Visas and Immigration

An example of a UK Student Tier 4 Visa application from China from the We Are International Campaign.


If you are a non EEA* international student you will most likely need a Visa known as 'Entry Clearance' to study in the UK. (*EEA =European Economic Area is EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)

Depending upon the length of the course you are undertaking at Keele, you will need to either apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa or a Short Term Study Visa. For the most part students studying over six months in the UK will need a Tier 4 Visa, with students studying under six months in the UK can study on a Short Term Study Visa or Electronic Visa Waiver; however this does vary depending upon your course of study. If you are a non EEA international student and already hold a non-student visa you will need to send a scanned copy of this to the Immigration Compliance Team before you start your course, to ensure that you are eligible to study, in addition, we will need to see and take a copy of the original at enrolment.

Do you need a Visa

To check if you will need 'entry clearance' to study in the UK, you can input your information on the online enquiry form provided by the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration (UKVI). If you are applying for a Visa to enter / remain the UK, please ensure that you read our 'How to Apply' guide carefully.

Keele students are required to keep their own copies (paper or electronic) of their Visa, Passport and correspondence from the UK Home Office. In addition students are required to keep their own personal copy (paper or electronic) of any documentation they submit to the UK Home Office, for example; when you apply for a new Visa or an extension to their current Visa. Original versions or copies of these documents will be requested by the University at enrolment and at any point during a student’s time at Keele.

All students are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that they adhere to the conditions of their Visa (Leave to enter / remain) in the United Kingdom, and that Keele University is required to report on a student’s status and activity to external agencies including the UK Home Office. Please note that if you are sponsored for a visa by Keele University (for example under Tier 4) we reserve the right to cancel this sponsorship if you do not adhere to the conditions of your visa (Leave to enter / remain) and / or the requirements or the regulations of the University.

Students who are in breach of the UK Immigration rules or who are not able to show to the University that have valid leave to remain / enter in the UK, will not be allowed to start / continue studying at Keele University. More information upon your immigration responsibilities and what can affect your Visa, including examples of what can cause your visa to be cancelled are contained within these pages.

The University has a specific regulation with regards to Visas and Immigration, Regulation 6; in addition, the University’s regulations on admission to a programme of study separate admission from agreement of Tier 4 sponsorship. Therefore, an offer of a place does not guarantee automatic Tier 4 sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University, which is only confirmed when a CAS number is issued. A Visa and Confirmation Checklist (pre-CAS) is not an agreement of sponsorship under Tier 4.

What can affect your Visa

Once you apply for / have been granted your Visa (entry clearance) following your application your responsibilities do not end there. You are expected to understand and abide by the conditions attached to your Visa, some of which will be printed on your Visa stamp, vignette sticker or your BRP card (Biometric Residence Permit)

Students on Tier 4

As a Tier 4 sponsor Keele University is required to report to the UK Home Office within 10 days of any student that we have issued as CAS to / or who is on a Tier 4 visa. Depending upon the severity of the situation we may need to withdraw our sponsorship and thus cancel your Visa.

Common reasons why your Visa will be cancelled and sponsorship withdrawn are listed below:

  • Failure to enrol and arrive on time
  • A change in your course which is not permitted under the UK Immigration rules
  • Failure to attend all of expected classes, tutorials, lectures, lab sessions, exams, submit course work and other course content. (Unless you seek prior authorisation to be absent from your School / RI)
  • Failure to Pay Fees to the University, including Tuition Fees and accommodation charges
  • Failure to attend a Compulsory Checkpoint
  • Leave of absence
  • Deferring from your studies
  • Self-withdrawal from Keele University
  • Withdrawal by Keele University
  • Academic Failure
  • Failure to abide by the University’s rules and regulations

Please note that this is not an inclusive list of what can cause a student to be withdrawn from the University.

Once sponsorship has been withdrawn your Visa will be curtailed (cancelled) automatically by the UK Home Office and Keele University is not able to stop this process. They will send correspondence to your registered UK address advising you how long you have until you need to leave the UK or find a new sponsor.

The University is also required to report to the UK Home Office when you; require an extension to your last date of enrolment with agreement from the Immigration Compliance Team and your School / RI, Change your course of study,  complete your course before your end date stated on your CAS (This will result in your Visa being curtailed).

Absenteeism

As a student of Keele University you are expected to attend all of your classes, tutorials, lectures, student meetings and that you seek prior permission from your School of study / Research Institute for any absences. As a Tier 4 sponsor Keele University is required to report to the UK Home Office any unapproved absences from an expected contact, and if the number of unapproved absences from expected contacts is more than 10 individual consecutive events the University is required, as a Tier 4 sponsor to withdraw sponsorship of your Visa.

