World map or atlas in green and gold
If you have any questions, please contact the Student Immigration team: 
We are also available for in-person sessions at the Student Hub in the Charles Seale-Hayne Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 09:30–10:30 (no need to book).

Latest immigration news

Don’t travel to the UK before your visa is granted

If you applied for your new Student visa from overseas and are still waiting for it to be issued, whether as a physical visa or digitally, please do not enter the UK before your visa has been granted. This will cause serious problems as you will need to leave the UK and re-enter when your visa has been issued and after the start date of this visa. Please also double check the start date of your Student visa and do not enter the UK before this date – this will also mean that you will have to leave the UK again, which will cause you delays and more expense.
The University will not be able to enrol you if you enter the UK as a visitor, before your Student visa has been issued, or before it’s start date. This applies whatever nationality you hold.

Arriving late for enrolment on your course? Important information for Student visa holders

Current students: if you think you will return to the UK later than your new term start date, please contact your faculty or Programme Leader to let them know. You must have late enrolment approved first before returning to the UK.
New students: if you think you will arrive late, after the final enrolment date shown on your CAS, please ensure you contact If a later date of enrolment is agreed for you, your CAS must be updated to reflect this. Please contact us at the email address shown above even if you have already spoken to other staff members in the University about this, otherwise your CAS will not be updated and you might be refused entry at the UK Border. 

Why does my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card expire on 31 December 2024?

You do not need to tell UKVI if your BRP expires on 31 December 2024 but your immigration status (as shown on your original visa letter/email from the Home Office) allows you to stay longer.
You will not need a BRP from 1 January 2025. You’ll be able to prove your immigration status online, without a BRP.
UKVI will update their information on how to prove your immigration status in early 2024. You do not need to do anything and your immigration status will not be affected.
How can I prove the correct expiry date of my leave?
You should have received a letter from the Home Office confirming when your leave expires and advising that your BRP may expire earlier. If you do not already have access to your immigration status information online then you may rely on this letter as confirmation of the actual expiry date of your leave. As a BRP holder, if you need to demonstrate your right to work to an employer or your right to rent to a landlord then you can already access the online right to work and right to rent services. These contain real-time status information which reflect the duration of your leave, rather than the expiry date stated on your BRP card.  

Will I receive a BRP card or a digital visa?

The UK government is continuing to phase in new digital type visas to replace biometric residence permit (BRP) cards. You may already have a digital visa or may still have a BRP, both types of immigration status are acceptable. If you have a Digital Immigration Status, this is online proof of your visa and allows organisations such as employers, landlords and universities, to check and verify your immigration status to assess your right to access those services. In most cases, a digital immigration status will be the only evidence you have of your permission to be in the UK. In time this online status will replace any physical evidence of a visa such as a BRP card or stamp in your passport. 
Who will receive online digital immigration status and who will get a BRP?
Students who have applied for a visa from outside the UK
  • If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national and you have used the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app, you will receive a digital immigration status.
  • If you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national, most students will receive a 90 day entry vignette (visa) in your passport followed by a BRP card once you arrive in the UK. If your course is less than 6 months, you will only receive a vignette.
Students who have applied for visas from inside the UK
  • If your nationality is on the Visa National list and you have used the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app, you will receive both a BRP card and digital immigration status.
  • If your nationality is not on the Visa National list and you have used the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app, you will only receive a digital immigration status.
  • If you did not use the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app, regardless of your nationality, you will only receive a BRP card and will not have a digital immigration status.
EU Settlement Scheme
  • If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national and have been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will receive a digital immigration status.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) increase from 6 February 2024 for Student, Graduate, and Skilled Worker visa applications

For Student visa applications and student dependant applications made on or after 6 February 2024, the IHS fee will be £776 per applicant, per year of permission applied for. Student visa applicants currently pay £470.
For Graduate visa applications and graduate dependant applications made on or after 6 February 2024, the IHS fee will be £1,035 per applicant, per year of permission applied for. Graduate route applicants currently pay £624. This will also be the same for most Skilled worker applications.
This change is due to the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2024, which was published on 16 January 2024, and which makes amendments to the original Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015 (as amended). The Order sets out the amount that applicants are required to pay to access NHS treatment.

Students bringing dependants to the UK

For courses starting from 1 January 2024 onwards, students will no longer be able to bring dependants to the UK except for those who are: 
  • Studying for a course of study which the provider has confirmed is a PhD, other doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree 
  • Financially sponsored by the UK or an overseas government 
Undergraduate students are not normally permitted to bring dependants, and this has not changed.
The following questions and answers have been provided by the Home Office and are correct as of 10 August 2023:
What do you mean by postgraduate research?
A research-based higher degree means a postgraduate programme comprising a research component (including a requirement to produce original work) that is larger than any accompanying taught component when measured by student effort. 
Will students on professional doctorates be able to bring dependants?
Students who hold permission for a course of study which the provider has confirmed is a PhD, other doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree will be able to bring dependants. 
What about two-year integrated programmes with an integrated premaster and research master programme?
These students will still be able to bring dependants. The course level on the CAS must reflect the exit qualification. 
Can dependants of students who have started their course in autumn 2023 come into the UK after January 2024?
The changes will affect students who are starting their courses from 1 January 2024 onwards. These changes will not affect dependants of overseas students where the student is already in the UK on their course of study. Those starting a taught postgraduate course in the autumn will still be able to have dependants join them after January 2024 (where the other requirements of the rules are met). 
Can dependants extend their permission to stay in the UK if the student needs more time to complete their course, but the course no is no longer eligible for dependants? 
Dependants who are already in the UK can extend their immigration permission if the main applicant is granted further leave to remain under the student route.
What about children of Student visa holders born in the UK after the rules changes?
In line with current rules, students are able to regularise the status of their child as their dependant where the child is born in the UK during the last/current grant of permission, and this has not changed. 
Will there be a concession for disabled students to be able to bring carers?
There are currently no concessions for disabled students to bring carers and this will continue to be the case.
Is the graduate route impacted by these changes? 
There is no change to the graduate route. Dependants already in the UK as a student dependant may apply as a dependant of a graduate at the same time as the applicant.

