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UK drops police registration requirement for int’l students

UK immigration news
The removal of the Police Registration Scheme for certain foreign nationals removes another bureaucratic requirement for international students to enter and remain in the UK. Source: Ben Stansall/AFP

Are you a UK-bound international student for the upcoming academic year? If so, you’ll have one less hassle in your study abroad journey. On Aug. 4, 2022, the Home Office announced that they would abolish the Police Registration Scheme under UK immigration rules, which previously applied to certain foreigners residing in the country for more than six months.

Effective from Tuesday last week, overseas students are no longer required to register their personal details with the local police force.

On the government’s website, a document which had acted as the official police registration guide for past users has been archived as the “policy is no longer in force”.

According to the official notice, the change also applies to current students who have submitted their details to the police, and those who have a condition to register with the police in order to leave or remain in the UK.

If you’ve just been issued a student visa prior to the announcement, your visa will be reissued where possible, or be notified of any changes before travel.

The move was swiftly lauded by international higher education stakeholders in Britain, who view it as a necessary step to remove redundant bureaucracies in student mobility.

“The decision to abolish the Police Registration Scheme will be welcome news for universities and international students alike. UUK, along with others across the sector, had been calling for the scheme to be dropped for some time,” Harry Anderson, policy manager at Universities UK, was quoted saying in The PIE News.

Changes to UK immigration: What international students should know 

Prior to its abolishment, foreign nationals listed under UK Immigration Rules Appendix 2: police registration who wish to remain in Britain for more than six months would have to register with the police within seven days of touchdown in the country.

China, the largest supplier of international students in the UK, was among the countries included in the list.

The order typically applied to those above the age of 16 and came with a processing fee. Students would’ve had to submit their details to the nearest police station in person, which was cumbersome for newcomers in their first week of arrival.

“The scheme was a significant administrative burden for international students and there had been backlogs in the number of police appointments available,” Anderson explained.

He added that the required information was already captured in a student’s visa application process in the first place, so an extra step was unnecessary.

 UK immigration news

International students affected by the rule change will no longer be required to present evidence of their registration to immigration officers when travelling. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

If you’re a student coming from one of the 42 countries listed in Appendix 2, here’s a quick checklist to answer any confusion you might have over your UK immigration status following the change:

  • Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), visa, or digital status will not be amended if the requirement was printed on your document.
  • If you received a Police Registration Certificate (PRC), the Home Office mentions that you won’t need to retain the certificate, and you won’t be asked to produce it as evidence with immigration officers in the future.
  • Any past fee paid for the registration will not be refunded.
  • If you’ve booked an appointment for the registration, you no longer need to proceed or pay any fees.
  • If you failed to register with the police within seven days of arrival in the UK prior to the new ruling, you’re no longer expected to do so. However, the UK Council of International Student Affairs (UKCISA) cautions that your previous breach may still impact your UK immigration history or future applications.

Click here to read the full FAQ from the Home Office. Alternatively, contact your university’s international student office for details on how you’re impacted by the latest UK immigration news.