When you have your visa

 

Information about what to do when you have your visa for the UK

 

Once your Tier 4 (General) visa has been granted, you are responsible for checking and understanding the conditions of your visa. The sections below advise on what you need to check when your Tier 4 visa is granted, your ability to work in the UK and how changes to your studies can affect your Tier 4 visa.  

If you are ever unsure about the conditions of your visa or whether a change to your studies will affect your right to be in the UK, contact ISVAT for advice.

Your passport, visa and BRP


What is a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?

After your arrival in the UK, you will need to collect your BRP from the Post Office.  Your BRP replaces the sticker in your passport and it is your legal evidence that you have immigration permissions for the UK. IT IS NOT JUST A PROOF OF AGE CARD. 

Do not carry your BRP with you on a daily basis as you may lose it and this can your travel plans or your ability to prove your right to work in the UK.

Checking errors on your BRP or visa

Mistakes are often made when vignettes or BRPs are issued, so it's very important you check this as soon as you receive your decision letter or BRP.

Possible errors may be:

  • it expires too soon. The end date of your Tier 4 student visa depends on the length of your course:
    • programme of study is 12 months or longer: you will be granted until the end of your programme plus four months.
    • programme of study is more than 6 months, but less than 12 months: you will be granted until the end of your programme plus two months.
    • LSE's sponsor license number is missing or incorrect (1RRV3MMEX)
    • the number of working hours are incorrect - for full details on the working rules go to our information on working during your studies
    • your personal details (for example incorrect spellings).

Find out how to get the error corrected in our info sheet.

Registering with the Police

Do I need to register with the Police?

Some nationalities must register with the police when they arrive in the UK with a visa for more than six months, and/or if they extend their visa for more than six months. 

You only have to register if your  Biometric Residence Permit or decision letter says you must. You can check the list of nationalities who need to register on the Home Office website

If you have been away from the UK for more than 12 months you need to re-register.

After you register, you must keep your registration certificate updated if you get a new visa or if you change address.

When to register

  • Within 7 days of your arrival in the UK

  • If you have a new visa you must go to OVRO and get your certificate updated within 7 days of receiving your new visa

  • If you change address you must update your certificate within 7 days

  • If you move into the Metropolitan Police area from another Police force

How to register with the Police in London

Police Registration in London is administered by the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) near Elephant and Castle/Borough tube stations.

Attend OVRO in person 

For full details on registering please read Metropolitan Police - Overseas Visitors Records Office    

What documents do I take to register in person?

  • Your passport

  • Registration fee of £34 - it is easiest to pay in cash using the correct amount

  • Your completed proforma (see below) - this must be typed and no corrections must be made to it by hand or correction fluid

  • One UK standard sized passport photo - this must be glued to your proforma within the photo section.  Do not staple your photograph because it will be placed into a scanning machine.

  • Biometric Residence Permit if you have one.

  • Previous Police Registration Certificate if you have one.

  • The email from the UKVI confirming that your visa has been granted (for applications made in the UK)- if you have lost this please contact ISVAT because you cannot register without this email.

Completing the proforma

You must complete the OCR proforma before you go to OVRO. The OCR proforma must be typed and you must glue your photograph to the form because it will be placed in a scanning machine.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have completed the form correctly. Please read the guidance notes on completing the form carefully.

What happens if I change address after I register?

If you change your address, you must inform the Police within seven days.  You can do this at any local Police station.  You can find your nearest Police station on the Metropolitan Police website.

If you live in LSE halls and you change rooms, you don't need to get this updated.

What happens if I do not register with the police?

It is a criminal offence not to register with the police if it is a requirement of your student visa. You could be arrested, prosecuted and fined up to £5,000 or even imprisoned.  It could also lead to you being refused a visa in the future.

Working During your Studies

Tier 4 students - can you work?

Under the UK immigration rules, you are legally permitted to work with the following restrictions:

  • a maximum of 20 hours paid or unpaid work per week during term time for degree students

  • a maximum of 10 hours paid or unpaid work per week during term time for Language Centre students

  • full time work is permitted during vacations 

  • you cannot take a permanent contract 

  • no self-employment (including  freelance or consultancy work or setting up your own business, even if you are not the controlling shareholder)

  • no work as a professional sports person (including sports coach) - the definition of professional sports person is now stricter. 

  • no work as a professional entertainer

UKCISA have produced a helpful blog on working in the UK including gig-economy positions.

Short-term Student Visas

Work is not permitted on a Short-term Student visa. 

When is 'vacation time'?

All students can work full time during the Christmas and Easter breaks as these are outside term time. Undergraduate students benefit from a summer vacation between academic years.

