How long can you stay in the UK as Student?

How long can you stay in the UK as Student?

If your application is successful, UKBA will allow you to stay in the UK for the full length of your course, and for some time (depending on the type and length of your course) after your course finishes. At the end of that time, you must leave the UK unless you have applied to extend your stay or to switch into another immigration category.

 

Maximum length of stay under Tier 4 (General)

Type of course Length of course Length of stay allowed
Main course of study (including student union sabbatical officers) 12 months or more

The full length of the course

plus

four months after the end of the course

Main course of study (including student union sabbatical officers) At least six months but less than 12 months

The full length of the course

plus

two months after the end of the course

Main course of study (including student union sabbatical officers)  Less than six months

The full length of the course

plus

seven days after the end of the course

Short course to prepare you for study 12 months or more

The full length of the course

plus

four months after the end of the course

Short course to prepare you for study At least six months but less than 12 months

The full length of the course

plus

two months after the end of the course

Short course to prepare you for study Less than six months

The full length of the course

plus

one month after the end of the course

Postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation programme, 
providing you are being sponsored by the UK Foundation Programme
Office or as a postgraduate dentist if you are being sponsored by the
Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority.

 

Maximum of three years

The full length of the course (up to a maximum of three years)

plus

one month after the end of the course

 

The confirmation of acceptance for studies issued by your education provider will include the start and end dates of the course. UKBA will consider a course to be 12 months long if it lasts a full calendar year. For example, a course starting on 1 January 2011 and ending on 1 January 2012 will be considered to be 12 months long.

If you are at least 18 years old and studying below degree level

If you are 18 years old or over, you can spend no more than three years in the UK studying below UK bachelor's degree level as a Tier 4 (General) student during your lifetime. You can spend this time studying one course or a number of courses.

UKBA will not give you new permission to study below degree level if you have already been studying below that level for three years in the UK since your 18th birthday.

This three-year limit does not include any time that you have spent studying below UK bachelor's degree level under:

  • the student rules that were in place before 31 March 2009; or
  • Tier 4 (General) when you were 16 or 17 years old; or
  • Tier 4 (Child) when you were aged under 18; or
  • any other immigration category outside Tier 4 which permits study.

 

If you are at least 18 years old and studying at or above degree level

If you are 18 years old or over, you can spend no more than 5 years in the UK studying at or above UK bachelor's degree level as a Tier 4 (General) student. This 5-year limit is in addition to any time spent studying below degree level as a Tier 4 (General) student and any time spent in the Tier 4 (Child) category.

UKBA will only include the length of the course to calculate the maximum amount of time you can spend studying at or above degree level. UKBA will not include the extra periods of permission to stay it gave you before or after the main course of study. You can find more details under: 'Maximum length of stay under Tier 4 (General)'.

The 5-year limit does not apply to the following situations:

Studying a course at or above degree level in certain subjects

The 5-year limit does not apply if you are studying:

  • architecture;
  • medicine;
  • dentistry;
  • law - if you have completed a course at degree level in the UK and are progressing to:
    • a law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board; or
    • the legal practice course; or
    • the bar professional training course.
  • veterinary medicine and science; or
  • music at a music college that is a member of Conservatoires UK (CUK).
  • the student rules that were in place before 31 March 2009; or
  • Tier 4 (General) when you were 16 or 17 years old; or
  • Tier 4 (Child) when you were aged under 18; or
  • any other immigration category outside Tier 4 which permits study.