Visas and immigration

We understand the importance of supporting our students all the way through their experience at the University of Derby. Applying for your visa and understanding what is required can be very confusing, that's why we have a dedicated Visa and Immigration Advisor to help with any questions you have. You can also find out more information below.  

A member of the international student centre team

Ash Slater
Immigration and Visa student advisor

My role is to help you with anything regarding your visa to study in the UK with us, so this could be a question about the application process, bringing family with you or more information about your visa restrictions like working hours


Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice for international students

Please see the links below to access the latest information about coronavirus:

Do I need a visa?

If you are a national of a country that is not part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you will need to apply for permission to study in the UK.

Which visa will I need?

Tier 4 (General) – if you are coming to the UK to study a full-time course for more than six months you will need to apply for a Tier 4 visa. You can only study on a Tier 4 visa with an institution that is a Tier 4 Sponsor (such as the University of Derby).

Short-term Study – if you are studying a course that is less than six months in length (or an English language course that is less than 11 months long), you can apply for a Short-term Study visa.

Other visa categories

If you hold entry clearance or leave to remain in a visa category other than Tier 4 or a Short-term Study visa you may still be able to study. Please email to see if you can study with your current visa.

Two year post-study visa

Two year post-study visa - The new “graduate route” will allow eligible students to work, or look for work, at any skill level, for a period of two years after completing their courses. There will be no cap on the number of students who can apply for the new route, which is expected to be available in summer 2021.

Other relevant visa and immigration information

The application form that you will complete and the documents you submit will depend on where you are applying from and whether or not you have already started your course of study. Please click on the links below for information on the documents you are required to submit with your Tier 4 application, the forms that need to be completed and what happens after a decision has been made on your application.

Maintenance (funds) refers to the amount of money you must have available to you or any family members that may be accompanying you. You must show that you have access to a certain level of funds to meet your living costs in the UK and outstanding course fees. The amount of money you need depends on how long your course is and how much of your course fees you have paid.

View full maintenance requirements

All Tier 4 students need to show that they have a certain level of English language ability in order to obtain a Tier 4 visa. The level of English required and how this is assessed is based on what course you will be studying.

What level of English do I need?

If you are studying a course at NQF level 6 (Bachelors degree) or above, then you need to be at level B2. This is equivalent to a score of 5.5 on an IELTS test. For courses below NQF level 6 (such as the International Foundation Programme or English for Academic Purposes) you need to be at level B1. This is a score of 4.0 on an IELTS test.

You need to have this level of English in each of the four components: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

How will my English be assessed?

In most cases you can provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT). A SELT is a list of UKVI approved English tests that can be used as evidence of your English language ability. Check the UKVI list of acceptable tests to see what test you can take and the scores you need for each level.

You must provide a SELT from the approved list to study a course below NQF level 6. For courses at NQF level 6 and above the University can make its own assessment of your ability. This could be an alternative test or a reference letter from a previous university or employer. The Admissions officer dealing with your application will inform you of what documents they may want to see.

What if I am from an English-speaking country?

You automatically meet the English language requirement if you are a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

If you have earned an academic qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors, Masters or PhD in one of the above countries (except Canada), the United Kingdom or Ireland, you will also meet the English language requirement. For qualifications from outside the UK you must also provide original evidence from UK NARIC that proves the qualification is equivalent to its UK counterpart.A statement of comparability can be applied for on the UK NARIC website.

What if I have studied on a Tier 4 (Child) visa?

If you have studied in the UK on a Tier 4 (Child) visa then you will be exempt as long as:

  • You successfully completed the course
  • The course was at least six months long
  • The course was completed no more than two years ago
  • You were under the age of 18 when your visa was granted

Will UKVI test my English language ability?

As part of your application to study in the UK you will be required to attend a credibility interview. During the interview the Entry Clearance officer will be checking your ability to converse in English. Make sure that you raise any technical issues if you have trouble hearing them during the interview.

Furthermore, officers at the UK border when you arrive could also test your English skills with basic questions about your purpose in the UK.

Tier 4 applicants can expect to be invited to attend an interview as part of the application process. All students applying outside of the UK will be emailed with details about attending an interview, so please make sure you check your email account regularly, including the ‘junk’ folder. Students applying in the UK will be posted a letter if an interview is required.

