Frequently asked questions
Student visas - a guide
Getting a visa can seem like a complex task, but there's nothing to fear. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting your visa, and helpful answers to make your application a little simpler.
Student Visa FAQs
All international students studying a full-time, on-campus course need a Student Route visa to study in the UK.
You'll also need this visa if you're on a part-time postgraduate course, but the following restrictions apply:
- No employment (including work placements)
- No dependants
If you have valid Settled or Pre-settled status as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen under the EU Settlement Scheme you will not require a Student Route visa. If you have a different visa which allows you to study in the UK, you may be exempt. If you are unsure, contact us to check.
If you are joining us for an Exchange or Study Abroad programme of 6 months or more you will also need a Student Route visa.
Your CAS will be sent to you automatically by email once you:
- Hold an unconditional firm offer with the University of Portsmouth
- Pay the required tuition fee deposit or provide evidence of financial sponsorship
- Complete your Visa Eligibility Assessment
If your course requires Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance, you must also email this to firstname.lastname@example.org before we can issue your CAS.
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance is an extra check made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on students studying courses in certain Science and Technology subject areas.
If your course requires ATAS clearance, we'll send you information on how to apply with your offer.
The UKVI Student Route Eligibility Assessment assesses your immigration history. This information is important as it can affect your visa application.
Without a completed Student Visa Eligibility Assessment, we can't issue you with a CAS as we won't be able to make the necessary checks on your immigration status.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the UK Government to help cover any medical needs you might have while you are here in the UK. You will need to pay this if you are studying in the UK for more than six months, or if you are already in the UK and apply to extend your stay.
The charge will be £470 per student and per dependent (if relevant) per year of study, payable at the time of visa application.
If you do not pay the surcharge if it is required, your visa application will be refused or treated as invalid and rejected.
EU and Swiss students may be eligible for a reimbursement of the IHS fee.
Yes, you'll need a new visa because a Tier 4 or Student Route visa is only valid for study at the institution that's named on the visa.
When you arrive for Registration, we'll ask you to provide ID and your University of Portsmouth visa, or proof that you have submitted an application for a University of Portsmouth visa.
Please email email@example.com for help applying for a new Student Route visa.
If you're already in the UK and hold a student visa for a different institution you'll still need to apply for a new Student Route visa.
You won't be able to register on to your new course until you have applied for a new visa.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help applying for a new Student Route visa.
You will need to be granted a Student Route visa before you can complete your registration with the University.
This is because the Graduate Route does not permit study at a Student Route sponsor institution.
You may be allowed to study if you have another visa type, since some allow for study as well.
Send us a scanned copy of your visa to email@example.com to check whether your current visa is eligible for study at the University of Portsmouth.
No, you must wait until your visa has been issued to you before you travel to the UK.
You cannot enrol with the University if you have entered the UK as Standard Visitor when you require a Student Route visa.
You need to make a visa application before your current visa expires.
If you do not do this you will be an overstayer and your visa will be refused.
You can apply from up to 3 months before your current visa expires.
You can find supporting information about student visas from:
Please send a scanned copy of the visa refusal document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may be able to send you a new CAS, depending on the reason for refusal.
You can also email email@example.com for further advice and information about making an Administrative Review application. Unfortunately, we are unable to advise if you have already submitted an Administrative Review application.
You can add a work or study placement to your course if it is an integrated and assessed part of your course and you have enough time to complete your course under the study cap.
You will be able to extend your visa in the UK if you are adding your placement to your current course. If you need to change course to add a placement then you will need to return home to apply for your new visa.
Please contact the International Student Advice team for further information.
BRP - Biometric Residence Permit
You’ll get a biometric residence permit (BRP) as part of your visa application.
This will include your name, date and place of birth, fingerprints, a photo, your immigration status and any conditions of your stay.
When you complete your visa application form, please state you wish to collect your visa from an 'Alternative Collection Location' (ACL) and enter this ACL code: 2HE479.
If you are collecting your BRP card from the University you will receive an email when your BRP card is available for collection. You will be able to collect your BRP card during the in-person ID Check part of Registration, you will receive further information about booking this by email.
If you chose the Post Office for the delivery of your BRP card please follow the instructions for collection on your visa decision letter.
EEA nationals who have used the UK Immigration: ID check app will receive your visa as a digital immigration status which you can view and prove online.
Your BRP card may not be immediately available for collection as there can sometimes be production delays. If this is the case the Post Office will let you know when your BRP card is likely to be delivered to them.
If you are collecting your BRP card from the University you will receive an email when your BRP card is available for collection. You will be able to collect your BRP card during the in-person ID Check part of Registration, you will receive further information about booking this by email
If you are asked by one of the bodies below to prove your visa status you should show them the confirmation that your visa has been issued to you which will usually be sent to you as an email along with your passport and ask them to follow the processes described below.
Your prospective employer needs to use the Employer Checking Service. Once the request is received UKVI will confirm your right to work directly to the employer.
Ask your landlord to use the Landlord Checking Service. Once the request is received UKVI will confirm your right to rent directly to the landlord.
