Information for Tier 4 students
Temporary migrants coming to the UK for a study period of six months or more may be required to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Find out if you need a visa.
Apply for a Tier 4 visa
When you apply for your Tier 4 visa, you will need to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge at the same time. This fee is mandatory for entry to the UK and gives you access to the NHS on the same terms as a permanent UK resident.
Find out more about the healthcare surcharge.
Biometric residence permits
International students on a Tier 4 visa will need to collect their biometric residence permit (BRP) within ten days of their arrival in the UK. You will receive a letter from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with your passport providing the location at which you should collect your BRP card.
Find out more about collecting your biometric residence permit.
International students studying specific subject areas at undergraduate and postgraduate level may need to acquire an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before applying for the Tier 4 visa.
Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.
The University of St Andrews will be your sponsor during your studies, and will issue you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS). Under your visa, both you and the University of St Andrews have specific responsibilities.
If you require a Tier 4 visa to be in the UK as a student, it is vital that you are aware of and adhere to the immigration rules; if you fail to comply with the rules, you not only risk your student status and an adverse immigration record, but you also risk the University’s Sponsor Licence and the status of all the international students studying here.
Your responsibilities are to:
- Make sure your passport and visa are valid.
- 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 get a new passport
- you get a new BRP card
- you extend your visa (not through the University)
- you change your immigration status.
- Maintain up-to-date contact details, including your term-time address and telephone number, via MySaint. If any of your contact details change, tell the University immediately.
- Register for your programme of study within the matriculation period at the start of the academic year (or in January for certain programmes).
- Attend lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions and tutorials and complete all compulsory elements of your course on time. The University Academic Alert policy is used to monitor student attendance and engagement.
- Self-certificate for any absences (online via the student portal, MySaint) and keep your School or Department up to date with any issues that impact on your studies.
- Follow University procedures if you are planning to take a leave of absence, changing your programme of studies, applying for a change in location of studies or are intending to withdraw from your studies.
- Leave the UK within 60 days of reporting to the UKVI if you take a leave of absence or withdraw from your studies.
- If you are permitted to work, you must keep within the restrictions of your working hours which apply to both paid and unpaid work. Your maximum weekly (defined as Monday to Sunday) working hours during term time are:
- 20 hours a week if you are studying at degree level or above
- 20 hours a week if you are on a study abroad programme at an 'overseas higher education institution' in the UK
- 10 hours a week if you are studying a course that is below degree level.
- Keep to the restrictions of your working hours which do not permit you to work within the following areas:
- self-employment and business activity e.g. Deliveroo rider, baby sitter, dog walker, etc.
- work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
- Full information is available from UK Council for International Student Affairs.
- Keep up to date with tuition fees and other payments
- Register with the police, if this is a condition of your leave to enter and remain.
- Stay up to date with and abide by the immigration rules.
- If you are planning a change to your programme and this will result in a change to the length of your programme, you must seek advice from the International Student Advisers (firstname.lastname@example.org) as you may have to leave the UK and get a new visa.
The University's responsibilities
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, visas, 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 coursework or dissertation
- resubmission of coursework or 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.
- If you hold a Tier 4 visa issued using a CAS number, the University is obliged to report any leave of absence to UKVI, who may cancel your visa.