Interviews are via video call, similar to Skype, with a UKVI officer based in Sheffield in the UK and last approximately 20 minutes. The interview is to establish if you are a genuine student and to test your English language ability. You will be asked questions about your course and why you want to study in the UK and specifically at the University of Derby. Make sure throughout the interview you can clearly understand the interviewer.

The report of the interview will be sent to the officer who will make the decision on your application. Typical questions may include:

Why have you chosen to study In the UK?

What is it about the UK that makes you want to study here?

What made you choose the UK over your home country or another English-speaking country?

You may want to discuss the positives of the British education system and how it will benefit your future career.

Why have you chosen to study at the University of Derby?

What is it about Derby that makes you want to study here?

Did you research Derby’s facilities and industry links?

Did you look at any other universities?

You want to discuss why Derby was the best suited option for you over other UK universities.

Why did you choose your course?

Why have you chosen this particular course?

Did you consider any other courses?

How does this course help with your future plans?

Think about how the course will benefit your future career prospects and aspirations. You may be asked questions about the structure of the course and the names of modules you will be taking. Make sure you are familiar with the course by looking at course information on our website.

How will you travel to your university?

Where is Derby located?

How much will it cost to travel from your accommodation to campus?

You will need to demonstrate your knowledge of Derby’s location in the UK and how you expect to travel to the university from where you will be living.

Do you plan to work in the UK?

You need to make it clear that you understand that your primary reason for coming to the UK is for your studies. If you do plan on working, explain how this will benefit you and your studies. You should also demonstrate an understanding of the limitations there are for work for Tier 4 students.

As part of your application you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to pay towards the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). How much you have to pay is based on the length of the visa that you are applying for.

How much is the surcharge?

You have to pay £300 for every year that you will be in the UK. If you are in the UK for part of a year that is less than six months you need to pay £150. If your time here includes part of a year that is more than six months you have to pay £300.

For example, if you are studying a three year degree programme that runs from September 2015 to June 2018, your visa will be valid until October 2018. So you would pay a total of £1,050 (£300 x3 for three years, £150 for part of another year that is less than six months).

You can use the IHS payment calculator to check how much you will need to pay.

How do I pay?

You must pay for the surcharge before you submit your application. During the application process you will be automatically directed to a separate page where you pay for the surcharge. This page will calculate how much you are supposed to pay based on the answers you give to questions in the visa application form. Once you have paid you will be given an IHS reference number and then redirected back to your visa application to complete the process.

Am I exempt from paying the IHS?

If you will be in the UK for more than six months you will need to pay the surcharge. If you are coming to Derby to study a short course such as a pre-sessional English language course, for which your visa will be valid for less than six months, then you will not need to pay. Students already in the UK who need to extend their visa for less than six months will still need to pay the surcharge.

There may be other exemptions depending on your circumstances. Please check the website for more information.

What happens if I don’t pay or pay the wrong amount?

UKVI will contact you if there are any issues with your payment. You must make sure you can be contacted by telephone or email during your visa application process in case UKVI need to contact you. If you do not pay the correct amount your visa application can be refused.

Can the surcharge be refunded?

UKVI will only refund your surcharge payment if your visa application is refused, as well as any appeals or reviews. You will receive a partial refund if you have paid more than what was necessary.

Once your visa is granted the length of time it will be valid for will depend on the length of your course. The length of time you are granted is as follows:

Main course of study

12 months or more: The full length of the course plus four months after the end of the course

Six months or more, but less than 12 months: The full length of the course plus two months after the end of the course

Less than six months: The full length of the course plus seven days after the end of the course

Pre-sessional courses

12 months or more: The full length of the course plus four months after the end of the course

Six months or more, but less than 12 months: The full length of the course plus two months after the end of the course

Less than six months: The full length of the course plus one month after the end of the course

What if there is a mistake on the length of time I have been given?

Please visit the BRP errors page for guidance on what to do when there is a mistake on your visa.

What are time limits?

There is a time limit (or ‘cap’) on how long you can be in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. You must provide the University with details of any previous courses you have studied in the UK and under what visa categories to ensure that you can study at Derby without worrying about the time limit. The time limit depends on what courses you have studied and/or will be studying in the UK.