Registering with a GP or accessing NHS services
Anyone can register with a GP surgery If you are asked by the NHS, you can advise them that you are waiting for the delivery of your BRP card. If the NHS wishes to confirm your status, they should contact Status Verification, Enquiries and Checking (SVEC) at UKVI.
Opening a bank account
The decision to open a bank account is a decision for the bank in question. The absence of a BRP should not impact on your ability to open a bank account but you should check the exact requirements for opening an account with your chosen bank.
From time to time, there may be an error with your visa. The problem is not always the same, and so getting it corrected is dependent on the type of error that has occurred.
Please check the details on your BRP card carefully. The most common errors are:
- Incorrect length of leave
- Incorrect working conditions
- Incorrect spelling of name
It is important that this is corrected as soon as possible, UKVI must be notified of errors within 10 days of receipt of the BRP.
Please visit the International Student Advisers in University House so they can guide you through the correction process.
Further information on how to correct errors, please visit the UKCISA website.
You can change your address without having to apply for a new BRP.
You must apply for a new BRP immediately (within 3 months of the change), and pay a fee, if any of the following change:
- name (for example if you’ve got married)
- facial appearance
- date of birth (for example if it was wrong)
You must report any other changes to the details you gave in your visa application on the Change of Circumstances form.
If you lost your BRP outside the UK you will need to follow the steps below:
Report it by following the UKVI instructions.
Get evidence such as a police report for loss or theft
Apply online for a Single-entry visa to replace a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
For 'category of application', select 'A replacement biometric residence permit (BRP) visa'.
You do not need to provide a CAS, but a Confirmation of Studies letter from your Student View.
Once you have used the single-entry visa to replace the BRP to enter the UK, you will need to apply within 1 month of your return to the UK for a replacement BRP.
If you lost your BRP in the UK you will need to follow these steps:
If your BRP was valid for three months or more you can report the loss or theft of your BRP and replace it in one combined online process.
You must follow this process as soon as possible after the loss or theft of your BRP and have reported the loss or theft to the police. You must do this within three months of the loss or theft.
You must apply for a replacement if you have more than three months' permission remaining. If you do not do this you may receive a fine, have your visa cancelled, and/or any future immigration applications you make to come to the UK may be affected.
If you have less than three months' permission remaining you should either apply for further immigration permission, if you are eligible or leave the UK before your permission expires.
If the BRP was valid for less than three months you do not have to replace it but you should still report the loss.
You will not need a BRP from 1 January 2025. You’ll be able to prove your immigration status online, without a BRP.
You do not need to tell UKVI if your BRP expires on 31 December 2024 but your visa allows you to stay longer.
UKVI will update the information on how to prove your visa status in early 2024. You do not need to do anything and your visa will not be affected.
Course related questions
Yes, you can defer your studies but you will need to apply for a new visa to cover that course and you will need to make the visa application for the deferred course back in your home country.
You will need to inform the Global Admissions team if you wish to defer.
First you will need to contact your current Course Leader, and also the Course Leader of the course you want to change to. Both course leaders must agree that the transfer is the right move academically and that you can transfer to the new course at that time.
Your visa conditions may not allow you to make the change you request.
To find out whether your change of course is allowed for your Student Visa, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You must seek guidance on your visa conditions from the International Student Advice team, email email@example.com
Depending on your change of course request, you may be required to leave the UK to make a new visa application before you can start the course and you may need to suspend your studies to do this.
If you are thinking about suspending your studies, you should discuss this with your Personal Tutor, Course Leader or another member of faculty staff as soon as possible. Getting advice and support is important. You must seek advice from the International Student Advice team.
If your suspension is approved, you will need to leave the UK and return to your home country whilst you are on your study break.
The University will report your suspension of studies to UKVI and UKVI will cancel your visa.
Before you return to study, you will need to request a new CAS and make a new visa application outside the UK to return from your study break.
Withdrawal may be the first option you think about when facing difficulties with your studies. There are other options that the University may be able to help you with to overcome such difficulties without the need for you to leave.
You could also ask about suspending your studies or transferring to another course. If you are considering leaving the University, contact your Personal Tutor,
Course Leader or another member of faculty staff to discuss your options. You should also seek advice about how this will affect you from the International
Student Advice team by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
If you withdraw from your studies, you will need to leave the UK.
The University will report that you are no longer studying at the University to UKVI and they will cancel your visa.
UKVI removed the requirement to register with the Police on 1 August 2022.
You are no longer required to Register with the Police as a condition of your visa.
You no longer need to update your Police Registration Certificate and should follow the information in the ‘I have a BRP card and my personal details have changed, what should I do?’ FAQ
You do not need to retain your Police registration Certificate and will not require it for future visa applications.
Country specific questions
UKVI have published concessions for Ukrainian nationals and their dependants, the concessions allow Ukrainian nationals and their dependants to switch from temporary visas (for example Standard Visitor) in the UK, to a number of other visas (including the Student Route) where this would not usually be permitted.
