Student Visa attendance and engagement

You must attend and engage on your course in order to remain in the UK with a Student or Tier 4 visa.

On

Overview

Our 'Attendance monitoring' page has general information about the University’s approach to attendance monitoring (student login is required to view the page).

You should also read your handbook to find out your department’s specific attendance monitoring processes and how to inform them if you are absent from studies.

It is your responsibility to read and adhere to the regulations that you agreed to when registering at the University, which include the requirement to attend and engage with your studies. The University has a number of processes to identify and take action where a student fails to sufficiently attend their course or loses contact with the University.


Student visa attendance rules

As a visa-sponsored student there are additional attendance requirements you must be aware of. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) require the University to check your attendance and engagement on your course, and take action if you are absent from your studies without permission or have not been engaging sufficiently.

Continued or serious cases of non-attendance can result in withdrawal of your Student Visa sponsorship and withdrawal from the University.


Your responsibilities

You must ensure you are aware of your responsibilities in relation to attendance and your Student or Tier 4 visa. They are:

  • To attend your timetabled or expected studies regularly in person. Note that you cannot study your course via online learning only and must attend in-person teaching and supervisory sessions.
  • To complete all written assignments, practical or other coursework, and attend all examinations.
  • To keep appointments to meet with your department. This may be your supervisor, personal tutor, or other departmental staff
  • To inform your department of any absences. You should contact your department or read your handbook to check how they wish for you to inform them. You may need to submit a self-certification or an extenuating circumstances form. Long-term absences require a leave of absence form to be completed.
  • To inform your department of any ongoing issues or problems that are affecting your ability to attend your studies.
  • To check your emails regularly and respond to any correspondence regarding your attendance or engagement. It is your responsibility to reply within any relevant period.

If you are concerned about your attendance record you must contact your department as soon as possible. Not recording your attendance, or forgetting to do so, is not an adequate explanation for absences on your attendance record.


Student Visa attendance policy

Attendance data

Your department will record and monitor your attendance throughout your studies. The type and frequency of these attendance contact points are determined by your department, and may differ depending on the type of course you are studying. In most cases:

  • A standard taught student will have their timetabled sessions recorded
  • A standard research student will have their supervisor meetings recorded
  • If you are studying away from the University, eg placement or study abroad, you may have attendance recorded via alternative methods such as email, checklists, reports etc.

Identifying attendance concerns

The University will review your attendance data throughout your studies and use this to assess if you are meeting the University and UKVI requirements or not. Your case will be escalated if your record shows you have had a number of consecutive unauthorised absences from your studies, or where you have been absent or have not had any attendance recorded for a notable period of time.

If you attend on a regular basis but occasionally miss a few events, then in most cases this will not impact your studies and you will not be contacted. However, if you consistently miss your expected sessions, or are absent for prolonged periods of time (for instance more than two weeks), then you are likely to be contacted about your attendance and will be expected to improve this. Some courses, like those with professional accreditation, require a higher level of attendance.

Note that some departments may record an absence as ‘authorised’ if you have informed them of these in advance or have extenuating circumstances. ‘Authorised’ absences will not be treated in the same way as ‘unauthorised’ ones, but prolonged periods of authorised absence may result in a Leave of Absence from studies.

Action taken

Issues of non-attendance may be dealt with by your department or via central services. In some cases your department may contact you to raise concerns and offer support. In addition to any departmental actions, International Student Support Advice and Compliance (ISSAC) may also contact you with the following:

    • Lower levels of non-attendance will result in a reminder email about your attendance and visa requirements
    • Higher levels of non-attendance will require you to follow specific instructions from ISSAC and re-engage with your studies within a limited timeframe. This may include a mandatory meeting with the team.
    • Severe levels of non-attendance, or recurring cases of repeated intervention, can result in immediate escalation to the Visa Attendance Panel 

Re-engagement

If your non-attendance is serious enough to put your visa sponsorship at risk, you will be need to re-engage with your studies by improving your attendance within a specified timeframe.