How is the time limit calculated?

UKVI count in months and will include the total length of your visa when calculating the time limit. This includes the extra periods that are granted after the end of your course. Please use the above table for reference.

What is the time limit for study below degree level?

The time limit for any study undertaken below degree level (NQF level 5 or below) is two years. This includes courses such as the International Foundation Programme, HNDs and Foundation degrees. Any course that leads to a qualification at or below NQF level 5 is included in this time limit.

Are there any exceptions?

You will not be subject to the two year limit if you were studying a course in the UK:

  • Whilst under the Student visa rules that were in place before 31 March 2009
  • As a Tier 4 (General) student when you were 16 or 17 years old
  • As a Tier 4 (Child) student when you were 17 or under
  • Under any other visa category that allows study

What is the time limit for study at or above degree level?

The time limit for any study undertaken at or above degree level (NQF level 6/7) is five years. Any course that leads to a qualification at NQF level 6 (Bachelors degrees) or level 7 (Masters degrees) is included in this time limit. As well as Tier 4 this also applies to any study that was undertaken whilst on the Student visa route that was in place before the launch of Tier 4 on 31 March 2009.

Are there any exceptions?

Any time spent in the UK studying courses in the following subject areas will be exempt:

  • Architecture
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine and Science
  • Certain Music and professional Law courses

The only eligible courses at Derby are those within the Architecture subject area.

What if I need a visa extension and I am over the time limit?

If applying for a visa means you will be over the time limit then you may not be able to apply for another Tier 4 visa. You will need to speak to an adviser with regards to your options.

What about Research students?

Research students are exempt and do not have a time limit on their study. However, if you have already completed a research programme and wish to study another, you will be subject to an eight-year time limit. This time limit will include all previous study, including your first research programme.

Tier 4 students must show that their course represents progression from any previous course they have studied in the UK. For example, if you have completed a bachelors degree (NQF level 6) you should then progress to a masters degree (NQF level 7).

Does this affect me?

Academic progression applies to those who are applying for a Tier 4 visa in the UK and have previously studied on Tier 4 (General) or the Student visa route that was in place before 31 March 2009. If you have a Tier 4 (Child) visa or applying from outside of the UK then you will be exempt from showing academic progression.

Can I study again at the same level?

It is possible to study again at the same level, however this will need to be justified. You will need to explain in your course application either: 

  • How the new course is related to the previous course you have studied (for instance, the new course will involve a deeper specialisation of a chosen field)
  • Your previous and new course combined support your career aspirations

Your explanation for same level study will be considered by the admissions team and included in your CAS if approved. You can only study again at the same level for degree level courses (bachelors, masters etc).

Can I study at a lower level?

No, you cannot study at a lower level than what you have already studied. For example, if you have already studied at masters level and wish to study a bachelors degree this will not be possible under Tier 4.

What if I don’t meet academic progression requirements?

Academic progression applies to Tier 4 applications submitted within the UK. This means that you will not be subject to the requirements if you are making an application from your home country. However UKVI may still look at your application with additional detail and require you to attend a credibility interview. We may not be able to offer you a place if we feel that your application may be refused on these grounds.

Certain courses at postgraduate level require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate before you will be granted a Tier 4 visa. The ATAS certificate is issued by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which gives you the clearance to study certain subject areas that could be used to aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction (such as science, medicine, engineering).

Will I need an ATAS certificate?

If you are a citizen of an EEA country, Switzerland, or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you will not need an ATAS certificate. All other applicants will require one if studying one of the following taught masters programmes:

  • MSc Applied Acoustics
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering
  • MSc Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • MEng Motorsport Engineering
  • MSc Motorsport Engineering

For Research students, it depends on your field of research. The Research Office will inform you if you need an ATAS certificate.

When do I need to apply?

You should apply as soon as possible. You must provide your ATAS certificate with your Tier 4 application, so you will not be given a CAS until you can provide the certificate to the university. Tier 4 applications submitted without an ATAS certificate where one is required are likely to be refused. ATAS certificates are valid for six months and should be used in a visa application within that timeframe.

How do I apply?

You need to complete an online application form through the ATAS website. There is no fee to pay and you do not need to submit any supporting documents. The application will just ask for your personal details, details of any previous study or employment and an outline of your proposed research or study modules.

