General and working FAQ's
Frequently Asked Questions - General
Absolutely! Many students take advantage of our proximity to Europe to visit other countries for tourism or to attend conferences to aid their research. If you plan to explore as a tourist, you must ensure that your planned travel is not within term time. Remember, postgraduate taught degree (PGT) students do not benefit from the same summer vacation as undergraduate degree (UG) students.
For countries outside Europe, students should apply for a tourist / visit visa for each country they will visit. Applications must be made to the relevant embassies within the UK of the destination countries.
For countries within Europe, a special agreement means that students in the UK with a student visa can apply for a 'Schengen Visa' to enter a European country, or several European countries as part of the same trip.
More information on how to apply for a Schengen visa and other useful information can be found here.
Your friends and family may wish to come to the UK for a short holiday and to see you during your time studying in the UK. They may also decide to come to the UK for your graduation ceremony. For these visits, they need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa.
The UKVI website here has information on how to apply and the documentation required. Further information is available on the self-service Knowledge Base in eVision.
Following the UK Government announcement on 23rd May 2023, for course dates starting from 1st January 2024, only Post Graduate Research (PGR) students may bring their dependents to the UK.
Students whose course started before 1st January 2024 can apply for their partner / dependant child to join them in the UK as Points Based System (PBS) dependants. You will be able to do this if you are either;
- a postgraduate student on a course that is for nine months or more
- a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts for six months or more
An overview of the requirements can be found on the UKVI website here, however, we strongly recommend that you receive advice and support from Immigration Compliance and Advice before you commence any application.
If you are intending on applying for the Graduate Route, partners / children are only able to apply with you if they are already in the UK as your PBS dependant.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a health surcharge that must be paid as part of any visa application to stay in the UK for more than six months. This gives you access to free healthcare from the National Health Service (NHS) for the duration of your stay in the UK. You will still need to pay for certain types of services such as prescribed medicines, dental treatment, eye tests and glasses / contact lenses.
If you will be in the UK for six months or less, and apply from outside of the UK, you do not need to pay the IHS fee, but if you are applying from inside the UK, then you will need to pay £388, which is half of the fee.
The IHS is an annual amount that is payable for each year (or part year) that you will be staying in the UK. Those applying for a student visa (and any dependants) are able to enjoy a lower annual rate of the Immigration Health Surcharge, this is currently £776 per year against the full rate of £1,035 per year.
You will usually only be able to open a UK bank account after you have enrolled on your course. You should research carefully the international student bank accounts on offer from the major UK banks to be sure to find the account that is right for you. Some will have special rates for international transfers, while some may charge a monthly fee to operate the account and others may have a free gift on joining that is beneficial to you. It is a good idea to talk to other students to find recommendations.
Some students are now choosing to open an online only account before they arrive in the UK. Banks such as Starling and Monzo will open an account and have it operational in time for your arrival in the UK, however, the selection criteria means that they may refuse to open an account without providing a reason.
You generally need two documents to open an account:
- proof of ID, which is your passport and visa
- proof of address, the best evidence of this is a Student Status Letter from Student Services (ensure your UK address is correct on eVision)
For a September intake we aim to begin the CAS process from the start of May onwards. For a January intake the CAS process will start from the end of September/ early October. The CAS process is detailed here.
Frequently Asked Questions - Working
If you have a Student Route Visa, your BRP or digital status will give you the number of hours you are permitted to work each week. For degree level courses it is twenty hours per week and below degree level it is ten hours per week. The UKVI consider a week to be Monday to Sunday.
You may work full time during the University holidays. These holidays are Christmas, Easter and Summer.
Post graduate Taught students (PGT- Masters)
You can work full time during the Christmas and Easter holidays. The summer holidays you are expected to be doing your dissertation and you are restricted to the permitted number of hours on your BRP.
Post graduate Research students (PGR- PhD)
You are only allowed to work the permitted number of hours that are on your BRP even during the University holidays as you have no set term times.
University term dates can be found here, but for all students at the University, we want to remind you that you have come to the UK to study and we do not want your working to affect your studies.
At present with courses that can offer a work placement pathway, the work placement is not added to a CAS / at the point a visa is issued, as a placement is not guaranteed and it is an optional module (not compulsory). For example, the course offer is correct as the course is for twelve months and any visa application will be for a twelve month programme.
On commencing the course, students should discuss with the Placements Officer in the School to secure an appropriate placement that meets the academic criteria and immigration requirements. Your School and Immigration Compliance and Advice would confirm this after a potential placement provider has been found. For students on Student Route visas, UKVI have strict requirements on the types of placements that can be undertaken. For example a work placement cannot fill a full time permanent vacancy.
You must ensure that you contact Immigration Compliance and Advice with the details of a placement, as this will need to be checked and agreed to before commencing. If a placement is agreed by all parties and you can complete the placement before your visa expires, then a new visa may not be required. However, if your placement would extended the end date of your course, then we may consider a visa extension but this is not guaranteed and this is an Immigration Compliance and Advice decision.
If you are doing a short term study on a standard Visitor visa you cannot:
- study at a State School
- work (excluding Medical or Veterinary Science Electives) or do voluntary work
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of a marriage or a civil partnership
- come to the UK specifically for NHS medical treatment
- extend a Standard Visitor visa in the UK or intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods on a Standard Visitor visa
- bring family members (dependants) – they must apply for a separate visa
- have access to public funds
- undertake research in any other circumstances or be employed as a sponsored researcher
Refer to www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa for further details.