What happens if I have to leave the UK because of the Covid-19 situation before my appointment to register with the Police?
The Police have confirmed that all appointments to register are suspended from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice. If you have an appointment, you will be emailed to cancel your appointment. The Police have confirmed that penalty action will not be instigated for failing to attend a pre-booked online appointment or being unable to book an appointment due to disruptions caused by Covid-19. Students who are returning to their home countries prior to registering with OVRO should not face any difficulties at UK ports upon re-entry for non-registration due to the suspension of the services.
You can print this letter from the Police [DOC 69KB] to prove that you were unable to register with the Police. If you are leaving and re-entering the UK, you should carry a copy of this letter in your hand luggage.
You will not be able to report changes whilst the service is suspended. The Police have confirmed that there will be no negative implications because you are unable to update your certificate with the relevant changes.
You can print this letter from the Police [DOC 69KB] to prove that you were unable to update your Police Registration Certificate.
Who needs to register with the police?
Depending on your nationality and the length of time you will be staying in the UK, you may be required to register with the police, as a condition of your immigration permission. This costs £34.
The condition to register will be written on your visa vignette (sticker in your passport), the letter you received with your passport approving your leave (Home Office decision letter) or on your BRP card. It is your responsibility to check this.
If your spouse, unmarried or same-sex partner, and/or children are granted UK immigration permission as your dependants, they may also be required to register with the police.
The list of countries whose citizens are relevant nationals can be found in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules.
If you are relevant national you will be required to register with the police if:
- you are granted immigration permission while you are outside the UK that will allow you to come to and stay in the UK for more than six months; or
- you are granted immigration permission inside the UK that will allow you to stay for more than six months in total from the date you arrived in the UK.
- If you hold a Hong Kong or Macau SAR passport, you are considered to be a relevant national.
- If you are a stateless person or if you hold a non-national travel document, you are considered to be a relevant national
- If you are a citizen of more than one country and one of these countries is not on the list in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules, you should not normally be required to register with the police.
- Paragraph 326 (2) of the Immigration Rules contains a number of exceptions.
You must register within seven days of arriving in the UK, or if you are required to collect a BRP after arriving in the UK, within seven days of collecting it. You can register with the police before or after collecting your BRP. If you register before collecting your BRP, you must take your Home Office letter, approving your visa application, which was issued to you abroad.
You must also register with the police within 7 days of receiving your new BRP if you are granted an extension or new immigration permission in the UK. See "Notifying the police of changes" (below).
There is a standard procedure for registering with the Police and a special procedure for new students starting in September 2019.
Special procedure for new students September 2019
There is a special procedure to make it easier for students registering with the Police for the first time in September 2019. This is called the 'on-campus scheme' and the police will come onto campus.
Update 10 December 2019: Expected delivery of Police Registration Certificates
- The Metropolitan Police are expected to deliver the Police Registration Certificates to the Immigration Compliance team in Academic Registry by the week beginning 16 December. After the Police Registration Certificates are delivered to QMUL, you will be sent an e-mail from the Immigration Compliance team to let you know when your certificate is ready for collection. This will explain when and where you can collect your certificate.
All e-mails will be sent to your QMUL e-mail address, please check it regularly.
If you use this scheme, by completing the online form you will meet your deadline to register even though your appointment will happen later. It will be considered that you have registered ontime, and you do NOT also need to attend OVRO. Your dependants can register with you as well.
If you use the campus scheme, this satisfies the time scale to register with the Police.
If you have registered with the Police previously, then you cannot use this special procedure. You can update your certificate using the standard procedure for reporting a change of circumstances or new visa.
At the Overseas Visitors Records Office. Please check their website for opening times. Please be aware that during September and October there are usually long queues at OVRO.
From Monday 9 December 2019 you can book an appointment online to register with the Police at OVRO. You can book an appointment online here.
When you attend the appointment, please take all the required documentation. You must arrive on time for your appointment. If you are more than 10 minutes late, you will be required to book a new appointment. Although the appointment states 30 minutes, you must arrive no later than the time stated on your confirmation e-mail.
For example: if it is stated that they have a 30 minute appointment between 9.00am to 9.30am, they must attend at 9.00am and NOT within the 30 minute window.