If so, you will be contacted by ISSAC and provided with further information about how to re-engage with your studies. You may be required to complete certain actions, such as meeting with the team or completing a form, as part of this process.

If you respond to ISSAC within the timeframe required, and then successfully re-engage with your studies, no further action will be taken.

Where you fail to respond, do not follow the instructions provided by ISSAC, or fail to demonstrate sufficient re-engagement within the relevant period you may be escalated to the Visa Attendance Panel.


Visa Attendance Panel and withdrawals

In cases of severe non-attendance, failure to respond to ISSAC, or insufficiently re-engaging with studies, your case will be escalated to the Visa Attendance Panel for a formal decision regarding your registration at the University. The Panel process can occur during exam and vacation periods if necessary, so it is important that you continue to check your University emails regularly.

If this occurs:

  • You will receive an email notification about the Panel and have an opportunity to provide a written statement and any supporting evidence within 5 working days for consideration.
  • Your department will provide a written statement regarding your attendance record.
  • The Panel will meet to decide on the appropriate action based on the available information. The decision can include a full withdrawal from studies, or alternatives such as a Leave of Absence or completion of a set of individual actions. 
  • The decision is emailed to you, following which there is a five-working-day period to submit an appeal against the decision, which is reviewed by a member of the Student Support Services Section senior leadership team.”

After the appeal stage, your options would be to either follow the University Complaints Procedure or make a formal Readmission Request. The decision will remain in place until and unless the complaint or readmission process is successful.

A compliant should only be submitted where the University made a mistake, did not follow its own processes or the decision was manifestly unreasonable. See the University Complaints Procedure.

If you accept the decision but are seeking readmission to your programme, a Readmission Request should be submitted. If you are withdrawn under the Visa Attendance Route, your Readmission Request will not normally be accepted or processed within a one-year period from the date of withdrawal. After this period, you should contact either your department or ISSAC to request a Readmission, and be prepared to provide a written justification and evidence to support your case. There is no automatic right of readmission, and this must be approved by both your department and ISSAC.


English Language Teaching Centre

The English Language Teaching Centre have their own attendance monitoring processes. ELTC has their own thresholds for non-attendance and a separate procedure in cases where attendance is a concern. 

If you are studying in ELTC then the Student Visa Attendance Policy detailed above does not apply to you. ELTC will contact you if your attendance becomes a concern and provide further instruction.

FAQs

What if I miss my timetabled in-person classes but I am still studying online and submitting assessments?

Your Student visa does not permit you to study remotely via online learning only whilst you are in the UK. You are required to attend your timetabled sessions face-to-face. Online resources should only be used to support your learning and not as a replacement for attending your sessions in-person. You will be considered as absent from studies if you only study using online resources..

How do I find out more about how my attendance is recorded?

Check your programme handbook in the first instance. If you still have questions, contact your department directly and they will be able to provide more information.

Attendance can be monitored in a variety of ways and for a range of 'events'. These could include lectures, seminars, supervisor meetings and labs.  

What should I do if I think my attendance data is incorrect?

The attendance data is provided by your department. If you think there is an error, contact your department administrative office.

Who should I contact if I have an issue that is affecting my attendance?

You can speak to your personal tutor or a student support staff member within your department. You can also contact International Student Support who will be able to signpost you to relevant support services

The University provides many services to support students who may be struggling for a variety of reasons such as health, academic or financial. See the Student Support Services website:

It is important that you take action to resolve any issues as quickly as possible so that your attendance and engagement is not affected. If you are continually absent from studies because of an ongoing issue, eg a medical condition, then UKVI would still expect the University to withdraw sponsorship. This may mean going on a leave of absence and returning home until you are fit to resume.

What if I am a masters student in my dissertation period?

Your attendance should still be recorded by your department if you are working on your dissertation, as you still have a Student visa for this period and must be engaged with studies.

This usually means that your dissertation supervisor should make a record of your meetings, but they may also use email or other forms of contact during this period. If you do not think that your meetings are being recorded, speak to your supervisor first and refer them to this webpage.