Directorate of Student and Academic Services
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- Immigration Responsibilities
If you need a visa to be in the UK, you must comply with the immigration conditions attached to your visa. Your responsibilities to the University are:
- Provide the University with your passport and visa / biometric ID card (BRP) when you register. You will also be required to present these documents at the checkpoints and any other time requested by Keele.
- Ensure that your visa is valid for study at Keele University, updating Immigration Compliance if there are any changes to your Visa and/or passport.
- Keep your contact details in the UK and those in your home country up to date via e:Vision (KLE portal).
- Register for your course on time for each academic year. If this isn’t possible, inform us so that we can assist you where possible.
- Study whilst you are in the UK, ensure that you attend all of your classes, tutorials or lectures and that you seek prior permission from your School(s) of study / Research Institute / Faculty Research Office for any absences.
- Follow the University’s procedures if you need to take a leave of absence or withdraw from your course at Keele.
- Leave the UK if you take a leave of absence, withdraw or are terminated from your course, or if your course is terminated.
- Comply with the conditions attached to your visa regarding working in the UK and registering with the Police.
- Seek immigration advice from International Student Support before you consider changing your course of study, adding a work placement / year abroad, repeating a year or university.
- Check your Keele University email account regularly, undertaking any instruction given to you by the University.
Keele students are required to keep their own copies (paper or electronic) of their Visa, Passport and correspondence from the UK Home Office. In additional 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 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 University.
Keele University requires students to attend at least 2 mandatory checkpoint events each academic year for which you will be given notice via email to your University email account. These checkpoints are run centrally for international students and are separate to your attendance on your course of study. At a checkpoint you will be required to present an original copy of your Visa and Passport for inspection, you may also be required to present copies of your Academic and English language qualifications. Failure to attend a checkpoint will be deemed as failure to comply with the University’s Tier 4 responsibilities and students who do not attend, or fail to present the required information (as required) will be terminated from the University which will result in cancellation of a student's Tier 4 Visa.
Students who are terminated by the University (for example Academic failure or non payment of Fees) will have the sponsorship of their Visa by Keele cancelled, the University is required to inform the UK Home Office (UKVI) of this within 10 working days from the date of your termination, this is known as curtailment of your Visa. Students in this situation will be served a curtailment notice from the UKVI stating that they will have set period of time to either leave the UK or find a new Tier 4 sponsor or a new Immigration category that they can apply to move into. This period of time is expected to be either 60 days from the notice of your visa being cancelled or the end of your current leave to be in the UK, whichever is the sooner. The University recommends that you leave the UK or find a new Immigration Sponsor within 28 days; to ensure that you are not refused under general grounds by the UKVI if you subsequently choose to make a new Visa / Immigration application.
There is no 28 day grace period of overstaying. A student is an overstayer if they remain in the UK after their expiry date of their Visa unless they submit a new in time Visa application which would meet the requirements of the Immigration rules.
Students and staff are reminded that anyone that is in breach of the UK Immigration rules (for example those that are an overstayer) will not be allowed to undertake / continue studying at Keele University.
Council Tax exemption
You are only exempt from paying Council Tax for the period you are registered as a student at Keele. Once your programme end date has passed, you are no longer exempt from paying Council Tax even if your visa is still valid. You should update your council on your change of circumstances at the end of your course. Please note council tax exemption is not permitted for students on Tier 4 DES.
If you are living with students and are now working, the property is no longer exempt and you must update your borough council of the change in circumstances.
The University’s Immigration Responsibilities
Keele University has a duty of care to all its students, and must comply by law to the immigration rules and the requirements of the UK Home Office Visas & Immigration (UKVI). Our responsibilities are:
- Check and keep copies of your original passport and Visas / biometric ID (BRP) card when you register. Reviewing these documents at contact points (Checkpoints) throughout the year, recording if there are any changes (example - passport renewal).
