Students Staff

Your studies and Tier 4

Your responsibilities (students)

By accepting our University's Tier 4 sponsorship (using our CAS), 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 everything and continue to meet all the rules, requirements and conditions of your leave. Make sure you understand what you must do to maintain your Tier 4 immigration status so you can complete your studies as planned.

In addition to the information published on our website we will provide you with a Tier 4 leaflet when you register for your course. If your course is longer than one academic year, you can download a copy for each year of your course from our website during the Autumn term. The most recent leaflet will also be available from your Student Services Hub.

Tier 4 leaflet:

  • The conditions of your Tier 4 leave

    Your immigration permission will be subject to certain conditions. Make sure you know what these conditions mean.

    • If your visa states you can work you must check what term time means for you. You can't work more than the hours stated on your visa in any seven day period (a week) unless you are sure it's not term time for you. Our Postgraduate taught students do not have a summer vacation. Our PhD students do not have any standard vacations so will only be able to work part-time throughout their course. The type of work (paid or unpaid) you can do is restricted for the whole duration of your Tier 4 visa. Don’t start work until you are sure what you are allowed to do.
    • If you must register with the Police you have to do so within seven days of arrival in the UK or within seven days of collecting your BRP. You must update your certificate if any of the details held change or you extend your visa.
    • You can only study the course your CAS was for, with the Tier 4 sponsor that issued it.
    • If applicable, you must hold a valid ATAS certificate.
    • You must not claim public funds i.e. social housing and/or welfare benefits

    Check your conditions and if you think you have been given incorrect conditions you must inform the Home Office immediately. Please read the Home Office Tier 4 Policy Guidance for full details and seek immigration advice from us if you need to.

    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 Tier 4 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. If you wish to change your course, you may have to make a new Tier 4 visa application first, the University will inform you if this is the case.

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

    As your Tier 4 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.

    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 attendance

    Taught Undergraduate and Masters students

    You are expected to attend all 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 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 at the end of the University’s summer term you are still studying full time until the dissertation submission date in mid-September.

    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 in May, or the months of June, July and August. 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 sponsorship of your current Tier 4 visa. The Home Office will curtail (or cut short) your Tier 4 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 Tier 4 visa and should not attempt to use your visa to re-enter the UK as it will no longer be valid.

    Postgraduate research (PhD) student

    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 email or Skype contact. You should contact your allocated supervisor about any period of absence in the first instance. This includes seeking authorisation if you require to study away from campus for any period of time.

    As a Tier 4 sponsor our University is required to monitor the attendance, engagement and progress on their course for all our Tier 4 students and report those who do not attend or engage as required. If your attendance and engagement falls below expected levels or who are absent without permission for a period of time, you could be required to attend a meeting with the International Services Team. If your attendance, engagement or progress is not satisfactory you may be withdrawn from your course.

Further information and advice

You may find it useful to read the UKCISA guidance "Protecting your tier 4 status” and the Tier 4 Immigration rules and guidance.

If you'd like advice about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 student at Essex, please contact our International Services Team by completing our online enquiry form.

If you're planning on starting a new course with another Tier 4 sponsor, please contact the institution you intend to study at, or an alternative immigration advice service.

If you are worried you may have breached your immigration conditions or done something wrong, please email SU Advice at