Two year Masters degree students benefit from a summer vacation between the first and second year of their programme.  However, if you are a 12 month or second year Masters student, you do not benefit from a summer vacation.  You are still academically engaged with writing your dissertation at this point.

Can I request a vacation?

If you are a 12 month or two year Masters student in your second year, your academic department is able to authorise a four week vacation during your dissertation period. During these four weeks, you will be able to work full time.  Before starting your full time work, you will need to request a letter from the Visa Compliance Team confirming your vacation.  You cannot work full time without this letter and it cannot be issued retrospectively.

The Visa Compliance Team will only be able to issue a letter confirming this vacation period if the email is sent by a member of staff in your academic department.  Please note that disruption to studies resulting from a vacation period cannot be used in an appeal against a decision of the Board of Examiners.

If your department agrees to authorise a vacation period prior to the end of your course then please ask them to email ssc.visacompliance@lse.ac.uk with your full name; LSE ID number; and the dates of your holiday period that they are willing to authorise (no more than four weeks long).

Any full time work completed during the dissertation period without permission is a breach of your Tier 4 visa conditions. As a Tier 4 sponsor, LSE is legally required as part of our sponsor licence agreement to report any students we are aware have breached the conditions of their visa. 

What are the term dates for research degree students?

For all registered research students, vacations are the Christmas and Easter breaks in each year of registration.  However, you are considered to be continuing your studies during the summer vacation. 

PhD students do not benefit from a Summer vacation and are not able to request a vacation during term time.  You may be able to request a vacation during the summer, but you must speak to the PhD Academy about this.

Working for LSE

When working for the School, you must ensure that you do not exceed your permitted number of working hours during term-time.  For degree programme students this is 20 hours per week paid or unpaid work. If you are unsure of the conditions of you visa, please check with us before commencing any work at the School.

If you will be working for LSE, Human Resources must complete a right to work check to prevent illegal working for all students working for the School before they are able to start/continue with their contract.  You will not be able to begin your role until this is completed, so you should not undertake any work until this point in time.

If you are a student employed by the School and you need to extend your Tier 4 visa, it is very important that you plan to do this well in advance of the expiry date of your visa. Whilst the conditions of your visa continue once you have an in-time application in progress (submitted before the expiry date of your visa), Human Resources will still need to conduct further checks with the Home Office to verify the status of your application, which will take up to five days to be confirmed.

Human Resources will require a Case ID number to be able to make this check, so applying as soon as you are aware you need to extend your visa e.g. due to an extension of your thesis submission date, will help both you and the School.

Can I volunteer?

There is a legal distinction between volunteering and paid or unpaid work.  to avoid any problems, you should consider volunteering in the same way as part-time work and not volunteer any more than 20 hours in any seven day period. If you also have a part-time job you must be careful to work no more than 20 hours between volunteering and paid work. For more information visit the LSE Volunteer Centre

Can I do a work placement as part of my programme?

The Tier 4 rules allow you to undertake a full-time work placement. However,  work placements need to be an approved component of your programme and included in the School's regulations.  

Can I work for more than one employer?

You can have multiple contracts, but during term-time you must not work any more than 20 hours paid or unpaid work each week.  This means 20 hours in total rather than 20 hours per employer.

We have a guide for employers, which you may find helpful.

PhD students with multiple contracts

PhD students are advised to monitor the number of hours work they undertake, especially if they have a number of jobs.  The official programme end date for PhD students can change depending on whether you needed to extend your visa e.g. for corrections.  Check whether you can work full time with our team before taking a position.

How can I show an employer that I can work?

Your visa is your main form of evidence that you have the right to work in the UK.   Employers wanting to recruit students need to confirm that a student has the right to work in the UK. The Home Office will accept the following as acceptable evidence:

  • A printout from the LSE website confirming the term dates of the School.

  • A copy of a letter or email addressed to the student confirming term time dates for the student's course - a Certificate of Registration will confirm this information for your employer.

  • A letter addressed to the employer confirming your term dates - the LSE are unable to confirm to an employer a student's right to work in the UK. However, the certificate of registration includes all the required information for your individual circumstances. 

Your employer can also read the Comprehensive Guidance on Preventing Illegal Working on the Home Office Website. They can also call the employers helpline: 0300 123 4699

ISVAT have also produced a guidance leaflet for employers (pdf) to outline the rules for employing LSE students

European Economic Area (EEA) / Swiss Nationals

For advice on working in the UK as an EU national, go to UKCISA

More information

For more information visit the UKCISA website

Changes to your personal details

Sometimes your circumstances may change when you are studying at the LSE.  If you are a Tier 4 student, it is important that you understand how this change may affect your visa.

