Interrupting, withdrawing and completing early
Interrupting, withdrawing, completing early
One of the conditions of your Tier 4 / Student 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 UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) and withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 / Student 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 / Student 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 / Student 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 / Student 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 undergraduate level can study for up to 5 years. Periods of interruption are included in this calculation. UKCISA explains time limits here.
When you return from a period of interruption we will always need to see your visa before you can re-register*.
*In 2020/21, this can be done via email or SID enquiry rather than in person.
If you decide or are required to withdraw from your programme the University is required to withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 / Student visa. We will always inform you when we have done this. This will lead to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) curtailing (shortening) your visa to 60 days.
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 to inform UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) and withdraw sponsorship of your Tier 4 / Student 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 a 4 months post-study period 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 your post-study period as once UKVI have curtailed your visa, your permission to remain in the UK will expire upon leaving the country.
Depending on when the University makes its report, you may not be able come back to attend graduation on your current Tier 4 / Student visa and will have to apply for a Visitor visa instead.
Submitting a request
If you decide to proceed with an interruption or withdrawal request, read the information available on the Student Hub pages for taught students and the PGR handbook for research students. These pages include information on how to submit the appropriate form and other academic related advice.
Advice and support
The Guild Advice Unit (Exeter) or FXU Advice Service (Cornwall) offers non-immigration advice for students thinking of withdrawing from their studies.