Students Staff

Your responsibilities as a sponsored student

By accepting our University's immigration sponsorship, our CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), you’ll have responsibilities to us and to the Home Office.

As an Essex student you must adhere to all University Regulations which include Immigration Status requirements. It's important that as well as progressing academically, you attend and engage and continue to meet all the rules, requirements and conditions of your immigration permission. Make sure you understand what you must do to maintain your UK immigration status so you can complete your studies as planned. Read the UKCISA guidance about protecting your immigration status and seek advice from us if you need to.

  • The conditions of your Tier 4/Student visa

    Your student immigration permission will be subject to certain conditions which you must adhere to throughout your visa. You must inform the Home Office if you have been given incorrect conditions. You’ll have study and work restrictions and can’t claim public funds, some students have to register with the Police and have an ATAS certificate. Read the UKCISA guidance to find out more about the conditions of your visa.

    Breaching the conditions of your visa

    If you don't comply with the conditions of your visa you may be considered to be in breach and there could be very serious consequences for you, your UK immigration status and any future applications. You will also put the University’s sponsor status at risk and may not be able to complete your course as planned.

    If you're concerned that you may have breached (broken) the conditions of your visa please contact SU Advice immediately for independent, confidential advice.

  • Changes in course and/or personal circumstances

    You must report certain changes in your circumstances to the Home Office. As your immigration sponsor, the University is also required to report certain changes in your circumstances to the Home Office. We will let you know when a report is made and advise you what will happen to your visa.

    Intermitting, taking a leave of absence or withdrawing - your immigration permission is to allow you to study the course stated on your CAS, inside the UK. If you take a break in your studies or withdraw, your visa will be cancelled by the Home Office and you will have to leave the UK.

    If you wish to change your course, there may be implications for your sponsored student status. In some circumstances you have to make a new immigration application before you can study a different course and may have to do that overseas. When a sponsored student requests a change of course this should be referred to the International Services team and information should be included in the outcome email you receive from our Student Progress or Post Graduate Research and Education teams. Please be aware, if you were hoping to apply to stay in the UK when you complete your course under the new Graduate route, you may not be eligible if you complete a different course to the one shown on your CAS.

    If you have an ATAS certificate and your course content or research proposal changes and/or your course completion date is extended, you'll have to apply for a new certificate within 28 days of the change.

    Your personal information is held by the University and is checked at our right to study checks at the start of your course. Your Name(s) must be recorded by us as they appear in your passport and immigration document and you must keep your address and contact details up to date. You can update your contact details in your myEssex current student portal.

    If you are registered with the Police don’t forget to get your certificate updated if any of the information on it changes or you extend your visa.

    You must leave the UK by the date your visa expires or, if you finish your course early, the date your visa is curtailed to expire to.

  • Your academic engagement and progression

    Our University is required to monitor the attendance, engagement and progress on their course for all our sponsored students and report those who do not attend or engage as required. If your attendance and engagement falls below expected levels or you are absent without permission for a period of time, this will be investigated by the International Services team. If your attendance, engagement or progress is unsatisfactory we may not be able to continue to sponsor you and your visa would be cancelled.

    Taught Undergraduate and Masters students

    You are expected to attend all in person and online lectures, classes and seminars as well as all other scheduled events or meetings. Don’t forget to swipe in using your card on the Count-Me-In electronic readers. If you're going to be absent or are ill you must seek authorisation for this by completing the notified absence from teaching form found in your myEssex current student portal.

    We recommend you read the University’s detailed information about attendance, using your card and reporting an absence.

    Postgraduate taught students – dissertation period

    Postgraduate taught students should note that although the taught element of your course may have finished, you are still studying full-time until your CAS end date.

    You are able to request, via your dissertation supervisor and department, a period of “study away” for some of the period following the completion of your taught classes and exams. You will be limited to 6 weeks as a maximum at any one time.

    If you would like to complete your dissertation away from campus and submit this remotely as a ‘distance learner’, you are required to seek authorisation from your dissertation supervisor and department.

    If you choose to complete your studies from your home country, the University is required to notify the Home Office and withdraw our immigration sponsorship. The Home Office will curtail (or cut short) your visa, usually within 60 days of the date we make our report and you should receive notification of your visa’s amended expiry date by letter or email. You must ensure you leave the UK by the amended expiry date of your visa and should not attempt to use your visa to re-enter the UK as it will no longer be valid.

    Postgraduate research (PhD) students

    As a Postgraduate research (PhD) student, please note that the Principal regulations (.pdf) for research degrees state that you are considered to be working on your PhD for 36 hours per week averaged across the year.

    The University’s taught terms/vacations do not apply to PhD students. You are required to attend at least one in-person contact point with your supervisor at least once a month. Where in-person contact is not possible, for instance during an agreed period of study away, this can be substituted for Zoom or Skype contact. You should contact your allocated supervisor about any period of absence in the first instance.

