Working in the UK during studies

Please read the below information to find out if you can work during your studies.

Tier 4 (General) and Student visa holders

Always check your individual visa decision e-mail, BRP or visa sticker to confirm what employment permissions have been granted to you before undertaking any work.

Student and Tier 4 visas:

If you hold a Tier 4 (General) visa or a Student Visa for full-time degree-level study, you may find one of the following restrictions stamped or noted on your BRP card, visa sticker 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 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacation periods.  You can also work unlimited hours after completing your course until your visa expiry date (your School Office or Graduate School can confirm the official vacation periods for your course and your course completion date).

The 20 hour per week maximum during term time is not flexible and cannot be exceeded in any given week. 

Please note: 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.

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

If you have the following prohibition endorsed in your passport, "No work or recourse to public funds", then you cannot work in the UK. 

Evidence you are registered at UoG as a full time student for employers: You can print off a Certifying Letter from your My Campus account or request one from the Student Services Enquiry Team.

After completing your studies:

You can work unlimited hours on your Tier 4 or Student visa after completing your course and until your visa expiry date. Full-time work is permitted for students who have completed all parts of their programme (including submission of final dissertation/project) and where the course end date on their CAS has passed. 

Evidence of your course end date for employers:  You can request a Certifying Letter for Former Students from the Student Service Enquiry Team.

Tier 4 and Student visa "Work Conditions" and prohibited work:

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 Tier 4 and Student visas.

Useful links and resources

UKCISA information on working during studies

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

FAQ’s for Tier 4 (General) and Student visa holders

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?

A 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. 

I have other questions about my visa, who should I speak to?

We are able to provide support and advice for Student visas for all UofG International Students. Please visit our webpages to find out more how we can help you and how to book an appointment with our team.

EU Settlement Scheme Pre-settled or Settled Status holders

Holders of Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme have the right to work in Scotland indefinitely.

Holders of Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme have the right to work in Scotland until the expiration of your grant of Pre-settled Status.

Useful links and resources

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

EU Citizens' Rights Project Scotland right to work information


Standard Visitor (visa or leave to enter)

Standard Visitor (studying for less than 6 months):

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

National Insurance Number

A National Insurance (NI) number is a personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions. You should apply for a National Insurance number if you have the right to work in the UK and if you’re planning to work in the UK. You can only apply once you are in the UK.

To apply:

  • Read through the eligibility criteria and apply online
  • 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 that it can take up to 16 weeks, after you prove your identity, to receive your National Insurance number. You can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. Please also note there is no charge to apply for/obtain a National Insurance number.

For full details on the application process, please see the webpage

The Student Job Hub

Careers & Global Opportunities, in partnership with the SRC, have launched ‘The Student Job Hub’.  A one-stop-shop supporting students to find part-time work whilst they study.  The Student Job Hub will advertise part-time vacancies and you will be able to view the adverts all in one place on Glasgow Careers.  

Find out more about the Student Job Hub.