If you change your address after obtaining a Tier 4 visa, you need to take the following steps:

  • Update your address on LSE for You.

  • If you applied for your Tier 4 visa in the UK, you must inform UK Visas and Immigration. 

  • If you are required to register with the Police, you must add your new address to your Police Registration Certificate within 7 days of moving.  You can do this at your local Police station.

New Tier 4 Visa/Change of Visa/Collected your BRP

If you have applied for a Tier 4 visa in the UK to start your studies at LSE, have extended your visa or collected your BRP after being temporarily registered you should:

  • Take your new Tier 4 visa/BRP to the Student Services Centre so that we can update your record if you are an undergraduate or postgraduate (taught) student;

  • Take your new Tier 4 visa (including DES visas) to the PhD Academy if you are a PhD student;

  • Provide the Overseas Visitors Records Office with the details of your new visa within 7 days if you are required to register with the Police.

If you have changed visa category  whilst you still have studies to complete e.g. you become a PBS dependant, please contact ISVAT for advice.

Changes to your Programme of Study

Interruption of Studies

If you are facing difficulties with your studies, there are a number of services in the School that may be able to help.  You should seek advice before choosing to interrupt your studies so that you understand the process and the implications for your studies and visa.

If you choose to interrupt your studies, you cannot stay in the UK during your period of interruption. The LSE are required to report to the Home Office that we are no longer sponsoring your Tier 4 visa, within 10 working days of your interruption being processed.  This will start the curtailment (cancellation) of your Tier 4 visa.

You will receive an email from the Visa Compliance Team confirming a report has been submitted to the Home Office. We advise that once the report has been submitted, because you will not know when your visa is curtailed:

  • you no longer have the right to work in the UK - inform your employer of the change in your circumstances

  • you no longer have the right to access the NHS

  • anyone who is dependant on your Tier 4 visa will also lose the conditions of their visa and will need to return home with you.

  • your reason for being in the UK (studies) no longer exists - you should not plan to stay in the UK for more than 60 days after the date you receive the email.

  • you cannot travel out of the UK and then attempt to return on your Tier 4 visa. Once you leave the UK, you should consider your Tier 4 as cancelled.

The Home Office will contact you either by letter or by email advising you of the new expiry date of your visa.  This is usually 60 days from the date of the letter or email. This information can sometimes be delayed, so we advise it is best to plan to leave the UK as soon as possible.

Deferring Assessments

If you have deferred any of your assessments, the Visa Compliance Team may be required to report you to the UKVI depending on whether you are able to progress/complete your studies within your expected end date.  The report will withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa and  this starts the curtailment process.

If you are a first year, undergraduate student who is able to be entered into the summer re-sit period, you should note that this does not automatically mean we will not report you to the UKVI. This will depend on when you defer your assessments.   If you are consdering deferring your assessments, please ensure you have read the process for deferrals.

What happens if I am reported to the UKVI after deferring assessments?

You will receive an email from the Visa Compliance Teamconfirming a report has been submitted to the Home Office. We advise that once the report has been submitted, because you will not know when your visa is curtailed:

  • you no longer have the right to work in the UK - inform your employer of the change in your circumstances

  • you no longer have the right to access the NHS

  • anyone who is dependant on your Tier 4 visa will also lose the conditions of their visa and will need to return home with you.

  • your reason for being in the UK (studies) no longer exists - you should not plan to stay in the UK for more than 60 days after the date you receive the email.

  • you cannot travel out of the UK and then attempt to return on your Tier 4 visa.  Once you leave the UK, you should consider your Tier 4 as cancelled.

The Home Office will contact you either by letter or by email advising you of the new expiry date of your visa.  This is usually 60 days from the date of the letter or email. This information can sometimes be delayed, so we advise it is best to plan to leave the UK as soon as possible.

Becoming an unregistered student due to non-progression

If you have failed any of your assessments and are not able to progress, the Visa Compliance Team will be required to report you to the UKVI.  The report will withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa and  this starts the curtailment process.

You will receive an email from the Visa Compliance Team confirming a report has been submitted to the Home Office. We advise that once the report has been submitted, because you will not know when your visa is curtailed:

  • you no longer have the right to work in the UK - inform your employer of the change in your circumstances

  • you no longer have the right to access the NHS

  • anyone who is dependant on your Tier 4 visa will also lose the conditions of their visa and will need to return home with you.

  • your reason for being in the UK (studies) no longer exists - you should not plan to stay in the UK for more than 60 days after the date you receive the email.

  • you cannot travel out of the UK and then attempt to return on your Tier 4 visa.  Once you leave the UK, you should consider your Tier 4 as cancelled.