    If you are a postgraduate research student who is currently studying in the UK and you wish to undertake a period of research away from the University for data collection purposes, for longer than 6 weeks, you should apply for approval for this using the ‘Research Away Request’ form which is available via the Student Request Portal. If you have any queries or concerns about remote study or research away for PGR students, please contact the Postgraduate Research Education Team.

  • Registration and studying in person or remotely – 2021/22

    The Student Immigration Rules and guidance allow us to sponsor a student for a Student visa if they are required to study inside the UK. However, due to international travel restrictions caused by Covid-19, the Home Office have introduced concessions to these rules that allow some distance learning from overseas and blended learning in the UK.

    Once you are registered, regardless of your physical location, the University and Home Office expect you to engage fully with all aspects of your course and when you’re in the UK must attend all in person study events. We hope this information will help you to understand the University process for registering and starting your course remotely or in the UK, as a sponsored student. Further information about the UK’s Student Immigration Rules can be found elsewhere within the immigration web pages.

    We recommend that you do not travel to the UK after the start of term if you haven’t been able to complete your online registration and started your course remotely. If you are not able to register by the latest date your department have set you will not be able to start your course, your student visa would be curtailed by the Home office and you will have to leave the UK.

    If you are unable to travel to the UK in time to start your course in-person at the start of term, you’ll receive an email from the University in early September telling you how to make a request to study remotely.

    Registering online to start a new Essex course

    You’ll be able to register online after you have firmly accepted your unconditional offer, the earliest date you can register online will be 1 September 2021.

    When you have completed online registration, you will be registered conditionally until the 15 October 2021 by which time you will need to have completed your in-person right to study check at your campus. You are likely to receive emails from our Registration and International Services Teams after you register online, it’s really important that you provide the information and documents requested immediately. If you fail to respond to our requests your registration may be cancelled or if the term has started, you may be withdrawn.

    If you aren’t able to arrive in the UK in time to study in person from the start of term, once you’ve registered you will be able to request to study remotely and will need to let us know the date you plan to arrive(from early September 2021). If your request is agreed, we’ll change the conditional registration deadline to the date you are expected arrive by. Please note if this is later than the Home Office deadline, currently 6 April 2022, we will be required to withdraw our sponsorship.

    If you can’t register online by the latest date set by your department, you should contact your Admissions adviser to discuss deferring to start your course later and must not travel to the UK if you have been issued with a student visa. If you have a CAS you should not use it to make a Student visa application or, if you have submitted an application but haven’t received the outcome you should withdraw it.

    Registering online to continue your course

    You’ll be able to register online from the 1 September 2021. If you started your course in 2020/2021 and have been studying remotely overseas or we do not have up to date immigration documents for you, you will be conditionally registered until 15 October 2021 and required to attend an in person right to study check at your campus. You are likely to receive emails from our Registration and International Services Teams after you register online, it’s really important that you provide the information and documents requested immediately. If you fail to respond to our requests your registration may be cancelled or if the term has started, you may be withdrawn.

    If you aren’t able to arrive in the UK in time to study in person from the start of term, once you’ve registered you will be able to request to study remotely and will need to let us know the date you plan to arrive (from early September 2021). If your request is agreed, we’ll change the conditional registration deadline to the date you are expected to arrive by. Please note if this is later than the Home Office deadline, currently 6 April 2022, we will be required to withdraw our sponsorship.

    If you can’t register online by the latest registration deadline, you may need to intermit or withdraw from your course. You must not travel to the UK if you have been issued with a student visa. If you have a CAS you should not use it to make a Student visa application or, if you have submitted an application but haven’t received the outcome you should withdraw it.

    Starting your course remotely overseas

    Current Home Office concessions enable students who have a CAS or student visa to start or continue their course remotely from overseas and retain their student sponsorship, provided that they are inside the UK by the Home Office deadline, currently 6 April 2022. Please be aware that your department may set an earlier deadline, in which case you must be in the UK studying by then.

    If you can’t travel to the UK in time to study in person from the start of term, once you are registered, you’ll need to make a request to study your course remotely by completing the new Remote Study Request Form which will be available to complete from early September 2021.The completed form will go to your department and the International Services Team for consideration. If agreed, you’ll be required to engage fully via remote learning from the start of your course and will have a deadline by which you must be inside the UK to attend in person. Please note; if your department agree you can arrive later than the Home Office deadline, currently 6 April 2022, we will be required to withdraw our sponsorship.

    You’ll receive an email from the University in early September telling you how to make a request to study remotely if you can’t arrive in the UK by the start of term.

