Guidance for Tier 4/Student Visa Holders may be different during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for University updates.

Important Update: New Points-Based Immigration System

On the 5th October 2020, the Government introduced a new student points-based immigration system. This system replaces the Tier 4 points-based system. Please note that if you are currently holding a ‘Tier 4’ visa, your visa sponsorship remains unaffected and you must continue to adhere to your visa responsibilities as you have previously done. In the coming weeks will be updating our webpage with updates to reflect changes to the immigration rules for students.

Short-Term Visa Students

Student Visa (Formerly known as Tier 4)

In conjunction with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) rules, the University has set out several responsibilities which Tier 4 or Student visa holders must follow throughout your time studying at the University of Aberdeen. The ‘Your Tier 4/Student visa responsibilities’ tab below outline each of these responsibilities in a little more detail. If you have any queries with regards to your visa responsibilities, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Student Immigration Compliance Team at

As your visa’s sponsor, the University also has responsibilities set by UKVI that we must comply with in order to retain our sponsor license. Without this license we wouldn’t be able to continue to welcome students from all over the world to study at our Aberdeen campus, and therefore it is of paramount importance that we work together to ensure that we comply with all the requirements.

We will update this page with news, information, events and policy changes that could impact you and your visa so do check back regularly to ensure you are up to date with what you need to know.

Responsibilities of Being a Student Visa Holder (Formerly known as Tier 4)

Your student visa permits you to live and study in the UK. In order to retain your visa throughout the duration of your studies, there are several responsibilities that you must follow in order to protect your visa status. Ultimately, your student visa is your responsibility, and therefore you should always have an awareness of the below requirements and get in touch if you have any concerns or queries.

Student Visa Responsibilities

  • Your must provide a copy of your immigration documentation (current passport, visa, Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), ATAS certificate if you have one) as and when requested by a member of staff. If you update any of these documents, you must provide copies to the Student Immigration Compliance Team as soon as you can;
  • You must keep your contact details upto-date via theStudent Hub. This includes your termtime address and mobile phone number if you have one;
  • You must check your University email account at least once per week. This is the main contact method that staff from across the University will use to get in touch with you, including the Student Immigration Compliance Team;
  • You must register for your studies on time, each academic year. Failure to do so will result in the University having to stop the sponsorship of your visa as you will no longer be regarded as a student with us. This includes ensuring that you are permitted to register each year, which is impacted by holding a debt to the University and your individual academic progress;
  • You must attend a visa check when requested. You will find out about the next visa check in an email to your University email account or by checking this webpage;
  • You must fully engage with your studies by attending all required classes, meeting with your supervisor and signing in as requested by your School. This includes any online classes or meetings if you are studying fully or partially online due to Covid19. Your visa has been issued for you to study with us and it is important that you are fully engaged with your programme throughout its duration;
  • You must follow University processes and seek permission from your School(s) to spend longer than a week away from campus during your studies. Speak with your School office to arrange any time away and update them with any situations that could result in you missing a class or signin session;
  • You must return home if you stop studying with us or if you complete your programme earlier than noted on your CAS, as we will report your visa to UKVI when such a change is known by us;
  • You must seek advice from an International Student Adviser (based in the Student Advice and Support Office) 3 months before the expiry date of your visa if you will be seeking an extension to your student visa. Immigration rules change continually, and you don’t want to be caught out by any changes to the rules since your last visa application;
  • You must seek advice from an International Student Adviser if you wish to make any changes to your studies (such as changing the degree you or on) or you are forced to repeat a year, drop down a level of study or need more time in the UK to complete your programme as it is likely you will need to obtain a new visa before you return to complete your degree; and
  • You must only work within the restrictions allowed by your visa and ensure that you follow any other conditions of your visa as outlined on it, for example Police Registration.
Student Visa Applications (Formerly Tier 4)

There are some situations that may need you to extend your existing Student visa as you need more time in the UK to complete your programme. You may also change programme in such a way that you are required to get a new visa before you can continue on your new degree, for example if you are upgrading to the MEng.

How you approach getting a new visa will depend on your level of study, and more information can be found below for Postgraduate Research Students and those on a Taught Programme.

Our general guide gives you more details on how the Tier 4 application process works.