The Home Office will contact you either by letter or by email advising you of the new expiry date of your visa.  This is usually 60 days from the date of the letter or email. This information can sometimes be delayed, so we advise it is best to plan to leave the UK as soon as possible.

Withdrawing from Studies

Before withdrawing permanently from your studies, you should seek advice from your department and SSC.Advice@lse.ac.uk to discuss the options available to you. 

If you do decide to withdraw, the LSE will be required to inform the Home Office within 10 working days that we are no longer sponsoring your Tier 4 visa.  This will start the curtailment (cancellation) of your Tier 4 visa.

You will receive an email from the Visa Compliance Team confirming a report has been submitted to the Home Office. We advise that once the report has been submitted, because you will not know when your visa is curtailed:

  • you no longer have the right to work in the UK - inform your employer of the change in your circumstances

  • you no longer have the right to access the NHS

  • anyone who is dependant on your Tier 4 visa will also lose the conditions of their visa and will need to return home with you.

  • your reason for being in the UK (studies) no longer exists - you should not plan to stay in the UK for more than 60 days after the date you receive the email.

  • you cannot travel out of the UK and then attempt to return on your Tier 4 visa. Once you leave the UK, you should consider your Tier 4 as cancelled.

The Home Office will contact you either by letter or by email advising you of the new expiry date of your visa.  This is usually 60 days from the date of the letter or email. This information can sometimes be delayed, so we advise it is best to plan to leave the UK as soon as possible.

Programme Transfers

The Home Office does permit you to transfer programmes at LSE once you have registered. However, you may need to obtain new permission from the Home Office depending on the level and length of your new programme. Not all transfers are possible and you may need to return home to apply for your new visa. 

Case One: Transfer to a new programme which is the same length as your current visa

If you transfer to a new programme which you can complete without extending your visa, you will be able to start your new programme. 

The Visa Compliance Team will be required to report to the Home Office that you have a minor change in your circumstances.

Case Two: Transferring to a new programme which is longer than the length of your current visa.

If you plan to transfer from your current programme to a new programme which is longer than your current visa, you must contact the International Student Visa Advice team before the transfer is approved.  Changes to the immigration rules on the 6th April and LSE's regulations mean that this may no longer possible.

Case Three: Transferring to a new programme which is shorter than your current programme

If you transfer to a shorter programme e.g. from a 12 month Masters degree to a 9 month Masters degree, the Visa Compliance Team will be required to report both your transfer and your early completion to the Home Office.

Your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed by the Home Office, meaning your immigration permission will end earlier.  You will be classed as completing early, which means you should still receive the extra time at the end of your visa and will be able to work full-time at the end of your course.

If you are planning to transfer due to non-progression please read the information under the repeat teaching section.

Repeat teaching or transfers due to non-progression

If you have a Tier 4 visa and are considering applying for repeat teaching, we strongly recommend that you seek immigration advice as well as academic advice.  The Tier 4 rules cap degree level study at five and eight years, plus where you can apply for your visa.

Repeat teaching is unlikely to be granted solely on the basis that you wish to remain in the UK on your Tier 4 visa.  It is a privilege and is granted on the basis of your academic needs.

Transferring to a new programme after failing to progress

If you fail to progress from the programme that you were issued a visa for and plan to transfer to a new programme, you may not be able to extend your Tier 4 visa in the UK. 

You should note that whilst the immigration rules may allow you to apply for a new Tier 4 visa from outside the UK, the LSE's own regulations may no longer permit you to transfer to a lower level or re-start on a new programme.  

Contact our team for advice before planning to do this.

Mode of Study

The immigration rules now permit part-time study under Tier 4 at Masters level or above, but the conditions are far more restrictive:

  • You cannot work - if you planned to transfer to part-time to work you will not have this condition on your immigration permission;
  • You cannot bring your dependants with you - if you transfer to part-time, your dependants may lose the right to be in the UK;
  • You cannot undertake a work placement;
  • You cannot extend under Tier 4 in the UK;

LSE will only support applications under the Tier 4 part-time route if this is th only possible option for a student to be able finish their degree. Contact ISVAT using our online query form before completing a request to change your mode of study.

Further information can also be found on UKCISA's web pages.

Early Completion

If you complete your programme early e.g. because you have transferred to a shorter programme, the Visa Compliance Team will be required to report your early completion to the UKVI.  You will be given a new expiry date of your visa, which will be the original wrap-up time granted on your initial visa.