For example if you are unwell you are expected to contact your School of study / Research Institute and get permission prior to the expected contact (class, tutorial, lecture etc.) If you do not inform and get permission from your School of study / Research Institute the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Please note this does not affect / change any rules or regulations with regards to absenteeism and academic warnings.

Work

If you are permitted to work in the UK this will be stated on your Visa along with the number of hours that you are permitted to work per week (the number of hours is not cumulative) during term time. For some students the restriction upon the hours per week you can work is not applicable during the University’s official vacation time. Keele University Calendar defines term / semester dates along with the University vacation dates. In addition, if you are on a period of a short term absence where the University is not cancelling Tier 4 sponsorship (for example Postgraduate Research students who have an approved short term absence of 28 days or less), you are still bound by the Tier 4 working rules and cannot work full time.

If you are a postgraduate (Taught or Research) student who is researching and / or writing up your dissertation / thesis during the University’s vacation dates, you are still restricted to the number of hours of work permitted as stated on your Visa.

Postgraduate Research Students who are on an agreed period of annual leave from their Research Institute / Faculty Research Office may, in some circumstances work full time. However this is not advised as you should use this time to rest from your studies. 

Depending upon your visa type (immigration category) there maybe restrictions on what work you can do. These include: No work as; an entertainer, a doctor in training (unless the course that you have a visa to do), a professional sportsperson (including coach), Self- Employed and that you must not be filling a full time permanent vacancy. Please note that this does not necessarily apply to Postgraduate doctors, dentists or Student Union sabbatical officers or work placements.

It is your responsibility to abide by these restrictions. If you are found to be breaking the immigration rules the UK Home Office will take action against you, your employer and you will be withdrawn from the University. More information can be found in the ‘working in the UK’ section.

Registration with the Police

Some students will need to register with the Police when they first arrive in the UK, or when you have a change of personal circumstances, listed below.  Police registration, both initial and any changes must be done within 7 days. Keele University will assist new students who enrol in September to register with the Police, or provide guidance upon how you can do it yourself.

Change of personal circumstances:

  • Change of address
  • Change of course of study
  • Change of marital status
  • Have a New Passport
  • New Visa

Students on other Visas / Immigration Types

If you do not hold a Tier 4 visa that is sponsored by Keele University you will need to ensure that you adhere to the conditions attached to it. The conditions will be detailed when you apply for your visa. In addition, they can be accessed on the UK Home Office website.

Under the conditions of Keele University’s Tier 4 sponsor licence, the University is required to contribute to supporting immigration control. If the University is made aware of any student who is in breach of their immigration conditions we are required to report to the UK Home Office within 10 days. Depending upon the severity of the situation we may need to withdraw you from the University. 

Please note that this is not an inclusive list and it is your responsibility to abide by this requirement of your Visa.

Immigration Advice

Immigration advice in the UK is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and only registered immigration advisers or solicitors registered with the Law Society can give immigration advice.

Keele University, like other UK University’s has Ministerial dispensation to be able to provide Immigration Advice, however the University is bound to the OISC codes of practice. Immigration advice at the University is provided by Immigration Compliance and International Student Support.

Immigration advice (External to the University)

Keele University Students Union does provide advice for students on a range of issues from their Advice and Support at Keele (ask) service. Please note that Keele University and Keele University Students Union are separate legal bodies and as such cannot share personal information about students without a student’s prior written consent.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provide independent advice for all international students on a range of topics, including immigration advice.

If you seek immigration advice outside of the University, please ensure that the adviser is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or registered by the Law Society. When using a regulated adviser they should be able to give you their registration OISC number, which they will need to add to your Visa application.

Visa types and Immigration Categories

For those nationals that are subject to Immigration control in the UK, for study purposes in the UK at the University the majority of students will be on either a Tier 4 General Visa or a Short Term Study Visa. The visa type that the student has must cover the full length of their course to ensure that they are able to complete their studies, allowing for expected student progression. However there are a number of Visa and Immigration Categories that can in some circumstances allow for study in the UK.

The table below details the common visa types and if they allow for study.

Visa / Category

Study Allowed

Details

Tier 4 Student

Yes - Full Time

Students must have a Visa and CAS sponsored by Keele University

Short Term Study Visa

Yes – Full Time* / Part Time / Distance Learning

*Full Time: Not for the purpose of a course longer than 6 months except for repeats / resits

For a maximum of 6 months and no work is permitted. Students must apply with a supporting letter issued by the Immigration Compliance Team.

