Your Tier 4 or short term student visa will have an end date. You have legal permission to stay in the UK until that date. You must arrange to leave the UK, or make an application to extend your stay, before your visa expires.
If you submit an application to extend your stay before your visa expires, then your permission to stay in the UK will extend until you receive a decision about your application, even if your visa expires while you are waiting.
For more information on what happens at the end of your studies:
If you do not leave the UK or apply to extend your stay before your visa expires, you become an ‘overstayer’.
Overstaying is a criminal offence. There is no ‘grace period’ once your visa expires.
You will have no legal permission to be in the UK until you get a new visa.
This will mean that:
You will need to state on each future UK visa application that you overstayed your leave. This could seriously affect future applications to the UK and other countries.
You cannot make a visa application in the UK once your visa has expired, unless:
In the case of a refusal or reasons beyond your control, you will be permitted to submit an application up to 14 days after your permission to stay has expired.
If your visa has been refused, please come to see the International Student Advisory Service which can advise you about when your permission to stay expires.
You will only be able to make a new application to return to the UK if your period of overstay was less than 30 days, and you left the UK voluntarily and at your own expense.
If you overstay for more than 30 days in the UK, you will be banned from returning for 1-10 years.
Please speak to an adviser to seek full advice about your options as early as possible to avoid overstaying.