Student Visa time limits

Students on a Student visa will face time limits on how long they can spend in the UK depending on their level of study.


COVID-19 update

The information on this webpage is affected by new temporary guidance that has been released by UKVI in light of the situation with COVID-19. See below for a summary of how this affects usual procedures: 

Studying at degree level - five year time limit to study

Where you’re studying a course at degree level, you can spend a maximum of five years in the UK with a Student visa. This includes any visas you have been granted under the previous Tier 4 visa system for study at degree level.

Your course is defined as 'Degree level' if the qualification you’re studying for (as listed on your CAS) is at level 6 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). This is normally a Bachelors level qualification.

You must ensure any new course or extension doesn't take you over your time limit. You can’t be issued a CAS to extend your Student Visa if this will take you over the time limit.

You’re exempt from the time limit if you:

  • Are undertaking a course in architecture, dentistry, medicine, or veterinary medicine and science
  • Have completed a UK degree and are applying to complete a law conversion course, a Legal Practice Course or the Bar Professional Training Course

When you’re in your fifth academic year when the time limit would stop you from completing your course, then the time limit is extended by 11 months. 

Please note that UKVI's rules do not allow you to be issued visas for study of up to 5 years and 11 months in order for you to complete a 6th academic year at degree level.

Studying above degree level - no time limit

There is currently no limit on how long you can be granted a visa for study if the qualification you’re studying for (as listed on your CAS) is above degree level. 

'Above degree level' is defined as being at level 7 or above on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

This will apply to you if you’re applying for a visa to study a Masters or Doctorate level qualification.

How the time limit is calculated

The time limit is calculated based on the length of your visa and not the length of your course. This includes the additional time on your visa at the start and end of your course.

Both the Home Office and the University round individual days or weeks to the nearest month, for example three months and ten days is rounded down to three months while three months and three weeks is rounded up to four months.

Times spent in the UK waiting for the decision on a visa application, on vacation, outside the UK, or not studying are included.

If your visa is curtailed (shortened), for example because you have taken a leave of absence from your course, they will only include the time your visa was valid up to the date your visa was shortened to, not the date that your shortened visa originally expired.