The International Student Support Office can advise you on how taking an interruption of studies will affect your immigration status.

Interrupting Your Studies

If you are a Tier 4 visa holder, the University of Exeter acts as your immigration sponsor during your studies.  If you take an interruption of studies, the University is required to withdraw its sponsorship and report this to the Home Office.   The Home Office will curtail your visa and you will be required to leave the UK or submit an alternative visa application within 60 days of the date of the report.  When you wish to return from interruption, the University will issue you with a new CAS to apply for a new Tier 4 visa.

There are certain circumstances in which the University will not withdraw its sponsorship of your visa during a period of interruption, which are:

  • Your period of interruption is 2 months or less, and you provide your College with clear reasons why an interruption is required.  This request must be approved by your College.  You can take a maximum of four months of interruption during your course without the University withdrawing immigration sponsorship, but no one period of interruption can be for more than 2 months.
  • In exceptional circumstances, the University will continue sponsorship during a period of interruption of more than 2 months.  This will only be in cases where there is clear proof that a student cannot return to their home country.  This would normally be due to serious ill health.

If you submit a request for an interruption which will lead to the University withdrawing its sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa, you will be advised of this before the interruption is approved.

If the University continues to sponsor your visa during a period of interruption, you can remain in the UK and your Tier 4 visa will continue to be valid.  You should, however, be aware of the following:

  • The restrictions on work that apply during term time also apply during a period of interruption.  So, if your visa allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and you choose to remain in the UK during a period of interruption, you must not work more than 20 hours per week.
  • If you have taken a period of interruption of 2 months or less, the University will not continue to sponsor your visa if you request a further interruption less than 2 months after you return to studies.
  • If the University continues to sponsor you during a period of interruption we are required to maintain contact with you during this period.  You must respond to all contacts (eg by email) from the University while you are on interruption.
  • The Home Office puts a cap on the number of years that Tier 4 students are able to stay in the UK.   Students studying at degree level can study for up to 5 years.  Postgraduate research students can study for longer.  Periods of interruption are included in this period.

If you require advice on how taking an interruption of studies will affect your immigration status, please contact the International Student Support Office.