Student Immigration Service

Rights, responsibilities and restrictions

Your Tier 4 visa imposes a number of rights, responsibilities and restrictions on you and on the University, as your sponsor.

You are responsible for your immigration status. We will send email updates of any major changes to the Immigration Rules, but you are responsible for ensuring that you abide by the conditions of your visa.

It is very important that you take these conditions seriously, as failure to do so could result in the loss of your visa and, in some cases, criminal charges.

Your rights

Your Tier 4 visa is granted to allow you to study in the UK. 

You can:

  • Study a full time programme with your sponsor (the University of Edinburgh)
  • Take additional studies with your sponsor or other institution (providing it does not interfere with your main course of study)
  • Undertake certain types of work

Find out more about working in the UK

Your restrictions

There are certain things that your Tier 4 visa will prohibit you from doing. 

You must not:

  • Claim public funds
  • Work as a self-employed person
  • Work as an entertainer, sportsperson or coach
  • Study your main programme with an institution that is not the sponsor of your visa
    • If you wish to study at another institution, you must apply for a visa for that institution before you can begin your programme
  • Stay in the UK past the end date of your visa, unless you have made a visa application to extend your stay in the UK

Your responsibilities

When you apply for a Tier 4 visa, you agree to accept certain responsibilities. 

You are responsible for:

  • Keeping the University up-to-date with your address, email address and telephone number
    •  You can do this through your MyEd account
  • Providing the University with a copy of your visa or Biometric Residence Permit each time you get a new one
  • Registering with the police

Further information on registering with the police

  • Attending all  classes, lectures and seminars, or if you are a research student, engaging regularly with your supervisor 
    • If you cannot attend for any reason, you must inform your School or supervisor, and get permission for your absence
  • Seeking advice in a timely fashion
    • If you make any changes to your studies, such as changing the end date or taking breaks, it is likely to affect your visa
    • It is important to speak to a Student Immigration Adviser before making any changes
  • Ensuring that (where required) you apply for a new Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate each time you make changes to your studies 

Find out more about ATAS

  • Ensuring that you leave the UK, or apply to extend your stay, before the expiry date of your visa


For more information on what happens at the end of your studies:

At the end of your studies


The University’s responsibilities

As your sponsor, the University has agreed to be responsible for you while your visa is valid. We have a number of legal obligations which must be fulfilled.

Recording duties

The University must keep a record of:

  • Your current address, email address and telephone number
  • Your current visa or Biometrics Residence Permit
  • Your attendance at classes/seminars/lectures/etc. or other engagement with your studies

Reporting duties

The University is required to inform the Home Office if:

You fail to enrol on time

You are required to enrol at the University by the latest start date on your CAS. If you cannot arrive by that time, you must arrange a later start date with your School, and let us know so we can tell the Home Office.

If you cannot arrange a later start date, the University must tell the Home Office that you will not start your programme, and your Tier 4 visa will be cancelled. You must not attempt to travel to the UK using your Tier 4 visa.

If you defer your studies, the University will tell the Home Office and your visa will be cancelled. You will need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa to begin your studies at a later date.

You change your programme

You are normally allowed to change your programme without it affecting your visa, providing:

  • You will continue to study at the same sponsoring institution
  • The new programme is at the same, or a higher level
  • It represents academic progression, AND;
  • It will not take longer than the original programme
  • You apply for a new Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate

If the new programme is shorter than the previous one, your visa will be curtailed to reflect the new end date. This will normally mean that your visa will expire four months after the new end date.

If your new programme is longer than the previous one, you will need to apply for extra time to complete your studies. You may not be able to make your application in the UK. For full information about this, see our information about academic progression and time limits.

Tier 4 visa requirements

You do not attend classes

If you fail to attend 10 consecutive required academic engagements (such as classes, tutorials, lectures, etc.) without seeking permission from your School or supervisor, the University is required to exclude you from your programme.

The University must inform the Home Office and your visa will be curtailed. You will be given 60 days to leave the UK.

You withdraw from your studies, or are excluded

The University must inform the Home Office and your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed. You will be given 60 days to leave the UK or apply for a different visa to stay.

You defer your studies, or take an interruption

If you interrupt your studies for more than 60 days, the University cannot continue to sponsor your visa. This includes in circumstances of serious illness or pregnancy.

Your visa will be curtailed and you will be given 60 days to leave the UK or apply for a different visa to stay. You will need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa to return to studies.

We strongly advise you to speak to a Student Immigration Adviser before you defer or interrupt your studies.

You change the location of your programme

If you take a leave of absence to study, or do a work placement, in another location, the University will inform the Home Office of your new location. Your Tier 4 visa will not normally be affected and will remain valid until its expiry date.

Further advice

Immigration law in the UK is complex and it is important that you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities. 

In the UK, it is illegal to give immigration advice unless you are fully trained and regulated. It is important that you seek professional advice before making changes to your studies. Please do not take advice from your friends.

We provide a fully trained and regulated immigration advisory service, and are the only people in the University who are permitted to give immigration advice. We are happy to help you, and you can come to speak to us at a drop-in session or contact us via our enquiry form.

Contact us


For more information on our terms of service

Conditions of Service