IMPORTANT: We have been informed by the UKVI that if you are reported for early completion and are in the curtailment period, if you travel outside the Common Travel Area (UK and the Republic of Ireland) you should consider that your leave has lapsed and you no longer have Tier 4 permission. For example:

  • Student completes early due to a transfer to a shorter degree programme;
  • Student is reported to UKVI
  • Student is granted a four month curtailment period which matches the four months they were granted at the end of their visa;
  • Student is permitted to work full-time as it is vacation;
  • Student travels outside the Common Travel Area (UK and Republic of Ireland) during the four months (e.g. for a holiday or to do with their work) - their Tier 4 visa is automatically curtailed and they are unable to re-enter the UK.

We advise against early completion because of the risks unless it is essential due to a transfer of programmes.

Academic Appeals

If your visa has expired and you are submitting an academic appeal, you are not required to be in the UK for this process.  The LSE will not continue sponsorship on Tier 4 for an academic appeal. Also, depending on which point in your studies you submit your appeal, you may be reported to the Home Office and your visa may be in the process of being curtailed. If you no longer have any studies to complete, we advise against remaining in the UK.

Re-taking Assessments

Students with re-take exams in January 

If you are expected to return for January exams in 2020, your immigration options will depend on:

  • whether you currently have a Tier 4 visa for a 12 month Masters degree; or

  • whether you were reported to the UKVI and sponsorship was withdrawn; or

  • whether your previous Tier 4 visa has expired.

If you are a 12 month Masters student who has been notified of January exam re-takes when receiving your results in November please contact us for advice.

If you were reported to the UKVI and sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa has been withdrawn or your previous Tier 4 visa has expired, you will only be able to return for January exams on a Short-term Student visa.  We will not sponsor you under Tier 4 for this assessment period.

Students with re-takes or deferred assessments in May/June (the main examination period)

ISVAT will contact you in the Lent Term to give you your options based on the immigration rules at the time.

Depending on your circumstances you can choose to return either on a Tier 4 (General) visa or a Short-term Study visa. You can find out more about the two visas in the table below:

                                      

Tier 4 Student                            

Short Term Student
                         

How much time will I get to study in the UK?

If the period of study on the CAS is less than six months the visa will be granted for the length of the programme plus one week.

If the course is longer than six months but less than 12, you will granted for the length of the programme plus two months.

Please note - LSE students returning to re-take exams will obtain a CAS that lists the exam period only.  This means that you are likely to be granted just one additional week after the end of the exam period.

Visa will be granted for a maximum of 6 months (this is the standard period regardless of how long you intend to remain in the UK)

Do I need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from LSE? 

 Yes

You need a Short Term Student visa letter.

Do I need to take an English test?



If you are continuing on your programme, LSE will confirm your English language ability.

 

No

Do I need a letter from LSE to show I am already a LSE student who is expected to return for further study?

 No 

Yes

Can I get this kind of immigration permission at the airport?

No. You must apply at the embassy or the visa application centre in your home country or the country where you are living.

Yes, but only if you are a 'non-visa national'.  You can check the list of 'visa nationals' on the UK Visas and Immigration website. If your country is on the list, you cannot apply at the airport and you must apply at the embassy or the visa application centre

UK Visas and Immigration

If you are a visa national, you will need to apply before travelling. You can check our guidance  on completing the form.

Can I travel in and out of the UK?

Yes. The visa does not 'lapse' when you leave the UK. 

If you have applied at the embassy, and the visa says 'multi' on it, it does not 'lapse' and you can come in and out of the UK several times.

If you apply at the airport you are granted 'single entry'. This means that you have to apply again each time you arrive at the airport (and need to show the correct documentation each time).

Can I extend my time in the UK?

Yes. You can apply to stay in the UK as a student if you are continuing on your programme or you decide to study for longer in the UK.   Please note, there must be no longer than 28 days from the end of your visa and the start date of your new programme.

You can also extend if you are eligible to switch into a work category

No.  You must leave the UK within 30 days of your study ending or the expiry date of your visa, whichever is sooner.   

 Can I work?

Yes, you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term-time (or 10 hours if you are studying below degree level). From the official end date of your programme you will be able to work full-time until your visa ends. 

No. You cannot work paid or unpaid. 

Can I switch into Tier 2 / Tier 5 in the UK?

Yes, if you meet the requirements.

No, you cannot switch into another visa category from the Short Term Student visa.

Can I use the National Health Service?

Yes, if your course is longer than six months. If it is less than six months you would need to have medical insurance. 

No, you would need to have medical health insurance

Can I bring dependants?

Yes, but only if your programme is:
12 months or longer and you are studying at postgraduate level or
6 months or longer and you have a full government scholarship

No, your family will need to enter as Standard Visitors.

Please compare both visa types to check which one suits your needs.   If you are intending to switch into Tier 2 after your assessments have finished or undertake an internship, this is not possible on a Short-term Study visa.

