This information is intended for students who are currently on, or will be applying for, the Tier 4 (General) Student visa?or the Short Term Study visa. If you are an EU/EEA national please see the Information for EU nationals page.
This information should be read in conjunction with our current visa advice.
Last updated 12 June 2020.
You must email the Tier 4 Compliance team at the University at [email protected] so that they are aware that you have returned to your home country. You will not be reported to the Home Office as long as you continue to participate on your course.
The Home Office has introduced special distance learning rules to allow students to study away from University during the COVID-19 outbreak. Your Tier 4 visa should not be affected and you can return to the UK to continue your studies when you have been advised by the University and the Home Office that it is safe to do so. This absence should not adversely affect any further UK visa applications.
If your course is complete and you need to travel back to the UK during the additional 4 months given at the end of your visa please see our advice on travelling outside the UK on a Tier 4 visa.
Please seek advice from Student Advice before travelling to the UK, if you will need to extend your visa to complete your course.
If you had intended to leave the UK after completing your studies but now find that you are stuck here with a visa that is due to expire, then you may be able extend your visa using the Corona Virus extension scheme. New visa provisions allow for an extension under your existing visa category until 31 July 2020. The extension is open for those unable to return home due to COVID-19.
If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 your visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.
For more information about the scheme see the UKCISA website.
There is more information on the Gov.uk website.
We would advise you speak with an adviser before submitting a request to extend your visa, please contact Student Advice. If you will be undertaking further studies in the UK please see below.
If you are currently in the UK, and you have been issued with a new CAS, you can submit your application online to extend your Tier 4 visa. You can only do this if you meet all the Tier 4 visa requirements for applying in the UK before your visa expires. You must make your Tier 4 Visa application before your current visa expires, but do seek advice as some rules are complicated.
After you have paid for your application, you can upload your documents to the Sopra Steria UKVCAS website. You are also required to book an in person appointment to complete the application process. Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) reopened for customer appointments on 1 June 2020. Check which centres are open.
If you submitted an application and you have been waiting to make an appointment, you should be contacted directly and advised that you can now book a new appointment at one of the centres that has now opened. Your application will be put on hold until you are offered and have attended an appointment. You will remain legally in the UK while you wait for an appointment and a decision. Please ensure your bank statements are correct at the time you submit your application online and pay.
We Strongly advise that you seek advice before making a Tier 4 visa application, please contact Student Advice.
If you do not meet the Tier 4 visa requirements for applying in the UK, and you have to return home to make your application, and you are unable to leave the UK, please see information above: ‘Your visa is due to expire and you are not able to leave the UK’.
Many of the UK Visa Application Centres (VAC) around the world are currently closed. However, some Centres are resuming services where local restrictions allow. Services will reopen in phases. For updates to the status of VACs in your country check with:
- TLS Contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
- VFS Global for all other countries
If you will be starting your course in September 2020, the earliest you would normally be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa would be June 2020 (3 months before your course start date). We are currently waiting for an update on what the advice will be for students who are starting a course or returning to studies this September.
We will update this section when we have further information.
If you are outside the UK and wish to return for a graduation ceremony during the last 4 months of your Tier 4 visa, please see our advice about travelling to the UK after the end of your course.
If your visa has expired while you were outside the UK you will need to apply for the Standard Visit Visa to attend your graduation ceremony. At the moment some UK Visa Application Centres remain closed, so if you must apply for a visa to come to the UK then you may have to wait until your local Visa Application Centre reopens before you can apply. Some students are able to enter the UK without applying for a visa in advance. Please request a ‘Visitor Visa’ information sheet from Student Advice.
If your placement or Study abroad year has been cancelled you can choose:
- To continue your studies without taking the placement year (converting from a 4-year degree with placement to a 3-year degree) or
- To interrupt your studies, hoping that you will have a work placement the following year
If you continue your studies and had a Tier 4 visa for 3 years and now your course will only last 3 years, then you will now be able to complete your course without applying for a Tier 4 Visa Extension. If you had a 4-year visa that included your work placement then the University will withdraw its sponsorship when you complete your course a year early. Your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed/cancelled.
If you interrupt your studies then the University will withdraw its sponsorship and you will need to return home. You will need to apply for a Tier 4 Visa to return to your course at the later date. See later section on ‘interrupting your studies’.
You should always talk to your course leader and registry office about changes to your course, also considering whether there will be any financial implications.
If you will require a visa extension to complete your studies please contact Student Advice.
You can return to the UK after your study abroad year provided that you still have valid Tier 4 immigration permission and you have already notified the Tier 4 Compliance team that you have been on an agreed placement or study abroad year. If you have not yet applied to extend your Tier 4 visa to complete your course and you require advice on how you can do this please contact Student Advice before travelling back to the UK.
If your studies have ended and you would like to return to the UK during the last 4 months on your current Tier 4 visa, please see our advice about travelling to the UK after the end of your course.
The Home Office have confirmed that it may be possible in some instances to switch from a Short Term Study visa to a Tier 4 visa in the UK. Applications must meet all the other Tier 4 visa requirements in order to apply. You may benefit from this concession if you will be switching before 31st July 2020. Read more about this concession.
You must have been issued with a new CAS to make your Tier 4 visa application, if you require advice about the application please contact Student Advice.
This is not currently possible. You may be able to apply for the Coronavirus Visa Extension Scheme, described earlier, if you are not able to return home.
If you are unable to obtain a CAS to complete your studies please contact Student Advice.
If you interrupt your studies for more than 60 days, your Tier 4 visa may be curtailed. Please request the Student Advice ‘Tier 4 visa suspending and Interrupting’ information sheet by emailing [email protected]. for further information.
If you are unable to leave the UK within 60 days of interrupting your studies, please contact Student Advice for advice on your particular circumstances.
All UK police forces, including the Overseas Visitors Registration Office (OVRO) in London, have suspended police registration. You will not be penalised for not attending or making an appointment as advised on your visa requirements. This includes people who have left the UK without registering, and who will need to re-enter in the future. You will need to check the OVRO website for further updates. If you have been unable to register and you are about to make a Tier 4 visa application in the UK please contact Student Advice for further advice.
Applications can now be made to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for a new ATAS certificate. Current rules on the requirement to obtain an ATAS certificate continue to apply. The FCO will be working to normal peak processing times and should provide you with a decision within 30 working days from receipt of the application.