What if I change my course or need to extend my visa?

You will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if you are extending your visa to continue studying a course that requires one. If you are changing your course and the new course requires an ATAS certificate you will also need to apply. As before, you need the certificate before you can apply for the visa.

Do I need to take a TB test before coming to the UK?

You will need to take a TB test if you are coming to the UK for more than six months and are resident in a listed country. You can only take a test approved by UKVI, as listed in the link.

If you don’t have TB then you will be given a certificate as proof which is valid for six months. This will need to be submitted with your visa application.

When will I not need a TB test certificate?

You won’t need to take a TB test if:

  • You’re a diplomat accredited to the UK
  • You’re a UK resident returning to from overseas and haven’t been away for more than two years
  • You have lived in a country for at least six months where a TB test is not required and you’ve been away from that country for no more than six months

Related links

Medical information

NHS medical care

Registering with a doctor

Can I bring family members with me to the UK?

As a Tier 4 student you can bring family members to the UK as long as you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are government-sponsored and your course is over six months long
  • You are studying a full-time postgraduate course that is at least 12 months long
  • You are already in the UK as a student or Tier 4 visa holder with dependants and need to extend your visa to study a course that is at least six months long

Which family members can I bring with me?

Only the following family members can join you:

  • Your husband, wife or civil partner
  • Your unmarried or same-sex partner (must have lived together for two years)
  • Your children (aged under 18, or over 18 but are already in the UK as a dependant and need to extend their visa with you)

How do I apply for my dependant’s visa?

Each dependant will need to complete a separate online application. The visa costs for dependants is the same as it costs for your main Tier 4 application.

Please see applying for Tier 4 for more information on costs and the documents required.

Do I need to show maintenance funds for my dependants?

For each dependant you will need to show that you have enough funds available to support their living costs in the UK. This is in addition to the funds you have to show for yourself.

For each dependant you need to show that you have £680 for each month of your course up to a maximum of nine months (£6,120). So if you are government-sponsored studying a seven month long course then you will need £4,760 (£680 x 7 months) available for your dependant. Please see maintenance (funds) for information on the documents you need to provide.

Questions about your visa during your studies

Listed below are the conditions attached to your Tier 4 visa. You must follow these conditions as failure to do so could lead to withdrawal from the course and the cancellation of your visa.

Your responsibilities

You must: 

  • Enrol/register for your course on time each semester. This includes September starters registering in January. You must bring your current passport and visa to the International Student Centre (ISC) each time you enrol/register
  • Give the ISC up to date copies of your passport and visa when necessary
  • Attend classes and contact your tutors if you are going to be absent (eg sickness). Your attendance records will be closely monitored by the ISC and your Faculty
  • Follow the University’s rules and regulations
  • Contact us immediately if you change your immigration status. For example, you switch from a Tier 4 visa to a dependant visa
  • Contact us if you defer/withdraw from your studies
  • Make sure that we have your most up to date contact details (address, telephone number, email address). We will need to contact you on a regular basis with important information
  • Update the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with your most recent contact details
  • Ensure that any visa extension application is made promptly and before your current visa expires. You may be withdrawn from your course if you do not make an in-time visa application or if your visa is refused

If you have any queries please email

If you are a Relevant Foreign National and you have been given leave to enter/remain in the UK for more than six months, you may need to register with the police within seven days of your arrival in the UK. It will be stated on your visa if this is a requirement for you.

A Relevant Foreign National is someone who is at least 16 years old and is:

  • a citizen or national of one of these countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen
  • a stateless person
  • a person travelling on a non-national travel document rather than a passport.

If you need to register, you should make an appointment with the police force in the area you are living. If you are living in Derby you can call Overseas Visitors Registration at Derbyshire Constabulary on +44 (0) 300 122 8566.

When you go to your appointment you will need to take these documents with you:

  • your passport
  • your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • a confirmation letter from the University
  • two passport sized photographs
  • £34 in cash (exact money)

You must let the police know within seven days if:

  • you change your address
  • you extend your stay
  • your circumstances change‌

If you don't register, it's a criminal offence and you may be prosecuted.

Your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) is a very important document that is evidence of your right to study and live in the UK.

