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Protecting your Tier 4 status

Last modified: 25 October 2019

This section is for anyone who has, or who is applying for, Tier 4 immigration permission. Your Tier 4 permission can be in the form of an entry clearance vignette/sticker, a residence permit vignette in your passport, or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card. See When your visa is issued (for entry clearance) and Biometric residence permit (for leave to remain).

Tier 4 permission is granted with immigration conditions, which are normally printed (in an abbreviated form) on your vignette or BRP. However, your Tier 4 conditions can also appear in the letter that accompanies your leave. There are also requirements and obligations related to the Immigration Rules, and related to your studies and your Tier 4 sponsor. This section explains all of these, plus some general good practice on protecting your Tier 4 status.

Tier 4 conditions

Last modified: 30 August 2019

Your Tier 4 immigration permission will be subject to certain conditions. It is very important that you understand these conditions. A breach of conditions can have serious consequences for both your current Tier 4 leave and any future immigration applications you may make. In its information on Biometric Residence Permits, the Home Office Tier 4 policy guidance (paragraphs 24-26) states you must inform it if you have been given incorrect conditions. Your Tier 4 sponsor is also obliged to let the Home Office know if it becomes aware that you have been granted incorrect conditions.



Police registration

Work conditions

'No recourse to public funds'

Considerations regarding the Immigration Rules

Last modified: 20 August 2018

In this section, we discuss some of the considerations you should have for the Immigration Rules you had to satisfy when you applied for your Tier 4 immigration permission, and how certain changes could affect your immigration position or future applications.

Living costs

Criminal convictions, driving offences

Bank statements

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Good practice

Last modified: 20 December 2018

In this section, we emphasise the importance of preparing well in advance for a new Tier 4 application, the things you should keep in your own files, and one of the key responsibilities you have as the holder of Tier 4 leave.

Prepare to extend your visa

Keep Home Office letters and copies of other documents

Report changes of circumstances

Sponsor duties

Last modified: 25 October 2019

All Tier 4 sponsors have specific duties they must undertake. These duties are outlined in document 2 of the Home Office's guidance for Tier 4 sponsors.

Your Tier 4 sponsor must provide information about you to the Home Office in a process called 'reporting'. Your sponsor must meet these duties even when you are:

  • doing a work placement as part of your course; or
  • studying at a partner institution that was named on your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).

If your institution does not inform the Home Office of something that it should, it could lose its Tier 4 sponsor licence.

If your institution submits a report about you to the Home Office, then you need to be aware of what can happen next. You will find examples of what your institution may need to report, below.

Non-enrolment or late enrolment

Attendance and participation

Breaks from study

Withdrawing, finishing early, switching out of Tier 4

Breaking your immigration conditions

Visa curtailment

Avoid overstaying

Last modified: 03 April 2017

Overstaying means allowing your visa, or BRP, to expire whilst you remain in the UK. Overstaying is a criminal offence. There is no 'grace period' within which you can lawfully overstay.

If you submit a valid application for further leave to remain before your current visa/BRP expires, and your application is still being decided when your current visa/BRP expires, you will not be an overstayer in this post-expiry period. Instead your previous immigration permission and the conditions attached to it will continue while your application is pending.

If you become an overstayer, and then wish to make a new Tier 4 application in order to remain in the UK, your Tier 4 sponsor may not issue you a CAS in order for you to do this and/or it may withdraw any unused CAS that you were issued before you became on overstayer. Seek advice from your Tier 4 sponsor about its policies on issuing CAS to overstayers, and on whether someone who makes such an application can study.

Overstaying will have serious consequences for any future immigration applications that you make. If you overstay by more than 30 days you will normally be prohibited from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months from the date you leave the UK. Overstaying in the UK could also affect applications you make for entry to countries other than the UK. You must tell the truth in immigration applications and declare any periods of overstay if asked about them. If you are found to have used deception in an immigration application you are likely to be barred from the UK for ten years.

If you need more time in the UK to complete your studies see our information on Making a Tier 4 application for information about submitting a Tier 4 application before your current leave expires.