Interrupting, withdrawing and completing early
Interrupting, withdrawing, completing early
International students can request and take interruptions, subject to academic approval.
However one of the conditions of your Student/Tier 4 visa is that you are registered on your programme and studying while you are in the UK. Depending on the length of interruption requested and your individual situation, the University may therefore be required to report this change of circumstances to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). This will lead to withdrawing sponsorship of your Student/Tier 4 visa and your visa to be curtailed (shortened) to 60 days to give you time to either leave the UK or submit an alternative visa application.
When the University will not withdraw sponsorship
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 Info Point or PhD supervisor with clear reasons why an interruption is required. This request must be approved by your department or supervisor.
- 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 the University continues to sponsor your visa during a period of interruption, you can remain in the UK and your Student/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 (e.g. by email) from the University while you are on interruption.
- UKVI puts a cap on the number of years that students can stay in the UK on a Student/Tier 4 visa. For undergraduate level study, the limit is up to 5 years. Periods of interruption can be included in this calculation. UKCISA explains time limits here.
When the University will withdraw sponsorship
If you submit a request for an interruption which will lead to the University withdrawing its sponsorship of your Student/Tier 4 visa, you will be advised of this before the interruption is approved. You will need to request a new CAS number from International Student Support to make a new Student visa application before returning to your studies.
Returning from an interruption
If immigration sponsorship has been withdrawn, you will need a new CAS number and to apply for a new Student visa to return to your studies. When you are back in the UK, you will need to present your new visa to the Immigration Compliance team by attending International Student Clearance.
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 if it appears we will need to do this and also when it has been done. This will lead to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) curtailing (shortening) your visa to 60 days from the date of withdrawing sponsorship.
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.