Postgraduate Research Students

If you require extra time in the UK to complete your research and write your thesis you must ensure that you have your studies extended academically before trying to get a visa extension. You should have your academic extension approved and confirmed at least 3 months before your visa is due to expire. You can get more information on extending your studies by speaking with your Supervisor or School office.

Please note that if your topic of research requires ATAS clearance and you are extending your submission date by 3 or more months or if you are changing your research topic, you will need to apply for and receive your ATAS certificate before your study extension can be processed by the Registry Team. More details on ATAS can be found on theGov.UK website.

Once you have your study extension approved and this has been confirmed by Registry you can look at extending your Student visa. Please get in touch with the International Student Advisers approximately 3 months prior to your visa expiry date by contacting

Taught Students

If you make a change to your studies, or a change is made due to academic issues, you may need to get a new Student visa before you can study on your new path of study. This could happen if:

Where a situation like this arises you should contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team  to assess if a new visa is required as soon as possible. If your study change does require new visa sponsorship, you may need to return to your home country to submit a new visa application before you can return to the UK to continue your studies. This means you may be restricted as to when such changes to your studies can be made.

Once you have your change approved by the Student Immigration Compliance Team, and this has been confirmed by the Registry team, we can look at extending or altering your Student visa.

Support with Your Visa - Contact Us

There are lots of support mechanisms available at the University depending on what you need help with. Our Supporting Students pages have more information on the full range of services available and we have included some services specifically for Student visa holders below.

It is important to remember that your visa is yours to protect, however there are staff trained and available to provide you with advice and support in relation to your visa, should you need it.

Please note that the International Student Advisers and the Student Immigration Compliance Team are the only teams in the University that can provide visa advice to students. Please do not seek visa advice from any other members of staff within the University, as this may not be accurate.

Student Immigration Compliance Team

You can contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team for advice on changing your programme or degree; any academic issues you are facing; questions on the visa check process; issues with attendance or absence from University; and registration.

You can reach us by emailing

International Student Advisers

You can contact an International Student Adviser for advice on working in the UK; issues with your visa – loss, theft or damage; changing your Student visa – needing an extension or new visa; working in the UK; bringing dependants to the UK; and police registration.

You can reach them by visiting them in the Students’ Union Building, top floor; by calling 01224 273935; or by emailing

Please note that due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the International Student Advisers and Student Immigration Compliance Team are working from home, so can only be reached by email. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Visit Visa

The Standard Visitor Visa is usually valid for up to 6 months, and can be applied for if, for example, you wish to return to the UK to attend your Graduation Ceremony, but you no longer hold a valid Student visa.

Additionally, if you have family or friends that wish to visit you in the UK whilst you are studying at the University, they may be eligible to apply for the Standard Visitor Visa.

Please note that the Standard Visitor Visa cannot be used to study in the UK.

More information on applying for this type of visa is available in our Standard Visit Visa guide, or if you have any specific queries, please contact the International Student Advisers.

Bringing my Family to the UK

In some circumstances, Postgraduate Student visa holders are permitted to apply to bring their spouse/partner and children to the UK as their dependants.

More information on this process is available in our guide, or if you have any specific queries, please contact the International Student Advisers.

Police Registration

Nationals of some countries are required to register with the police when coming to the UK for more than 6 months. More information on who has to complete police registration, and how to do this is available on the Police Scotland website.

Working in the UK

The International Student Advisers have created some help sheets that outline the options Student visa holders have to work in the UK. Please remember that it is your responsibility to confirm your eligibility to work in the UK with your employer. It is also your responsibility to ensure that you keep to your permitted working hours, for example 20 hours per week during term-time.

Working while completing your studies

The following guide should be read by students who are still studying on their programme and are still registered as students with us.

Working after your studies are completed

The following guide should be read by students who have successfully completed their programme and have reached the formal end date of studies as outlined on their initial offer of admission. You can clarify if this applies to you by contacting the Student Immigration Compliance Team.

Related information

Lost Travel Documents

Sometimes you may lose or have your Passport or Biometric Residence Permit stolen. When this happens, it is important that you follow the correct steps to ensure your documents can be replaced quickly. How to do this will depend on whether you are in the UK when your documents go missing or are stolen.

More information can be found on the UKCISA website.

You can also contact our International Student Advisers for more advice. Their details are on the "Support with your visa" tab.