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How and when do I apply for new immigration permission to undertake my re-sits

How and when do I apply for new immigration permission to undertake my re-sits?

This information applies if you have been studying in the UK with Tier 4 immigration permission.  

Do I have to apply for new immigration permission before returning to the UK?

If you have been studying with Tier 4 immigration permission, this immigration permission should have been curtailed (see our guidance on Tier 4 Reporting and Curtailment), and you should apply for new immigration permission before returning to the UK.

If you attempt to travel on your existing Tier 4 (General) Student immigration permission, you may be denied entry to the UK.

What sort of immigration permission should I apply for?

If you are returning to the UK to take re-sits you will normally apply for Short-Term Student immigration permission

However from September 2019, for most Undergraduate and Taught postgraduate courses there will be two exam periods in the academic year. Exams will be held in January and May/June.  The late re-sit option in August remains in place.

(Please note that the two exam periods will not apply to MBBS/BDS, some programmes taught outside of the UK, programmes with a January or April start date and some distance learning programmes).

If you are due to take your re-sits in January and will immediately continue to attend Semester B you may have the option to apply for Tier 4 immigration permission to cover your re-sits and the remainder of your course. 

If you are due to take re-sits in May then continue to attend your course from the next Semester you may also have the option to apply for Tier 4 immigration permission This would also cover your re-sits and the remainder of your course. For example this may be the case for you if you are undertaking re-sits in the second year of your undergraduate degree and will progress onto your third year if you successfully pass the re-sits.

However, if you are taking re-sits only and will not be attending your course at the next available opportunity, you may have to make two (or more) visa applications. Here are some examples:

You are returning to sit your January exams and will not be attending Semester B.

  • You will require Short-Term Student immigration permission to sit your exams.
  • Within 30 days of completing your exams you are required to leave the UK.
  • You will require a Tier 4 student visa to return to the UK to resume your study with attendance.

Please note that you will not normally be allowed to sit your exams with Standard Visitor permission. 

You are required to sit exams in January and May while out of attendance

If you are not required to attend your course, it may be possible to obtain Short-Term Student immigration permission once so that it covers both exam dates.  There are two issues to consider:

  • you must clearly state in your application that you intend to sit exams in January and in May so that you do not have to leave within 30 days of completing the January exams and,
  • The maximum period of time allowed in the UK with this immigration permission is 6 months so you must also consider when you want to obtain this immigration permission so that it covers both exam periods.  Timing is important.

Remember you will not be able to work in the UK with Short term student immigration permission and will not be able to extend this visa. You will have to return home to apply for further Tier 4 immigration permission if continuing to attend your studies or if you intend to apply for a different immigration category.

If you are unsure of your immigration options please contact a Welfare Adviser for advice.

Our guides for Short-term Student immigration permission and Tier 4 immigration permission explain how to apply and which documents you will need to support your application. 

I also need to attend my graduation ceremony - a warning about frequent and successive visits

Short-term student immigration permission is granted for six months at a time. There is no rule that states a visitor can only remain in the UK for 6 out of any 12 months, but a Home Office decision maker will examine the pattern and frequency of visits to see that it does not amount to residence.

If there will be a large gap between your exams and your graduation ceremony (this may be the case if you are studying a Masters degree), you may need to apply for immigration permission and travel to and from the UK twice: once for your exams and once for your graduation ceremony.

You may need to return to the UK twice, first as a Short-term student to sit your exams, and then as a Standard Visitor to attend graduation. 

I will be resuming my studies after I have passed my re-sit exams. What should I do?

If, after successfully completing your exams with Short-Term Student immigration permission, you will be continuing your studies, you will have to return home again to make a further Tier 4 (General) Student immigration application (please see the next section for more information).







Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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