Essential information for visa students
In order to make the most of your time at Westminster, you will need to be aware of the conditions attached to your Student Visa and to make sure you comply with these conditions throughout your time in the UK.
We need to be able to contact you while you are studying at the University of Westminster. We will need to have your address in the UK, your UK mobile number and an email address that you check regularly. It is your responsibility to update this information if any of these details change. You can update your contact details at any time.
You must report any change of address to the Home Office – you can do so by filling in this online form.
As a Student Visa holder, your leave to remain in the UK is dependent on your continued engagement with your course of study. Your attendance at all timetabled classes, lectures and workshops is mandatory. The University will monitor your attendance during term time and report back on students who are not attending on a regular basis. If you miss your classes without prior agreement from the University then you can be reported to the Home Office. This would result in the cancellation of your visa and your removal from your course. In order to record your attendance you need to ensure that you touch in to every class and lecture with your Student ID. For more details of how your attendance is monitored and recorded please see Student Engagement and Attendance (SEA).
Sometimes temporary absence from your course is unavoidable. If you miss a class or lecture due to illness you can log this absence via SEA. If you are absent for any other reason during term time then you must apply for an Authorised Absence. To apply for an Authorised Absence you must contact [email protected] stating the following:
- The date at which you will cease attending University
- The date you will return to study
- The reason that you need to be away from your course (with supporting documentary evidence if appropriate)
If you will be absent for a prolonged period, or if you do not know when you will be able to return to your studies, you may need to formally interrupt your studies (see the section below).
If you do not apply for Authorised Absence, or your application is rejected, you will be expected to continue your regular attendance on your course. If you miss study without obtaining an official Authorised Absence, your absence from the course will be reported to the Home Office, which will then curtail (shorten) your Student Visa.
You do not need an Authorised Absence to leave the UK during the official vacation periods. Please see the Academic Calendar for the dates of our official vacation periods.
Interruption or withdrawal from your course
You can apply to interrupt or withdraw from your studies on our interrupting or withdrawing from studies page. We’d recommend that you speak with your personal tutor, Student Advice and your Campus Registry Office before deciding to interrupt or withdraw so you can be fully advised on how this will affect your course and any funding.
If you interrupt your studies your current Student Visa will be curtailed (cancelled). You’ll need to apply for a new Student Visa when you are ready to return to full-time study.
If you decide to interrupt or withdraw from your course, the University must inform the Home Office that you will no longer be studying with us. The Home Office will be informed within 10 working days of your official interruption or withdrawal. We will let you know once this has been done.
If you are interrupting and intend to return to complete your studies later, you will need to get a new CAS reference number from the University and apply for a new Student Visa in order to return to the UK. When you are returning from an interruption you can request a new CAS by contacting your Campus Registry Office.
Exclusion from your course
If you are excluded from your course for academic or other grounds, the University must inform the Home Office that you will no longer be studying with us. The Home Office will be informed within 10 working days. We will let you know once this has been done.
Checking your visa
The University must hold copies of your immigration documents so please update the University if you change your visa.
The University may request to see your immigration documents at any time during your enrolment. If you are asked to bring in your documents for verification you must do so promptly. Failure to provide evidence of your continued right to study in the UK could result in removal from your course.
Working in the UK
Your Student Visa allows you to work in the UK, but the number of hours you can work is restricted. Your working allowance will be stated on your Biometric Residence Permit (normally a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time). Unpaid work, voluntary work and work experience/placements/internships also count towards your working hour limit.
Although your Student Visa allows you to work, remember that it has been issued for the purpose of full-time study and you should not take work that conflicts with your required attendance at University. You are also prohibited from
- undertaking business activities (ie running your own company)
- employment as a professional sportsperson (including coaching)
- Full time permanent employment
During vacation periods there are no restrictions on how many hours you work. Please check the Academic Calendar to make sure of the periods when there is a restriction on the number of hours you can work. If you are a postgraduate student Semester 3 (from June to September) is not a vacation period. You will therefore not be able to work full-time during this period.
Research (PhD) students are not covered by the standard Academic Calendar. PhD students can take up to 35 days leave per year, to be agreed in advance with your Research Supervisor.
Please see the UKCISA website for further guidance on your working rights in the UK.
Your visa has been issued for study on a specific course. If you want to transfer to a new course you’ll need to check that your visa will allow you to do this. In some cases a course change will mean that you would have to go home to apply for a new visa before starting study on your new course. If you are considering transferring to a different course please contact us first at [email protected].
In some circumstances you may need to extend your stay in the UK, for example, if you are required to retake a module. You will need to apply for a new Student Visa to cover the extra period of time needed to complete your course. If you need to extend your stay in the UK please make sure you contact the University in plenty of time before. We’d recommend contacting us at least a month before the expiry of your current visa. To do this you will need a new CAS number from the University. Please note that if you try to re-apply with your original CAS number your visa application will be refused. To apply for a new CAS, you need to complete the CAS request form and return it to your Registry office.
Applying for an extension from within the UK
In order to apply for a new visa within the UK to continue on your current course you must be re-taking modules or assessments. Your new visa will cover the time for you to retake your modules. If you are able to complete your re-takes within the time you have time left on your current visa, then you can continue to study on this visa.
If you know you need to retake any of your modules, or if you have already re-taken modules earlier in your course and will not be able to finish before your current visa expires, then we strongly suggest that you make an appointment with our Student Advisers ([email protected]) to discuss when, and where, to apply for your new Student Visa.
If you are interested in taking part in a work placement you should contact the Work Placement team. Student Visa holders can take a placement which is an integral and assessed part of their course. If you arrange work experience independently then this will count towards your maximum working hours.
If you are taking part in a year-long placement then this will mean applying for a new visa before you can start your placement. You must contact the Student Advice team at [email protected] for guidance on this process before committing to the placement. We recommend that you contact the Student Advice team as early as possible to ensure you have enough time to organise your new visa before your placement begins.
Changing visa categories
If you are intending to apply for a different type of visa while you are studying with us, we strongly recommend that you contact Student Advice to discuss how this could affect your studies and your stay in the UK. You should provide evidence that you have applied for a new visa to [email protected]. Once you obtain your new visa you must bring this in so we can update your records. We will contact the Home Office to inform them that you no longer require a Student Visa sponsored by the University.