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
- Studying At Degree Level - Five Year Time Limit to Study
- Studying Above Degree Level - No Time Limit
- How the Time Limit is Calculated
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. There is a summary of how this affects usual procedures here.
Studying At Degree Level - Five Year Time Limit to Study
Where you are 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 qualifciation you are 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 does not take you over your time limit. You cannot be issued a CAS to extend your Student Visa if this will take you over the time limit.
You are 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
Where you are in your fifth academic year when the time limit would stop you 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 no currently no limit on how long you can be granted a visa for study for if the qualfication you are 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 are applying for a visa to study a Masters or Doctorate level qualfication.
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 applciation, 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 your shortened visa originally expired.