Who Are The Compliance Team?

The Compliance Team works to maintain the Ulster University Student visa sponsor status with the UK Home Office while supporting international students. Working closely with colleagues across the University, the team also provides guidance and expertise for students and staff for all matters concerning the UK Home Office and students with a Student visa.

Expectations and Priorities for Students with a Student Visa

Students with a Student visa are expected to engage fully with their studies and comply with the university Attendance Policy. The Attendance Policy has been developed as part of QA Higher Education’s commitment to provide a supportive learning environment so students can reach their full potential, to read the full policy, click here.

As a Student visa holder, your visa was issued for the purpose of full-time study in the UK, and you should ensure that your studies are always your first priority. You should make every effort to continually progress on your course with the aim of graduating successfully.

The Compliance Team can be contacted via the following methods:

Email: ulstercompliance@qa.com

Phone: 02038 835 879

1. Choose a visa

Your course length, type of course and place of study affect which visa to apply for.

  1. Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.
  2. Short-term Study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course that is over 6 months and up to 11 months.
  3. Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.

2. Prepare your application:

It is best to leave at least 6 months before your course start date to apply for Student Visas (the document checklist in your application will explain what to provide). You can apply and pay for most visas online.

  • If you have dependants who want to come to the UK with you, each person will need to apply and pay separately. There is a fee for each visa.
  • The fee depends on which visa you apply for. The fees are the same for each family member who applies to come to the UK with you.

2.1 Pay for healthcare

You’ll need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application if you’re:

  • applying for a visa to work, study or join your family
  • applying to stay for more than 6 months
  • not applying to live permanently in the UK

2.2 Proving you do not have tuberculosis (TB)

If you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months, you might need to have a TB test for your visa application. Click here to Check if you’ll need a TB test. If you do, you must provide a certificate showing you do not have TB with your visa application.

3. Proving your identity

You’ll need to prove your identity and provide documents to show your eligibility. The process depends on where you are from and what type of passport you have. You’ll find out if you need to go to an appointment or use the smartphone app when you start your application.

You’ll either:

  1. go to an appointment at a visa application centre (see section 3.1)
  2. use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ smartphone app (see section 3.2)

3.1 Booking your appointment

You may have to travel to get to your nearest visa application centre (this could be in another country). If you do not prove your identity within 240 days of submitting your application online, you will need to start a new application. You can choose to use a standard service or to pay extra for optional services. Please be aware, paying for optional services does not mean your application is more likely to be successful.

3.1.1 Standard services:

Most visa application centres offer free appointments. In some locations you’ll need to pay £55 for a standard appointment. You can choose to travel to a different visa application centre with free appointments, but you’ll need to pay your own travel costs. You may be able to either:

  • upload your evidence before your appointment
  • bring your evidence to your appointment and have it scanned there for a fee

The document checklist in your application will explain what to provide. Visa application centres will usually keep your passport while they process your application, they may also keep your documents too.

3.1.2 Extra optional services:

You can choose to pay for an appointment, for example if you want to book it for a specific date and time. You may also be able to choose to pay for other extra services, such as:

  • getting your documents scanned instead of doing this yourself
  • keeping your passport while your application is processed


Paying for optional services does not mean your application is more likely to be successful.


3.2 If you need to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ smartphone app

You’ll be asked to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document and submit a digital photo of your face. You will need to scan and upload documents that show your eligibility as part of your online application. The document checklist in your application will explain what to provide.

4. Getting a decision on your application 

 You’ll get a letter or an email with the result of your application. It will explain what you need to do next. If you have not received your email, check your spam or junk folder.