You should plan to apply for your visa as soon as possible to ensure you can return in time for your assessments.  Student Services place a block on all personal timetables for international students who require immigration permission to re-take their assessments.  This block will not be removed until you have shown that you have permission to study in the UK, so it is important to check this information.

If you need to apply for a new Tier 4 (General) Student visa, you will need to request a CAS number from visa compliance team before applying for your visa. You can submit your request through the online request form.  

Alternatively,  if you choose to return as a Short-term Student, you will need to request a letter from the Visa Compliance Team.  You can request this letter through the online at Request a short-term student letter

If you currently have a valid Tier 4 visa for another institution, which will cover the assessment period, you may be able to take your assessments on the basis of supplementary study.  Please ensure you contact us for advice.

Students with exams in the summer re-sit period

In summer 2019, the re-sit period is only for first year, undergraduate students.  As this cohort should have a Tier 4 visa which covers the whole of their programme, they should not be required to apply for a visa to attend these exams.

Re-taking assessments on a Standard Visitor (tourist) visa

If you hold a long-term Standard Visitor Visa (more than six months), the UKVI now allow you to undertake a period of study of up to a maximum of 30 days on this visa.  This concession does not include the six-month Standard Visitor visa.  

Students who are required to attend to re-submit their dissertation will not be able to use a long-term visitor visa because the period of study will be more than 30 days.

Students who arrive on a six-month Standard Visitor visa will not be permitted to use this visa for their re-take assessments. Therefore, you should plan to apply for either the Tier 4 visa or the Short-Term student visa to avoid being advised you cannot take your assessment.

I have a non-study visa or Tier 4 visa for another institution.  Can I use this for my re-take/deferred assessments?

This depends on the visa that you hold and your commitments in the UK.  Please contact us for advice using our online query form.

What happens if I stay in the UK while not attending my course?

If you remain in the UK as an unregistered student, your Tier 4 visa application could be refused.  

Please note that you cannot remain in the UK if you have an informal agreement to attend classes or meet with your tutor - you must be registered on your programme.

If you have a Tier 4 (General) Student visa, LSE must report to the Home Office that you will not be continuing on your programme. The Visa Compliance Team will email you to inform you that they are reporting your change of circumstances to the Home Office . When this happens, the Home Office will send you a letter or email to cancel your Tier 4 visa.

We advise you to leave the UK as early as you can after you are informed that you will have retake exams. This is because you have no further studies and no longer benefit from any of the conditions under Tier 4, for example access to the NHS and the ability to work in the UK.

If you have a non-student immigration status (for example, dependant or Tier 2 ) you can remain in the UK while not attending your course as long as you continue to meet the requirements of your permission.

Working After your Studies - Tier 2, Tier 4 DES and Start-up

When can I start working full-time at the end of my studies?

You can start working full-time once your official programme end date has passed.  Your official programme end date is the date that was provided on your CAS number not  the date you submit your dissertation.

PhD students who have extended their Tier 4 visa for either their viva or corrections are bound by the 20 working hours conditions until their new end date has passed.  If you are unsure if you are affected, come to a PhD Academy drop-in session for advice before accepting a full-time contract.

The Home Office considers the extra two or four months at the end of your visa to be vacation, so you can work full time during this period. However, the same conditions apply unless you are switching into a different immigration route e.g. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 2(General).

More information can be found on the UKCISA web site.

We cannot provide letters for employers confirming your ability to work full time at the end of your studies.  However, you may wish to refer them to our leaflet on employing LSE students.

Advice on applying for Tier 2 (General) at the end of your studies

The information on this page is taken from the Tier 2 Policy Guidance. You can also find further information on the UKCISA web pages. 

ISVAT specialises in the student immigration rules. Whilst we can provide information on switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2, we are not trained to provide detailed advice on the Tier 2 immigration rules and completing the application forms. For detailed advice speak to your sponsoring employer or seek external advice at www.oisc.gov.uk or www.ilpa.org.uk

We are unable to advise on Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applications for your employers. Details on how to apply for a sponsor licence can be found on the UKVI web pages. 

Eligibility: 

To sponsor you for a Tier 2 (General) visa, your employer must

  • have a Tier 2 sponsor licence. See the Register of Tier 2 sponsors

  • offer you a 'graduate level' job, or a job on the Shortage Occupation list

  • offer a minimum salary of £20,800 per year or £30,000 for some applicants (this can be higher depending on your job title)

  • allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to you. It is at the employer's discretion if they wish to allocate you a COS to sponsor you under Tier 2 (General).  Whilst they may be able to offer you a position, if it does not meet the requirements of Tier 2 (General), they may not be able to sponsor you for a visa.  

