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Information and advice for Student visa holders

If you are studying at St Mary's University on a student visa then you have a legal obligation to comply with the conditions of your immigration permission.

St Mary's has a trained UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team to assist you with questions related to visas and immigration. Please read through all of the guidance below to help you understand your visa conditions whilst studying at St Mary’s University.

For more detailed information about your Student visa status, please read the UKCISA information on protecting your student status.

The team is located on the 1st floor of the J building with Registry. Please ask to speak with a member of the team if you have any queries or questions.

Contact

Drop-in sessions

One-to-one drop-in sessions with the UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team are available between: 1.30pm – 3.30pm on Tuesdays.

Please drop in during this time (first-come, first-served) or ask for an appointment to be booked for you.

Please note that you will be asked to complete a client care sheet so that we can record our meeting and share the notes from our discussions with you.

We respect client confidentiality, and your details will not be shared with any other areas of the University without your consent.

Email

If you would like to contact the team directly, please email studentvisas@stmarys.ac.uk

Telephone

  • Chris Hebbs
    UKVI Compliance and Immigration Manager
    0208 240 8264 

If you need additional help to manage your academic work, either because you are not used to UK requirements or because your first language is not English, the following sour​​ces of support are available to you: 

  • Library Services can provide support with academic literacy and study skills.
  • The Royal Literary Fellows offer targeted sup​port with written work.

Academic English Support

The Acade​mic English Support Programme is designed for any student who feels they need additional advice or support on language issues. Although this may be of particular use to students who speak English as an additional or second language, all undergraduate and postgraduate students are welcome.

The course is focussed on various aspects of academic English and different sessions will be offered to address these. Common topics include academic writing, presentations, grammar, reading and vocabulary.
Students are free to come to as many sessions as they’d like according to their needs and availability. The programme is free of charge and does not involve any compulsory assessments or homework, but to take full advantage of the course you should make some time available for self-study.

You may be required to extend or renew your student visa to allow you more time to complete your programme successfully or you may be able to make changes to your course at St Mary's. If you do require a student visa, you are strongly advised to prepare three months prior to your current visa expiry date.

CAS number (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)

You will need to request a new CAS number to support your student visa application. A CAS number will be assigned to you when you can show that you have the correct documents and finances in place to apply for a new visa. As a duty of care, we will check your documents before your CAS is assigned to ensure they meet the requirements for a Student visa, this will significantly help with avoiding a visa refusal.

Before requesting your CAS you are advised to book an appointment with the UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team to discuss your circumstances. Please include: Your full name, your regnum and the reasons you require a Student visa extension or renewal. The UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team will respond within 48 hours.

Please use the Checklist for making a Student visa application inside the UK and please use the UKCISA guidance for more information about the finances you require

From the 5th October 2020 if a new applicant is applying for permission to stay and has been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or more on the date of their application, they will meet the financial requirement and will not need to show funds as part of their application. St Mary's policy includes additional checks to ensure applicants can afford to pay for the remainder of their studies. 

You can begin your Student visa application extension online. Please use the links below for access to further Student visa information to assist you.

CAS request 

  • You will need to request your CAS by completing the request form (below) and please attach copies of the documents you would like to be assessed. 
  • All documents submitted with a Student visa application must be originals
  • A CAS number will only be assigned when all of the visa requirements have been met.
  • REQUEST YOUR CAS HERE

Student visa application costs

£475 is the standard Student visa application fee. You will also need to pay your immigration health surcharge as part of your Student visa application which is £300 per 12 months of leave. Calculate how much you will need to pay here

  • £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.
  • £500 for the priority service to ensure a decision from the Home Office within 5 working days = £975.
  • £800 for the super priority service to ensure a decision from the Home Office within 1 working day = £1275.

Your Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP)

You can opt to have your BRP delivered to St Mary's University. You will be contacted by The UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team when your BRP has been delivered.

You will be unable to travel outside the UK until your new BRP is in your possession. You are strongly recommended not to book travel until your new BRP is in your possession.

Please read through the guidance and if you have any questions please contact us.

As your Student visa sponsor, it is our responsibility to advise you of your visa conditions while you study at St Mary’s University. It is very important that you read and follow all of the steps below. We’re here to assist and support you, so don’t be afraid to ask us any questions.

Please include your regnum and name when you email us: studentvisas@stmarys.ac.uk

For more information about your Student visa status, please visit the UKCISA website

Your engagement throughout the full academic year is monitored. You must attend all timetabled (Online or face-face) sessions and submit all of your work on time.