4.1 If your application is successful…..

You’ll be given either:

  1. a sticker (called a vignette) that goes in your passport – if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre
  2. access to view your immigration status information online – if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity

The vignette or online immigration status information will show:

  • what you’ve been granted (for example, a student visa)
  • the dates your visa is valid (start date and end date)
  • the conditions of your visa

4.1.1 Your visa conditions

The conditions say what you can and cannot do in the UK. For example, they might say:

  • ‘No access to public funds’ – you cannot claim benefits
  • ‘No work’ – you cannot take paid or unpaid work in the UK
  • ‘Restricted work’ – you can only work for your sponsor

4.1.2 Getting your vignette

If the visa application centre kept your passport, they’ll either:

  • send it to you with the vignette inside – if you paid for this service when you applied
  • ask you to collect the passport and vignette

If you kept your passport, you’ll need to take it to the visa application centre to collect your vignette. If you’re a national of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates and you applied for an electronic visa waiver this permission is sent to you electronically (you do not receive a vignette).

4.2   If there’s an error in your vignette…

If you notice an error in your vignette, you should contact your visa application centre immediately to correct it before you come to the UK. If you notice the error after you’ve arrived in the UK, you must report it to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) within 3 months of arriving or you’ll need to make a new application.

4.3 Getting a BRP (biometric residence permit)

If you get a vignette and you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months, then you have to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) after you arrive. You must do this before the vignette sticker expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. You choose where to collect your BRP from during your application.

When you get your BRP, check the details are correct. If your name is long it may appear ‘cut off’. This is not a mistake – it is because there is limited space on the BRP card. However, if there’s a spelling mistake, you must report it. You need to report any errors in your BRP within 10 days of collecting it.

4.4 If you get access to your immigration status information online

You’ll be able to view your immigration status information online. You can also use the online service to share your immigration status information with others, for example employers or universities.

Some government organisations and public authorities will be able to access your immigration status information, for example when you travel through the UK border. You will not get a vignette or a BRP.

5. If your application is refused

You’ll get a letter or an email explaining why your application was refused. Your passport will be returned if it was kept as part of your application. Your refusal letter will explain if you have the right to either an:

6. Change or cancel your application

If you want to change something in your application after you’ve sent it contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) You can ask to cancel your application. Your fee will only be refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application.

If you want to visit the UK

Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK for up to 6 months. For example:

  • for a holiday or to see family and friends
  • for a business trip or meeting
  • to do a short course of study

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK to get married or register a civil partnership.

If you have a visitor visa you cannot take a job in the UK.

You may be able to pay for a faster decision on a visa or settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) application if you’re applying from inside the UK. Click here to see which visa applications can be fast tracked -> Fast track visas

Applying for someone else

You can apply for a visa for someone else. For example, a relative overseas who does not have access to a computer or your child, if they cannot apply for themselves.

You must get permission from the person you’re applying for, or written permission from their parent or guardian if the applicant is under 18. Enter the applicant’s details into the form, not your own.




What documents are required to enrol?

Before enrolment you will need to complete the online pre-enrolment process. A link to
complete your enrolment will be sent to your email address. During this you will be asked
to fill in personal details and information about your course. You will also be asked to
upload documents that you will verify in your physical enrolment. This includes your
passport and BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) – if received. Please note your physical
enrolment can still be completed if you have not received your BRP yet.

Where do you upload your documents for enrolment?

In your pre-enrolment email you will receive a link to CAS Shield where you will upload
your documents. You need to upload the front and back of your BRP and your stamped
vignette page (containing the entry stamp you received from immigration with the date
you entered the UK).

How to update contact details?

To update/change your contact details (UK address, UK Phone number and personal
email address) please log into your student portal (Quercus) and go to the address section
which will allow you to edit those details. To access this, follow the link included in your
online enrolment email.

If you are experiencing issues logging into your student portal/CAS Shield?

If you are unable to login into your portal or CAS Shield there is an option to ‘forget
password’. A reset link will be sent to your recovery email address, and you can select a
new password. However, if you are still unable to login, please contact student services
who can assist with resetting your student portal account.

Following enrolment, if you are unable to login into your blackboard, please contact

We Ulster University are your student visa sponsor; we must fulfil several UKVI obligations
for us to sponsor you, to study in the UK such us:

  • Regularly review our processes for assessment, recruitment, enrolment,
    monitoring and reporting to ensure they meet the standards set by the UKVI, and
    are updated accordingly.
  • Act honestly in all its dealings with the Home Office.
  • Act with integrity as a genuine education provider.
  • Take responsibility for all our students that are under a student visa, while sponsoring them, including by doing all we can to ensure that prospective students are genuine students who can comply with the UK Immigration Rules, and that students enrol, comply with the conditions of leave, and see their course through to completion.
  • Ensure that concerns about the conduct and integrity of our students that are under a student visa are treated consistently with other students, including taking appropriate action where students are found to have used deception to gain advantage in their studies.
  • Keep on our student records a copy of student current passport, visa, historic and current contact details.