Changing from a Student visa to another visa (e.g. a Skilled Worker visa)

Students will no longer be able to change their visa until they have completed their course. The only exception is for PhD students, who will be permitted to change their immigration permission to a Skilled Worker visa after they have completed 24 months towards their PhD.
The following questions and answers have been provided by the Home Office and are correct as of 10 August 2023:
When will the changes take effect?
When the immigration rules are laid on 17 July 2023. 
Why are you stopping students changing to the Skilled Worker visa part way through their course?
The main purpose of the Student visa is to enable applicants to undertake a course of study within the UK. We want to ensure that applicants are coming to the UK to study rather than to work. There are other options available for those whose primary focus is to work.
What if I have submitted an application to change visa before the rules change?
Applications made before the changes will be assessed under the rules in force at the date of application.
When can a student change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa? 
  • Students must reach the end of their course before they are permitted to change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa. The start date on the student's Certificate of Sponsorship for the Skiller Worker visa must be no earlier than their course completion date. Students can apply to change visa up to 3 months before their Certificate of Sponsorship start date. 
  • PhD students will be permitted to change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa after they have completed 24 months towards their PhD. 
How will you define "course completion" in this context?
Caseworkers will check the course completion date entered on the CAS. Students do not need to have received their final award as long as they have not had their sponsorship withdrawn before the course end date. 
Can a student change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa if they complete their course early?
Yes. Where a student has completed their course early, it is the student's sponsor's responsibility to report early completion to UKVI through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) within 10 days. If they have not done this, we will consider any information the applicant has provided, and we may contact them to give them the opportunity to provide further information, but this may lead to their application being delayed or rejected.
If you have any questions about changing your immigration permission, please contact us although we may need to refer you to an external independent immigration advisor.

Ukraine immigration schemes

On 29 March, the UK Government published legislation that brings into force three schemes to support Ukrainian nationals and their families:
  • Ukraine Extension Scheme for people who are already in the UK
  • Homes for Ukraine for people who are outside the UK
  • Family scheme for people inside and outside the UK
Full details on the Ukraine immigration schemes can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. The University's Student Immigration team is unable to offer specific advice on these schemes but will certainly try to guide and support you.

Reminder of working conditions as a Student visa holder

It is a great idea to work part-time alongside your studies if you want to improve your spoken English, gain confidence and earn a few pounds spending money. 
It is also a great idea to refresh your mind on the conditions and restrictions of your Student visa. We are here to help you understand these restrictions so you don’t accidentally break the rules.
If you are studying at degree level, you will have a maximum number of hours you can work during term-time – usually 20 hours per week – but please check your visa.
If you work more than 20 hours in any one week during term time, you will be breaching your visa conditions and this could prevent you from obtaining a new visa in the future or completing your studies.
If you are a postgraduate taught student, the dissertation period is not a holiday period and you are expected to be working on your dissertation and meeting your dissertation supervisor regularly. In the dissertation period, your term-time working restrictions still apply and you must not work full-time.
There has been a rise in instances of international students being strongly encouraged to work more than the hours permitted. Please do not feel pressured into this. Contact us as soon as you can if you are being asked to do something which you feel is wrong. We are here to support you and you can speak to us in confidence.

Graduate visa Zoom information sessions

Are you thinking about working in the UK after you have successfully completed your degree at the University of Plymouth? Do you want to find out more about the Graduate Visa?
If yes, we are running online information sessions which are bookable at myCareer – sign in with your student log in and then type in ‘Let’s talk about the Graduate Visa’ in the search box. 

Changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme

For applications made on or after 29 June 2023, the following changes apply:
  • the age range for New Zealand nationals who are eligible for the scheme is increasing to 18–35
  • the length of stay for New Zealand nationals is increasing to three years.

New Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs)

Each year the UK welcomes millions of visitors from around the world, from holidays to short term study or business trips.
The UK Government has introduced an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme as part of their digitisation of the UK border. An ETA is a digital permission to travel to the UK and intends to improve border security by preventing the arrival of those who present a threat to the UK.
Who needs to apply for ETA?
Visitors who do not need a visa for short stays or who do not have any other UK immigration status prior to travelling will be required to apply for an ETA in advance of their travel. An ETA is not a visa, it does not permit entry into the UK – it authorises an individual to travel to the UK.
From a university perspective, visitors may include:
  • Short term students studying 6 months or less e.g. exchanges 
  • Visiting academics and research students 
  • Visiting to attend a conference
  • Permitted paid engagements
  • International students inviting family members to visit them
It costs £10 and is valid for two years, unless the traveller’s passport expires sooner. Individuals (including children of any age) should apply for an ETA before booking travel to the UK.
Who does not need ETA?
  • Anyone holding other UK immigration status prior to travelling. Most of our international students need a Student visa to study in the UK. Student visa holders do not need to apply for ETA as they will already have UK immigration status prior to travelling.
  • British and Irish citizens will not require an ETA.
  • Anyone from a country yet to be included in the scheme.
ETA is being gradually rolled out further in 2024, only a handful of countries are currently included in the scheme and we have not told when other countries will be added.
For anyone wishing to visit the UK (even if in transit), we advise they check here first prior to booking travel: Check if you need a UK visa.
This will clearly state if an ETA is needed and will direct an applicant to the ETA app or the relevant web page.
More information is available on the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme blog.