Working during studies - your visa

Please read the below information to find out if your visa conditions allow you to work during your studies.

Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa holders

Check your visa's work conditions

Always check your visa decision e-mail and your visa (BRP, share code, digital visa status or visa sticker) for confirmation of the employment permissions granted to you before undertaking any work.

If you hold a Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa for full-time degree-level study, you may find one of the following restrictions noted on your BRP card / visa sticker / digital visa details, or discussed in your visa application decision letter:

  • "Work 20 hrs max in term time" or
  • "T4G Student Work limit 20 hrs p/w in term time"

If you have one of these conditions on your BRP or visa sticker, you can work in the UK up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time. The 20 hour per week maximum during term time is not flexible and cannot be exceeded in any given week. 

Please note: If your visa states "No work", "No work permitted" or recourse to public funds" you cannot work while in the UK on your Student Visa.

UKVI information: Please see the information under the sub heading "Work Conditions" in the Student Guidance and Appendix Student in the Immigration Rules (ST26.1 - ST26.8) for details of the work and work placement conditions for Student / Tier 4 (General)Visas.

Prohibited work: The work conditions attached to a Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa explain what work is not allowed.  Work that is not permitted includes:

  • Self-employment or business activity
  • Professional sportsperson (incluidng sports coach)
  • Entertainer
  • Undertaking a "permanent" job (i.e. employment with no end date)


When can I work more than 20 hours per week?

You can work more than 20 hours per week when you are no longer in term-time for your course, for example:

  • in vacation period for your course (your School Office / Graduate School at UoG can confirm your official term time dates / vacation periods), and

PGR students: Postgraduate Research students do not have designated vacation periods. Their weekly working limit applies year-round, except for periods of approved annual leave, and the University's period of closure over Christmas and New Year.  Check with your Graduate School for further information.

PGT students: Masters students on a 12 month course are considered to be studying full-time while writing their dissertation and are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week during this time.

Below degree level courses: If you are studying a course below degree level, UKVI say you will only be allowed to work 10 hours per week during term time.


Evidence of your right to work for employers

You can prepare the evidence discussed below to demonstrate when you can work more than 20 hours per week.

Passport and Student Visa: If you have a BRP or visa sticker this may state information about your work conditions in the "Remarks" section.  The visa decision e-mail you received from UKVI will also usually give information about your work conditions.   

Share code: if your decision e-mail says you need to prove your right to work by creating a share code refer to the instructions on the decision letter and the UKVI webpages.

Student status: Print off a Certifying Letter for registered students from your My Campus account or request one from the Student Services Enquiry Team.  This will show that you are a current and registered student at UoG who is studying full-time.

Confirmation of the vacation periods / dates for your course: See the webpages for your School Office / Graduate School at UoG, or contact them directly to request these.

Right to work checks: Your employer / potential employer must undertake any right to work checks as required of them by UKVI.  You will provide them with suitable documents to demonstrate your right to work in the UK and your visa conditions, such as those we have discussed here.  Your right to work cannot be confirmed to an employer by the university (e.g. we cannot provide a letter that confirms you right to work in the UK or work conditions).  

UKCISA offer useful information about employers undertaking right to work checks on their webpages - you can refer to these yourself or signpost an employer to these where you think this would be helpful. 

You may also wish to signpost your employer to the vast, useful online resources offered by the International Student Employability Group (see under the "Resources" sub-heading).



What is the definition of a working week?

The UKVI states a week is a period of 7 days starting with Monday. You are not permitted to work more than the maximum number of hours detailed on your visa during a working week.

What is the definition of term time?

Your School Office / Graduate School can confirm your term time dates for your course.  "Term time" is the period in which you are expected to be undertaking/completing academic work. This could include:

  • Attending classes and lectures
  • Doing coursework, including writing essays, dissertations, and thesis work
  • Preparing for exams and academic assignments
  • Conducting research for your academic assignments

I just want to volunteer- can I do that since it is unpaid work?

Unpaid work counts exactly the same way as paid work. Therefore, voluntary work and paid work hours both count towards your weekly hours limit.

However, volunteer work is different from unpaid work. Volunteers do no generally have a contract and work is done for charitable purposes. 


Useful links and resources

UKCISA information on working during studies

UKVI's Student Guidance  and Immigration Rules (Appendix Student) - these online documents list the work conditions and restrictions for Student and Tier 4 (General) Visa holders.


EU Settlement Scheme status holders

Pre-settled and settled status holders and have the right to work in Scotland / the UK.  Holders of settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme have the right to work in Scotland indefinitely.  

Useful links and resources

Home Office information on rights with settled or pre-settled status

EU Citizens' Rights Project Scotland right to work information


National Insurance Number

A National Insurance (NIN) Number is a personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions. You can only apply for a National Insurance Number once you have arrived in the UK:

  • your visa gives you the right to work in the UK, and
  • you’re planning to work in the UK. 


To apply:

  • You will be asked to prove your identity as part of the application process. You will receive an email after you apply telling you how to do this. You may be asked to post photocopies of your documents or to attend an appointment.


Please note: It can take up to 16 weeks, after you prove your identity, to receive your National Insurance Number.  You can start work however before you receive the National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK.  You can see information on the work conditions for Student and Tier 4 Visa holders discussed in the section above.

There is no charge to apply for / obtain a National Insurance Number.  For full details on the application process, please see the webpages .

Standard Visitor (visa or leave to enter)

If you are coming to the UK as a Standard Visitor Visa holder or have entered the eGates as a Standard Visitor to study for less than 6 months, you cannot work in the UK.  Please remember that working where your visa type prohibits this is illegal.

Work includes:

  • taking employment in the UK
  • doing a work placement or internship
  • working for an organisation or business in the UK
  • establishing or running a business as a self-employed person
  • direct selling to the public
  • providing goods and services

The Student Job Hub

Careers & Global Opportunities, in partnership with the SRC, have launched ‘The Student Job Hub’.  This is a one-stop-shop which advertises part-time work vacancies and discusses support for students to find part-time work whilst they study.  Find out more about the Student Job Hub on Careers Service webpages.