    Our sponsorship will be withdrawn and your CAS/student visa cancelled in the following circumstances:

    • You do not register online by the University deadline.
    • You defer or intermit your course - if you have made a Student visa application you should withdraw it or, if you have been issued with a student visa it will not be valid for entry into the UK and you should not attempt to travel.
    • You withdraw or are withdrawn, from your course.
    • You change your course and require a new CAS/student visa.
    • You do not engage for 30 consecutive days whilst studying remotely overseas.
    • You fail to arrive in the UK by the 6 April 2022 or the departmental deadline, whichever is earliest.

    This is not an exhaustive list. As a Student Sponsor we have many duties to adhere to in order to retain our Student Sponsor status. If we are required to make a report to the Home Office or take any other action relating to our sponsorship, you will be contacted by our International Services or Admissions Teams.

    Before travelling to the UK please make sure you are fully aware of the entry requirements and what you must do before, during and after travelling to the UK. Please ensure you have completed online registration and have been fully engaged with your course from the beginning.

    Studying inside the UK

    Once you are in the UK, the Home Office concessions enable you to study via blended learning, a mix of in person and online study, until the 6 April 2022. The Home Office have set a minimum requirement for attendance in person (face to face) during term time for taught students.

    Studying remotely from inside the UK after 27 September 2021 is not allowed, therefore, any request to do so would be turned down by the International Services Team.

    Right to Study check: When you arrive in the UK you will be required to attend an in person right to study check as soon as you have finished any required quarantine period. You must have completed your online registration. Your passport and immigration documents will be checked to enable you to continue to study. Please be aware that you will not be able to continue to study if you fail to attend an in person right to study check or, your immigration status does not give you the right to study your Essex course.

    BRP collection: If you have chosen to have your Biometric Residence Permit delivered to the Tier 4 Compliance Team at our Colchester Campus, we will make it available for you to collect when you arrive on campus, if we have it. If you have chosen to have it delivered to a Post Office you will need to collect it as soon as you have finished your quarantine period and must bring it to your in-person right to study check. If your BRP hasn’t arrived yet you can continue to study until the expiry date of your entry clearance vignette and must provide the BRP to the University as soon as you have it if it’s not being delivered to us. Read our BRP page for more information.

    Attendance and engagement: You must attend ALL your teaching and study events online and in person, we will monitor your attendance and engagement and if it falls below expected levels or the Home Office minimum requirements, we may be required to withdraw our sponsorship and your student visa would be cancelled. More information about attendance and engagement can be found above in the section entitled ‘Your academic engagement and progression’.

    Change of course: If you submit a change of course request after you have started studying, the International Services Team will consider your request in line with the Student Immigration Rules and guidance in force at the time and you will be told in the outcome email if there will be an impact on your student immigration status. More information can be found on our website.

    Deferring/intermitting or withdrawing from your course: We are required to withdraw our sponsorship if you stop studying your course and your student visa will cancelled by the Home Office. If you are already in the UK, you will need to leave. To start or continue studying at a later date, you’ll need to request a new CAS and apply for a new Student visa from overseas.

    Authorised absence

    If you are unable to study, for instance because you are unwell, you should request authorised absence from your department or supervisor for PhD students. Please be aware that you can only usually have authorised absence of up to 2 weeks and may have to intermit from your course if you are absent for longer. Regular absences will be investigated by the International Services Team.

    Graduate route

    If you have a valid student visa and are interested in applying for permission to stay in the UK under the Graduate route after you are awarded an eligible qualification, you’ll need to make sure you are able to meet all the requirements. You will need to have been in the UK studying with a valid student visa for the minimum duration required, as per the Graduate Immigration Rules and guidance. If you are allowed to start studying remotely overseas, you must be in the UK by the relevant Home Office concession deadline. Please read the UKCISA guidance for more information about the Graduate route and deadlines. Our ‘Working after studies’ page contains everything we know about the Graduate route including how we make reports to the Home Office.

  • Undergraduates - maximum visa time of 5 years

    For Undergraduate students you won’t be able to obtain Tier 4/Student permission that is longer than 5 calendar years total duration. If you don’t pass and proceed to the next stage of your course you may be offered the chance to repeat or resit parts of your course. Exam Boards aren’t aware of a student’s immigration status and you may be offered options that mean you would need more time to complete your course than the Immigration rules allow.

    All Tier 4/Student visa time you have already had or will require to study at Undergraduate degree level will count, including the periods you are given before your course started and the 4 months after it will finish. If you had to take a break in your studies, you will need to include the time until date that visa was curtailed to expire on. If your course end date (as stated on your CAS) would change as the result of an option you have been given and you believe you would be close to 5 year limit by the new course end date, we strongly advise you to seek guidance from our International Services Team before making your decision. Failure to do so could mean you won’t be able to complete your course as we won’t be able to sponsor you if you will need more than 5 years visa time.

    There is no visa time limit for master’s and PhD students.