You must check your BRP once you receive it for any mistakes that may have been made when it was issued. This includes checking that your name is written and spelt correctly, that your date of birth, gender and nationality are correct and that it is valid for the correct length of time.

What should I do if I notice an error?

You must report the error immediately to UKVI. This can be done using their website. Complete the online form and UKVI will email you to confirm if a mistake has been made. Once they send this email acknowledging the error the BRP will need to be posted to them in order for a new one to be created. Bring your BRP to the International Student Centre and we can post it for you.

What should I do if I lose my BRP or it is stolen?

First of all, you need to be absolutely certain that you cannot find your BRP. Try and retrace your steps over the previous few days and search everywhere in your accommodation or class room. If you cannot locate it then it will need to be reported and you will have to apply for a replacement.

How do I report the loss of my BRP?

You will need to report the loss to the local police station. This will be the police station in the town or city that you believe you lost it. If possible, ask for a report reference number from the police.

Afterwards you need to report the loss to UKVI by applying for a replacement BRP online. This must be done within three months of losing your BRP. The Immigration Advisor in the International Student Centre can check your application before it is submitted. The application will cost £56 and you will need to provide two photographs and proof of your current address (bank statement, council tax notice, utility bill, etc.).

What if I lose my BRP outside of the UK?

As before you will need to report it to the local police station and UKVI. You will then need to apply for a temporary visa on the UKVI website. This application will cost £154. After completing your personal details, you should fill in the beginning of the application as follows:

Reason for visit: Other
Visa type: Other
Visa sub type: Replacement Biometric Residence Permit 

What happens if I find my BRP?Once you arrive back in the UK you must apply for a replacement BRP as detailed above within one month.

Once it is reported as lost your BRP is no longer valid. Furthermore you cannot have more than one BRP at a time. If you do, the old one must be returned to UKVI at the following address:

BRP Returns
Returns Unit
PO Box 163
BS20 1AB

It is very important to think carefully about what course you want to study at Derby as changing your course may have consequences for your Tier 4 visa. This page will explain under what circumstances you can switch courses, if you need to apply for a new visa and if you will have to return to your home country. For any course changes after your visa has been granted the two courses must be linked, either by being in the same subject area (such as Business Management and Business Studies) or you will need to confirm in writing how the course you have studied and the course you intend to study complement each other and will help you with your future career aspirations. If this is not the case then you will have to apply for a new visa outside of the UK.

Below degree-level study

Please note that you can only switch courses in the UK if you are studying at degree-level or above (Bachelors, Masters, Research). If you are studying the International Foundation Programme or a two-year Foundation degree and wish to switch courses you will have to return to your home country to apply for a new visa.

Degree-level study – switch to a course that is the same level but is shorter

You can switch courses as long as they are linked as mentioned at the top of this page. UKVI will be informed that your new course is shorted, which will lead to your visa being curtailed (shortened) so as to expire when your new course is completed. If the courses are not linked you will have to apply for a new Tier 4 visa from outside of the UK.

Degree-level study – switch to a course that is the same level and length

You can switch courses as long as they are linked as mentioned at the top of this page. UKVI will be informed that you have switched to a new course, but no further action will be taken. If the courses are not linked you will have to apply for a new Tier 4 visa from outside of the UK.

Degree-level study – switch to a course that is the same level but is longer

You will need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa to cover the new course end date. This can be done in the UK within three months of your original visa expiry date but only if you are switching to the version of a course that includes a mandatory work placement year. Otherwise you will have to apply for a new visa outside of the UK.

Degree-level study – switch to a course that is at a higher level

You can switch courses as long as they are linked as mentioned at the top of this page. As with the other examples, your visa will be curtailed if the course is shorted or you will need to apply for a new visa if the course is longer.

Degree-level study – switch to a course that is at a lower level

This will not be allowed in the UK. You will have to apply for a new visa from outside of the UK if the course change is allowed.

It is a requirement of your Tier 4 visa to be enrolled and studying. If you cease studying for whatever reason your visa is no longer valid and you must return to your home country.

What happens if I withdraw from my course?

