This page was updated on 8th January 2021
Following the Government's recent announcement on a national lockdown, OVRO will close from Monday 11th Jan 2021 until further notice. If you have a booked appointment with OVRO this will be cancelled and you will be emailed a cancellation notification. Please check your Junk/Spam. Please rest assured that no penalty action will be taken for delayed registration/reporting.
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 satisfy the 7 day legal requirement to register with the police by booking an appointment within 7 days of arrival in the UK or within 7 days of a change in circumstance, even if the first available appointment offered is beyond the 7 days.
If you are required to self-isolate on arrival to the UK try and book your appointment within 7 days of arrival but choose an appointment date which is after you have completed your period of self-isolation.
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).
Police registration services were suspended from 23 March 2020 due to the pandemic and online bookings reopened on 30 September 2020 for appointments from 7 October. Police registration services have again been suspended from 7 December 2020 to reopen on 7 April 2020.
If you were unable to register or report a change of circumstance as a direct result of this suspension of services, you will not face any penalty action for delayed registration. You could download this information as an official letter from the Metropolitan Police if you were not able to notify the police of changes.
You must book an appointment to register at the Overseas Visitors Records Office. Appointments are generally available Mondays to Fridays 9am to 3pm. Please note that OVRO is very busy and you may have to wait weeks or months for an appointment.
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 booking.
If you acquire Covid-19 symptoms after booking your appointment, or you ar required to self-isolate, please reschedule or cancel your appointment.
Overseas Visitors Records Office
London , SE1 1JL
- a credit or debit card or mobile appt (Apple/Google pay) to pay the £34 fee. Cash is not accepted
- 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.
From Monday 7th December until 7th April 2021 the process of updating the police of relevant changes has been suspended. This applies if you have already been granted a Police Registration Certificate and you need to report a change.
Do not book an appointment with OVRO until 7th April 2021 to update them on any of the relevant changes, these include:
- If you have been granted new immigration permission
- 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.
If you change your residential address you can still report this to a police station within 7 days of the change.
If you have booked an appointment with OVRO before 7th April 2021 you are encouraged to cancel this. You can book a new appointment by logging into the new OVRO online portal, on or after 7th April 2021. Further details of how to book onto the new portal will be made available nearer the time.
You will not be penalised for delays in reporting changes due to this temporary suspension of service.
The suspension of services does not affect students who have never applied for a Police Registration Certificate (PRC) or who need to apply for a replacement PRC. You should still do this in the normal way via the online booking facility.
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.
Police registration services were suspended from mid March 2020 due to the pandemic and online bookings reopened on 30 September 2020 for appointments from 7 October. If you were unable to register or report a change of circumstance as a direct result of this suspension of services, you will not face any penalty action for delayed registration. You should now book an appointment to register.
From the 7th December the process of notifying the police of changes has been suspended. You could include this letter as evidence that you were not able to report a change of circumstances from 7th December.
Police registration was suspended from 23 March 2020 until 30 September 2020 due to the pandemic.
Students who are returned to their home countries during this time 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 should register within 7 days of re-entering the UK as the service has now reopened.
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.
If you were unable to register with the Police while the service was suspended and you now need to extend your student permission before you can get an appointment to register, we recommend that you include a cover letter with your supporting documents to explain the reasons why you were unable to register and to confirm that you will register as soon as you are able once your student permission is granted. You could also include this letter as evidence that you were not able to report a change of circumstances from 7th December.
If you need to apply for a Police Registration Certificate or a replacement PRC:
UKVI have confirmed that you will be able to travel whilst you are waiting for your appointment. You should print confirmation of 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 need to notify the police of changes:
OVRO have issued the attached letter to students and that can be used to present to UKVI Border officials when re-entering the UK as well as including in support of visa applications to the UKVI.
We would recommend printing the letter and carrying this in your hand luggage.
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'.