Working in the UK on a Student Visa

Information about student eligibility to work on a Student or Tier 4 Visa, restrictions on the type of work and how to look for work.


Restrictions on type of work

Where you are on a Student or Tier 4 visa, both during and after your studies, you are not permitted to:

  • be self-employed or engaged in business activity
  • fill a full-time permanent vacancy/graduate level role (unless it is a post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer)
  • be employed as a doctor/dentist in training (If you submitted the application for the Student visa you currently have on or after 1 December 2020, you will not be subject to this restriction) or 
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer

Professional sportsperson

You are not permitted to work as a professional sportsperson. It is important that you check UKVI's definition of a professional sportsperson before you provide any services or take part in sporting activities.

Provided your visa was issued after 1 October 2019, you are permitted to do the following:

  • Play or coach sports as an “amateur” in a charity event
  • Play or coach sports as an “amateur” whilst studying at degree level or above at the University
  • Play or coach sports as part of a work placement which is part of your course.

An “amateur” is defined as ‘a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity’.

Sports scholarships

This will not be considered to breach your work restrictions where you are:

  • Studying at degree level or above; and
  • You are required to play or coach sport in exchange for receiving the scholarship; and
  • The scholarship is awarded for playing or coaching sport at an amateur level for The University of Sheffield or British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).

If you are unsure how this applies to your situation, contact International Student Support:

Contact International Student Support

Eligibility to work during study

Where you are studying in the UK on a Visitor or Short-Term Student Visa you are not permitted to work at any time, including unpaid/voluntary work.

Where you are on a Student or Tier 4 Student Visa, your eligibility to work will be outlined on your visa vignette or BRP card, and in your visa decision letter.

If you are a taught student, you can find information on standard term and vacation dates on our 'Current and future semester dates' web page.

'Vacation' includes the periods before your course starts and after your course ends.

If you are studying a course where formal teaching on the course starts earlier than the standard start of semester, you are considered to be in term-time as soon as teaching starts, and you must ensure that you restrict your working hours during these weeks in line with the working hours restriction stated on your visa.

Where your course does not follow the standard vacation dates above, you must ensure you do not work more than the weekly hours permitted in term-time, even if many other courses are in vacation time at the same time.

If you have non-standard vacation times, or are unsure when your vacation periods occur, you must contact us for further advice before working full-time.

Contact International Student Support

Where you are a taught student, and formal teaching on your course starts the week following intro week (ie the standard start of semester), you are also considered to be in a vacation period during orientation week and intro week.

You are not considered to be in vacation time where you are on a leave of absence from your course during term-time. Also, if you withdraw from your course, you are not considered be in vacation time, and you must also cease employment because your work rights are linked to your status in the UK as a student. You will no longer be a student if you withdraw.

English language teaching students

  • During vacations you can work full-time.
  • During term time you can work up to 10 hours per week.

Undergraduate students

  • During vacations you can work full-time.
  • During term time you can work up to 20 hours per week.

Taught postgraduate students

  • During Christmas and Easter vacations you can work full-time (before doing so you must read the additional guidance below)
  • During term time you can work up to 20 hours per week.
  • If you are on a two-year masters course and you have no studies for the summer period between your first and second years, then this is considered vacation and you can work full-time.

Postgraduate research students

  • During term time you can work up to 20 hours per week.
  • You are considered to be in term time all year unless you have written permission from your supervisor to take a period of annual leave.
  • Any annual leave must be agreed by your supervisor. During this time you can work full-time

To avoid accidentally breaching your work conditions you should only work full-time when you have a full week of annual leave, running from Monday to Sunday.

If you have a mix of study and vacation days in any given “week” (eg because you only take a few days of annual leave, or start/end your vacation partway through the week), you should stick to the 20-hour working hours limit for that week.

If you work at the University, we will only allow you to work full-time for each full week (Monday to Sunday) that is covered by vacation, otherwise you will be limited to your term-time hours.

Proving your right to work

From 6 April 2022, employers can no longer accept biometric residence cards or permits as evidence of your right to work in the UK. Instead, you must obtain a ‘share code’ from UKVI which you can then give to the employer so they can then do their checks online. 

See also our detailed guide (PDF, 96KB) on how employers check your right to work in different circumstances.

If an employer needs evidence of term dates so they know when you may be allowed to work more hours than the restriction stated on your visa, along with your share code, you can provide either: 

  • a printout from the University's website which confirms term and vacation dates; or
  • a Certificate of Student Status that confirms this.