If you withdraw from your course, either by your choice or the decision of the university, your withdrawal will be reported to UKVI, who will then begin the process to curtail your visa. Curtailment is the act of shortening or cancelling a visa. UKVI will send you a letter to confirm that your visa has been curtailed so as to expire in 60 days, regardless of how much time you originally had left. The university will email you before you are reported.

What happens if I decide to take a break from my studies?

If you decide that you wish to take a leave of absence or an authorised break due to personal, financial or academic reasons then this will also be reported to UKVI. Similar to a withdrawal, you must return to your home country as your visa will be curtailed so as to expire within 60 days. The university will email you before you are reported.

What if there is a break in studies because there are no modules running?

You may be in a situation where you have an involuntary break in studies. This could likely be caused because you have to repeat previously failed modules in order to continue with your course and they are not running until the next semester. If you are in this situation, where you are not enrolled on any modules for a semester, it is similar to a leave of absence and this will also be reported to UKVI. You must return to your home country as your visa will be curtailed so as to expire within 60 days. The university will email you before you are reported.

When does the 60 day countdown begin?

We cannot predict when the 60 days will begin as it depends on the workload at UKVI and how long it takes for them to issue the curtailment letter to you. Therefore we strongly advise that you count 60 days from the date that we email you.

What if I complete my course early?

If you complete your course earlier than the date that was originally given in your CAS this will have to be reported to UKVI as well. Your visa will be curtailed, but it will expire two months (if your course was less than 12 months long) or four months (if your course is 12 months or longer) after your new course end date. This means you will still get the “wrap-up period” that you had originally. You will be emailed before you are reported so should use the date of the email to countdown your new expiry date. See Length of visa granted and time limits for details of how long your wrap-up period should be.

In most cases Tier 4 visa holders can work during and after their studies, however there are limitations and it is very important that you understand these in order to avoid any issues. Working beyond the allowed limitations is a very serious breach of the immigration rules that can have long-lasting consequences for your studies and status in the UK.

 Find out more about working

You may decide during the holiday periods to visit other countries within Europe, or there may be a conference or course field trip that you must attend. This page will provide general information on this subject. Please note that each country will have its own specific requirements, so you will need to check the details on the embassy website for the country you are travelling to. A list of foreign embassies in the UK can be found on Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). These websites will also tell you if you require a visa to visit their country, such as a Schengen visa.

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is a single visa that allows travel to 26 countries. These 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 and Switzerland.

Please note that the EU countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania are not part of the Schengen zone. Each of these countries will have their own visa requirements as listed on their embassy website. For information, the UK is also not part of the Schengen zone. Any other country in Europe (or elsewhere in the world) you will also have to consult their embassy’s website.

What type of Schengen visa do I need?

There are three types of visa that you could apply for, depending on your circumstances.

  • Short Stay visa – This is the most common type of visa and what you are most likely to use. This is for you if you are travelling within the Schengen area as a tourist or attending a conference. This visa is valid for up to three months in any six-month period
  • Airport Transit visa - If you are going through the international transit area of an airport of a Schengen member state, but are not going to leave this area before you fly on to your next destination
  • Transit visa - If you are passing through one or more Schengen member states on your way to another country outside the Schengen zone

How do I apply?

You will need to download the application form from the embassy of the country you are travelling to. If you are travelling to multiple countries, then the country where you will spend the majority of your time, otherwise the country that you will travel to first.

Each country is different, so you may be required to post the application or apply in person at one of their offices in London or a consulate in another city.

What documents will I need?

This will also vary between countries, but in general you will need the following:

  • A completed application form
  • Your passport or travel document
  • Photograph(s)
  • Purpose of the visit (this will be a letter from your course leader if the visit is related to your course, an invitation letter if visiting family or evidence of bookings or reservations if tourism)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your trip. In most cases this will be bank statements covering the last three months
  • Medical and travel insurance covering around €30,000
  • A letter from the university confirming your student status

How long will it take to process the application?

Usually around four weeks. You must ensure that you give yourself enough time to apply so as not to miss your trip. You can apply up to three months before you are due to travel.

Can I travel after I have completed my studies?

Most countries will require you to have at least six months left on your visa, so you could face difficulties if you decide to travel after you have completed your course. You will need to check with the relevant embassy.