- Keep your UK and your home contact details up to date and keep a record of any changes of address.
- Ensure that we only register students with a visa / Immigration status valid for study at Keele University.
- Report to the UKVI those students who do not register on time.
- Monitor student’s attendance reporting unauthorised absences to the UKVI and terminate students who do not attend.
- Monitor and report to the UKVI any changes of status such as a leave of absence, change in course length, termination or exclusion / expulsion.
- Notify the UKVI of any significant changes in your circumstances, such as a change of course or completion of your studies where this is earlier than expected.
- Notify the UKVI if we are aware that you are in breach of immigration conditions.
- Keep a copy of your ATAS certificate if your programme of studies requires one.
- Any other duties required by the UK Home Office including supporting immigration control.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list but provides examples of the nature of the University’s responsibilities and the types of circumstance in which the University will need to capture information on students and reporting it accordingly.
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
What is a BRP?
A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a document issued by the Home Office to students (and their partners and children) as evidence of their immigration permission (also known as leave to enter or remain). Your BRP will include the following personal information:
- Your name, date and place of birth
- Your fingerprints and a photograph of your face
- Your immigration status and any conditions of stay
- Whether you can access public funds (such as benefits and health services).
Please find an example BRP below:
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) for Entry Clearance
In March 2015 changes to the UK law requires anyone who applies for a visa outside of the UK for leave (Visa) that exceeds a period of six months will only be issued with a 30-day vignette (entry clearance ‘sticker’) in their passport. You will then need to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) within 10 days of arriving in the UK from the University or a specified Post Office, which you select when you submit your visa application.
How do I get my BRP?
Keele University has a special arrangement with UKVI to distribute BRPs to students and you will be given your BRP at the time of enrolment on to your course. The University will provide you with a specific code to use on the ‘Visa4UK’ website as an ‘alternative collection location’, which will allow the UKVI to send your BRP to Keele for you to collect. This specific BRP collection code is on your CAS statement. When selecting the BRP collection location you must choose an ‘alternative location’ and use the code 2HE542 as shown below:
Alternatively the nearest pick up location to the University is the Post Office in Newcastle-under-Lyme (approximately 4 miles away), to select this location you will need to use the University’s postcode ST5 5BG on the ‘visa4UK’ website, however you will need to arrange your own transport to this Post Office and you will not be able to enrol, partake in teaching or start your studies without your BRP.
To collect your (and your dependents’) BRP you will need to bring your original passport with the 30-day vignette and also your visa application decision letter from the UK Home Office. BRP’s for dependents will only be issued with the student’s BRP. To collect the dependents BRP’s the student must bring the decision letter and their passport as well as the decision letter and passports for all dependents. Without both the decision letter and the passport containing the entry clearance sticker ‘vignette’, you will not be issued with your BRP.
When you receive your decision letter and 30-day vignette following your visa application, you must email a scanned copy of the letter and the Visa these to firstname.lastname@example.org
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) enrolment for further leave to remain
When making a visa extension application in the UK the online application process to extend your Visa will ask you to select an appointment a UK Visa application centre to show your Passport, current Visa and have your Biometric's taken. The appointment availability is only shown whilst you are submitting the online the visa application. These centres also allow the option (at cost) for your application documents to be scanned and uploaded if that was not done during the application form.
The new centres are mostly based in public libraries and the locations of the core service points (standard fee) or enhanced service points (additional fee) are detailed on the new UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenships Application Services) webpages via postcode look up.
The nearest core service point to the University is at the Manchester Central Library, St. Peters Square, City Centre, Manchester, M2 5PD. To get to the Library from Keele you would need to get a train to Manchester Piccadilly and then use the free bus service (Route 1) from Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Central Library. Trains to Manchester Piccadilly run from Stoke on Trent & Crewe, with more regular services from Stoke on Trent and anytime day return tickets from £14.