Current and future semester dates

Whether you are considered to be in a vacation period or not is determined by the type of course you are studying. See the ‘Eligibility to work during study’ section of this page for more information on this.

Where your employer requires further confirmation of your entitlement to work, they can contact the Home Office Employers’ Helpline.

Work placements

Many degree courses will offer you the opportunity to do a Placement Year or an Industrial Placement Year, subject to meeting certain visa conditions.

For more information, visit:

Doing a work placement on a student visa

Volunteering and voluntary work

You are permitted to volunteer in the UK on a Tier 4 or Student visa. Hours spent volunteering will not be included in your permitted working hours.

As a volunteer you

  • do not have a contract of employment
  • do not take the place of an employee
  • do not receive payment
  • usually help a registered charity or voluntary or public sector organisation

You are permitted to undertake voluntary work in the UK. Voluntary work will be counted in your permitted working hours.

As a voluntary worker you

  • are usually paid in some form
  • often have a contract with an employer

You should check with your organisation whether your work is regarded as unpaid volunteer work or paid voluntary work.

Working on a Student Visa after the end of your course

The following advice has been revised from 15 November 2023. This follows UKVI clarification about when they will consider a student to have completed their course.


If your Tier 4 Student Visa remains valid once you’ve completed your course you can work full-time, within the following limits:

  • You cannot fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme)
  • You cannot be self-employed
  • You cannot be employed as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer
  • You can work unlimited hours once you’re considered to have completed your course, but not in a permanent role.

Most students will be granted four months 'wrap up' time after the end of their course. This is usually the course end date as stated in your last CAS. For most students this will be the same as your course end date on your student record. You’re allowed to work during this time as it’s considered vacation time.

You can get a letter from SSiD which will confirm your official course end date which you can use to prove your right to work full time to employers. 

When will you be considered to have completed your studies

  • For PhD students, course completion means you have submitted your final E copy of your thesis after corrections.
  • For Masters Students this will be the official course end date as per your last CAS. This is normally the registration end date as shown on your official student status certificate. It is not the date you submit your final dissertation, which could be sooner.
  • For Undergraduate students this will be the official course end date as per your last CAS. This is normally the registration end date as shown on your official student status certificate.

An employer's guide to right to work checks also confirms your right to work after you have completed your course. This can be useful to refer to if employers are unsure about your right to work.

Repeating studies

If you later fail your exams and are repeating any modules or coursework during the wrap up period, you will be considered to be a term-time student and you should only work 20 hours per week.

If you are working, you should inform your employer as soon as possible, as you will no longer have the right to work on a full time basis.

If you complete your course early

If you complete your course early, we must report this to UKVI. This could result in your visa being curtailed to four months after the new course end date.

You should work for a maximum of four months after the completion of your course or until the end of your student Visa, whichever comes soonest.

The University can only report early completion when you have completed all academic studies and received your official results. We will inform you by email if we are doing this and you can start full-time work from that point. 

Taking a permanent role

You cannot start a full-time permanent role whilst holding a Student visa.

You may be able to start work full time for an employer in a permanent role if you’ve completed your degree and have made a Skilled Worker visa application. Check with your employer/sponsor.

Course completion in this scenario means the official course end date as per your CAS.

PhD students can apply for a skilled worker visa after 24 months of study but should only start working full time for the sponsor when the Skilled worker has been granted

SSiD can provide a Skilled Worker letter which confirms your official course dates for employers. 

If your Student visa was granted after 6 April 2022, you can also start work full time in a permanent role if you have:

Successful completion is the date that you receive your official results, not the course completion date.

If your student visa was granted before 6 April 2022, you must not start full-time work until your Graduate Route visa has been granted. 

For more information on post study work visa options, refer to our Working in the UK after your studies page.

Tax and National Insurance

Where you are working in the UK, National Insurance will be automatically deducted from your wages.

Before you start your job, you must apply for a National Insurance Number which ensures your tax contributions are recorded against your name.

Where you earn over £12,500 your income may be taxable. Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website for more information.

Finding a job

The Employability and Placements Hub (student login required) can provide advice on working in the UK and help you find a job or voluntary position.

Check if your dependants can work in the UK

You can check if your dependants can work in the UK, and the types of work they can do on a Student Dependant visa, on our Working in the UK as a dependant web page.