Overseas Visitors Records Office
London , SE1 1JL
- a card or sterling cash to pay the £34 fee
- a completed application form - you need to complete this on a computer, print it, sign it, and take it with you. The Overseas Visitors Records Office will not accept handwritten forms. The form must be completed carefully. If there are any errors, then you will need to complete a whole new form. Please ensure your form is completed using Adobe Acrobat Reader and that your printout is of good quality - your form will be scanned into a computer and it is important that text and features of the form are sharp and clearly readable. There is information about completing the application form on the OVRO website.
- one passport sized photo (measuring 45mm x 35mm) pasted to your form. Do not staple it. The photo must be in colour and taken against a plain background.
- your passport and BRP (if you have one) with you. If you made your visa application outside of the UK and will be registering with the police before collecting your BRP, in addition to the documents listed above, you must take your Home Office letter, approving your visa application, which was issued to you abroad.
- If you made your immigration application in the UK, you will also need to take the letter which was sent to you with your passport when your application was approved.
All students are subject to a security check on arrival. Do not carry any sharp objects and attend the office with minimal baggage. If your are found to be carrying a knife or sharp bladed instrument this will be reported to the police and you could be arrested.
After you have registered
You will be given a Police Registration Certificate (PRC) which may be used as an identity document in the United Kingdom (UK). You are advised not to carry it with you but keep it in a safe place together with your Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one) and your passport or travel document. If you are asked to produce the PRC, you will be given 48 hours in which to do so at a police station.
After you have registered with the police, you will need to inform the Overseas Visitors Records Office each time you are granted an extension of your immigration permission. You must do this within 7 days of receiving your BRP.
You must notify the police within 7 days if you change your residential address.
You must also notify the police within 8 days if you:
- change your work address or occupation;
- change your name;
- acquire a different nationality;
- are issued a new passport or travel document; or
- change your marital status.
This Overseas Visitors Records Office web page explains where and how to notify the police of changes.
If you have an instruction on your immigration permission to register with the police, registering with the police and keeping your certificate up to date is a condition of your immigration permission. Failure to comply with the conditions of your immigration permission is a criminal offence and this can have serious consequences.
Failure to comply with the requirements of your immigration conditions could result in a fine of up to £5,000, you could be imprisoned for up to 6 months and you could be removed from the UK. Registering or notifying the police of changes after the deadline could also cause problems next time you apply for UK immigration permission.
If you have not registered with the police or notified them of changes within the deadline, it is essential that you do this as soon as possible.
The Overseas Visitors Records Office advise that honesty is the best policy: It is always best to be honest as it is highly likely that the police will consider your circumstances or oversight which resulted in you being late to register or notify them of changes. By resolving issues quickly and honestly you will be able to concentrate on your studies without worrying.
If you are taking part in the special arrangements, UKVI have confirmed that you will be able to travel whilst you are waiting for your appointment. You should print your emails from the Immigration Compliance Team which confirm that your appointment details and carry them in your hand luggage to show the Border Force Officer, if requested, when you return to the UK. We recommend that you wait until you have the confirmed appointment email before you travel.
If you using the standard procedure, you will receive an admission slip confirming your appointment date from the police when you attend to register. If you have travel arrangements before the date shown on your admission slip, you can present the slip upon re-entry to the UK Border Control as evidence that you have attempted to register. Each admission slip is date stamped with a date of issue and states that the 7 day requirement to register has been satisfied as the student has presented themselves for registration.
The Overseas Visitors Records Office web page explains what you need to do.
Sometimes, nationals of countries on the list do not have their immigration permission endorsed with a requirement to register with the police. The police can only register you if your immigration permission (your sticker or stamp in your passport, your BRP, or the letter that was issued confirming your grant of immigration permission) requires you to register. Therefore if your immigration permission does not state this, you do not need to do anything as there is no legal requirement for you to register, and you are not in breach of the conditions of your stay by not registering.
Occasionally the Home Office issues immigration permission with an instruction to register with the police even though the student is not a national who is required to register. If your immigration permission requires you to register with the police and you think this is a mistake, follow the instructions in our advice guide 'What to do if things go wrong'.