Interrupting, withdrawing and completing early

One of the conditions of your Tier 4 visa is that you are registered on your programme and studying while you are in the UK. If you take an interruption of studies the University is therefore required to report this to UKVI and withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa.  We will send you an email when we have done this. UKVI 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. You must always return to your studies for at least 2 months between periods of interruption.
  • 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 you cannot return to your 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 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.
  • UKVI 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 calculation.

When you return from a period of interruption we will always need to see your visa before you can re-register.

If you decide or are required to withdraw from your programme the University is required to withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa.  We will always inform you when we have done this. This will lead to UKVI curtailing your visa and you will be required to leave the UK or submit an alternative visa application within 60 days of the University notifying you of its withdrawal of sponsorship. You should not leave the UK and attempt to re-enter during this 60 day period as once UKVI have curtailed your visa, your permission to remain in the UK will expire upon leaving the country.

If you complete your programme earlier than the end date stated on your CAS, the University is required inform UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) and withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa.  We will always inform you when we have done this. This will lead to UKVI curtailing (shortening) your visa in line with your new course end date.  If your course is 12 months or longer, you will be given 4 months wrap up time at the end and should assume your visa is curtailed to that date.

You should not leave the UK and attempt to re-enter during this wrap up time as once UKVI have curtailed your visa, your permission to remain in the UK will expire upon leaving the country.

Advice and support

The Guild Advice Unit (Exeter) or FXU Advice Service (Cornwall) offers advice for students thinking of withdrawing from their studies. If you need advice about the implications for your visa contact us.