  • Your Moodle activity is regularly monitored and is used as a measure to check levels of engagement. You must be accessing your Moodle accounts unless your course does not use the Moodle functionality.  
  • You must ‘Tap in’ using your student ID card for all face-face lectures. Please do not forget to do this. If you do not ‘Tap In’, you will be marked as absent, even if you are present. You must ask your lecturer to mark you as present if you forget your ID card.
  • You must notify your lecturer and personal tutor or course lead if you will be absent. Your absences must be authorised and recorded. If you have unauthorised absences on record this will lead to further investigation from the UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team.

If you do not attend or fully engage with your studies, you will be at risk of being withdrawn from the University.

You may need to travel to your home country urgently for a family emergency. Any absence during term time must be authorised by your programme director. Please do not leave your programme without authorisation.

Please complete the authorised absence letter request form, to be signed by your programme director.

Return the form to Registry or email it to studentvisas@stmarys.ac.uk

You must live as close to St Mary’s University as possible. This is to enable you feel a part of the St Mary’s community and to fully engage with your studies. If you would like assistance to find accommodation please visit our accommodation pages for more information.

If your accommodation is too far away from St Mary’s University and your attendance and engagement are affected because of the distance, you are at risk of being withdrawn.

You must make every effort to live as close by to the University as possible. 

Throughout your studies, you must keep your UK contact details updated via the St Mary's student portal.

You must update your personal email address, mobile telephone number and term-time UK address if there are any changes during your studies.

Keep your travel documents in a safe place. Do not leave your home with them in case they are lost; it is expensive and time consuming to replace them, and you are unable to travel without them.

If you apply for a new visa or passport during your studies, you must inform us. We must have a copy of any new immigration documents.

If there is an error on your BRP card, e.g. your working conditions are incorrect, OR the length of your visa is too long or too short, it must be investigated and sent for correction with the Home Office.

If your BRP or passport are lost during your studies you must apply for a replacement.

For information about correcting a BRP error, or if you lose your BRP, please visit UKCISA's BRP web pages.

You are advised to apply for an officially recognised UK proof of age ID card with a National Union of Students (NUS) TOTUM card application.

This means that you can have a student discount card (TOTUM) and an official ID card. This also means you do not need to carry your passport or BRP with you.

Please keep these in a safe place at home.

The student discount card has a small cost per year. See the TOTUM website for more information.

Your visa conditions allow you to work 10 or 20 hours a week during term time. For more information about working in the UK, please visit the UKCISA's pages on working in the UK.

You may also be able to work more than 10 or 20 hours per week during recognised vacation periods.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students can work more hours during recognised vacation periods. You can show your employer our term-time dates and print a student verification letter from the student portal to prove your enrolment status.

Postgraduate students

Under normal circumstances, postgraduate students are unable to work more hours during term-time. As a postgraduate student, when you submit your final pieces of work at the end of the programme, you are then permitted to work more hours in the last 4 months of your visa called extant leave. 

Letters are not produced by St Mary’s University to provide to employers to explain the work conditions of your visa. Please show your employer your BRP and print a student verification letter from the student portal to prove your enrolment status.

You must not work more hours than stated on your visa as you would be in breach of your visa conditions and your employer would be breaking the law.

Become a student ambassador

Why not work as a student ambassador? Enthusiastic students are required to assist St Mary's with recruitment events.

 If you find work, you will pay tax and National Insurance contributions on your earnings. For information about obtaining a National Insurance Number, please visit the UK government’s national insurance web pages.

Types of work not permitted

You cannot be self-employed, run a business, or work as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach. In addition, you cannot be employed as an entertainer. You may not hold a permanent full-time job while studying.

Some courses include work placement opportunities.

If you are completing a work placement as part of your course, you can also work 10 or 20 hours per week during term-time in a different job as stated on your BRP.

Your work placement details must be reported to the Home Office. Most work placements are arranged via the workplace learning team.

You will require a letter to provide to your employer before you can start working at the company that explains your visa requirements.

Whilst on your placement your engagement and/or progress will be monitored. If you do not attend your placement as planned because of unauthorised absences, you are at risk of being withdrawn from St Mary’s University.

If your have any questions about work placements and your visa conditions, please contact studentvisas@stmarys.ac.uk

Any changes to your studies are likely to have implications to your visa. For example:

  • Changing your course
  • Withdraw/leave of absence
  • Repeat or resit exams
  • Transfer of university
  • Change of immigration status

Once you have completed enrolment, please contact studentvisas@stmarys.ac.uk with any questions about making any changes to your studies.

Once you have agreed for changes to be made via your Course Lead and the visa team, you will be able to request the necessary changes via the student portal.

The Schengen Visa Scheme allows those who wish to visit certain countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) (and Switzerland) to travel between these countries using only one visa. You should contact the Embassy in London of the country or countries you wish to visit.

The countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

You will require a No Objection letter to apply for a Schengen visa. Once you are an enrolled student, you will be able to request a No Objection letter from the visa team. You should only travel during suitable breaks in studies.

More information about how to apply can be found at: UKCISA’s Schengen web pages. 

There are many requirements for students and their families while studying under a Student visa.

For information about dependants, please visit UKCISA's web pages about dependants.

 The Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) will be open to you if you have successfully completed an eligible course and you have valid student or Tier 4 permission.

Eligibility requirements

 * You must have studied your course in the UK for at least the last 12 months or the full length of your course, whichever is shorter. (Not studying overseas or remotely).

* You must successfully complete your entire course, you are not eligible to apply if you leave St Mary’s University with an Exit Award.

* You must submit your application from inside the UK.

* The UKVI Compliance and Immigration Team will confirm with you via email when you are eligible to apply after the exam board for your programme.

* You will need to pay a new visa application fee and pay for 2 years of IHS costs as part of your visa application costs. Please ensure you have the funds in place before you apply.

* Programmes below degree level, are not eligible. For example, foundation degrees.

 For more information please see our Graduate Visa FAQs.

If you are an international student new to the UK you are advised to open a bank account in the UK. This is the safest and most effective way of managing your money. If you intend to take up part-time employment you will find that your employer will want to pay your salary into a UK account.

Basic bank account

This should allow you to pay in and take out money and you are normally provided with a cash-point (ATM) card or debit card to enable you to draw money out. Basic accounts do not offer any form of credit, so you will not be given an overdraft facility or credit card.

You should be able to open a basic account with any of the main UK banks without making a payment or with a minimum of £1. However, you may be offered a more flexible account if you are able to pay in a substantial amount.

There are several useful websites you can visit that will give you information on the types of account that are available to you. It is worth doing some research as you might find that some banks will be more flexible with the type of account they will offer you or the proof of identity that is required.

You will need to find out if the bank will offer you any of the following:

  • A cash card
  • A debit card
  • An overdraft facility
  • Regular statements
  • Telephone banking
  • Internet banking

You should also check whether:

  • money can be transferred from abroad
  • you are able to make direct debit payments
  • Any outstanding balance at the end of your studies can be transferred back to your bank in your own country, if required
  • there are any account charges and if so, how much? 

When you have this information you can make a decision about which bank you would like to open an account with. Most of the main UK banks have a local branch within 15 minutes walking distance from St Mary's.

Proof of identity

You will need some or all of the following documents (depending on the bank requirements) to be able to open an account:

  • Your passport, with student visa if appropriate
  • Your national photo ID card if you are from an EU country
  • A letter of introduction from St Mary's, giving details of your course and confirming your overseas and UK address. You can request this from the e:Vision Portal
  • A copy of your rental agreement
  • Utility bills (gas, electricity, phone etc) with your name on it

Please ensure you take all the necessary documentation with you when you go to open an account.

You may need to wait for 2 weeks or more before your account is fully functional so you will need to ensure that you have enough cash or travellers cheques to last you until your account is set up.

Direct debit payments

If you set up a direct debit with St Mary's in order to pay tuition fees or accommodation fees, you must ensure that you have enough money in your account on the agreed payment dates.

If the direct debit amount is more than the money you have in your account, the bank will refuse to make the payment and will charge you about £30 - £40 every time the payment is declined. St Mary's will also charge you for declined payments.

Local banks

Please see the list below of some of the main banks which are located in Twickenham, close to St Mary's. There are also branches in Teddington, Kingston & Richmond which are also close to the University. You may also wish to consider using an online bank, such as Monzo or Revolut.

  • Barclays Bank plc
    2 York Street, Twickenham, Middlesex
    Telephone: +44 (0) 845 755 5555
  • HSBC plc
    2 London Road, Twickenham, Middlesex
    Telephone: +44 (0) 845 740 4404
  • Lloyds TSB
    17 Heath Road, Twickenham, Middlesex
    Telephone: +44 (0) 845 300 0000
  • NatWest plc
    25 King Street, Twickenham, Middlesex
    Telephone: +44 (0) 845 610 1202
  • Santander
    1 King Street, Twickenham, Middlesex
    Telephone: +44 (0) 845 765 4321

Useful websites

To work in the UK you need a National Insurance Number. National Insurance is a type of UK taxation. When allocated a National Insurance Number this will be a number unique to you.

To get a National Insurance Number you need to wait until you are in the UK to apply.

How to apply

To apply for a number you will have to call the JobCentre Plus application line:

0345 600 0643 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)

They may ask you to attend an interview. More information of getting a National Insurance number can be found on the Gov.uk website.

