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.

  • Studying remotely overseas – 2020-21

    The Home Office Covid concessions have allowed us to sponsor students for a Student visa to study in the 2020/2021 academic year online from overseas, provided you intend to come to campus as soon as possible. We understand that departments plan to phase in face to face teaching and meetings as soon as circumstances allow in 2020/2021 and you’ll receive updates from the University about the plans. We hope that the following information is clear, if you have any questions relating to this and your immigration status please contact us for advice.

    Please note, regardless of your location, you must register in time, attend and engage fully with all aspects of your course to retain our immigration sponsorship. If you fail to attend/engage for 30 calendar days, we may be required to withdraw our immigration sponsorship. If we withdraw our sponsorship and you already have a Tier 4/Student visa it will be cancelled by the Home Office or, if you haven’t applied for your visa yet, your CAS will be withdrawn.

    If you are in the UK with a Tier 4/Student visa, you can only study the course we have sponsored you to study (as stated on your CAS) and should attend in person teaching if it is available. If you want to defer your course and start at a later date, your visa will not be valid for the new course and you will need to leave the UK to reapply for a new visa.

    To study remotely from overseas you’ll need to:

    • Ensure you register fully online and change your study location to remote for Covid reasons via your myEssex current student portal and complete the date you plan to arrive in person.
    • Start your course remotely from overseas by the registration deadline
    • Attend all online teaching events and engage with all aspects of your course
    • PhD students are required to meet their supervisor monthly via zoom or similar, you won’t need Deans approval to study remotely overseas in 2020/2021 provided your department and supervisor have agreed.
    • If you aren’t able to attend and engage or meet your supervisor because you are unwell you must request authorised absence from teaching for 2 weeks from your department or supervisor for PhD students. If you can’t return to your studies after 2 weeks you will need to discuss your options with your department/supervisor. If your absence is for Covid reasons you need to mention this in your request.
    • Make plans to arrive on campus to attend your in-person teaching when it commences.
    • If you will continue to study remotely overseas after the 6 April 2021 (or 27 September 2021 for 1 year Masters students who began their course in January 2021), we may not agree to sponsor you for a student visa.

    Before you travel to the UK you will need to:

    • Check when face-to-face teaching will resume, you shouldn’t travel to the UK until it does.
    • Make yourself aware of what you’ll need to do when you enter the UK by reading UK Government guidance in force at the time, this changes frequently and at short notice.
    • Be registered and engaging with all aspects of your course online.
    • If you have a valid Tier 4 or Student BRP (Biometric Residence Card) that was issued to study your current Essex course, you should be able to use this to re-enter the UK.
    • If you have been issued with a Tier 4/Student entry clearance vignette but haven’t travelled to the UK yet, you should be able to use this to enter the UK provided it hasn’t expired.
    • If your entry clearance vignette expires before you want to travel to the UK, you must apply for and obtain a new one, please read UKCISA’s webpage (under the heading 30 day vignette expired outside the UK). You’ll need to pay a fee to the UKVI for this.
    • If you haven’t applied for your Student visa, you’ll need to apply and you’ll need a valid CAS, if you had a CAS but it was issued more than 6 months ago or you don’t have a CAS, you’ll need to request one.
    • If you need a new CAS, please request one by contacting us:
      • If you started your course in October 2020 or January 2021 please contact our Admissions teams.
      • If you started your course before October 2020 please contact our International Services Team via our online enquiry form for current Essex students.

    We will need to carry out various checks in line with the Immigration Rules and Guidance in force at the time of your request to ensure you are eligible for our sponsorship. If you are not eligible, we’ll let you know why.

    After you arrive in the UK you will need to:

    • If you are required to, self-isolate (quarantine) then;
    • If you applied for new entry clearance from overseas and it’s valid for 90 or 30 days, arrange to collect your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) from the place you designated. If you applied for your Tier 4/Student visa some time ago your BRP should still be available for you to collect when you arrive in the UK, read our website for more information about collecting your BRP if you’ve chosen to have it delivered to the University of Essex, Tier 4 Compliance Team) and;
    • Complete your right to study check by providing the University with your passport and immigration documents and;
    • Update your myEssex current student portal with the correct UK contact address email and telephone number, if you are allocated University accommodation your address will be updated automatically and;
    • Attend all your teaching events online and in person, unless you are required to self-isolate for Covid reasons, in line with the UK government guidance and;
    • If you can’t study online, for instance because you are unwell, you’ll need to request authorised absence from teaching for 2 weeks from your department or supervisor for PhD students. If you can’t return to your studies after the authorised 2 weeks you will need to discuss your options with your department/supervisor in the first instance.

    Graduate route

    If you are interested in applying to the new Graduate route from the summer of 2021 and have been studying remotely overseas, you’ll need to make sure you have a valid Student visa and arrive in the UK by the relevant Home Office deadline. You’ll also need to have been awarded your qualification before the date your visa expires and meet all the other rules and requirements. Please read the UKCISA website for updates and our Graduate route information for details about the deadlines to be in the UK by, depending on your course length and when you started.

    Leaving the UK to study remotely from overseas

    If you came to the UK to study but would now like to return home, you can study remotely from overseas for the 2020-21 academic year unless your department have said you must attend face-to-face teaching. Before you make arrangements to leave the UK please ensure that you have:

    • Collected your BRP (if you originally applied for entry clearance overseas) and;
    • Completed your right to study check and;
    • If your Entry Clearance or UKVI decision letter says Police Registration you must register with the Police unless your local Police Force has suspended Police Registration. If you live in Essex, you can now create an account via the Essex Police website and book an appointment.
    • Check your timetable for scheduled in-person only teaching events and contact your department to ask if you can study remotely for the rest of the term.
    • 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.
    • Be aware that international travel restrictions are constantly changing so you may not be able to travel back to the UK and may not be able to continue your course or be back in time to apply for further leave inside the UK.

    You can travel to the airport for your booked flight but should go directly there. Please ensure that you follow the UK government guidelines relating to Covid-19. You should also check what restrictions are in place at your destination and if there are any additional requirements imposed by your government and contact your embassy or consulate in the UK for further advice (the University cannot advise you about this or help you to contact your embassy). If you require evidence from the University confirming the arrangements for remote study you can use emails you’ve received confirming the arrangements or contact your academic department.

    Once you are overseas please make sure you amend your study location to remote by completing the Student Study Form on your MyEssex portal, and complete the date you plan to return to campus. We are required to monitor your academic engagement, if you fail to engage remotely for 30 days we may be required to withdraw our sponsorship and the Home Office would cancel your visa.

    When you travel back to the UK, please be aware that you may be required to self-isolate (quarantine) when you arrive and this may be in a hotel arranged by the government if you are coming from a country on the ‘red list’. Make sure you check when your in-person teaching will start so that you can complete your quarantine period before you are required to attend. We recommend you review the latest guidance on entering the UK before travelling.

  • 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.