Electronic Visa Waiver

Yes – Full Time* / Part Time / Distance Learning

*Full Time: Not for the purpose of a course longer than 6 months except for repeats / resits

For nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates; a maximum of 6 months and no work is permitted. Students must apply with a supporting letter issued by the Immigration Compliance Team.

 

 

 

Ancestry Visa

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Diplomatic Visa

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Family/Dependant of EEA/EU National

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Limited Leave to Remain

Yes – Full Time / Part Time*

*Study maybe permitted depending upon the length of time of limited leave issued. This will be at the discretion of the Immigration Compliance Team.

Marriage Visitor Visa

Yes – Full Time / Part Time for a maximum of 30 days*

*Although study is allowed on this Visa type it is limited to a maximum of 30 days and that the primary purpose of entering the UK is not for study. Therefore the University will not enrol a student on to a course with this Visa type as it would not cover the full length of a semester at Keele.

Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa

No

 

Permitted Paid Engagement Visa

Yes – Full Time / Part Time for a maximum of 30 days*

*Although study is allowed on this Visa type it is limited to a maximum of 30 days and that the primary purpose of entering the UK is not for study. Therefore the University will not enrol a student on to a course with this Visa type as it would not cover the full length of a semester at Keele.

Spouse/Civil Partner Visa

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Standard Visitor Visa
(Includes Academic and Business Visitor Visa routes)

Yes – Full Time / Part Time for a maximum of 30 days*

*Although study is allowed on this Visa type it is limited to a maximum of 30 days and that the primary purpose of entering the UK is not for study. Therefore the University will not enrol a student on to a course with this Visa type as it would not cover the full length of a semester at Keele.

Tier 1 Post Study Work

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

Tier 1 Post Study Work ended in April 2012

Tier 1 Entrepreneur / Exceptional Talent

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

However you must ensure that your primary purpose for being in this Visa type is being adhered to and that your studies do not affect this.

Tier 1 Dependant

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Tier 2

Yes – Part Time

The primary purpose of a Tier 2 Visa is to work in the UK, however part time study maybe permitted if agreed in advance with the employer (Tier 2 Sponsor)

Tier 2 Dependant

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Tier 4 Dependant

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Tier 4 Student (Child)

Yes – Full Time

Only at registered Tier 4 Child sponsors. Keele University does not have a Tier 4 Child licence.

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

No

Although this is a Tier 4 Visa, it is designated for work post completion of a Postgraduate Research Degree.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker / Youth mobility scheme)

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

However you must ensure that your primary purpose for being in this Visa type is being adhered to and that your studies do not affect this.

Tier 5 Dependant

Yes – Full Time / Part Time

 

Visit the UK in a Chinese Tour Group

No

 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and is subject to change by the UK Home Office. Not all visa types above will be permitted to study at the University and not all Visa types / categories can be extended or switched into in the UK.

Please contact the Immigration Compliance Team if you have a specific query over a Visa type or Immigration Category.

Contacting Immigration Compliance

What can I contact or meet with the Immigration Compliance Team about?

  • International Enrolment
  • Checkpoint Events
  • Collecting your BRP (if delivered to the University & outside of the main September enrolment)
  • Visa Curtailment
  • Regulation 6 withdrawal
  • Breaching Immigration Conditions
  • Withdrawal of Tier 4 sponsorship
  • Update the University with the progress of your visa application
  • Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

What do I need to bring to the drop in session?

  • Keele Card
  • Passport (with Visa if applicable)
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if applicable)

What can I NOT contact or meet with the Immigration Compliance Team about?

We are unable to offer one-to-one appointments for the checking of any visa applications. In addition, we are unable to advise you in the following matters:

  • Assistance with a Tier 4 Further Leave to remain application
  • Dependant queries
  • Visas for travelling overseas related to your studies at Keele
  • Visitor visa application checking.
  • Visa categories that permit studies (for non-Tier 4 students, e.g. dependants)
  • Transferring visa from old passport into new
  • Applying for a new BRP if yours is lost or stolen
  • Withdrawing from your studies
  • Applications relating to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) or asylum

Keele International Student Support and Advice and Support at Keele (ask) service in the Students Union are able to assist with visa applications, in addition The Home Office website also has detailed information about these categories.

If you require advice on a matter we are unable to assist with, you may find details of some external resources in the Immigration Advice tab.

When can I meet with the Immigration Compliance Team?