Notify the UKVI if:

  • Anything we have reported through SMS is incorrect, telling them why it is
  • Student got a visa refusal.
  • Student were not enrolled.
  • we become aware that any of the students that we are sponsoring have
    been granted leave with the incorrect conditions of stay, for instance if they
    have mistakenly not been granted permission to work.
  • Is there are any changes of circumstances (withdrawal, change of course,
    change of study location, work placements, change of visa).
  • There are any changes that affect its  student visa License.

Comply with all aspects of the Immigration Rules and sponsor guidance, and support
immigration control, including taking steps to ensure that every student at QAHE has
permission to study in the UK throughout the whole period of their study.

Students with a Student visa are expected to engage fully with their studies, comply with the university attendance policy, report any change of circumstances, accessing the resources on Blackboard, submit all required coursework and have the ability and intention to progress and succeed in their programme of study.

When you receive your confirmation of acceptance of studies letter (CAS), you must check if all the data on your CAS is correct, including your personal details, programme of study, length of programme of study, fees, any discounts (if applicable) and any payments that you have done. In case you find that any data is incorrect, you must report this prior submit a visa application, replying to the same email that you have received the CAS letter.

You must apply for your visa as soon you get you last CAS letter.  Once you get your student visa you must travel to the UK immediately to be able to enrol in time.

You should bring your Appendix D documents with you. (Documents that you have submitted to get a CAS and your visa)

If you applied to your student visa in UK

Prior to enrol you must complete your pre-enrolment on-line; communications will be sent to your personal email, that you have provided to us.  You also must upload a copy all appendix D documents into CAS Shield, such evidence of visa application and your BRP (front and back) once you collect it from Post Office.

If you applied to your student visa outside of UK

Prior to enrol you must complete your pre-enrolment on-line; communications will be sent to your personal email that you have provided to us.  You also must upload a copy all appendix D documents into CAS Shield, such evidence of visa application, vignette (visa page on your passport), stamped vignette (visa on your passport with date that you arrived in the UK) and once you arrive in the UK and your BRP (front and back) once you collect it from Post Office.

Biometric Residence Permit-BRP – must be collected from the post office that you choose when you submitted your visa application. The BRP must be collect as soon you arrive in the UK ,in case your BRP have incorrect details you must report within 10 days  to UKVI.

  • Spelling of your name
  • Date of birth and place of birth
  • Nationality
  • Type of permit – ‘Student’
  • The date it expires corresponds to your course length.
  • Signature
  • Gender
  • The visa is sponsored by Ulster University – Sponsor Licence number you can find on tour CAS letter.

If your BRP expires on 31 December 2024

You do not need to tell UKVI if your BRP expires on 31 December 2024 but your immigration status (for example, your visa) 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; your immigration status will not be affected.

Working Hours

As you are a student visa holder, your visa was issued for the purpose of full-time study in the UK, and you should ensure that your studies are always your priority. You only can work 20 hours per week during term -time and full time on your official holidays, please refer to your academic calendar that will be provided to you.

Change of Circumstances

The sponsor must ensure that all prospective students comply with the Immigration Rules. Students must abide by the terms of their visa and should report any change of circumstances to the University – ulstercompliance@qa.com

  • Update the University with your contact details. You will be able to update on QA student portal using the same link that you used to complete your pre-enrolment online. In case you cannot find the link, please request this by email from Student Services studentservices@qahighereducation.com
  • Inform the University of any Change of visa (e.g. Skilled Work Visa)
  • Passport renewal
  • If you lose your visa/BRP or it was stolen, you must you are required by the Home Office to apply for a replacement at an additional cost and provide a copy of your new BRP to the University

You should inform Home Office

You Fill in the change of circumstances form to report any other changes of circumstances including:

  • your contact details.
  • Inform home office if your legal representative’s details have changed.
  • dependent family members’ details
  • if you separate from your partner
  • if you get a criminal conviction
  • if any of your children stop living with you


  • Do not attempt to apply for ‘public funds’, including welfare and local authority housing benefits as you are not eligible.
  • You must Keep up to date with tuition fee payments.


