Protecting your visa

Protecting your Student Route status

Your Student Route visa has some immigration conditions attached to it, these are normally printed (in an abbreviated form) on your vignette or BRP but they can also appear in the letter that accompanies your visa. There are also requirements and obligations related to the Immigration rules, your studies and your Student sponsor. This section explains all of these, plus some general good practice on protecting your Student Route status.

Student Route Visa Conditions

Your Student Route immigration permission will be subject to certain conditions. It is very important that you understand these conditions. Not following these conditions can have serious consequences for both your current Student Route visa and any future visas you may wish to apply for.

Studying in the UK

When you enter or re-enter the UK, you must intend to study full-time at the University of Birmingham as the University issued your CAS, and your visa sticker (vignette) or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) must have the Student Sponsor licence number of the University of Birmingham i.e. T7N18X2X1

If you do not enrol, or if you fail to continue with your studies, we are obliged to report this to the Home Office. See our sponsor's duties to the Home Office for more information about the consequences of this.

Changing course at the University

If you have changed your mind about your current course, or you have completed your course and want to study a new course, it may be possible to do so at our institution.

As well as general academic considerations, the University will need to take the following into account:

  • Student Route requirements, e.g. academic progression and the time limits ('caps') on specific levels of study, which may prevent you changing course; and
  • Whether you have completed your original course or not.

And depending upon when you applied for your current Student Route visa there are differing restrictions affecting changing course at the same institution.

If you do change courses, we will inform the Home Office about this.

Read pages 72 -78 of the Home Office Student Route policy guidance, for instructions on whether you can change course at the same institution and, if so, how.

Please refer to our guidance on 5 year cap as this may apply to you.

Please contact the IST if you are considering changing courses.

Changing Institution

There is some limited flexibility to switch to a different Student sponsor, but you must apply for permission from the Home Office first. It is important that you take the necessary steps before you start your new course; failure to do so is a breach of your immigration conditions and may lead to the Home Office curtailing your current Student Route visa and/or refusing any future immigration applications that you make.

You must make a full Student Route immigration application before you start the new course.

If your new course is at an institution that has Student Sponsor status you can start the new course before you receive a decision from the Home Office. However, if your new college or university is a probationary sponsor, you cannot start the new course until the Home Office has given you new immigration permission to study at the new institution.

If you need to make a Student Route application, it is important that you meet all the requirements and can make the application before you move to the new institution. See making a Student Route application in UK.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

If you were required to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate as part of your Student Route application, then you must apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 days if:

  • your course content or research proposal changes; and/or
  • your course completion date (as stated on your CAS) is postponed by more than three calendar months.

We recommend that you seek advice from IST in regards to applying for a new ATAS clearance certificate.

You can also find more information on the following link:

ATAS Certificate

Work conditions

Student Route students either have a work restriction or a work prohibition. For further information, see our working in the UK pages.

The immigration authorities treat work restrictions very seriously. They can refuse your immigration application, or remove you from the UK, if you work too many hours or if you do work which you are not allowed to do, and you might be banned from returning to the UK for a certain period.

'No recourse to public funds'

Your immigration conditions do not allow you to access 'public funds', which means certain specific welfare benefits and local authority housing.

See our information about public funds for a full list of what are public funds.

Using the National Health Service, sending your child to a state school, being exempt from the Council Tax, and paying "home" fees for study do not count as accessing 'public funds'.

If you apply for a welfare benefit that you do not qualify for, you will be breaking the conditions of your immigration permission. You may also have problems obtaining an immigration extension in the UK, or if you try to apply for entry clearance abroad (in many categories, not just as a Student Route student), you may be banned from coming back to the UK for at least 12 months (and in some cases, 5 or 10 years).


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