The Immigration Compliance Team operates a drop in system for seeing students & applicants, with usually two sessions per week, scheduled times below:

Monday 2pm - 4pm Drop in Session
Thursday 10am - 12noon Drop in Session 

Please note that drop in sessions may have to be cancelled due to staff availability and other activities being carried out by Immigration Compliance. The Student Services Centre Team will be able to advise you of when the next session will be taking place.


Students and/or applicants are advised to come to the Student Service Centre during these times to see a member of the Immigration Compliance Team, however due to staff availability drop in sessions may move to a different day of the week. If you are travelling from off campus, or wish to confirm that the drop in session is taking place please contact the Immigration Compliance Team at least 48 hours in advance (before the schedule session) using the contact information below.

How do I meet with or contact the Immigration Compliance Team? 

If you require assistance outside of these times or prefer to contact us by email, please use the following options:

  • Telephone the Immigration Compliance on 0044 1782 734314 (internal 34314)
  • Email visa@keele.ac.uk with the details of your query
  • Drop in to the Student Services Centre, Tawney Building

Appealing an Immigration Compliance Decision

In some instances, applicants or students can appeal against a decision made by Immigration Compliance on behalf of the University when either;

  1. Tier 4 Sponsorship (issue a CAS) has been denied to an applicant or a current student or;
  2. A current student who is being withdrawn under University Regulation A1: Visas and Immigration.

An appeal must be submitted within 5 calendar days from when you receive the decision. There are different appeal forms and processes for appeals under point 1 or point 2.

It is important to be aware that when going through the appeal process it does not mean that a CAS will be issued. And that if a student (or applicant) is in the UK, that they must still adhere to the existing requirements of their Visa. And that an individual who requests to be sponsored under Tier 4 (including Tier 4 DES) and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur must not only meet the requirements set by the University and the UK Home Office if the University chooses to participate in these schemes. Therefore, there is no guarantee automatic sponsorship and is at the discretion of the University.

The University has a duty of care to ensure that it is able to support current students in completing their course of study, this means that it may not be able to issue a CAS to additional schemes such as Tier 4 DES or to applicants, including those who have been previous refused (for any reason) if in the view of the University this would have a detrimental effect to perform its obligations to current students and the UK Home Office (UKVI) under the terms of its licence.

In all instances before you consider appealing please make sure that you have read over University Regulation A1: Visas and Immigration to understand in what circumstances appeals can be considered. Unfortunately, members of staff in Immigration Compliance are not able to assist you with an appeal form as this would be a conflict of interest.


1. Appeals concerning denial of sponsorship

Students or applicants who are denied sponsorship under regulations; C3.2.4 Bachelors Degree, C4.2.4 Intercalated Bachelors Degrees, C6.2.4 Integrated Masters Degrees, C5.2.4 Medical Bachelors Degrees, C7.2.4 Taught Postgraduate Degrees, C8.2.4 Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diplomas, C9.2.4 Professional Doctorates, C10.2.4 Research Degrees and A1.1.6 A1.1.7 amd A1.1.8 Visas and Immigration may be eligible to appeal against the decision on the grounds of procedural irregularity in determining the grounds for denial of sponsorship.

Appeals concerning denial of sponsorship should be submitted to the Head of Planning & Admissions within 5 calendar days of the student being informed that they will not be sponsored. 

The Head of Planning & Admissions will consider the appeal and inform the appellant of their decision and the outcome of their appeal within 15 working days.

Grievances against appeal decisions 

Following exhaustion of the appeals procedure set out in regulation A1.2.Appeals concerning denial of sponsorship, a student may submit a grievance to the University Council under the terms provided for by Statute 17(22). Grievances must be submitted within 14 calendar days of the letter informing the student of the outcome of the appeal and must be made in writing to the Secretary to Council. Grievances can only be made on the grounds of procedural irregularity in the conduct of the appeal.

Students must comply with the requirements of the UK Home Office and will not be sponsored pending the outcome of a grievance.

2. Withdrawal under University Regulation A1

If you are a current student who is being withdrawn under University Regulation 6 you must read the guidance, information on appealing and complete the appeal form which is online here www.keele.ac.uk/visaappeals/ 

Accuracy of Information

The information and guidance provided is regularly updated to reflect the current Immigration Rules and any announced expected changes. Any announced expected changes in the Immigration rules, will be cited in Italics as appropriate, once the rules have been published this information will be reviewed again to ensure accuracy. 

The Immigration Compliance Team, acting on behalf of the University as a Tier 4 Sponsor will make the decision of who the University is willing to sponsor under Tier 4 or support students on other immigration categories that allow for study.

Information correct as of date of publishing - Last update 01 May 2018