Students must attend all timetable classes and engage academically with their studies in line with our attendance policy.

If you have a student visa, we are required to monitor your engagement with your course. This includes attendance of seminars, lectures and workshops, attendance of exams, submission of coursework. If you are experiencing any difficulties, you should speak with your supervisor as soon as possible so that they can help you resolve any issues. You can also contact our ACE team, who specialise in helping students to develop their academic skills, at ace@higheducation@qa.com.

If you fail to attend contact points, you will be contacted by the Compliance team to request an explanation for your absence and will be require that you provide evidence that covers all the period of your absences (e.g.-medical certificate). If you miss further contact points, we will arrange a meeting with a member of the Compliance team to discuss any issues you may be having. This is intended to assist you and help you to obtain relevant support in your studies. If our concerns are not addressed, or the meeting not attended, or you have already missed too much to continue your course, then there may be implications for your visa status. If we see that you are not appropriately engaged with your studies, we would be required by UKVI regulations to withdraw sponsorship of your visa.

You should make every effort to continually progress on your course and successfully complete your programme, within your visa timeframe if not sooner.



Please click here to view our Attendance policy.

AS per UKVI regulations, we must withdraw student sponsorship if you are not actively
engaging with your studies.

  • If you fail to enrol on your course.
  • If you fail to re-enrol on your course (when is required).
  • When you are 60 days out of studies.
  • When you are 4 consecutive weeks out of studies and already had a resit, as you will
    not be able to complete the programme on timeframe of your visa.
  • When you do not pay to tuition fees (finance department will withdraw you from
    the programme).
  • If the exam board, you are coded to retake modules only from 2nd semester (this will
    mean that yow will be 1 semester without engagement).
  • If you withdraw from the programme or interrupt your studies (leave of absence).
  • If you bridge your visa conditions (e.g., if you work more than 20 hours per week
    during term time).

If you are not able to attend classes or you would like to defer or interrupt your studies, we
recommend that you submit a leave of absence.

To request a LOA you will need to contact the registry team QAHE.Registry@qa.com. The
registry team will send you a LOA form to complete. Normally, leave of absence must be
taken for a full academic year. The registry team will inform you when you will be expected
to return.

Please note that LOA will need to be approved by Compliance team to inform you what will
be the implications on your visa. You will need to provide evidence if applicable to compliance team ulstercompliance@qa.com of the reasons that you are requesting a leave of absence, so
we can advise you, if a later date we will be able to issue with a new CAS out of country. This
will be accessed on individual basis.

In case you submit a leave of absence we compliance must withdraw your student
sponsorship. This means that the UKVI will curtail your current leave. When the UKVI
process the withdrawal of sponsorship, they will contact you and at that point you will be
given 60 days to either leave the UK or make an application for further leave to remain
under a different immigration route. On this occasion in case, you cannot leave the country,
we will recommend that you contact an immigration adviser or a solicitor to find out what
other visa routes you will be able to apply.
When you are ready to resume your studies, if you do not have alternative permission that
give you a right to study, you will need to return home and request a CAS/visa from
overseas. You will need to ensure that you meet all UKVI requirements, including the
financial requirement that you can find here, at the point you request a CAS.

The UKVI guidance is clear if you will be out of studies more then 60 days and no longer
able to complete the programme within the timeframe of your visa, we would be required
to withdraw sponsorship.

If you choose not to take a leave of absence, it is important that you engage fully with your
studies, as non-engagement will lead to withdrawal of sponsorship, and will be unable to
issue a CAS a later stage should this be required to complete the programme. Please read
our attendance policy.

Click here to see our frequently asked questions.