 4 responsibilities in a supportive and effective environment.

Registration of international students

Responsibility for the registration of all international students including verification of suitable immigration status through document checks.

CAS issuing for Tier 4 students

Provision of Tier 4 sponsorship through a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for both applicants and current students.

Reporting of changes to UKVI

Notifying UK Visas & Immigration of changes to status for our Tier 4-sponsored students.

Management of UKVI Confirmation Event

Tier 4 Visa checking - February.

What is a Tier 4 Student?

UK Student Visa (Tier 4) Requirements. International students from outside the UK or EU must apply for a student visa. You can only apply for a student visa if you intend to study a full-time degree course in the UK. Student visas are not issued for part-time courses.

There are two student categories under Tier 4 of the Points Based System Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child). The University of St Andrews only sponsors Tier 4 (General):

  • This is for students coming to the UK for post-16 education. A Tier 4 (General) student must be at least 16 years old.

A Student must meet the full requirements of the Immigration Rules and have 40 points in total as shown below:

The student must have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for studies from a fully licensed Tier 4 sponsor 30 Points
The student must have enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance or funds) 10 points

How Long will a student visa last?

Entry Clearance Officers (ECo) have strict instructions on the length of stay they can issue to students. When the student is making an application to the UKVI the information provided by the University on the CAS and the information provided by the student on the application is compared to assist the ECO in their decision making; the decision is determined by the end date of the students course and is as follows;

Type of Course Total Length of Course Legth of stay allowed
Main course of study (including Student Union Sabbatical Officers)

12 months or more The duration of the course plus 4 months after the end of the course
6 months or more, but less than 12 months The duration of the course plus 2 months after the end of the course
Less than 6 months The duration of the course plus 7 days after the end of the course
 Pre-sessional courses
12 months or more The duration of the course plus 4 months after the end of the course
6 months or more, but less than 12 months The duration of the course plus 2 months after the end of the course
Less than 6 months  The duration of the course plus 1 month after the end of the course
Postgraduate doctors and dentists on a recognised Foundation programme The duration of the course (up to a maximum of 3 years) plus 1 month after  the end of the course

University Responsibilities as a Sponsor for students

As a Tier 4 Sponsor, the University of St Andrews is expected to ensure that we and our students are compliant with the points-based system policy guidance and the immigration rules. If we fail to comply we are at risk of losing our Tier 4 Sponsor Licence and will not be able to register International Students, and those that are currently studying with us will need to find another university or return to their home country. We take our duties under this legislation very seriously.

Our responsibilities are to;

  •  Retain copies of all documents pertinent to your immigration status in the UK, such as passports, visa/biometric ID cards, police registration certificates and ATAS certificates
  •  Ensure that entry into new courses represents academic progression
  •  Keep up-to-date contact details for you
  • Make sure that we only admit you to study with us if you hold the correct visa to study at the University of St Andrews
  • Report to the UKVI should you fail to enrol when expected
  • Monitor your attendance and report any unauthorised absences to the UKVI
  • Report any changes in your student status such as
    • leave of absence (suspending your studies)
    • termination of studies
    • withdrawal from studies
    • changes in course length
    • changes of course title
    • periods of study abroad or placements away from the University
    • late submission of course work/dissertation
    • re-submisson of course work/dissertation
    • unauthorised absences
    • deferring your course
    • transferring to another course or university
    • report to the UKVI if we become aware of any breaches of the immigration rules made by you.
    • If you suspend your studies for personal or academic reasons (e.g. illness, pregnancy, maternity or paternity leave, financial reasons) then UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will normally expect you to leave the UK within 60 days unless you are not medically able to do so. In the case of pregnancy, you may not be able to return home if you are in the late stages of pregnancy.  Suspension of studies at St Andrews is normally recorded by Registry as a Leave of Absence (LoA).

    If you hold a Tier 4 visa issued using a CAS number, the University is obliged to report your LoA to UKVI who may cancel your visa.

Migrants Responsibilities

If you require a Tier 4 visa to be in the UK as a student it vital that you are aware of and adhere to the immigration rules; if you fail to comply with the rules you risk your student status and an adverse immigration record; you also risk the University’s Sponsor Licence and the status of all the International students studying here.

Your responsibilities are;

  •  Respond to all requests to present in person your passport, visa and other documents for scanning
  •  Keep the University updated with any changes to your documents for example
    • you have a new passport
    • you have extended your visa (not through the University)
    • you change your immigration status
  •  Register for your course of study within the matriculation period at the beginning of each academic year
  •  Attend lectures and tutorials and complete all compulsory elements of your course on time
  •  Self-certificate for any absences and keep your School or Department up to date on any issues that impact on your studies
  •  Follow University procedures if you are planning to take a Leave of Absence or are intending to withdraw from your studies
  •  Leave the UK within 60 days if you take a Leave of Absence or withdraw from study
  •  Comply with the restrictions of your working hours (20 hours during term-time)
  •  Keep up to date with the immigration rules and make sure that you are aware when your passport and visa are due to expire
  •  Make sure that all your documentation and financial circumstances meet the immigration rules at the time of application
  •  Maintain up-to-date term time contact details (via e-Vision)and inform the University immediately of any change in these details

Reporting students for non-engagement

Students that cease to engage with the University either temporarily or permanently are reported to the UKVI by The Visa Compliance Team in Registry. The students visa will be curtailed and they will have to leave the United Kingdom.  If the student intends to return to the University at a later date, after a Leave of Absence, then they will need to be issued with a new CAS to assist them in making a new visa application.


The student must first have confirm their intention to return to study with Registry and your academic record must then reflect your new course end date. If the student is a Non EU/EEA student they will need to apply for a new visa to return to their studies; they must apply in their home country or in a country where they have the right of residence.  The studnet will need a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) from the University to facilitate the visa application, this can be obtained by emailing