You can apply to switch to Tier 2 inside the UK if your current and unexpired visa is:

  • Tier 4 (General)

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Enterpreneur) 

Resident Labour Market Test Exemption

If you are switching from Tier 4/Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) to Tier 2 (General) in the UK, you will be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test.  More information can be found on the UKCISA web pages, if your employer requires confirmation of this.

Immigration Skills Charge

Your employer will be exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge if you are switching from a Tier 4 visa in the UK.  You can find more information on the UKCISA web pages.

When to apply for Tier 2 (General)

If you want to switch from Tier 4 or a student visa: 

  • you must have completed your undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme (submitted all assessments) or are applying no more than three months before the expected completion date of your programme.  The expected completion date is the programme end date on your CAS and Certificate of Registration not the date you submit your final assessment.

    If you apply for your Tier 2 visa using a letter saying you have completed or it is three months before your expected completion date, and you have not been awarded your degree, you cannot start working in your position until you have obtained your Tier 2 visa.  

    If you apply after you have been awarded your degree, you will be able to start working permanently in your position once your Tier 2 application has been submitted.

  • you must have completed a minimum of 12 months study towards a PhD programme.  Your Tier 2 sponsor will need to see evidence of this.  

Your employer may ask if it is possible for you to extend your student visa to give you more time in the UK before being sponsored.  Unless you are a PhD student applying under the Doctorate Extension Scheme (see above), you can only extend your student stay if you are continuing to study in the UK.

Points required to apply for Tier 2 (General):

You need 70 points to apply:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) - 30 points

  • Maintenance funds – 10 points

  • English language – 10 points

  • Salary – 20 points

Documents required from LSE

To switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 inside the UK, you need to show evidence that you have "completed" your programme or "been awarded your degree".  When you apply you can show this by including:

  • your original degree certificate, academic transcript; confirmation of award letter; or

  • a letter confirming you have "completed" your degree on LSE headed paper from the Student Services Centre

  • a Certificate of Registration as this will confirm your programme end date and as such will evidence that you are applying three months before the end date of your programme.

How to request a document for your Tier 2 application

  • Your degree certificate will be available for collection at your graduation ceremony;

  • Your transcript will be available within three weeks of your results being released; 

  • You can request a confirmation of award letter the day after results are released;

  • You can request a letter stating that you have "completed" your programme once you have sat all of your exams and submitted all academic papers. Request a letter by emailing ssc.visacompliance@lse.ac.uk

We can only issue these letters if you have an offer of permanent employment, which requires you to apply for a Tier 2 visa prior to the release of your results or your expected completion date . We will ask to see evidence of your offer of employment before commencing our checks on your studies.  The letter will be addressed to your prospective employer.  It will state that the letter can only be used for a Tier 2 application and the date that your results will be released. Only the Student Services Centre are able to issue these documents. You should not ask another department or division to provide this for you.

If you have deferred any assessments, failed to sit an exam or failed to submit any other assessed work, you have not completed your programme and cannot be issued with this letter.

Application forms

Application forms and the cost of applying can be found on the UKVI web pages.

Applying for Tier 2 from outside the UK

If you want to benefit from the concessions of being a student, you must apply for Tier 2 from inside the UK before you current visa expires.   

If you can only apply from outside the UK,  your employer will have to pass the Resident Labour Market Test and they will have to use a 'restricted' COS to sponsor you. 

Applying for a Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme)  Visa - LSE Endorsed - at the end of your studies

Students studying for a PhD at LSE with Tier 4 (General)  visas are eligible to apply for permission to work for 12 months at the end of their studies.  

As the scheme is under Tier 4, you will have to apply for the additional 12 months before you complete your studies at LSE. This will be your award date, so the latest date you can apply will be the day before you are awarded your PhD. 

Please note that not all requests to take part in the scheme may be granted depending on your future employment plans. You can only apply for this visa from within the UK if you have a valid Tier 4 visa.

When to apply:

  • after you complete your viva with no corrections and before you receive confirmation of your award in writing, or

  • after your corrections have been submitted and before you receive confirmation of your award in writing.

How to apply:

  • inform the PhD Academy at the point you submit your thesis that you are interested in applying for the scheme.  

  • attend one of our PhD Academy drop-in sessions for advice on applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. The Visa Compliance Team will not issue your CAS until you have spoken to us.

  • request a CAS from LSE confirming that you wish to seek or take work in the 12 months after the end of your studies: in requesting a CAS you are confirming that you agree to the conditions of the visa which includes maintaining contact with the PhD Academy during the 12 months;

  • attend an appointment with ISVAT to check your application - you only have one chance at this visa so if it is refused correctly, you will lose the opportunity to apply again.