To be eligible you must have lawfully entered the UK before 24 February 2022, or made an entry clearance application and arrived in the UK after this date. You must still meet all the requirements of the visa that you wish to switch into, unless the requirement has been waived by the concession.
You will also need to submit in writing your reasons for applying in the UK rather than in Ukraine, and confirm that you wish to rely on the concession.
The concession also makes a provision for Ukrainian nationals and their dependants to waive the requirement to provide documentary evidence. This concession applies when you are making a visa extension application and are unable to provide the required documents.
If you need to rely on this concession, you will need to provide a written explanation as to why you cannot provide the document that you would normally be required to submit to support your visa extension application.
To be eligible under this concession, you must have lawfully entered the UK before 24 February 2022, or made an entry clearance application and arrived in the UK after this date.
This scheme launched on 3 May 2022. Applications under this scheme will be free of charge.
You will need to provide biometrics, a passport or other ID document and be in the UK.
You must have or have had permission to enter or stay (visa) in the UK on or between 18 March 2022 and 16 May 2023 to apply under to the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
The scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals. It is also available to other nationalities, but only if they have or most recently had permission (visa) as the partner or child of a Ukrainian national. Babies born in the UK after 18 March 2022 who do not yet have permission (visa) will also qualify. A ‘partner’ can be the applicant’s spouse or civil partner or a person in a durable relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership of at least 2 years. The relationship must be genuine and subsisting. An application for a baby born in the UK must include a full UK birth certificate.
Permission to stay (visa) will be issued for a period of 36 months (3 years), and people with be able to study (subject to obtaining Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance for certain subjects), work (including self-employment) and will have access to public funds.
Holders of this permission will be able to "switch" in the UK into the Student and Student dependant routes. They will not be able to apply under the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR). This is not an immigration category that leads to Settlement.
Holders of this visa, and the Homes for Ukraine for people who are outside the UK scheme and Family scheme for people inside and outside the UK, will also be eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees.
Further information for Ukrainian students can be found on the UKCISA website.
You can apply for a visa in the usual way. If you do not meet all requirements because of the situation in Afghanistan, for example financial documents, you might still be able to apply for your Student Route visa.
UKVI may exercise discretion when assessing your application if you cannot provide documents but we cannot guarantee this. We are awaiting further updates from UKVI on any concessions they may be able to make due to the situation.
Please contact us for further advice about making a visa application if you do not think you will be able to provide all the documents required for a Student Route application.
UKVI have added a concession for Afghan nationals and their dependants to waive the requirement to provide documentary evidence. This applies when you are making a visa extension application and are unable to provide the required documents.
If you would like to rely on this concession you will need to provide a written explanation to confirm why you cannot provide the document that you would normally need to submit as part of your visa application.
To be eligible under this concession, you must have lawfully entered the UK before 1 September 2021 or made an entry clearance application and arrived in the UK after 1 September 2021.
If you are in Afghanistan and have applied for, or have been granted, a Student Route visa you can provide the UK Government with your details for help to travel to the UK.
It is not possible to make an application in Afghanistan at the moment and we are awaiting further information from UKVI so that we can advise you further.
The Hong Kong BN(O) visa became available on 31 January 2021.
This visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK.
You can apply for a BNO visa if you’re a British national (Overseas) and you are 18 or older.
Your permanent home must be in Hong Kong if you’re applying from outside the UK, or in the UK or Hong Kong if you’re applying in the UK.
You can find out more information about this visa on the gov.uk website.
No, being born in the UK does not automatically make a baby a British citizen. Babies must have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK in order to be born British.
You can have dependants with you in the UK if:
- You are sponsored by your Government and your course is full-time and at least six months; OR
- You are doing a postgraduate level full-time course of 9 months or longer
If you are applying for a visa after 3pm on 17 July 2023 for a postgraduate course that starts on or after 1 January 2024, you can only have dependants in the UK if your course is a PhD or a research-based higher degree. Taught postgraduate courses will not be eligible. Please check with us if you are not sure about the type of course you will be studying.
- Your husband or wife
- Your civil partner
- Your unmarried partner or same-sex partner (you need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years before you make your immigration application)
- Your child (aged under 18)
Further information about dependants can be found on the UKCISA website.
If you are applying for a visa after 3pm on 17 July 2023 for a postgraduate course that starts on or after 1 January 2024, you can only have dependants in the UK if your course is a PhD or a research-based higher degree.
If you are planning to study a taught postgraduate course and are not sponsored by your government you will not be eligible. Please check with us if you are not sure about the type of course you will be studying.
We are awaiting confirmation from UKVI on whether students who started their course with us before 1 January 2024 and who have interrupted their studies are able to bring dependants with them if they previously had dependants with them before their interruption.
You should update your UKVI account if you’ve changed your:
- mobile phone number
- email address
- identity document, such as your passport or national identity card
- home address
- postal address
You will have a UKVI account if you’ve applied for either:
- the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or
- for a visa and used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document on your phone
If you went to an appointment at a visa application centre when you applied for your visa there’s a different way to update your details.