Useful websites

UKCISA

UK Government website

National Health Service

The UK's National Health Service is often referred to as the NHS. The NHS provides treatment through a range of services from Accident and Emergency centres to Local GP (General Practitioner) doctor's surgeries. Some services are free and some are paid for.

If you are studying with St Mary's University on a student visa on a full-time course that is longer than 6 months, you will be asked to pay the immigration health surcharge. Paying this surcharge will qualify you to receive NHS treatment from the beginning of your stay on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK. EU students can use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access NHS care until the end of the Brexit transition period, when the situation may change. UKCISA will update its healthcare guidance for EU students as more information is finalised.

If you are entitled to NHS treatment, the following services will be free of charge:

  • consulting a GP and most other GP services (e.g. visiting a clinic)
  • treatment in a hospital (both emergency and non-emergency treatment)

You may need to pay for:

  • medicines prescribed by your GP
  • some GP services (e.g. vaccinations for travel, getting a sickness certificate) - ask your GP for details of costs
  • dental treatment
  • optical treatment

Accessing Healthcare

Your General Practioner, or GP, is your primary doctor. When you arrive in the UK, you should register with a GP surgery (i.e., a doctor's office) as soon as possible. The York Medical Practice and Cross Deep Surgery are the two closest surgeries to the St Mary's campus. If you are living elsewhere in London, you can find a local doctor on the NHS website.

How do I register for these services?

Once you've decided which GP you'd like to use, follow the instructions on their website to register as a patient. You will need to fill in a few forms, and you may need to visit them in person to complete your enrolment.

Private Healthcare

Students not eligible for NHS treatment are advised to ensure their insurance policies cover healthcare during their stay or get private medical health insurance so that they can access healthcare when needed.

The UKCISA website has information on private medical insurance for international students.

Build your CV, gain volunteering experience, make friends… Become a St Mary's Global Peer Mentor!

What is a Global Peer Mentor?

A Global Peer Mentor is a St Mary's student who volunteers to meet with incoming international students after they arrive in the UK. Global Peer Mentors are a social resource for international students – you will help them settle in, answer questions they might have about St Mary's/life in the UK, and be a familiar, friendly face on campus for them.

Who can be a Global Peer mentor?

Sign-ups are open to any and all full-time undergraduate or postgraduate students. There will be a short training session for accepted Global Peer Mentors.

What can being a Global Peer Mentor do for me?

Being a Global Peer Mentor will build your CV with valuable volunteering experience, broaden your horizons, and give your university experience an international flair – all from the comfort of St Mary's campus! Global Peer Mentors will also receive additional counselling from the Careers and International departments on making the most of their experience and presenting it to future employers.

Apply to be a Global Peer Mentor

If you'd like to volunteer to be a mentor, please complete the Global Peer Mentor Application Form. If you would like to be matched with a mentor who can settle in at St Mary's, please complete our mentee application form here

For more information contact international@stmarys.ac.uk

Graduate Immigration FAQs

 

Latest News

11th March 2021:

Graduate route ("Post-study work")

The new Graduate immigration route will open for applications at 0900 on 1 July 2021.

The Graduate route is a work route for those who have a degree or other relevant qualification awarded by an approved UK Higher Education provider. It is an unsponsored route, so your application does not need sponsorship or any endorsement by an employer or by your university. It is similar to the old Tier 1 Post-Study Work route.

More information provided from UKCISA

 


4th March 2021:

Legislation was laid in Parliament today (4 March 2021) which sets out changes to the Immigration Rules.

This includes the introduction of the new Graduate route which will open for applications on 1 July 2021. The launch of the route demonstrates the Government’s determination to support the education sector, and our commitment to the International Education Strategy, which sets out our ambition to increase the number of international higher education students to 600,000 by 2030.

The Graduate route will enable international students to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years (three years for doctoral students) after they have completed their studies. All international students who have successfully completed a degree (or other permitted qualification) at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have valid Student (or Tier 4) permission at the time of application, will be able to apply. The introduction of this route will significantly improve the UK’s offer to international students.

The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer in order to be eligible. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required. Whilst the route will not lead to settlement, those on the route will be able to move into another work-based route, such as the Skilled Worker route – which does lead to settlement – once they meet the requirements.

Sponsors will be required to notify the Home Office when a student has successfully completed their course in order for that student to be eligible to apply for the Graduate route. We have been engaging closely with sector bodies and we will provide further operational detail on how this notification function will work in the near future. Students will be required to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate route. Sponsors who are Higher Education Providers with a track record of compliance may wish to advise potentially eligible students of this in advance of the route opening on 1 July 2021.

Due to COVID-19, we have also put in place concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic. Applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from the previous date of 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.

A full list of the changes to the Immigration Rules can be found on GOV.UK