  • you will be required to formally keep in touch with the School during this period

  • you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for you and any dependants who are applying with you - speak to us for advice on how to pay this

  • you will need to provide evidence of funds (£2,530 = 2 months maintenance funds)

Conditions of the scheme:

  • you will be able to take any kind of work including self employment (except work as a doctor or dentist or training or as a professional sports coach or sportsperson) 

  • you will be permitted to work full time from the date you complete your programme at LSE

  • you can do supplementary study

More information can be found on the UKCISA web site and our info sheet.

Applying for a Start-up Visa through LSE at the end of your studies

The Start-up Visa route was launched on the 29 March 2019.  This replaces the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, which is due to end in July 2019. 

The Start-up visa will grant you two years to build your business in the UK.  It cannot be extended beyond two years.

Further details can be found in our infosheet.

The Start-up visa route requires an endorsement for you to be eligible. LSE has endorsements available under the following conditions:

  • You are an LSE degree programme student and are expected to complete your academic programme in the year you are currently registered or you are an alumnus of a degree programme;

  • Non-LSE students will only be endorsed if they are a key member of a team run by LSE students and the business will not succeed without your contribution;

  • You have a genuinely innovative, viable and scalable business plan which you have submitted through the LSE Generate competitions;

  • You have not previously established a business in the UK or worked on an established business;

  • You have not already had two years' leave under Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur;

  • You agree to the terms and conditions of endorsement as outlined by LSE.

  • Your main reason for requiring an endorsement is to be based in the UK and build your business. The endorsement should not be used to facilitate full time work or for you to be based predominantly outside the UK and as a means for easy travel.

Financial Requirements

  • You need to have held £945 in savings in your bank account for a consecutive 90 days before the closing balance of your bank statement;

  • Your bank statement must be no older than 31 days before your date of application.

Can I switch from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur into the Start-up Route?

Yes, it is possible to switch from Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur into the Start-up Route.  You will only be granted the remaining time that you have left in the two years. For example, if you have spent 12 months on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur you will be granted 12 months on the Start-up visa.

You will need a new endorsement to switch into the Start-up route.  LSE has exceptionally requested additional endorsements this year for those students currently on Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur who wish to switch.

Working After your Studies - Other Routes

When can I start working full-time at the end of my studies?

You can start working full-time once your official programme end date has passed.  Your official programme end date is the date that was provided on your CAS number not  the date you submit your dissertation.

PhD students who have extended their Tier 4 visa for either their viva or corrections are bound by the 20 working hours conditions until their new end date has passed.  If you are unsure if you are affected, come to a PhD Academy drop-in session for advice before accepting a full-time contract.

The Home Office considers the extra two or four months at the end of your visa to be vacation, so you can work full time during this period. However, the same conditions apply unless you are switching into a different immigration route e.g. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 2(General).

More information can be found on the UKCISA web site.

We cannot provide letters for employers confirming your ability to work full time at the end of your studies.  However, you may wish to refer them to our leaflet on employing LSE students.

Applying for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) visa at the end of your studies

The Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) visa is only available to nationals from the following countries:

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Hong Kong

  • Japan

  • Monaco

  • New Zealand

  • Republic of Korea

  • Taiwan

  • British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Nationals Overseas

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa allows you to work in the UK for up to two years without a sponsor.  You cannot switch into this visa from Tier 4. You can only apply for this visa outside the UK. At the end of the two years, you will need to apply for any new immigration permission from outside the UK.

Study is permitted on this visa, but your main intention should be to use it for work.

You can find further details on UKCISA and Home Office

Applying Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa at the end of your studies

There are five schemes under the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) route:

  • Creative and Sporting;

  • Charity Workers;

  • Religious Workers;

  • Government Authorised Exchange;

  • International Agreement

These schemes allow you to undertake specific types of work from one to two years, depending on the scheme.  Most schemes only permit entry clearance applications, In certain circumstances, you may be able to switch to the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) in the UK.

Full details of all the schemes and when you can apply in the UK can be found on the UKCISA web pages.

Applying for a UK Ancestry Visa at the end of your studies.

The Ancestry visa enables the following groups to take employment or set up a business in the UK:

  • You are a Commonwealth Citizen;

  • You are aged over 17; and

  • You can prove you have a grandparent who was born in the UK/the Channel Islands/the Isle of Man/ on a British registered ship or aircraft/ the Republic of Ireland (before 31 March 1922).

The Ancestry visa is valid for five years and you must intend to seek employment.  It can lead to settlement after five years.  Further details can be found on the UKVI web pages.


 

 

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