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is a sub-category of Tier 4 designed to allow Research graduates additional time in the UK to look for and start work. You must have completed your research (had your viva) at Derby but not yet been officially awarded to apply for the DES, which will work in a similar way to Tier 4.

What are the conditions to apply under this scheme?

You must have current Tier 4 leave to study a Research-level degree at the University of Derby. If you are completing your research at another institution then we will not sponsor you under this scheme.

When can I apply?

The application for the scheme must be submitted before you have been awarded your Research degree but no more than 60 days before that date. You will need to inform the Research Office of your intention to apply for the scheme so they can delay the awarding of your degree. Ideally you should do this before your viva. Email to express your interest.

What happens if I need to do further corrections to my thesis?

You may need to extend your current Tier 4 visa if these corrections take place after it expires. You can express your desire to apply for the DES again when the corrections are submitted.

How do I apply?

You would apply using the same application process as a regular Tier 4 student, including the documents that will need to be submitted. Find out more information on applying for Tier 4 inside the UK, including a list of applicable documents required. The Research Office will issue your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) once it is confirmed that you will pass and have met the Maintenance requirement.

What is the Maintenance requirement?

Applicants under this scheme can show lower amounts of funds than other Tier 4 applicants. You will need to show that you have at least £2,030 available to you and that they have been held in a personal bank account for at least 28 consecutive days. If you have any Dependants, you will need an additional £1,360 for each one. See our maintenance and dependants pages for more detailed information on the documents required.

How long will the visa be valid for?

You will be issued with a new BRP which will be valid for 12 months from your course end date as listed in your CAS.

What responsibilities will I have with the university once the application is granted?

You must remain in contact with Derby during the 12 months that your visa is valid for. Once it is granted the Immigration Advisor will inform you of your responsibility to respond to two contact points at even times during the 12 months. These contact points will be by email, but if there is anything in particular you want to discuss a telephone or face to face conversation can be arranged.

You must inform us immediately the moment you believe you won’t be able to attend or respond to one of the appointment dates. Failure to do so will result in a report made to UKVI that could lead to the curtailment (cancellation) of your visa.

What work can I do? Are there any restrictions?

Once your award has been confirmed you can start working full-time as per the usual Tier 4 guidelines. Once your DES application has been granted you may continue to work full-time in almost any job up until the expiry date on your BRP. You cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson or coach.

Whilst any other work is permitted, it is advisable that you consider employment or self-employment that will meet the requirements for specific work-related visas under Tier 1 or Tier 2 if you plan to remain in the UK after your DES visa has expired.

If you wish to apply for the Start-up visa you must have a genuine, credible business plan that also demonstrates innovation, viability and scalability for your business idea that will be based in the UK and benefit the UK Economy.

*Not applicable to EU Students


Is there a genuine business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage?


Does the applicant have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business?


Is there evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and grow into national and international markets?

Application Process:

Please note by completing the process there is no guarantee that you will be endorsed for the Start-up visa route, the final decision will be made by the University of Derby Company Secretary and Registrar. Please note, application for the Start-up visa route is available only for students who have studied at the University of Derby. If you are an applicant, applying from outside of the UK after completing your studies at the University of Derby you will still need to follow the same process, using alternative media such as Skype where face-to-face meetings or presentations are part of the requirement. The sponsorship is for two years and successful applicants will be expected to progress into the main Innovator route after 2 years. If you wish to continue developing your businesses in the UK after that time you will need to have secured at least £50,000 funding and a fresh endorsement from an endorsing body in the Innovator route, who will also assess your business ideas for innovation, viability and scalability.