Students would need to make sure that they try to get an appointment which does not mean they are absent from the scheduled learning and teaching events. If you are not able to get an appointment outside of your teaching then you would need to request for your future absence to be approved from your School(s). For taught students, this is done by submitting an absence request though eVision which is accessed via the KLE. For Postgraduate Research students, you need to contact your supervisor / Research area. This does not mean that your absence request will be approved and so we strongly advise you to try and avoid being absent from the University.
Previously students who were making a visa application in the UK (known as further leave to remain – FLR), would need to complete ‘Biometric Enrolment’ by going to a Post Office that offers this service. This is now being phased out but if you have an older application in progress you may still be asked to go to the Post Office, this will be stated on your letter or email from the UK Home Office. The nearest one to the University is in WHSmith in the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley, Stoke on Trent; details of the Post Office opening hours and how to get there can be found by clicking here.
A student must ensure that they complete Biometric Enrolment within 15 working days from the date of the letter or email from the UK Home Office (UKVI) and that they must arrange this outside of their learning teaching events, using the Post Office weekend opening hours if needed.
If you need any assistance with Biometric Enrolment please contact International Student Support.
Guidance on sporting restrictions
Individuals who are on a visa to be in the UK are not able to be employed to provide services as a professional sportsperson including a sports coach unless they are on a specific Visa to do so. This is considered a 'Condition of the Visa' and does include students on Study Visas (Tier 4 and Short Term Study) as well as those on other visas including Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5. It may also be the case for individuals on other immigration categories such as Limited Leave to Remain.
Students are able to take part in BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) or University sporting events as the UK Home Office (UKVI) consider these as amateur sporting activities.
For example, if you are a student at the University on a Tier 4 Student Visa you are able to play and actively participate in University Sports Club or Society.
This is because within the UK Immigration Rules an amateur is someone, 'who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity.'
- If I have a Tier 4 visa, can I compete in BUCS competitions?
Yes - BUCS is an amateur competition and therefore there is no restriction on Tier 4 visa holders competing in BUCS, provided you are playing on a wholly amateur basis.
- Am I able to officiate for their BUCS clubs and in local league competitions?
Yes - If you hold a Tier 4 visa as officials are not included under the definition of a professional sportsperson.
- Can I take on a role within my sports club?
As BUCS sport is classed as an amateur sport you are able (assuming that you are elected/selected) to undertake committee and coach roles as long as you are doing so on a wholly amateur basis and do not make or intend to make a living from it.
- I hold a Tier 4 Visa, can I compete for their university in amateur leagues outside of BUCS?
As long as the sport is classed as wholly amateur, and you are playing on a wholly amateur basis then you should be permitted to play within that competition framework.
- Am I able to attend and take part in a trail for a professional or semi-professional sports club?
No, this is because the UKVI see this as an intention for you to make a living from being a sporting professional.
- I would like to compete in local semi-professional/professional sport and have a Visa that allows for some restricted work. Can I do this as long as I don’t go over the maximum hours permitted?
No, individuals with work restrictions such as Tier 4 cannot be employed (which includes both paid, unpaid or payment in kind work) as a professional sportsperson. In this situation, if you are playing semi/professional sport you would be in breach of the conditions of your Visa (leave) to be in the UK.
In January 2019 the UK Home Office (UKVI) expanded the examples of what they would consider as an individual carrying out a role as a professional sportsperson from the original 2011 guidance. This UKVI clarification was not intended to affect students partaking in sports at Universities but could be interpreted as such. The University along with the Students Union, BUCS and other sector organisations pointed out this potential issue and has had subsequent clarification in April 2019 that this expansion was not intended to negatively impact on a students experience.
