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Immigration implications

Immigration implications if you hold Tier 4 or Student immigration permission 

If you are considering interrupting, or leaving or changing your course of studies, or if you are required to resit out of attendance or repeat part of your studies, there could be implications for your Tier 4 and/or student immigration permission. 

You may also require new Student Immigration Permission to return to the UK and resume your course.  In some circumstances it may be possible to return as a visitor.  The different sections of this guide explain the options available.

Limit (“cap”) on number of years spent studying in the UK

There is a five academic year time limit on some study in the UK at degree level. The time limit depends on whether you hold Tier 4 or Student immigration permission.  There are some exceptions for postgraduate masters and research programmes, Medicine and Dentistry, and for progressing from a 4-year Bachelors to a 2-year Masters.  

If your current immigration permission already takes you to the five academic year limit, it may not be possible to apply for any further Student immigration permission to repeat part of your studies. To check if these limits will affect your study plans, please see the subsection “Time limit (“cap”) on studies” in our guidance on applying for Student immigration application

Will my immigration permission be curtailed (cut short)?

If you are currently in the UK with Tier 4 or Student immigration permission, changes to your studies may result in your immigration permission being curtailed or canceled. Please see our guidance on Reporting and Curtailment for more information.

If you have an authorised absence from your School which means that you will interrupt your course for less than 60 days, and you can still complete your studies within your existing Tier 4 or student immigration permission, then this would not be reported to Home Office. In this case your Tier 4 or student immigration permission would not be curtailed.   

Warning: It is important that you make time to read this guidance and make sure that you personally understand the implications that changes to your studies will have on your immigration permission. 

Research Degree Students

If you need to take leave for one of the following reasons it may be possible to interrupt for more than 60 days without Queen Mary withdrawing sponsorship, unless this means you cannot complete your studies within your current period of Tier 4 or Student immigration permission.  Evidence will be required to support your request. Contact the Research Degrees Office to discuss this with them:

  • statutory maternity leave
  • statutory paternity leave
  • statutory parental leave
  • statutory shared parental leave
  • statutory adoption leave

What are the implications of changes to my studies?

Please see our guidance on the immigration implications of changes to your studies to see how this may affect you. This guidance contains information on: 

    • Changing courses at Queen Mary


    • Changes to the details of your course at Queen Mary


    • Progressing onto another course at Queen Mary


    • Progressing onto a new course at a different institution


    • Withdrawing from your course at Queen Mary and moving to a different institution


    • Information for intercalating medical students

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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