Checking your visa

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Once your visa is issued you should make sure that you check your visa is the right type of visa for you, and is of the correct length of time. You should report any errors to the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) as it may not always be possible to correct any mistakes once you have left your country.

You should check the vignette in your passport as well as your immigration decision letter.

If you have applied for a Tier 4 (General) student visa you will need to check the following:

  • The visa stamp states you are a “Tier 4 (General) Student,” not a “Visitor” or a “Tier 4 Child)”.
  • No working prohibition.
  • Police registration. If your visa/immigration decision letter states that you must register, then speak with the University’s International Support Team when you arrive in the UK and they will advise how and when to do this.
  • The Sponsor Licence Number (SLN) is correct. You can find this number on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). Sometimes the ECO will write the CAS number instead of the SLN; this is OK as long as it is the correct CAS number.
  • Start date – in most instances the earliest your visa will be able to start is one month before the start date of the course (as stated on your CAS). If your course is less than 6 months (excluding pre-sessional courses) then the earliest time your visa will start is 7 days before the start date of your course.
  • Expiry/end date. If you are coming to study on a course for more than 6 months then the vignette in your passport will be valid for 30 days only. Once you arrive in the UK you will then be able to collect your visa which should cover the full length of your programme of study. Your immigration decision letter will tell you what the full length of your visa will be. There are Home Office guidelines which determine how much leave a Tier 4 student should be given.
CourseEnd of immigration permission
(based upon the end date as stated on your CAS)
12 months or more4 months after the end of the course
6 months or more, but less than 12 months2 months after the end of the course
Pre-sessional course, less than 6 months1 month after the end of the course
Other course, less than 6 months7 days after the end of the course

If these guidelines have not been followed then ask the ECO to amend your leave.

Visit our How to collect your BRP for further details about collecting your visa on arrival to the UK.

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