  1. The applicant to complete application form and return to Team Leader, International Student Centre, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB.
  2. Applicant to arrange to meet with Careers and Employment Service (CES) Enterprise team at University of Derby. It is a requirement of the Start-up endorsement application process for applicants to complete 10 hours engagement with the University of Derby CES Enterprise team this may include engagement with Business Advisors.
  3. On successful completion of the engagement with the CES Enterprise team the applicant can then present their business plan to the Team Leader, International Student Centre, via email to be passed on to the University of Derby Start-up Selection panel.  The panel convenes twice a year April and November.  Latest date to submit business plans for review in November and April will be 31 October and 18 March.
  4. Students must be able to demonstrate that they have a genuine, credible and viable business idea that will be based in the UK.
  5. Students can only submit their business plan proposal twice. Students will receive feedback on their proposal within 3 working weeks from the date when they submit their proposal. (refer to Appendix)
  6. On successful outcome of the business plan applicants will pitch their business idea to the at the University of Derby. An unsuccessful second submission of a business plan will result in the Start-up visa route not going any further forward.
  7. Applicants with a successful business plan will have 21 days to arrange a mutually convenient date and time for their pitch.
  8. If unsuccessful with the first pitch applicants to be given a second and final opportunity to pitch. Applicants will have 21 days to arrange a mutually convenient date for the second and final re-pitch.
  9. Applicants who are successful in their pitch will have to submit their bank statements for checking by the international student centre UKVI compliance team. A valid bank statement must show that the applicant has the required funds in their account for at least 90 consecutive days prior to the date of the application as outlined on website. The amount of money required is as follows: £1,890 if applying to entry clearance outside the UK and £945 if applying in the UK
  10. If the funds are deemed to satisfactorily meet the requirements, the endorsement letter is produced by the International Student Centre with the allocated endorsement number. This will be reviewed and the final decision to sign the endorsement letter is with the University of Derby Company Secretary who if satisfied with the outcome will issue the endorsement letter.
  11. The endorsement letter is sent by email to the student, original sent by post, or collected in person from the International Student Centre.  The student then has three months to apply for their Start-up visa from the date of the endorsement letter.
  12. Once the student has made the application for their Start-up visa they must register their business with Companies House and send evidence of this to the Team Leader, International Student Centre email: 
  13. Each endorsement can only be used once.
  14. The final decision of the review panel is binding.
  15. There is no recourse for appeal.

Conditions of Start-up visa once granted:

On successful completion of receiving the Start-up visa endorsement from the Home Office the holder must commit to regular contact and reporting on a bi monthly basis with a nominated person at the University of Derby.  The holder must inform the International Student Centre within 10 days of changes to their circumstances that take place. Examples are:

  • Criminal conviction
  • Leaving the UK for more than 60 days
  • Ceasing to operate the agreed business
  • Moving to a different visa category
  • Change of address or contact details

The University may withdraw sponsorship in the following circumstances:

  • Failure to notify the University of a change of circumstances
  • Failure to progress the business as agreed
  • Missing any of the agreed contact points
  • The University will endeavour to work proactively with the individual to ensure this.

Although as the holder you are expected to spend most of their time setting up the business, the work conditions of this visa allow you to take up to 20 hours of other employment.  The number of hours a week you can work on your new business is unrestricted. You are not allowed to work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson (including work as a sports coach).

According to the Immigration Rules, if you as the holder applied for your Tier 4 Student visa on or after 13 December 2012 you are allowed to begin work on your new business as soon as you have applied for your Start-up visa. Whilst you are waiting for a decision, you will not be caught by the normal rule that stops Tier 4 students being self-employed.

Click here to complete the Start-up visa application


EU Settlement Scheme now open to students

EU citizens who already live in the UK, or who arrive by 31 December 2020, will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021. Those arriving after 23:00 on 31 December will fall under the government's new immigration system, the Student Route. Those EU students already enrolled at the University and are returning to continue their studies, but have not yet applied for the EU Settlement Scheme, will need to arrive to the UK by 31 December in order to apply for pre-settled status and avoid the new immigration rules. You can find out more information on the UKCISA website.

Immigration requirements

If you arrive in the UK before 23:00 on 31 December 2020:
If you are an offer holder from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland you will not be required to apply for a study visa from your home country as long as you arrive in the UK before 23:00 on 31 December 2020. If you arrive before this date you will have the right to study, live and work in the UK as now. It is important that you have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme in order to protect these rights, please see more information above.

If you arrive in the UK after 23:00 on 31 December 2020:
EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who move to the UK after 23:00 on 31 December 2020 will need to apply through the Student Route. The UK government is introducing a new Student Route visa to replace the current Tier 4 student visa. This new route will be available to apply for from the 5 October 2020 and will apply to students planning to travel to the UK for study commencing in January 2021. More information on this route will be provided and updated on our visa pages as we learn of it.

To help prepare EU students that will need to apply through the Student Route, the UK Government has prepared tailored guidance.