The current UK Home Office documentation states that they consider someone to be a professional sports person including a sports coach as someone who is employed (paid, unpaid or payment in kind) or providing a service who:
- is a sportsperson playing or coaching in any capacity at a professional, semi-professional or any level of sport unless they are an amateur in a charity event;
- is currently or has in the past 4 years received payment as a sportsperson or coach to cover all or, the majority of their living or travel costs in the UK;
- is registered or has been in the past 4 years, with a professional or semi-professional sports team including academy and development team age groups;
- has previously represented their nation or state, or their national/regional/ state team within the past 2 years (including youth and development age groups from under 17’s upwards);
- has an established international reputation in their field or sport;
- takes part in a trail for a professional or semi-professional sports team;
- engages, or has done so in the past 12 months a representative (agent) with the aim of finding opportunities as a sportsperson, including developing a current or future career;
- undertaking the role of a sporting official such as a referee or judge unless they are undertaking this role on a wholly amateur basis.
When a student enrols at the start of their course the University ensures that it adheres to its requirements as a UK Home Office Tier 4 Sponsor. Enrolling at the University students need to show us their passport and visa which we are required to copy and keep for our records. We will then give you a pre-printed form for you to complete and sign; you give this to a member of staff who will check the form and then give you your Keele Card.
Under the requirements of the UK Home Office (UKVI), all students must complete in person enrolment with the Immigration Compliance Team before they are allowed to start their course and partake in any learning and teaching events. Students found to be in breach of these requirements will be terminated with immediate effect and required to leave the UK.
Please note: you will only have a Keele Card waiting for you if you have submitted a passport photograph during the pre-enrolment process
During your first couple of days at Keele, you must log in to your Keele email account, using your user name and password, which you use to log in to eVision. Important messages from schools will be sent using your Keele e-mail address throughout your time at Keele, so it is important that you check it daily. All students will be able to view their timetable on e-Vision by the start of the semester.
Students from certain countries are required by law to register with the Police when they first arrive in the UK. Click here to find a list of the nationalities required to register with the Police. You are only required to do this if the UKVI have confirmed this to you. For example it may be stated in your Visa application decision letter from the UKVI or you may have text on your entry clearance Visa sticker (Vignette) stating, for example, "Police Registration within 7 days of arrival" or if it has been stamped in your passport by passport control.
If you are subject to the police registration condition, this will normally be confirmed as follows:
- For those students travelling to the UK, the police registration condition will appear on your entry clearance vignette (visa).
- For those students applying from within the UK, the condition will only be confirmed in your Home Office decision letter, it will not appear as a remark on your biometric residence permit (BRP)
There may also be situations where the Home Office finds that a person has mistakenly not been made the subject of a requirement to register with the police. Where this has happened the Home Office will write to the person to notify them that they are required to register. In addition, this condition may be imposed by a Border Force Officer if the omission is picked up on when you pass through the UK Border.
The UKVI have confirmed that students must check their entry clearance vignette, BRP or Home Office decision letter to confirm whether they need to register with the police. If a student has not been notified of the registration requirement in these documents, they do not need to register with the police.
If you are required to register, you must do this within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. The only exception is if you have made an appointment with International Student Support to attend one of the Police Registration days organised at the beginning of the academic year. These days are for September starters only.
Please note that if the Police Registration condition is stated on the 30 day vignette but maybe missing from the BRP card issued, students do not need to submit an Administrative Review in order to have this corrected. Students can apply to have this corrected using the UK Home Office (UKVI) ‘Report a Problem’ facility via the following web site www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/report-problem
If you arrive in the UK at any time other than September, will be living in Staffordshire, and need to register, please contact the Overseas Visitor Registration Office at Staffordshire Police Headquarters on 01785 235281. Also, if you are already registered with Staffordshire Police and have recently extended your visa or have changed address, you will need to contact the Overseas Visitor Registration team at Staffordshire Police who will advise you on what you need to do. This is because all changes must be reported to the Overseas Visitor Registration Office.
Students who are required to register with the police but do not do this in the time frame required may be terminated by the University and required to leave the UK Immediately.
If you have any questions about Police Registration, please contact International Student Support.